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Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) Mesh Review: Reliable but Overpriced

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You would definitely love to be blown away by this first-of-its-kind Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) mesh Wi-Fi system, which includes three Linksys MX8500 routers. Who wouldn’t, after having paid over $1000 for it?

I paid nothing — Linksys shipped me a review loaner set — and still wished it were great!

But the “it’s so expensive, so it gotta be awesome!” logic only goes so far. And in this case, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E proved to be a bit of an exaggeration.

The new mesh system is not remotely terrible. Quite contrary, each of its hardware units is an excellent standalone router. And if you have wired your large home, the 3-pack will fit in well.

As a fully wireless Wi-Fi system that costs an arm and a leg, though, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E falls short, partly because of the hype. If Linksys is your cup of tea, wait a bit for the price to go down or go with the now-discounted MX10 or even the MX4200 instead. If not, pick one of these Wi-Fi 6 alternatives.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on April 29, 2021, as a news piece and updated it to a full review on May 16 after thorough hands-on testing.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E includes three identical hardware units
The Atlas Max 6E includes three identical hardware units. Each is a Linksys MX8500 AXE8400 router.

Linksys Atlas Max 6E: A case of reality vs. expectations

Released on April 29, 2021, the most significant thing about the Atlas Max 6E is the hefty price tag. The second biggest thing, also supposedly its selling point, is the new 6GHz band — it belongs to the new type of tri-band broadcasters.

But first, let’s get on the same page about the naming. It’s super confusing.

Linksys Atlas Max 6E’s naming

This is a Wi-Fi 6E hardware available in a few different hardware packages:

  • A 3-pack is called Atlas Max 6E Tri-Band AXE8400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System 3-Pack, model MX8503.
  • A 2-pack: Atlas Max 6E Tri-Band AXE8400 Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System 2-Pack, model MX8502.
  • A single router: Linksys MX8500 AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E Router.

Originally, 3-pack was the only option, with the 2-pack and single router being released later.

Familiar design

On the inside, though, the Atlast Max 6E is similar to the MX10600 that came slightly more than two years ago, down to the physical look. And just like its older cousin, it proved to be a reliable tri-band mesh system. But this time with a twist.

It all started with how Linksys wants you to think of it. Specifically, the company says:

Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) unleashes the biggest upgrade to Wi-Fi in a decade, bringing the ultra-fast, low-latency 6GHz band to every corner of your home. Use as a backhaul between nodes or connect directly for seamless video conferencing, working from home, remote learning, and even the latest AR and VR. “

So the networking vendor paints lofty expectations of the 6GHz band’s range and performance. That’s misleading at best and just untrue at worst.

Let me be clear: It’s generally not a good idea to count on this new band’s range. Of the existing three Wi-Fi bands, the 6GHz has the worst range and signal penetration in my experience. That seems to be the nature of high radio frequencies.

That said, let’s check out the hardware specs and dive in a bit deeper in Wi-Fi 6E in a mesh.

Linksys Atlas Max 6E vs MX10: Hardware specifications

Like the Linksys MX10 Velop AX (MX10600) which includes two MX5300 tri-band routers, the Linksys AXE8400 Atlast Max 6E mesh system consists of three identical routers — each has the model name of MX8500.

(In the future, you might be able to find it in 2-pack as well as a single router.)

At its core, the AXE8400 is a tri-band 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 router that includes a 2.4GHz, a 5GHz, and a 6GHz band. The MX5300 is also a tri-band, including two 5GHz bands (Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5) and a 2.4GHz.

