Linksys Hydra Pro 6 Dual Band Mesh Router Review

0

The Linksys Hydra Pro 6 ($299.99) is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router that can also be used as a mesh router to provide a whole-home Wi-Fi system. Easy to set up, the Hydra Pro 6 uses an intuitive mobile app to apply basic parental controls and assign bandwidth priority to specific clients using your phone. The router provided fast throughput in our tests, but its file transfer performance was only average, so it doesn’t topple the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 as our Editors’ Choice for PCs. consumer routers.


Converts to mesh, if you need it

The “Mesh” in the Hydra Pro 6’s full name does not mean it is an out-of-the-box mesh system. Rather, it refers to Linksys’ Smart Mesh technology, which lets you add a compatible Linksys router you already own or purchase separately to form a seamless mesh network.

With its glossy black finish and textured top, the Hydra Pro 6 is nearly identical to the Hydra Pro 6E router we reviewed last year. But the Hydra Pro 6 only uses two adjustable antennas, instead of the four on the Pro 6E.

You can trust our reviews

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and reviewed thousands of products to help you make better buying decisions. (See how we test.)

The Hydra Pro 6 cabinet measures 2.2 x 8.4 x 6.1 inches (HWD) and has an LED indicator on the front. Different colors indicate the current status of the router: flashing blue for Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) mode, solid purple when ready for setup, flashing purple while configuring, solid blue when router is connected and working correctly, and solid red when the router is not connected to the Internet.

Rear view of the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 wireless router

The rear panel contains four gigabit LAN ports, one gigabit WAN port, one USB 3.0 port, WPS button, reset button, power switch, and power port. The Hydra Pro 6 lacks the multi-gig WAN port you get with the TP-Link Archer GX-90 and Hydra Pro 6E. You might want a multi-gig WAN if you have internet speeds of 1 Gbps or higher; otherwise, it’s not a must-have feature at this price.

The Hydra Pro 6 is a dual-band AX5400 router, which means it is capable of reaching maximum (theoretical) data rates of up to 574 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and up to 4 804 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, for a total of 5,400 Mbps. It is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor.

The Pro 6 uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) technologies, including 160 MHz channel bandwidth, orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA), WPA3 encryption, MU data streaming -MIMO and direct-to-client signal transmissions (otherwise known as beamforming).


Decent parental controls; No anti-malware

The Hydra Pro 6 can be managed using a web console or the Linksys mobile app. Both are easy to use, but you’ll need the web console to create two separate Wi-Fi bands. (The default setting uses one SSID for both bands.)

The router comes with built-in parental control software that lets you pause internet access, schedule a break, and block specific websites, but it lacks age-based filters and anti-screening tools. malware that you get with the TP-Link Archer GX-90 and the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400.

Linksys app screens showing router home screen, connected device, and settings

The user-friendly mobile app opens to a home screen with tabs for the router and connected devices. Tap the Router tab to open a network administration screen where you can change the router name and password, report problems, and reboot the router. Tap the Devices tab to see which clients are currently connected, enable parental controls, and assign bandwidth priority to a specific client.

Side view of the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 wireless router

Below both tabs is an internet speed panel that displays the latest results of an Ookla-powered speed test that measures internet upload and download speed. (Ookla is owned by Ziff Davis, PCMag’s parent company.) You can tap the panel to run a new test. The lower part of the screen displays the last five connections on the network.

Additional settings can be accessed by tapping the three bars in the upper left corner of the screen. This opens a menu where you can configure parental controls, adjust Wi-Fi settings, enable guest networking, configure external storage (USB drives), set bandwidth priority, and add mesh nodes. Advanced settings include port forwarding, port triggering, WiFi MAC filtering, and DHCP server settings.


Hydra Pro 6 review: Easy to set up, gears strong enough

I had the Hydra Pro 6 router up and running within minutes. I started by downloading the mobile app, then I created an account and tapped on Set up a new Wi-Fi network. I selected Mesh WiFi Router (MR Series) from the list and I followed the instructions to plug in the router and connect it to my modem. The app woke up the router and after a few seconds the LED went from solid blue to flashing purple. I confirmed the LED color and after a few more seconds the router was connected to the internet. I created an account, entered a new network name and password, and gave the router a location tag; with that, the installation was complete.

