Linksys Hydra Pro 6E: A Networking Device from Linksys.
|Wi-Fi 6E Router||4×4 MU-MIMO|
|Ethernet Ports||4 x Gigabit, 1 x 5GbE WAN|
|Dimensions||280 x 170 x 60mm (WDH)|
The Linksys Hydra Pro 6E, a Wi-Fi 6E router, has finally arrived. Despite being released in the US in late 2021, its arrival has taken some time. The design of the router is stylish, with four rectangular antennas and a blue LED, but 5GHz devices receive only a quarter of the bandwidth compared to 6GHz devices. The router supports a 5Gbits/sec WAN port, but LAN clients are limited to standard gigabit ports.
A provision for multi-gigabit for desktop systems or network storage devices would have been appreciated to take full advantage of the Wi-Fi 6E specification.
Let’s discuss the real-world performance of the Linksys Hydra Pro 6E. Advertised maximum speeds for wireless devices are often not achieved in real-world use.
Then let’s talk about that. Real-world wireless speeds never come close to advertised maximums and even routers with similar nominal hardware can perform differently. Much of this has to do with the size and shape of the antenna array.
The Hydra Pro 6E’s 12.5cm aerials are relatively small. To test the performance of the Hydra Pro 6E, set up the router in a study at home, and carried out a test by moving a laptop to different rooms and measuring average download speeds. Connected to the Wi-Fi 6E network, encouraging results were seen at close range – data was transferred at 76MB/sec in the same room as the router, and 84MB/sec was recorded in the living room immediately below.
However, performance decreased significantly when moving more than one room away, with 27MB/sec recorded in the kitchen and only 10MB/sec in the bathroom at the rear of the house.
The performance on the 5GHz band showed a similar trend: while using standard Wi-Fi 6, I achieved decent speeds of 63MB/sec in the study and 45MB/sec in the living room. However, in the kitchen, the speed dropped significantly to 18MB/sec, and in the bathroom, it was only 12MB/sec. This was slightly better than the results obtained with 6E – most likely due to the ability of lower-frequency signals to penetrate walls better.
An internet speed of 25Mbits/sec was sufficient for 4K video streaming, and my connection was three times faster even in areas with weaker signals. If you are content with basic performance, you can find more affordable options. In the same tests, the D-Link Eagle Pro AI R15 router achieved speeds similar to the Hydra Pro 6E on the 5GHz band, with a minimum of 10MB/sec, and it only costs £72.
The Hydra Pro 6E fails to live up to the potential of Wi-Fi 6E, even at close range. In comparison, the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 router outperformed the Linksys in all tests, with higher download speeds. The Hydra Pro 6E is user-friendly with a mobile app for setup and management, and a basic parental control feature. However, the web interface is outdated and cumbersome. The included USB 3 port provides network storage, but for those who prefer to manage their network from a desktop browser, the experience will be unsatisfactory. Ultimately, the Hydra Pro 6E is overpriced and cannot keep up with its competitors. It may have been a decent choice 14 months ago, but today it is not a top pick.