Full Mesh NameLinksys Atlas Max 6E MXE8400
Wi-Fi 6E Mesh System
Linksys MX10
Velop AX Whole Home
Wi-Fi 6 System
ModelMesh System: MXE8400
Each Unit: MX8500
Mesh System: MX10
Each Unit: MX5300
Default Mesh Availability3-pack
(Identical routers)
2-pack
(Identical routers)
Dimensions 4.45 x 4.45 x 9.57 in
(11.3 x 11.3 x 23.3 cm)
4.5 x 4.5 x 9.6 in 
(11.4 x 11.4 x 24.4 cm)
Weight3.25 lbs (1.47 kg)3.5 lbs (1.59 kg)
Wi-Fi SpecsTri-Band AXE8400Tri-Band AX10600
1st Band2.4GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 1147Mbps
(20/40MHZ)
2.4GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 1147Mbps
(20/40MHZ)
2nd Band5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 2402Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
5GHz 4×4 AX
Up to 2402Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
3rd Band6GHz 4×4 AXE
Up to 4804 Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
5GHz 4×4 AC
Up to 1733 Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
Backward Compatibility 802.11ac/n/g/a/b802.11ac/n/g/a/b
Wi-Fi SecurityWPA2 and WPA3WPA2 and WPA3
Mobile AppLinksysLinksys
Web User InterfaceYes Yes
AP (Bridge) ModeYes
(as a router or a mesh)
Yes
(as a router or a mesh)
USB Port1x USB 3.01x USB 3.0
Gigabit Port4x LAN4x LAN, 1x WAN
Link AggregationNoNo
Multi-Gig Port1x 5Gbps WANNone
Dual-WANNoNo
Processing power2.2 GHz Quad-Core CPU,
1GB RAM, 512MB Flash
2.2 GHz Quad-Core CPU,
1GB RAM, 512MB Flash
Release DateApril 29, 2021February 2020
Price (at Launch)$1199.99 (3-pack)$599.99 (2-pack)
Linksys Tri-band mesh rotuers’ hardware specifications: Linksys MX8500 vs MX5300.

Other than the 6GHz band, what’s most noticeable about the MX8500 is the 5Gbps WAN port, making it similar to the MR7500.

Unfortunately, there’s no way to make this port work as a LAN port in the router role, making it impossible to figure out its Wi-Fi’s top speed in my testing.

The breakdown of Wi-Fi 6E in a mesh Wi-Fi system

The Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E is the very first Wi-Fi 6E mesh system on the market. So, to understand it, you need to know about Wi-Fi 6E and how a mesh Wi-Fi system operates.

I’ve written about both extensively — follow the links above if you’re new to them — but here is the recap:

  • Wi-Fi 6E uses an all-new 6GHz band to deliver fast Wi-Fi speeds consistently — significantly more so than the 5GHz band. In other words, while these two bands share the same bandwidth cap, the 6GHz can deliver that basically all the time at close range.
  • The 6GHz band has a noticeably shorter range and doesn’t handle walls or obstacles well. In my real-world experience, it has about 70% or 50% of the range of the 5GHz band when used in open space or behind a wall, respectively.
  • A mesh system uses multiple broadcasters linked together to deliver a unified Wi-Fi network. When used in a fully wireless setup (for homes that are not wired), one of the Wi-Fi bands works as the backhaul link. In this case, clients will only get half that band’s bandwidth, if at all.

Put those three bullet points together, and you’ll get the picture of the Atlas Max 6E:

  • If you use the 6GHz band as backhaul, the mesh will have mediocre coverage. That’s because you can’t put the hardware units very far from one another, especially when there are walls in between — all homes have walls. (For more check out this post on Wi-Fi as a whole.)
  • If you use the 5GHz band as backhaul, the coverage will be better, and these are about to happen:
    • You’ll get worse performance compared with a traditional tri-band system, like the MX10. That’s because existing 5GHz devices will have to deal with signal loss.
    • Wi-Fi 6E clients will get the speed of the 5GHz band backhaul at best.
  • If you use the 2.4GHz band as the backhaul, all devices connected to the satellite will get terrible speeds. But you’ll get the best coverage.
  • As a system with a dynamic backhaul, the Atlas Max 6E will use whichever band it deems “the best” at any given time to work as the backhaul. Specifically, it’ll use the 6GHz, 5GHz, or 2.4Ghz in that order, depending on the distance between the hardware units.

So, as a wireless mesh, there’s hardly any scenario where the Atlas Max 6E is better than the MX1060 in terms of real-world performance and coverage.

Things are better if you use a wired backhaul or when you use a 1-pack as a standalone router. In this case, 6GHz clients will surely get better performance if you use them within the line of sight.

Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400): Detail photos

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E comes with standard power adapters
Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) comes with standard power adapters.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E on a surface
The three hardware units of the Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) are identical tri-band routers, model MX8500 each.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E network ports
Each router of the Linksys MX8500 Atlas Max 6E includes a USB 3.0 port (top), four Gigabit LAN ports, and a 5Gbps WAN port.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E with hand
The Linksys MX8500 router’s WAN port can’t work as a LAN in a router mode.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E 5Gbps WAN port
When working as a satellite, though, the WAN port can now function as a LAN.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E single hardware unit
All of the MX8500’s buttons (reset, WPS, on/off switch) are on their underside.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6Es underside
Also on the underside is the Linksys MX8500’s default information and the QR quote for the setup process.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E from above
As a 3-pack mesh, the Linksys MX8503 Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) can deliver very large coverage.

