It’s all about WiFi 6E these days and for good reason. This is because WiFi 6E builds on the existing WiFi 6 (802.11ax) standard by allowing you to enjoy all the features of WiFi 6 but by accessing the new 6 GHz wireless band. Now, this offers a huge difference when it comes to seamless connectivity and minimal latency.
So, to understand the true value of 6E here’s a quick refresher. WiFi 5 only supports the 5 GHz band and hence, devices that only supported 2.4 GHz had to connect using WiFi 4. While 5 GHz offers greater bandwidth than 2.4 GHz, it only covers a smaller area. Hence, devices not within the range of a 5 GHz band, still required 2.4 GHz to connect.
With WiFi 6 and 6E, you get support for both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, thus offering your client devices the flexibility to choose the better option. In addition, both WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E are superior to WiFi 5 – a maximum throughput of 9.6 Gbps versus only 3.5 Gbps for Wi-Fi 5.
Both WiFi 6 and Wifi 6E have Target Wake Time (TWT) capabilities that allow devices to determine when they will normally wake up to send and receive data. This reduces power consumption and expands the battery life of wireless devices connected to your network.
While WiFi 5 only allowed a single user per channel, the newer alternatives WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E allow up to 30 users in a single channel. Both the new standards also support up to 8 MU-MIMO beams simultaneously, while Wi-Fi 5 only supports four, thus allowing for more devices to connect simultaneously.
Now, here’s the biggest difference between WiFi 6 and WiFi 6E, and why WiFi 6E is a better option overall. While both standards support 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, WiFi 6E is the only wireless standard that supports the new 6 GHz frequency band.
Hence, WiFi 6E devices can operate within their exclusive area, thus bypassing the other two overutilised bands. This allows them to operate without interference from noisy legacy devices that still rely on legacy protocols.
Now that we got the refresher out of the way, let’s get back to the review. So, in this review, we test out the new Linksys Hydra Pro 6E, a new Mesh WiFi 6E router that extends multi-gigabit speeds to more than 55 devices at the same time.
The Hydra Pro 6E offers coverage to up to 3000 sq. ft. of area, a WiFi range of up to 2700 square feet of area, and connectivity speeds of up to 6.6 Gbps. In terms of specs, the router is powered by a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, 4×4 MU-MIMO, 512GB of RAM, and 512GB of onboard storage.
Inside the box, you get the Hydra Pro 6E router, along with an AC adapter, a Cat 6 cable, and a Setup Guide to get you going. The overall design and build quality are top-notch – the router comes with soft rubber feet and inserts for hanging on a wall.
The Hydra Pro 6E comes with a 5 Gbps WAN input port that can help gamers stay ahead of their competition with seamless connectivity and minimal latency. In addition, the router can also be used as part of a Velop mesh system using Linksys’ Intelligent Mesh software.
The router also comes with four downstream 1 Gbps wired Ethernet ports. The router has a USB 3.0 connector that allows you to plug in an external hard drive, thus making its contents available on your network.
At the rear of the device, you will also find an on/off switch, the router’s power port, and a recessed reset button. On the side of the router, you will find the WPS button for tapping into the Wi-Fi Protected Setup to quickly add devices. Unlike other routers out there on the market, the front face of the Hydra Pro 6E isn’t filled with multiple LEDs – it has just one. This single LED bar glows Blue when it’s online, Purple during setup, and Red when offline.
In order to test the performance of the Hydra Pro 6E we ran a few speed tests. We also used a network simulation tool to mimic five data-hungry devices on the network. The setup also included a Lenovo Legion 5 Pro gaming laptop running in performance mode.
At a distance of 15 feet, it yielded 1.012 Gbps over the 6GHz band as well as 627 Mbps and 102.4 Mbps over the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, respectively. That adds up to a total potential throughput of about 1.741 Gbps, which is very good. Overall network coverage was fantastic and I did not encounter any lag or drop in connectivity during my review period.
For a price of AED 949, you get a router that offers fantastic WAN speeds, a generous amount of tri-band coverage, and the ability to expand your network with more mesh nodes. The Linksys Hydra Pro 6E thus comes across as highly recommended.
Price: AED 949