After the good feelings that the Acer Predator X5 left us, we have decided to also analyze the Acer Predator Connect W6, a router this time designed for gaming both in its design and its features. It is one of the few Wi-Fi 6E routers that we currently have on the market with 2.4 GHz 2×2, 5 GHz 4×4, and 6 GHz 2×2 bands along with 4+1 LAN ports. Added to that is a fairly easy-to-use operating system with prominent options such as Intel Killer Prioritization Engine, VPN, or Trend Micro security.
We thank Acer for trusting us in sending us this router for testing.
Acer Predator Connect W6 technical characteristics
We begin this review by unboxing the Acer Predator Connect W6, a router that comes to us in a neutral rigid cardboard box with the brand logo on the outside, but no information about the product. Inside, a foam mold holds the equipment firmly to ensure its integrity.
The content of the package will be the following:
- Router Acer Predator Connect W6
- power adapter
- Envelope with documentation
Acer Predator Connect W6 has a clear gaming inspiration in its design, opting for a wide square with 6 extendable antennas that in total add up to about 27 cm on the side and 11 cm high. The construction will be completely plastic for the external covers in matte black, but with a basic finish that does not show fingerprints.
On the upper side, we have a large grill on which the Predator logo can be seen, which allows us to perfectly cool the hardware passively. But there is even more, since under the grill we find a square block with the Predator logo equipped with LED lighting, which is in charge of showing the status of the equipment depending on the color that is illuminated. Light blue will represent good coverage, until reaching red, which represents error or bad coverage.
On all sides we have antennas installed, although on the two edges that indicate the front of the device we only have two positioned on the edge, being foldable without the possibility of uninstalling them. The two edges that are left behind will be the ones that integrate ports and buttons, now we will see them.
Finally, the base of the router is occupied almost entirely by grilles for air inlet to the PCB, as well as two anchor points that allow the router to be hung on the wall or a piece of furniture. 4 small rubber feet cannot be missing if we opt for the usual position on a desk or table. On the sticker will come the credentials for the first access to the device at the time of its configuration.
As we have mentioned, the two rear sides of the Acer Predator Connect W6 will feature connection ports.
On the right-hand side, we have:
- Reset button
- WPS button
- USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
- Power jack
And on the left side:
- Power button
- 1x RJ-45 Ethernet 2,5 Gbps WAN/LAN
- 4x RJ-45 Ethernet 1 Gbps LAN
As relevant aspects for wired connectivity, we have the Internet port, which can also perform the LAN function as long as we configure the router as an access point.
Normal ports do not support Link Aggregation, or at least we have not seen such a feature in the operating system at the time of review. The LAN port has the Gaming inscription as it is considered the highest priority for the QoS system implemented by the router.
Features of the Acer Predator Connect W6 router
Acer Predator Connect W6 equips quite powerful hardware based on a Quad-Core CPU based on 2 GHz ARM A53 cores, along with 1 Gbps of LPDDR RAM and 4 GB of eMMC internal storage. In fact, we do not know why you need such storage if the shared file mode should be carried out only if we have a USB drive connected.
Regarding wireless connectivity, it is a Triple Band router, operating at 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz simultaneously with a total AX7800 bandwidth. The capacity is distributed as follows:
- 2.4 GHz band: Operating under 802.11ax it will deliver a maximum of 574 Mbps in a 2×2 connection with 20 and 40 MHz channels. The two antennas assigned to 2.4 GHz will share the concession with 6 GHz.
- 5 GHz band: It will offer a bandwidth of 4804 Mbps in 4×4 connections operating in 80 MHz channels and supporting 1024-QAM modulation.
- 6 GHz Band – Offers a maximum bandwidth of 2402 Mbps with 2×2 capability on 160 MHz channels. Sharing antennas with 2.4 GHz will limit the maximum bandwidth if both are used at the same time.
Like any other Wi-Fi 6/6E router, it will be compatible with MU-MIMO, which allows data to be transmitted to multiple clients simultaneously, OFDMA, which improves simultaneous client connectivity, and BSS Color, which assigns different carrier frequencies (colors) so that customers identify theirs instantly without scanning the entire spectrum. It supports Beamforming and in fact, it has a function in the operating system to calibrate the antennas and thus offer better coverage in the direction where the clients are.
The 2.4 and 5 GHz bands support WP2/WP3 security, while the 6 GHz supports WP3, the strongest encryption algorithm yet. Security based on Trend Micro is introduced, a service that initially requires subscription and payment, so in this case, we have not tested it. It incorporates additional Smart Home SSIDs, which will be dedicated only to smart home devices, as well as SSIDs for guest Wi-Fi.
Firmware and Configuration
The time has come to connect the Acer Predator Connect W6 and study the most interesting aspects of the implemented operating system, which is based on Merlin with Acer’s own design.
In reality, it would not be necessary to configure the router so that it provides us with Internet and a signal in both LAN and WLAN, but it is recommended to modify passwords and adjust some parameters that we will see.
So first of all we connect the router and wait for it to turn on completely, at which point we will access it from the browser with the IP 192.168.76.1 or from the mobile application. At this time we will authenticate with admin and the password that comes on the base label.
We go to the quick configuration section to indicate a comfortable scheme we must connect the router, and the WAN connection mode if we want dedicated DNS and the configuration of Wi-Fi signals. Later we recommend checking if there are firmware updates to have them from the first moment in their latest version.
The first section consists of a dashboard that shows us the status of the connection, Wi-Fi signals, and network traffic in real-time, although we won’t be able to interact with it except in the bandwidth test below.
One of the outstanding functions of the Acer Predator Connect W6 is found in the second section, we are talking about the Intel Killer Prioritization Engine, a QoS system that intelligently manages network traffic, basically giving preference to games and streaming, first in the port of games and then to the rest of LAN and Wi-Fi. The table clearly explains the priority steps and the type of devices involved.
