With a boxy design with a simple look, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 (model MR5500) is a much less understated router than the cool name might suggest. At a asking price of $ 300 – more than you’ll pay for someor – Dual-band AX5400 Hydra Pro 6 even seems a bit overrated.
But there is more to this modest router than it seems at first glance. Most importantly, he cruisedwith faster average speeds than like those who think about the budget and focused on games of which the latter is one of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers I’ve tested.
- Fast, consistent Wi-Fi speeds
- Support for 160MHz channels
- Simple, unobtrusive design
I do not like
- A little expensive
- The two-band design is not ideal for use in a mesh network
- It does not support incoming wired speeds higher than 1Gbps
Pair that with the consistency of Hydra Pro 6, which never fell out of range, hung up, or steered me to a slower 2.4 GHz band when I shouldn’t, and you’re looking for a pretty tempting choice for medium-home sizes that need better, faster Wi -Fi signal. Although $ 300 is too much for that,like other retailers, and a quick look at the handy new CNET Shopping extension shows you can find it for far less . Grab such a deal and this simplified dual-band router becomes an absolute theft.
Design and specifications
With a name like “Hydra Pro 6,” you might expect this Linksys model to have a showy design with an advanced design similar to routers like Batman approvedspace, spiders or robotic, self-tuning . That’s not.
Instead, the Hydra Pro 6 is just a black rectangle with two folding antennas at the back. That’s all right and good if you just want a decent router that won’t take up too much space or draw too much attention to itself, but if you’re buying something you can show off, Hydra is probably not for you.
Dual band AX5400 router with 1GHz dual core processor, Hydra Pro 6 has full support for(this means the “AX” part) and the maximum theoretical speeds of 574 Mbps in the 2.4 GHz band and 4.804 Mbps in the 5 GHz band (add them up to get the “5400” part). Turn things around and you’ll find a WAN port to connect to your modem plus four spare Ethernet ports on the back, all of which limit incoming wired speeds to one gigabit per second. This means you will want something different with a faster connection if you plan to upgrade to soon.
It’s not much more than important to build, but it’s worth noting that you can use the Hydra Pro 6 as a central part of network setup by adding other compatible Linksys devices to your network. For example, if you already use another such Linksys device and want to upgrade, you can replace the Hydra Pro 6 and move the old router somewhere else in your home to use it as a network expander.
I wish it was a little better that this is the three-band router we talked about, because a two-band network set will not be able to separate backhaul transmission between satellite devices on a separate band. Still, we’ve seen two-band network settings like thisNest Wifi i which proved to be perfectly good, so that in no case do they break the agreement.
The recently updated Linksys app (pictured above) has a clean, easy-to-use interface and great guides you through the setup process. When launched, you can use the app to adjust network settings, switch parental or guest networks, or monitor connected devices. You’ll also enjoy automatic firmware updates overnight, which is great.
In addition, almost every other router on the market comes with an application that does the same things. Many of these alternatives will do more, such as delay management features that target games in the Asus app, or the ability to sync with Amazon to simplify smart home device setup in TP-Link’s Tether app. You won’t find unique features like those in the Linksys app, and you’ll find fewer advanced network controls. The app doesn’t even allow you to turn off bandsteering to split the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands into two separate networks.
It’s mostly controversial if you’re the type of user who prefers access to your set-and-forget router, but even if you don’t want to mess with your network settings, you’ll still probably want a more robust set of controls for troubleshooting (even if you will hand over the application to someone who is technologically better versed in you).
Performance and speed
Like every router I review, I tested the Hydra Pro 6 at my 1,300-square-foot home in Louisville, Kentucky, where I have. I recently upgraded that plan to a gigabit connection after spending the last few years testing with the highest speeds set at . This gives me a much better insight into the capabilities of each router I’m testing, but it also means I have fewer models to compare it to, as the old 300 Mbps data won’t be a fair comparison.
To explain this, I tested the Hydra Pro 6 against several of the best choices from my list of best Wi-Fi routers – the calculated TP-Link Archer AX21 and Asus RT-AX86U gaming router – plus several other Wi-Fi 6 models which I had on hand. In the end, the Hydra Pro 6 ended up with the fastest average download speeds in my entire home (536Mbps) and the fastest average uploads (467Mbps).
Among those other models, the Asus RT-AX86U (dual-band AX5700) and TP-Link Archer AX73 (dual-band AX5400) offer the closest comparisons to the Hydra Pro 6. Linksys outperformed them in terms of average speed, but more importantly, it was the most consistent of the three. To see what I mean, look at the charts above. Each point on these graphs is the download speed during the single speed test, so you want them to be as high and as close to each other as possible. The Hydra Pro 6 comes with a small speed range in every room I’ve tested, and solid bandwidth management that hasn’t left me at a slower 2.4 GHz band when I shouldn’t (just look at the TP-Link chart for an example of what it looks like – not nice).
This was a particularly encouraging result for Linksys, who didn’t always bring their A-game into band management to my speed tests. few years ago,, which is a similar but less powerful version of the MR5500 reviewed here. Bandsteering was horrible on that budget model, with speeds falling at all levels whenever I started my connection away from the router, in the back of the house. That was not a problem at all at this point.
With impressive speeds and performance, the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 is a compelling upgrade choice for anyone looking for a little more power from their router. $ 300 is too much for him considering you can find good tri-band and mesh models at that price, but getting it on sale at a lower price doesn’t seem too challenging. At the very least, it is definitely a good model to mark on the eve of Black Friday and other major sales periods.
With relatively few significant features and an easy-to-use but unsatisfactory application, the Hydra Pro 6 is probably not the best option for intermediate and advanced users looking for deep controls over their network. But if you’re looking for a fast, reliable router for someone who doesn’t want to think too much about their router (if at all), take a good look at Hydra Pro 6, because the combination of speed, simplicity and consistency makes it hard to beat.