The Hydra Pro 6 got strong throughput scores in testing. Its 121 Mbps score on the 2.4 GHz proximity test (same room) was faster than the TP-Link GX-90 (120 Mbps) and the Linksys MR9600 (111 Mbps), but not as fast as the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 (128Mbps). In the 30-foot test, the Hydra Pro 6 scored 42 Mbps, beating the Linksys MR9600 (38 Mbps), but not the TP-Link GX-90 (46 Mbps) or the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 (44 Mbps).

The Hydra Pro 6’s 830 Mbps score in the 5 GHz proximity test was 10 Mbps slower than the TP-Link GX-90 and Linksys MR9600 (both 840 Mbps), and 16 Mbps slower than the ‘Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 (846Mbps). However, its 400Mbps score on the 30ft 5GHz test beat out the TP-Link GX-90 (339Mbps) and the Linksys MR9600 (228Mbps). The Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 leads the pack with a score of 424 Mbps.

In addition to throughput testing, we measure file transfer performance (read and write speeds) by moving a 1.5 GB folder of music, video, and office documents files between a USB drive 3.0 and a desktop computer, both connected to the router. Here the Hydra Pro 6 struggled to keep up with the competition. Its 55 Mbps write test score was significantly slower than the TP-Link GX-90 (70 Mbps), Linksys MR9600 (73 Mbps), and Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 (69 Mbps).

Results were similar in the playback test: the Hydra Pro 6 managed 57 Mbps, while the TP-Link GX-90, Linksys MR9600, and Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 got 68 Mbps, 70 Mbps, and 85, respectively. Mbps.

To test wireless signal strength, we use an Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and Ekahau’s Survey mobile app, which together generate heatmaps that show the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz signal strength of the router throughout our test house. (Note: Ekahau is also owned by Ziff Davis, the parent company of PCMag.) The white circle on the map represents the location of the router and the colors represent signal strength. Darker greens indicate stronger signal, yellows indicate weaker signal, and grays indicate no discernible signal reception.

Linksys Hydra Pro 6 Dual Band Mesh Router 2.4GHz Signal Strength Card

Linksys Hydra Pro 6 Dual Band Mesh Router 5 GHz Signal Strength Card

Linksys Hydra Pro 6 Dual Band Mesh Router 2.4 GHz (top) and 5 GHz (bottom) signal strength maps

As shown on the maps, the Hydra Pro 6 delivered strong 2.4GHz and 5GHz signals throughout the house, but both signals were a bit weaker in the far corners of the house.


A state-of-the-art Wi-Fi 6 router

If you’re looking for a Wi-Fi 6 router that’s easy to set up and manage, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 is worth a look. With support for 160MHz channel bandwidth and the latest Wi-Fi 6 technologies, this dual-band router delivered fast throughput performance in testing and delivered a relatively strong signal throughout our home. of testing. As a bonus, it can be used to create a whole-home mesh network if you have a second compatible Linksys router.

The big accolades are in support services: the Hydra Pro 6 comes with parental controls but lacks age-based filtering and malware protection. Its file transfer performance didn’t impress either. For around $50 less, the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 offers better overall performance and a full suite of parental control and anti-malware software. Because of these benefits, it remains our Editors’ Choice for consumer Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Linksys Hydra Pro 6 Dual Band Mesh Router

Advantages

  • Easy to install

  • Fast throughput performance

  • Mesh-ready, using an additional router

  • Good signal coverage

See more

The essential

The Linksys Hydra Pro 6 is a mesh-enabled Wi-Fi 6 router that offers fast throughput and 160 MHz bandwidth, but lacks robust network security tools.

Lab Report to get the latest reviews and top product advice delivered right to your inbox.","first_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z","published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z","last_published_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:08.000000Z","created_at":null,"updated_at":"2021-09-30T21:24:30.000000Z"})" x-show="showEmailSignUp()" class="rounded bg-gray-lightest text-center md:px-32 md:py-8 p-4 mt-8 container-xs">
Do you like what you read ?

Register for Lab report to get the latest reviews and top product tips straight to your inbox.

This newsletter may contain advertisements, offers or affiliate links. Subscribing to a newsletter indicates your consent to our Terms of use and Privacy Policy. You can unsubscribe from newsletters at any time.

Share.

Comments are closed.