Linksys Atlas Max 6E: Familiar firmware and features

Despite being powered by the new Qualcomm Networking Pro 1210 Platform, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E is very similar to the previous Linksys Velop Wi-Fi 6 routers and mesh system.

Linksys AXE8400 Interface
The Linksys Atlas Max 6E’s web user interface

Hardware design

Indeed, each Linksys MX8500 router shares the same hardware design as an MX5300 router. The two are almost identical, as you can see in the photos of the latter.

You pick one as the main router in a mesh, and the rest will work as satellite nodes. You can use the hardware fully wireless (intended) or use network cables as backhaul links (applicable to wired homes) in a mesh setup.

In the former case, the system uses Dynamic Backhaul Technology. Specifically, no band works solely in this role. Instead, any of the three bands will work as such, depending on the situation.

The mobile app vs web interface issue

The system comes with a full web interface, but it will nudge users to use the Linksys mobile app.

Linksys CA Mode with Node Setup
You can set up the satellite using the web user interface in the CA mode.

You can overcome this coercion by following the detailed steps in this post to set up and manage your network the way you do any standard router. The key here is to enable the hidden CA mode, which opens up advanced settings.

But if you use the mobile app, things are more straightforward. Linksys recommends setting up via web UI only if you run into problems using the app. By the way, even if you choose to use the web interface, you’ll also be coerced into getting a login account with Linksys though now it’s entirely optional.

Another thing to note is, like most modern Linksys broadcasters, the MXE8400 doesn’t support backup and restore (for its settings), so if you mess up big, you’ll need to reset the hardware and start from the beginning.

Also, even when you choose to go with the mobile app all the way, the setup process can be a bit tedious. Each step took a bit too long in my case and sometimes failed midway.

The Linksys mobile app itself feels a bit stale — it’s been the same app for years without any significant improvement. I tried it with a few android phones and an iPad, and it generally has a bit of delay to load or move from one section to another.

In short, the app sure gets the job done and is generally easier to use. But if you want to have complete control of the system, as well as your privacy, I’d recommend the web interface (without a Linksys account.)

Linksys MX8500 Mesh Satellite Setup
The Linksys Atlas Max 6E Mesh Satellite setup process can be long and tedious.

Spartan feature and settings

Like most Linksys routers, the Atlas Max 6E has a relatively poor set of features and settings. In fact, considering its high cost, you can say the system has a terrible set of features.

Here are a few things you can expect from it:

  • Device Prioritization: A relatively simple QoS feature that allows you to drag and drop up to three connected devices onto the Internet prioritized list. There’s no application-based prioritization.
  • Parental Control: Also quite simple. You can block internet access or filter specific websites from certain clients at all times or based on a schedule.
  • Essential network settings: Like most routers, the Linksys MX8500 has Dynamic DNS, port forwarding, IP reservation, and other common network settings.

Scant Wi-Fi settings

Like previous Linksys routers and mesh systems, including the MR7500, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E has scant Wi-Fi settings.

For the most part, all you can do is name the three bands with three different SSDs (network names) or as one — by the way, you have to do this for each since there’s no SmartConnect setting. After that, there’s not much else for you to customize.

Linksys MX8500 Wi Fi Settings
The Linksys MX8500’s Wi-Fi settings in the CA mode.

If you turned on the CA mode, you could change a few additional things, but there’s no way to customize the setting to favor performance.


On the subject of router management, Linksys told me that its Wi-Fi “solutions are geared more towards the average consumer who prefers simple app-based setup and minimal backend work.” However, its “team is working to better combine the Linksys app and web UI features to cater to the more advanced users.

That said, there might be more positive changes in the future via firmware/app updates. Or not.

Linksys Atlas Max 6E (3-pack MX8503) ‘s performance: Reliable, but you need to pick between fast speeds and large coverage

I tested the Atlas Max 6E as a single router (MX8500) and a mesh system (MX8503) for more than 10 days.

