Linksys Atlas Pro 6 (AX5400)
Wi-Fi 6 mesh system at an accessible price point
MESH NETWORK systems can easily become expensive, especially when they incorporate newer technology such as Wi-Fi 6. The Atlas Pro 6, available in one, two, and three-node kits, is actually pretty reasonable when judged against the competition, with this three-node kit coming in at $350. For anyone living in a busy household with lots of connected devices, this could be considered money well spent, especially if it allows everyone to get a stable connection no matter which room they’re in.
Each Atlas node is shaped like a tower, with sharp squared-off edges, and a perforated top. Thankfully, they’re relatively compact at 11-inches high and 3.4-inches wide, so will fit into tight spaces, and they look good enough in their white finish that you can put them anywhere without them being an eyesore. Unlike previous Linksys mesh nodes, they now come with plenty of connectivity, including a 1GB WAN ethernet port and 3GB LAN ports per node.
Setting up the Linksys network is easy enough, though a little time-consuming. Each node has to be woken and connected using the Android or iOS app. Luckily, the app does all the work and you can leave your phone near the node while it runs through the installation. After that, you don’t often need the app, as a subtle LED light on top of each device lets you know what’s happening, with a blue light when everything is as it should be, yellow if it’s been disconnected from another node, and red if there’s no connection at all.
As a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 network, the Atlas Pro 6 has the potential to cover up to 5,400sqft, depending on how many nodes you have set up. You’ll only be able to make the most out of Wi-Fi 6 if you have up-to-date devices released in the past three years. Older phones and laptops will be limited to Wi-Fi 5 connectivity, which is still supported by this system.
Splitting your connected tech into two bands depending on their needs and priority level, the Atlas Pro 6 has a 2.4GHz channel and a 5GHz channel with 160MHz. By dividing them up, you relieve the pressure, meaning you’ll be able to do more online simultaneously.
Each node will let you connect more than 30 different devices at once, so if you buy the three-pack you can have around 90 devices connected. That’s not the best in class, but it should be enough for most home settings and, for this price, it’s pretty impressive. You should never expect to reach the quoted speeds in the real world, but this network will easily deal with one person streaming Netflix, another playing an online game, and another browsing the web. The most likely limit on your bandwidth is going to be on the internet service coming into your home.
Testing the Atlas Pro 6 against the router provided by an Internet Service Provider, we were able to reach 37.6Mbps download and 16.7 upload speeds using a Wi-Fi 6 device on the Atlas, against just 12.5Mbps download and 14.6Mbps upload with the standard router.
The Linksys app is basic but easy to navigate, but if you want advanced features, such as Quality of Service rules, you should still have a proper router on your system. However, the app lets you switch on a guest network, run speed tests, as well as create a list of devices you want to give priority. There are also parental controls to block certain websites or control access hours.
If you’ve spent the last few years collecting Wi-Fi 6 devices, now could be a good time to look at upgrading to a compatible mesh system, such as the Atlas Pro 6, especially at this price. It offers a quick and easy way to upgrade, several packages to fit the size you require, and will be effective at improving the performance of the Wi-Fi weak spots in your home.