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Wi-Fi 6 Tube Rivals: Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro

AmpliFi Alien Front
The AmpliFi Alien is one cool Wi-Fi 6 router.

If you’re wondering which is going to win in the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX ProThis match up, you’re at the right place.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro: Similarities

Both the AmpliFi Alien and the SURFboard mAX Pro are tri-band 4×4 mesh-ready routers. They share a similar cylindrical, internal antenna design and are super easy to use via mobile apps. Both deliver near-identical performances in my testing.

Both are available as single routers, or you can get multiple routers to form a mesh system. Neither has a full web user interface — the mobile app is the only way to use them.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro: Hardware specifications

Ubiquiti AmpliFi AlienARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro 
Wi-Fi TechnologyTri-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX7685Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX11000
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs802.11ax (2.4GHz) : up to 1148Mbps802.11ax (2.4GHz) : up to 1148Mbps
5GHz Wi-Fi SpecsHigh-band: 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 up to 4804Mbps 
Low-band: 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 up to 1733Mbps
2 x 5GHz AX: 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 up to 4804Mbps
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
AP ModeYesYes
Mesh-readyYesYes
Mesh OptionsMultiple Routers or Alien Kit 
(Router + MeshPoint)
Multiple Routers
160MHz Channel SupportNoYes
Gigabit Port (as Single Router)4x LAN, 1x WAN3x LAN, 1x WAN
Link AggregationNoNo
Dual-WANNoNo
USBNoneNone
Mobile AppAmpliFiARRIS SURFboard mAX Manager
Processing Power2.2 GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core CPU1.8GHz quad-core CPU, 
512 MB of RAM, 1 GB of flash
Dimensions9.84-inch (250 mm) tall, 
4.33-inch (110 mm) wide
9.64-inch (245mm) tall, 
5-inch (127mm) wide
Weight2.65 lb (1.2 kg)2.21 lbs (1kg)
Hardware specifications: Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro,

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro: Differences

The Alien is a much cooler looking router with a high-end touchscreen and a bright ring of a status light at its bottom. It has some unique features, including the TelePort VPN for mobile devices and the ability to block online ads. There’s also a simple one-page web user interface where you can turn on a few settings.

Apart from using multiple routers, there’s also an Alien Kit that includes a router and an Alien MeshPoint.

On the downside, the Alien is an unconventional tri-band router with one Wi-Fi 6 2.4GHz band, one Wi-Fi 5 5GHz band, and one Wi-Fi 6 5GHz band. As a result, in a mesh setup, it doesn’t have a dedicated backhaul band. What’s more, it doesn’t support 160MHz channels.

The SURFboard mAX Pro is a traditional tri-band router with a dedicated 5GHz band when working in a mesh. It also supports 160MHz channels. The downside is it has no features and almost no network settings to customize.

ARRIS mAX Pro Ports
All of the SURFboard mAX Pro’s has all of its port on the underside.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro: Performance

These two deliver similar performance in my testing, except for Wi-Fi 5 clients where the Arris was clearly better. By the way, in my testing, the Arris didn’t work in the 160MHz, which was quite disappointing.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro: Ratings

AmpliFi Alien Wifi 6 Router by Ubiquiti Labs

$688.00
8.3

Performance

8.0/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

9.0/10

Value

8.0/10

Pros

  • Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage
  • Sleek design, useful mobile app
  • Convenient Teleport VPN for mobile devices
  • Effective ad-blocking feature
  • Mesh-ready

Cons

  • Limited in conventional settings and features
  • Unconventional tri-band setup with no dedicated backhaul when used in a mesh setup
  • VPN doesn't support regular computers
  • No 160MHz channel support, multi-gig port, not wall-mountable

ARRIS Surfboard Max Pro Mesh Wi-Fi 6 AX11000 System

7.1

Performance

8.0/10

Features

5.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

7.0/10

Pros

  • Gigabit-class Wi-Fi speeds
  • Dedicated backhaul; exceptional Wi-Fi coverage
  • Easy to use mobile app
  • Well-thought-out, compact, fan-less design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No web interface, mobile app feels unfinished and severely lacks features and Wi-Fi settings
  • Each router has only four network ports and no multi-gig port
  • Not wall-mountable

Which is the better choice?

This is an easy one.

You should definitely pick the Alien over the mAX Pro. It’s more fun to use, more reliable, and has some unique and valuable features for home users. You’ll even probably love it.

In fact, the mAX Pro is so poor in features and settings that it has nothing on the Alien, despite the higher Wi-Fi scores.

Looking to compare other Wi-Fi solutions? Check them all out here.

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