This story is part of , our complete coverage of the showroom and the latest technical equipment.
There werereleased in 2019, but not many of them support 802.11ax, better known as – the latest, fastest version of Wi-Fi. Arris released two systems last year that support the fast new standard – and now at , it inserts third Wi-Fi 6 system also for the portfolio.
It's the Arris Surfboard Max – and it's a shame I didn't see it after the first two systems were named Arris Surfboard Max Plus and Arris Surfboard Max Pro. It made sense that there would also be a simple Surfboard Max.
As the obvious naming scheme suggests in retrospect, the regular Surfboard Max is regular. Not quite as fast as the Plus and the Pro, which ring as AX7800 and AX11000 mesh routers. The new regular, two-piece Surfboard Max, an AX6600 mesh router, will be available in the second quarter of 2020. The prices have yet to be set. Two-piece Plus and Pro systems are currently sold for $ 550 and $ 650. (They aren't available internationally, but $ 550 is equivalent to around £ 420 or AU $ 800.)
How much less of the first two is system number three? Not much in terms of sound. Like the other two, the Surfboard Max is a tri-band mesh router with a second 5 GHz band, which the router and satellite use as a dedicated backhaul for data transmission without slowing down the connection too much. That is certainly a step above "normal". It also supports Alexa, which you can use to ask the wizard to stop Wi-Fi or turn on a guest network, and has exactly the same fancy, cylindrical design as the two siblings, with the exception of a white body instead of a black one.
The Plus and the Pro each have additional internal radio equipment and promise coverage for apartments with an area of up to 6,000 square meters. The new version AX6600 with white body promises a living space of up to 500 square meters.
With a third system (and soon a third price point) for 2020, Arris seems to be getting some kind of shotgun in the emerging market for mesh routers that support Wi-Fi 6. It looks like much of the industry is making its debut Make the same bet at CES 2020 that Mesh and Wi-Fi 6 will be a hot combination this year.
This is in stark contrast to Googleand owned by Amazon , Each published new mesh systems at the end of 2019, however , Now with Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems from . and One has to wonder if the two tech titans will feel a little bruised this year when they debut at CES for $ 250 or less.
My question: How deep will Arris go? The company probably wanted to see what the competition brought to Las Vegas before setting a price. And with this tri-band backhaul-based design, the Surfboard Max seems to be a step ahead of most dual-band competitors. For a two-part system, that seems to be in the $ 350 to $ 450 range – but will the tide of surprisingly affordable Wi-Fi 6 mesh options cause the price to drop below that?
We will see. In any case, we will test the new surfboard as soon as it is available later this year.