During this time, it proved reliable, which has been the strong point of Linksys Velop mesh in general. As for throughput speeds, that depends on how you use the hardware.

Modest 6GHz speeds as a single router

As a single router, the MX8500 proved to be slightly slower than the MR7500, which was a bit surprising considering the better specs. But it delivered the numbers one would expect from a Wi-Fi 6E router that has no Multi-Gig LAN port, according to my testing.

Linksys MX8500 Router Performance

Again, since the hardware has limited Wi-Fi settings, I couldn’t tune it to deliver the best performance. As a result, of all the Wi-Fi 6E routers I’ve reviewed, the MX8500 was the slowest. But the numbers were within the max speed of a Gigabit connection.

By the way, as a single unit, the MX8500 has the same range as the MX5300. So if you have a place of some 2000ft2 (186 m2) to 2500 ft2 (232 m2), this single unit can probably handle it.

Interesting mesh performance

And if you wonder if a 3-pack will be able to handle some 6000ft2 or more, well, that depends on what kind of speed you want.

Indeed, the MXE8400 generally uses the 6GHz band as the backhaul in an open space. However, when you place the unit with a wall or two in between, chances are they will use the 5GHz or even the 2.4GHz band as the backhaul.

Linksys MX8500 Mesh Router Performance
The Linksys MX8500’s Wi-Fi performance as a router

It’s important to note that sometimes the backhaul link changes without any particular reason, even if you don’t move the hardware at all.

There’s no way to figure out which band is being used as backhaul, by the way, and I figured this out myself by connecting a client to a satellite’s network port to gauge the speed between it and the main router.

Linksys AXE8400 Mobile app
The mobile app allows comprehensive monitoring of the system, but it won’t tell him which band a satellite is using back the backhaul link.

Also, I generally get about 300Mbps out of this system in my anecdotal trials within a large home, likely because it used the 2.4GHz band as backhaul.

However, the performance numbers in the charts here are those of my standard tests where I placed the nodes 40 feet (12 m) away from the primary router within the line of sight. In other words, these are the throughputs of the best-case scenarios.

Linksys MX8500 Mesh Satellite Performance
The Linksys MX8500’s Wi-Fi performance as a wireless satellite

Another thing to note is since most Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems don’t allow for separating the band as different networks, I generally only test them with Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 5 clients. The Linksys AXE8400 allows this, and I decided to try all its bands separately.

As you can see on the chart, the new system was not slow at all, but it wasn’t the fastest I’ve seen either. But it’s safe to say, if you have a large home and use this in a wireless setup, you should expect no more than 500Mbps out of it on average.

Excellent NAS performance

The Linksys MX8500 did well in my testing when hosting storage devices. Each node can host a device, so with a 3-pack, you can connect up to three portable drives to the network to share their storage space.

Linksys AXE8400 NAS Feature 1
Each of the Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) ‘s hardware units can host a storage device.

I used two My Passport SSDs in my trial, one at the router and the other at a node. In the former case, I used only a Gigabit connection for the test (the modem occupied the WAN port.) However, at the satellite, I could use a 5Gbps connection — the WAN port now worked as a Multi-Gig LAN –, and the performance showed accordingly.

Linksys MX8500 NAS Performance
The Linksys MX8500’s NAS performance as a router hosting a portable SSD.

Specifically, via a Gigabit connection, the Linksys MX8500 averages over 110 MB/s for both reading and writing, effectively maxing out the 1Gbps link. Via the Multi-Gig link, it now averaged over 160Mb/s ver writing and almost 237MB/s for reading.

In all, with this type of performance, you can expect good network data sharing via the Atlas Max 6E. And the ability to host multiple external drives is always a bonus.

Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max's Rating

7.1 out of 10
Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E with power adapters
Performance
8 out of 10
Features
7 out of 10
Ease of Use
7.5 out of 10
Value
6 out of 10

Pros

Wi-Fi 6E-ready

Reliable performance, extensive coverage

5Gbps WAN port

Excellent NAS performance when hosting external storage device(s)

Separate SSID for each band

Cros

Expensive

Comparatively slow mesWi-FiFi speeds in homes with walls

Limited Wi-Fi settings and features, mobile app coercion

No Multi-Gig LAN port (main router), Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation

No setting backup and restore

Conclusion

Linksys picks and chooses in describing the Linksys Atlas Max 6E, which is expected in marketing, and that’s the company’s prerogative to do so. The issue is, in return, the new mesh system is not equally flexible in settings and management.

