Skip to content
Home » Best Mesh WiFi system » ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system review

ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system review

ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system review

What is the network coverage ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800? With 2 units, the SURFboard mAX system can cover the same space that other 3-unit systems can, while delivering faster speeds. A dedicated Wi-Fi 6 band connects multiple SURFboard mAX routers to deliver TRUE gigabit speeds to your home, providing up to 6,000 square feet of coverage.  Whether you want to set up Parental Controls, enable Guest Network, or test your system speeds, do it securely and easily from anywhere with the app! Get details in ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system review.

Consumer Reviews is supported by its audience. This website contains Paid Links. As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchase. Find More

Pros & Cons

PROS

  • Fast performance
  • Gigabit-class Wi-Fi speeds
  • Easy to use mobile app
  • Dedicated backhaul; exceptional Wi-Fi coverage
  • Well-thought-out, compact, fan-less design
  • Four Ethernet ports on each node

CONS

  • App is limited in features
  • Not wall-mountable
  • Each router has only four network ports and no multi-gig port
  • Port options are a little cluttered on the bottom of the device.

Specs – ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system

  • Model W31
  • Full Name ARRIS SURFboard mAX Pro Mesh AX11000 Wi-Fi 6 AX Router
  • Total Hardware Unit in a Mesh Up to three routers
  • Dedicated Backhaul Band Yes
  • Wired Backhaul Future firmware
  • Dimensions 9.64-inch (245mm) tall, 5-inch (127mm) wide
  • Weight 2.21 lbs (1kg)
  • Wi-Fi Technology Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX11000
  • 5GHz Wi-Fi Specs 2 x 5GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40/80/160MHz, up to 4.8Gbps
  • 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs 2.4GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40MHz, up to 1.2Gbps
  • Backward Compatibility 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi
  • Mobile App ARRIS SURFboard mAX Manager
  • Web User Interface No
  • Bridge Mode No
  • AP Mode No
  • USB Port None
  • Regular Network Ports Three Gigabit LAN port ports, one Gigabit WAN port
  • Link Aggregation Yes (WAN + LAC Port)
  • Multi-Gig Port None
  • CPU 64-bit quad-core 1.8GHz CPU, 512 MB of RAM, 1 GB of flash

Price

 These systems range in price from about $200 on the low end to upwards of $700 for the best possible performance. The Arris Surfboard Max Pro, a $649 Wi-Fi 6 mesh system that I’ve been testing, shows just how much of a difference can be made on a gigabit internet plan.

Compare ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system vs TP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router

ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus Mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX Router SystemTP-Link AX6000 WiFi 6 Router (Archer AX6000) -Wireless Router, 8-Stream WiFi Router
Add to CartAdd to Cart
WiFi signal3.5 4.5 
User interface2.2 4.4 
Tech Support2.8 3.9 
Value for money2.9 4.3 
Easy to install4.7 
Connectivity TechnologyEthernet, WirelessWi-Fi, Ethernet, USB
Data Transfer Rate7.8 Gb per second5952 Mb per second
Frequency Bands Supported5 GHz, 2.4 GHz2.4 GHz, 5 GHz
Item Dimensions0 x 5 x 9.65 inches10 x 12 x 4 inches
Total Ethernet Ports89
Wireless Communication Standard802.11ax802.11g, 802.11ac, 802.11n, 802.11ax, 802.11b

ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system review

Design

Each node is about seven inches tall, with a diameter of about four inches. And each has an elongated cylindrical shape that’s quite unusual for networking equipment. Along the base there’s a light blue LED that can be turned on or off as needed.

Ports

If you turn around to the backside of the device, you’ll find that each SURFboard mAX Plus Mesh node is lifted-up by a circular ring. This ring allows you to connect to the Ethernet ports on the bottom side of the unit, and then have those cables exit elegantly out the backside. 

Subscribe to our buying guide - critics reviews & comparison!

The router has four network ports, one WAN (Internet), and three LANs (for wired clients). All of them are Gigabit and located on the router’s underside, which has a large opening to accommodate the wires.

Bandwidth

All in all, these nodes should be able to comfortably accommodate about eight high-bandwidth connections. For lower bandwidth connections, you should be able to reliably squeeze a couple hundred devices into the network. What are those three bands? Well rather predictably, they’re 5 GHz, 2.4 GHz, and the Bluetooth band.

