If you have $1200 laying around, here’s something to consider. Linksys today announced the availability of its (and the world’s) very first Wi-Fi 6E mesh system, the Linksys AXE8400 Wi-Fi 6E System.
Or you can also call it with a fancier name Linksys Atlas Max 6E.
First Wi-Fi 6E-Certifed mesh
This won’t be the only mesh of its type since other vendors, such as TP-Link, have their own planed.
According to Linksys, though, the Atlas Max 6E is the first certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance — it’ll be fully compatible with all devices, including Wi-Fi 6E clients. And that’s important since Wi-Fi 6E is still in its infancy.
I wrote about Wi-Fi 6E in great detail in this post. But the gist of it is that the new 6GHz band delivers stellar Wi-Fi speeds at the cost of range — it has a much shorter range than the 5GHz or 2.4GHz band, that is.
This notion of the range is important because here’s what Linksys says about the Atlas Max:
“[…] The system supports bandwidth-heavy homes and leverages the 6GHz band for backhaul between nodes so that all devices – 6E or not – benefit from the system.“
So it seems like it will use the shortest range of the three to work as backhaul. How that pans out, we’ll have to wait and see. Likely it’s no good unless you have an open house with no walls.
But I’d hope that, like all Linksys Velop, the Atlas Max 6E also uses dynamic backhaul — any of its bands will work as such depending on the situation.
Nonetheless, Linksys says the new mesh system can cover “up to” 9000ft2 (836m2). Like the case of all marketing hypes, the only thing you can take seriously is the “up to” notion.
Familiar design and features
Powered by Qualcomm’s Networking Pro 1210 Platform, the Atlas Max 6E, like all other Linksys Velop, sets consists of multiple identical routers.
In its case, each router is a tri-band broadcaster standing upright. You can use a single unit as a standalone router or a setup of two or three as a system.
At the core of it, the AXE8500 is a dual-band 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 router that doesn’t support the 160MHz channel width on its 5GHz band, plus a 6GHz band. Below are its detailed hardware specifications.
Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E: Hardware specifications
|Full Name||Linksys MX8500|
Atlas Max 6E
Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Router
|Availability||Single router, 2-pack, 3-pack|
|Dimensions ||4.45 x 4.45″ x 9.57 in|
(13.3 x 13.3 x 23.3 cm)
|Weight||3.25 lbs (1.47 kg)|
|Wi-Fi Specs||Tri-Band AXE8400|
|1st Band||4×4 AX |
Up to 1147Mbps
|2nd Band||4×4 AX|
Up to 2402Mbps
|3rd Band||4×4 AXE|
Up to 4804 Mbps
|Wi-Fi Security||WPA2 and WPA3|
|Web User Interface||Yes|
|AP (Bridge) Mode||Yes (as a router or a mesh)|
|USB Port||1x USB 3.0|
|Gigabit Port||4x LAN|
|Multi-Gig Port||1x 5Gbps WAN|
|Processing power||2.2 GHz Quad-Core CPU, |
1GB RAM, 512MB Flash
|Release Date||April 29, 2021|
|Price (at Launch)||$1199.99 (3-pack)|
You can expect familiar features and settings, too.
For example, the Atlas Max 6E comes with a web interface, but you’ll need to use the Linksys mobile app to set it up. It’ll have the same set of network settings as previous Velop routers, as well as the MR7500. And chances are you won’t be able to customize its Wi-Fi settings to a great extent.
The Linksys AXE8400 Atlas Max 6E is available today with the suggested price of some $1200 for a 3-pack. Need time to save up? Check back by mid-May for its full review — chances are you won’t necessarily have a meaningful use for this new mesh before then anyway.