What’s more, the hyped-up expectations of the new 6GHz band can bring about disappointments. And finally, the ultra-high cost is a deal-breaker.

Again, the Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) mesh — be it a 3-pack (MX8503) or 2-pack (MX8502) — will work out well in most cases, but there’s no way it’s worth the hefty investment. Wait a while for the price to go down — it will — before considering it, or check out other Wi-FI 6E options.

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75 thoughts on “Linksys Atlas Max 6E (AXE8400) Mesh Review: Reliable but Overpriced”

  1. Interestingly, Dong, earlier this year Verizon released the Verizon Router CR1000A with similar WiFi configuration (AXE8400) but with:
    1× 10GbE WAN
    1x 10GbE LAN
    2x 2.5GbE LAN
    MoCA 2.5
    1x USB Type C 3.0

    MSRP: $399.99 (can be found on eBay for $70-100 less, “new”)

    As near as I can tell from the manual, you CAN use it even if you don’t have Verizon service.

    Considering its weird and interesting specs, you might want to consider grabbing and testing one, Dong!

    Depending on testing, it might turn out to be a bargain buy!

    Far from the only interesting ISP modem out there, but it stands apart not only due to its specs but also because it seems you can buy it outright instead of leasing it (a requirement of, say, the Comcast xfinity XB8 xfi Advanced Gateway (Technicolor CGM4981COM), at least until it too shows up on eBay!)

    Reply
  2. I need a 2 pack mesh system using wired backhaul for 1gbps fibre connection. Would you recommend Linksys Atlas Max 6E or MX5300 or MX4200?

    Any reason to chose older MX5300 over MX4200, which would be better medium term future proofed?

    Thanks for all you posts. I have spent ages on your site

    Reply
  3. Dong, super-useful review as usual, thank you! I would like your analysis of a wired backhaul configuration that I have tried successfully on another Velop mesh system MX4200C, but getting counter-intuitive results on Max 6E Velop MX8500. Here are the details. Both Velop systems are being used bridge-mode.
    On the MX4200C Velop mesh, I have made sure that all the following configurations work as expected, as verified by the backhaul report on sysinfo.cgi logs on the Velop parent. Again, this is in bridge mode.
    1. Netgear RAX-78 router gigabit LAN port to WAN port of Velop parent node daisy-chained to three Velop child nodes as per Linksys’ recommendation.
    2. Netgear RAX-78 router gigabit LAN port to WAN port of Velop parent node, with its LAN port connected to a 5-port gigabit unmanaged switch connected to the WAN ports of three Velop child nodes.
    3. Netgear RAX-78 router gigabit LAN port to a 5-port gigabit unmanaged switch connected to the WAN ports of Velop parent node and the three Velop child nodes.
    In all three configurations, the MX4200C sysinfo.cgi confirms that the Velop nodes are all connected via wired Ethernet backhaul, at speed of 1024.000, i.e., giabit speed. So far so good.
    However, on the MX8500 Velop mesh, I repeated the same three configurations as above, but this time using the 2.5Gbps LAN port of an Asus GT-AX6000 router, and a TrendNet 5-port 2.5Gbps unmanaged switch.
    In all three configurations, the MX8500 sysinfo.cgi confirms that the Velop nodes are all connected via wired Ethernet backhaul, as expected. Since the Velop nodes have only one multi-gig WAN port and only gigabit LAN ports, I expected that configurations #1 and #2 would show the speed to be 1024.000, which those did, whereas configuration #3 would show the speed to be 2.5Gbps.
    What I saw was that in configuration #3, the TrendNet multi-gig is detecting that all the connected Velop nodes were indeed connected at 2.5Gpbs. However, the MX8500 sysinfo.cgi still showed the backhauk speed for configuration #3 to be 1024.000, i.e., only gigabit.
    Do you know why that would be the case? Is this a Velop FW limitation?

    Reply
    • That might have been the Velop firmware that was not written to show connected speed to be higher than 1Gbps, S.

      Reply
      • Thanks a bunch, Dong! So, are you saying that the true backhaul speed in configuration #3 is actually 2.5Gbps and it is only the FW that is unable to display/confirm it as such?

