If you’re wondering which is going to win in the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX ProThis matchup, 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 Alien||ARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro|
|Wi-Fi Technology||Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX7685||Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX11000|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||802.11ax (2.4GHz) : up to 1148Mbps||802.11ax (2.4GHz) : up to 1148Mbps|
|5GHz Wi-Fi Specs||High-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|
|Mesh Options||Multiple Routers or Alien Kit |
(Router + MeshPoint)
|160MHz Channel Support||No||Yes|
|Gigabit Port (as Single Router)||4x LAN, 1x WAN||3x LAN, 1x WAN|
|Mobile App||AmpliFi||ARRIS SURFboard mAX Manager|
|Processing Power||2.2 GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core CPU||1.8GHz quad-core CPU, |
512 MB of RAM, 1 GB of flash
|Dimensions||9.84-inch (250 mm) tall, |
4.33-inch (110 mm) wide
|9.64-inch (245mm) tall, |
5-inch (127mm) wide
|Weight||2.65 lb (1.2 kg)||2.21 lbs (1kg)|
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs. Arris SURFboard mAX Pro: Differences
There are some clear differences between these two, from their looks to what they have on the inside.
The Alien is a much cooler-looking router with a high-end touchscreen and a bright ring of a status light at its bottom. Also on the bottom is the router’s WAN port. The rest of its LAN ports are on its back.
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. In a mesh setup, you also have the option of using a network cable to link the hardware unit to deliver the best possible performance.
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.
What’s more, you can’t use wired backhaul with the mAX Pro, making it unsuitable for a wired home.
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs Arris SURFboard mAX Pro: Performance and ratings
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's Rating
Reliable and fast Wi-Fi with excellent coverage
Sleek design, sufficient web interface, and well-designed mobile app
Convenient and free Teleport VPN
Built-in ad-blocking feature
Limited in conventional settings and features
Unconventional tri-band setup with no dedicated backhaul when used in a mesh setup
VPN requires an app or an Android emulator to work on regular computers
No Multi-Gig port, not wall-mountable
ARRIS Surfboard mAX Pro's Rating
Gigabit-class Wi-Fi speeds
Dedicated backhaul; exceptional Wi-Fi coverage
Easy to use mobile app
Well-thought-out, compact, fan-less design
No web interface, the mobile app feels unfinished and severely lacks features and Wi-Fi settings
Each router has only four network ports and no multi-gig port
Which is the better choice?
This is an easy one.
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.