The Wi-Fi section allows us to individually manage the 3 operating bands, in channels and bandwidth, but we do not have a Smart function to unify them in a single SSID. By default, 2.4 GHz will be configured at 20 MHz and 5 GHz at 40 MHz, so they would not be giving their maximum capacity. Wi-Fi mode for Smart Home and Guest Wi-Fi is introduced, as well as an option to calibrate Wi-Fi antennas. Acer has not yet implemented mesh Wi-Fi for its routers.
In WAN we have the possibility to configure the operation of the router, normal, or access point which will release the 2.5 Gbps WAN port to use it as LAN. From this section, we can configure the VPN service in the two supported protocols. In the LAN section, we will not have relevant options, since it does not support Link Aggregation or VLAN. It is strange to find the USB section in the System, although it only supports the configuration of the access user.
We have not been able to adequately test this function as it was impossible to access the network drive despite having the credentials correctly configured. We have not been able to detect the error to solve it.
Performance and Coverage Tests
We are going to evaluate the Acer Predator Connect W6. For the tests, we have used Windows 11 and Jperf 2.0.2 to measure the bandwidth in Mbps by transferring 10 streams 10 times. We have created the WiFi heat map with the WiFi Heatmap software and an Android Wi-Fi 5 terminal.
These are the test clients used:
- Acer Predator Connect W6
- Wireless equipment: Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 2×2
- Second team (LAN): Asus ROG Areion 10G
- Terminal Android para Heatmap
Acer Predator Connect W6 system coverage
In this case, we have placed the router on the upper floor to replicate the scenario of the rest of the reviews. We have not been able to evaluate the 6 GHz bands in this section as we do not have a Wi-Fi 6E mobile or laptop.
Coverage for this unit is pretty much what we would expect for a single unit, covering about 70% of the bottom floor except for the far wing, although there is very little red area. The average speed is not bad at 133 Mbps and the 23 ms Ping will allow us to play without problems through the wireless signal.
At this frequency, the average coverage is quite similar, although there are some more areas in red and yellow, obtaining a fairly fair average bandwidth of 53 Mbps, with an excellent ping of 17 ms. It will be enough to consume 1080p streaming content, but not to play.
In this case, we have carried out tests at 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz with the test bench equipped with Wi-Fi 6E.
5 GHz band. Theoretical speed 4802 Mbps (2400 Mbps client 2×2)
In close measurements, the figures are possibly limited by the LAN connection, which is 1 Gbps, which is why we are reaching its maximum. Hypothetically this figure could be around 2 Gbps if the router is well-optimized with a 2×2 client. Despite having external antennas, the remote bandwidth is a little less than we expected.
6 GHz band. Theoretical speed 2401 Mbps
The results obtained in this band will be similar to those of 5 GHz both near and far, as long as we are not using 2.4 GHz simultaneously on other clients.
2.4 GHz band a single router. Theoretical speed: 574 Mbps
The bandwidth obtained on 2.4 GHz is about half or a little less than what we expected, which would be about 450 Mbps near and more than 300 Mbps far as other routers offer. Despite the fact that we have configured 40 MHz channels, we have not managed to exceed these average figures.
Enlace Ethernet (1000 Mbps)
The results here are nominal. Since we would only have a 2.5 Gbps LAN port in case of configuring the router as an access point, the results will remain the same.
Final words and conclusion about the Acer Predator Connect W6
Although the Acer Predator X5 router that we tested a while ago seemed practically one of a kind and very good, we see this Predator Connect W6 as a bit more generic both in terms of features and functions. It is a good router in general, especially due to the presence of Wi-Fi 6E and that 6 GHz band, but it still lacks optimization.
As main points to highlight we have a great connection capacity with its 3 frequencies and maximum bandwidth, where 6 and 5 GHz have worked as expected of them. The operating system is easy to use and has adaptive QoS signed by Killer, specific for gaming, the possibility of configuring a VPN server, and many configuration options.
We also recommend our guide on the best routers on the market
We also liked how quickly it starts up and its external appearance, a mere detail, but always valuable. Wireless coverage is good at the tested frequencies, but not the best in its class, although at least we get a very good average ping that ensures low latency in streaming data consumption.
As for aspects to improve, we have the performance in the 2.4 GHz band which is half of what we could expect from it, and it also shares antennas with 6 GHz. Why not add 2 more antennas to separate them? We were a bit frustrated that we weren’t able to properly test the USB port as the credentials seem to be ineffective despite having been configured several times.
The price of this Acer Predator Connect W6 will be around 249 euros on the brand’s official website, now also available on PCComponentes. It is a balanced cost for a Wi-Fi 6E router, a little cheaper a priori than its rivals RadiX AXE6600 from MSI or Linksys Hydray Pro 6E. Optimizing the issue of 2.4 GHz and USB would win integers as a recommended purchase.
Update 05/04/23: Acer Spain confirms that they have updated the bandwidth and now it should be better. We have not been able to test this new firmware, but we leave it for the record for our readers.
|TRIPLE BANDA ROUTER 2.4, 5 Y 6 GHZ AX7800||THE RANGE OF ADVANCED OPTIONS IS EVEN LOWER THAN OTHER RIVALS SUCH AS ASUS|
|GOOD PERFORMANCE AT 5 AND 6 GHZ||RANGE OF ADVANCED OPTIONS EVEN LOWER THAN OTHER RIVALS SUCH AS ASUS|
|QoS INTEL KILLER FOR GAMES||LOW 2.4 GHZ PERFORMANCE|
|SIMPLE TO USE AND QUITE COMPLETE OPERATING SYSTEM|
|FAST START, QUICK SETUP|
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