A few months with the Linksys Atlas Pro 6

Is it worth the effort to maximise router performance?

by Justin Choo

Back in 2011, I made the biggest ‘technological’ shift in my life–I switched from a dual-SLI monster of a PC to a basic Macbook and surprisingly I never looked back.

Likewise, I never thought I would wind up using a Linksys router.

I was a fan of the Velop MX4200; it wasn’t speedy, but I loved how it performed, as I live in an old-school apartment with chasms of Wi-Fi doom lurking around every corner. It trumped most routers I’ve had (including other Linksys routers) for one reason alone–its reliability and ability to stay connected with nary a dip in speeds day in, and day out. The Velop MX4200 gave me a trouble-free life; would it be the same with the Atlas Pro 6?

What’s certainly similar is the setup experience. Linksys is probably the king or queen of handholding when it comes to getting the router from box to tabletop in 20 minutes or less–including registration–and that’s how it is with the Atlas Pro 6. Though you can use the more traditional web interface if you’re more used to the ancient ways, the accompanying app is all you need for most people.

The Linksys app is likely the most sparse of all the router apps that you’d come across. It offers basic configuration options like port forwarding and customising your local network settings, along with provisions to set up a guest network, add a node, or establish (a rather rudimentary) parental controls, all rather easily.

Each node unit has four Gigabit Ethernet ports, of which one functions as a WAN. In other words, you can’t attach a hard drive (but NAS is fine). Functionally, the Atlas Pro 6 is pretty basic, and the truth is that if you buy something like the Atlas Pro 6, you are looking to set it up once and not do anything more than get connected to the Internet.

Unlike the tri-band Velop, the Atlas Pro 6 has only two bands. But in real-world performance, I still managed some decent throughput speeds even in the most horrible spots in the house; the toilet is just a killjoy. At problem areas in the house (measuring 87 square feet), the wireless throughput speeds (measured with an iPhone 14 Pro) can fluctuate between 15Mbps and 370Mbps and it’s the inconsistency that kills the Internet experience. Turning on a second note to mitigate this, the speeds go up to 490Mbps on average, and more importantly, it never dips sharply. I have no issues streaming 4K content on multiple devices, so it’s quick enough.

If you don’t mind that the Atlas Pro 6 is pretty barebones as they come, with no fancy hardware nor software features like internet security, then I think it doesn’t get more ‘set up and forget’ than the Atlas Pro 6. Sure, the speed is modest and the networking controls are somewhat cursory, but reliability is something I value more these days; troubleshooting or optimising is no longer my idea of a therapeutic downtime. In this day and age, it’s good to know that you don’t need to.

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