        Reply
        • That’s my guess, S. That’s likely the case — it’s like a car running at 150 MPH but its odometer’s limit is 100 MPH. You can do a test to find out.

          Reply
    • Great info! I am trying to design a system for our ranch and consider camping spots.
      goal to cover 1900 ft x 1100 ft. House has metal siding. We have nice tall trees. rolling hills. Would prefer 100% wifi no buried or aerial cable. But if needed i will consider a cable run.

      We just received Star link gen2 and have android 9+ phones, friends have newer phones. I also have verizon LTE extender booster for our phones. Otherwise we can not talk much to anyone.

      I am comparing AX routers, VPN possible with wifi mesh network. Where is the best place to view schematic design of working comparable networks with equipment part numbers? Any suggestions of equipment will be appreciated. Need strong reliable budget minded system.

      Reply
  4. For this system can I home-run the wired backhaul of the two “child” nodes to the “parent” node or do I need to daisy chain them like the older Velops? I had every room in the house wired when the home was built to home run to one point (in a closet) and it would be much easier to plug the two additional nodes into the main node.

    Reply
      • I really appreciate you taking the time to reply. I didn’t understand the point of having to daisy chain or why the recommend it. This way will be much easier! I have read both links you provided and appreciate that along with your great site.

        Reply
  5. Thanks for such great info on mesh options. Any thoughts on the MX5500 Atlas Pro 6 in a wired backhaul setup?

    Reply
    • I am curious about the Atlas Pro 6 too as I just purchased one! there seem to be very few reviews on it compared to the other velop models. The Black Friday price seemed almost too good to be true but as my house is hardwired I took a punt. Seems pretty good so far but have not really tested it extensively.

      The Asus XD6 and Orbi are also on offer so I have been wondering if they are a better option vs the Atlas Pro 6 ? I guess the fact I had not heard of it berore Black Friday does worry me a bit!

      Reply
        • What review? Only thought you had reviewed the Atlas Max and the AX4200/5300 Velops?

          I cannot find a review for the Atlas Pro 6 anywhere?

          Reply
        • Ended up returniung the Atlas 6 Pro and getting the XD6. Apart from changing to AP mode breaking it and requiring me to set it all up again (leaving in router mode now!) I have been very impressed so far.

          Reply
      • My Atlas Max 6E has been running perfect since purchase, which is about 4 weeks now. The sale you mention (just looked it up) at $799 sure does bring the price back down to earth for what you get. I picked mine up for about $750 on eBay, I would never have spent $1200.
        I connected a USB hard drive that is doing the Time Machine back up for my MacBook Pro as intended also.

        Reply
  6. Hi Dong, I read about how wired backhaul is limited to 1Gbps because there is only one multigig ethernet port on the router, which is used for the Internet connection. What if you were to connect a switch to that multigig port and then connect both the internet connection and wired backhaul connection to the switch? Would you be able to get multigig backhaul that way?

    Reply
  7. Interesting that Linksys says that its “solutions are geared more towards the average consumer who prefers simple app-based setup and minimal backend work.” As the “IT guy” for my family and friends, I know from experience that the “average consumer” doesn’t like being forced to create an account to set things up, especially things like this that they don’t intend on touching once set up.

    Personally, I love the design of these. They remind me of the discontinued Apple AirPort Extremes. I think that’s important since they’re going to be seen (especially since the 5GHz band doesn’t penetrate well, meaning these need to sit openly). My only complaint design-wise is that they’ve further defaced the beautifully stark design with that “Wi-Fi 6E | Tri-Band” nonsense under the Linksys logo.

    Performance-wise, mine are wired so I’m getting more than enough performance in my medium-sized UK house. My only complaint would be that they don’t support HomeKit Secure Routing (yet).

    I would also complain about price, but I was lucky enough to get these at almost half price due to a personal situation. I’d highly recommend these, but only on Black Friday, when there’s typically a third to half off Linksys products on Amazon (at least over the past couple of years in the UK).

    Reply
  8. HI,

    I have never used before MESH system so I am a little worried about whether I understand it correctly.
    So assume I have 10 Gb router. I need to use 2 units of Linksys to cover my flat.
    Each of units has 5Gbit WAN.
    1. Will Mesh system work if both of Unit will be connected to 10Gb Router over their WAN?
    2. Or to organise MESH system I need to connect 1 unit WAN 5Gb to 10Gb router, and 2nd unit directly to LAN of 1st Unit?