Network coverage

Speaking of positioning, how much coverage can you squeeze from two Wi-Fi nodes? Well in this case, between these two devices, you can expect to reach about 6,000 square feet. Interestingly, this is the same amount of space covered by a lot of different 3-unit systems. 

Transfer speed

You can reach download speeds of over 500Mbps to either computer and upload speeds north of 800Mbps, using Speedtest.net, even though I was a floor away from where the internet comes into the home. That’s roughly 200Mbps faster download and twice as fast uploads as I have been able to attain in my office with similar Eero Pro and Nest Wifi setups, two popular Wi-Fi 5 mesh systems.

App

Beyond installation, the app is also useful for basic network management. That includes parental controls, and the ability to establish guest networks. That can be pretty useful for opening your network up to outside users without necessarily placing anything on your network at risk. It’s often a cool feature for micromanaging bandwidth as well, depending on how strong your internet connection is to begin with, and how many people are using the network.

Network security

Arris mostly does their security with MacAfee. So yeah, things are reliable. But it also means you can’t look forward to any extra-special or unique features in this particular area. The basic stuff is covered. You’re able to get alerts about suspicious activity on your network, and you’re able to white-list or black-list websites. You also can get your hands on automatic firmware updates, so you’ve got one less thing to worry about.

ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system Performance review

Closer to the main router and connected solely over Wi-Fi, I am routinely able to get speeds north of 400Mbps direct to my devices, according to Speedtest.net and Fast.com. Those speeds aren’t the full capacity of my internet service plan, but they are slightly faster than what I typically see from Wi-Fi 5 routers. Of note, whether a device is Wi-Fi 6 makes little difference in the connection speed, in my experience. The real advantage of a mesh Wi-Fi 6 system is the ability to have those faster speeds in more rooms of your home without having to install in-wall wiring.

ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system customer review

Amazing Speed

Set up was smooth, but took a little patience. The speeds are incredible, I’m getting 700+ on my hardwired desktop to my satellite node with a little more distance than ideal between Satellites. I am getting 400-700 over wireless on devices capable of those speeds. Ping is single digit. Cox Gigablast home internet. 850-950 down at the router. I moved from an Eero setup that was getting at most 150 down and typically closer to 50-70 down on wireless devices. My Eero would have trouble on my iPhone and apps would stop having internet, frequently finding myself switching to cellular due to terrible internet. I had tried 3-5 nodes with my Eero and my cameras would disconnect at least once per hour. I have no disconnection issues with my cameras anymore, all devices stay online without issue. I highly recommend this setup for anyone willing to spend the money. It is a little expensive, but for me it was worth it. The size of the nodes doesn’t both me at all, but if you had tight spaces you were trying to put them in it could be an issue. They are approximately 12″ tall and 6″ around. The app is not feature rich, but does work. There are multiple apps on app store and the first one I downloaded directed me to download a different app that was “updated”. When you initially set up, you’ll have updates on your first node, then connect your second one and it’ll update. The first day you will likely see a few disconnects of your satellite, I think it’s an updating process that’s not communicated. After day 1 everything has been rock solid.

By customer at Best Buy

ARRIS SURFboard mAX Plus mesh AX7800 Wi-Fi 6 AX router system alternative

TP-Link Archer AX21Best value

When a router supports Wi-Fi 6, that means that it’s capable of using new features like OFDMA and 1024-QAM to deliver faster speeds and lower latency to busy networks with lots of connected devices. That’s true even with the budget-priced value picks — and among those, the one that performs the best is the TP-Link Archer AX21.

Currently priced at $90 and frequently available for even less, the Archer AX21 did an outstanding job in my at-home speed tests. My home network uses a fiber connection with the download speeds capped at 300Mbps, and at the end of multiple days of tests across five spots in my house, the Archer AX21’s average download speed was a near-perfect 299Mbps. That includes triple digit download speeds in the very back of my house, a common dead zone where a lot of the routers I test struggle to stay connected at all.

That level of performance was strong enough for the Archer AX21 to beat out similar models from Netgear, Asus and D-Link, and it even kept the pace with fancier routers that cost significantly more. It’s also a cinch to set up, thanks to TP-Link’s Tether app for Android and iOS, which also offers quick access to basic network settings without bombarding you with ads like some other router apps will.

Editor’s recommendations

Make us proud in Social Media