    Thanks.

    Reply
    • It’s impossible to answer your questions since it seems you don’t know the basics, Eugene. Understanding is a job a person has to do for themselves — speak from experience. That said, you should start with this post on networking basics. And then this one on mesh system. When you’re through, trust me, you’ll know what to do. Make sure you take your time and read them. Don’t scan through — you will miss everything.

      Reply
      • Honestly say, I dont understand why it is impossible to answer? Cause from the links that you sent you wrote different things in different place. In one place you wrote it should be connected directly. In another place you wrote it can be connected indirectly over switch. But it looks like it can not be connected independently into router. Cause the protocol mesh used is not perfect.

        Reply
        • Of course I could answer, Eugene. It’s the matter of if you’d understand — I don’t want to keep answering questions I already wrote about in great details…

          Anyhow, assuming you have read the linked posts: you can connect them however you want physically. But you can only use them as a system if the satellite is behind the router unit.

          But, among other options, you can also use them as two independent access points if you connect them at the same level to another router. In your case you need to be aware of double NAT. https://dongknows.com/double-nat-vs-single-nat/

          Reply
          • Thanks a lot for your answer. It is what I try to use is to create Wi-Fi “roaming”. When Linksys start sales this new system in Europe.

    • If you have a 10Gb router, then theoretically yes, you will need 2 units of Linksys with 5Gb WAN. However, *real world* speeds are less than 5Gb, more like 1.5Gb, so you will need a minimum of 7 units (10Gb / 1.5Gb = 6.666 units). 6.666 rounds up to 7 units.
      You should buy two 3-packs + 1extra node so you can get the coverage you need.
      #2 is correct. You connect 1 unit WAN 5Gb to 10Gb router, then 2nd unit to LAN of 1st unit, then 3rd unit to LAN of 2nd, 4th to LAN of 3rd, and so on.
      To be sure your coverage is fast enough, you should limit the length of wire to 10 feet between units.

      Reply
  9. For the 5GHz radio, does one have the option to adjust the channel setting within the upper and lower bands, or is it locked to just the lower or just the upper bands? Thank you.

    Reply
  10. Do you think the 6 GHz band will ever make sense as a backhaul for mesh systems, in typical houses with walls between the nodes? It sounds like 6 GHz will be useful only with a wired backhaul.

    Reply
  11. Excellent review! Thank you! Looks like I will be holding onto my single MX5300 unit. Just not worth the upgrade. I was definitely interested but, after reading this review. I will pass for now. I got my MX5300 when it first came out brand new for $275. It’s been solid but horrible firmware support update wise. None in over a year and still no HomeKit as promised by Linksys. I don’t believe it’s ever coming to the MX5300.

    Reply
  12. Great review Dong!

    Do you recommend using this AXE8400 3-pack as a multi-AP system with wired 5Gbps backhaul?

    All 3 AXE8400 devices would be configured as APs, with their 5Gbps WAN ports connected to a 5Gbps switch. A separate router would also connect to the 5Gbps switch and host the internet connection for the network.

    Reply
    • You can’t have the 5Gbps backhaul since the router only has a single WAN 5Gbps port. But yes, you can use them in a wired backhaul setup. In your case, you’ll have to use all three as standalone access points. It’s a bit of a waste.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the quick reply!

        Considering each AP in such a configuration would support:

        – Tri-band MIMO (4×4 2.4Ghz, 4×4 5Ghz, 4×4 6Ghz)
        – 5Gbps backhaul (via the WAN port)
        – 4x 1Gbps built-in switch

        It still seems like a decent value at ~$400 each (3-pack).

        Is there a similarly spec’d AP you would recommend instead? Unfortunately, Ubiquity hasn’t released any WiFi 6E gear yet, and the Asus ROG GT-AXE11000 supporting WiFi 6E is even more expensive (and only supports 2.5Gbps backhaul).

        Reply
          • Thanks for the good advice!

            I’ll try holding out for a sale, or eventually a competitive non-ROG option from Asus 🙂

  13. Hi Dong, I was wondering if you have these units in hand? I just brought this 3 pack and am using it with 1 gigabit FiOS. On hardwired testing downloads are at the expected 9xx Mbps but uploads are a paltry 0-40 Mbps. Using a direct connection to the ont shows the correct 9xx upload as well as if I try an Asus RT-68U or a Linksys MX5800.

    I tried all 3 nodes as main in the 3 pack and have spent hours with Linksys tech support. I suspect it’s a hardware or software problem.

    Just wanted to see it you had the unit and if you had any similar problem.

    Thanks

    Reply
    • Patrick,
      Glad (not glad) that someone else is experiencing the same issue. I have 1gig FIOS. My AXE8400 gets 880 Mbps down and only 25 Mbps up (my Netgear AX120 was 990 down / 990 up).
      Also swapped each node into the parent position (re-setting up entire wifi, too), and still same issue.
      Also tried every different ethernet cable (Cat6, Cat6e, Cat7, Cat8, etc).

      I’m torn. This setup WOULD be great for my copious wireless and wired clients… but I need to wait for a fw update to get it functional? I dunno how long I’m willing to be patient.
      -Dan

      Reply
      • Hey all, I just had the idea to set it up as bridge mode due to Dong’s work test.

        Connecting it to my Asus RT-AC68U allows for full upload speed. It seems that the connection between the FiOS ont and the Linksys is problematic but it’s fine with another device in between.

        Reply
        • Just tried an unmanaged switch (netgear gs305 – $14 on amazon) in front of the MX8500. It works… 800mbps download / 950mbps upload.

          Reply
          • That’s cool!

            Sorry for the late reply, I was suffering from terrible allergies Saturday afternoon and Sunday…

            Between that and getting the whole network up in bridge mode, I was reluctant to redo it all to test changing the MTU or getting an unmanaged switch in the mix in between the ont and Linksys.

            Not to mention that I kind of like using the Asus as the brains of the operation, it’s much fully featured esp after installing Merlin on it.

            But glad your switch worked Dan!

  14. When will they be offering a one pack or two pack? Color me intrigued. I just ordered the mx10 and thought it was a good choice, but of course, FOMO has set in. I have a decent sized 1 bedroom that my old ass  Time Capsule isn’t cutting any longer- won’t reach my bedroom suddenly. I like the idea of future proofing (look at me with my janky, yet good up till now, Time Capsile) and having a USB port to connect an external drive for Time Machine backups.

    Reply
      • Thanks for your reply! First off, I’m so glad I found your page! You have so much valuable information~
        Secondly, would you recommend creating new WiFi access names (or however it’s called) or attempting to re-create the ones I have on my Time Capsule? Currently, I have one named for my 2.4ghz band and one named for my 5ghz band. I’ve got a bunch of things connected both with Ethernet & WiFi. I am also very much into  HomeKit. I know the MX10 isn’t a HomeKit router (though from what I’ve heard, Linksys is working on it).
        And thanks again, I will hold off on the WiFi 6e router for now and let time tell if newer ones (maybe quad band so that mesh can be efficient wirelessly) and CHEAPER!!
        Also, of course now that the MX10 is shipping tomorrow, I’ve been reading more and more reviews stating it is only mediocre at best compared to Orbi and the Alien one (though, that company is having major security issues).
        Any thoughts on any of my rambling?
        Thanks again!!

        Reply
          • My question about the SSIDs was more about continuing to use the ones I used from my time capsule or should I create new SSIDs for the new setup. As for continuing to use my Tome Capsule, I’m not planning to use it as another node, but rather if anything as just the external drive for my Time Machine backups. It is officially supported by Linksys, as I have found a support article that shows me how:

            https://www.linksys.com/us/support-article?articleNum=278433

            Anyhow, thanks again for getting back to me. If you have thoughts about starting fresh with SSIDs or keeping the same o es (and will that even work?) would be super helpful!!
            Keep up the good work~

    • I have a Velop AX4200 (4 node mesh – large house & no hard wire links yet available) and simply plugged my Time Capsule (which I had upgraded the HD to 3TB) directly into one of the Velop nodes, and “retired” (turned off) the Time Capsule WiFi. Works great.
      ————
      Which leads me to a question for Dong…
      If, or when, the time/price may make sense, and I consider adding a node or two to my existing Velop mesh, would the Atlas & Velop nodes work together? (to add strategic 6ghz coverage for future clients) One would think they would (within the limitations of bands 5/5/2.4 or 6/5/2.4 available at each specific node.) But I have not seen written or tested confirmation.

      Reply

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