MSI RadiX AX6600 along with two other AX1800 models and the AXE6600 version with Wi-Fi 6E are the three routers with which the Taiwanese brand intends to enter the high-performance gaming router market. It was a matter of time to see an MSI router and here we have them, and to whet our appetite we tested the intermediate model with tri-band capacity in 2.4 GHz and dual network of 5 GHz 2 × 2 and 4 × 4 for current and future customers.
MSI maintains the essence of its products with impressive aesthetics and powerful internal hardware made up of 4-core CPUs and dedicated chips for each Wi-Fi connection, well cooled and with a very clear and intuitive operating system that lacks almost nothing. Will it be as good as promised? we’ll see next!
We thank MSI for their trust in us by sending us this router for analysis.
MSI RadiX AX6600 technical characteristics
The MSI RadiX AX6600 arrives in a large rigid cardboard box with a vinyl-style finish that shows color images of the router and some of its advanced features. We access the interior where we have an upper protection layer that leads to the cardboard mold where the router is placed with the antennas folded. Accessories are hidden under them.
The content of the box will be the following:
- MSI RadiX AX6600
- Power adapter with interchangeable UK and EU plugs
- RJ45 Ethernet cable
There is no doubt that the Taiwanese brand knows how to make aggressive designs because this MSI RadiX AX6600 is as if we were taking the hood of a Lamborghini and turning it into a router. It is inevitable that it reminds us of the supercars of the Italian brand, since even the MSI logo and its location will be extremely similar. It is quite a large device, occupying 34 cm wide, 20 cm deep and 25 cm high with the antennae extended.
The plastic cover’s drop forward and aggressive side cut lines make it one of the most aesthetically pleasing routers for us. The two side areas in the form of separate fins have a passive cooling function by allowing air to escape by natural convection. The same is carried out in the front area with more grilles on the edge.
Returning to the top, we see a black band that runs the entire width to place status LEDs and buttons. More specifically we will see:
- Button to deactivate the LEDs and leave it in night mode
- Button to disable Wi-Fi manually
- Status LEDs: Internet, RJ45 sockets, and power on
If they light up in white, everything is correct, and if they light up in red, there is a problem.
The MSI RadiX AX6600 has no less than 6 drop-down antennas supporting rotation and position adjustment with total freedom. These substantially increase the size of the router, being completely black with a dynamic design. The MSI RadiX AXE6600 version goes one step further by integrating RGB lighting in each one of them, just like in the logo itself.
The lower area is occupied for the most part by a honeycomb-shaped grid that allows air to enter to cool the hardware. We also see two anchors place the router on the wall with screws or spikes. In the upper area, the most relevant information is the default administrator credentials to access the router for the first time.
In the rear area, we will have the ports of the MSI RadiX AX6600 being:
- DC-in power jack
- Power button
- USB 3.2 Gen1 Type-A
- RJ45 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN
- RJ45 1Gbps WAN/LAN
- 3x RJ45 1Gbps LAN
- reset button
Neither the manufacturer nor the system, specify that it is possible to carry out Link Aggregation in the LAN ports, so we will only have an interface that exceeds Gigabit per second. In any case, it is the one that we will use for the bandwidth test of the most powerful Wi-Fi 6 connection.
Features of the MSI RadiX AX6600 router
The MSI RadiX AX6600 has a hardware distribution that allows it to work with the different wireless frequencies individually, always thinking of giving us the maximum possible performance.
At the time of the analysis, we only have the basic information detailed by the brand, so we know that it integrates a main CPU with 4 cores at 1.8 GHz that is in charge of the operating system and LAN connections, along with 3 dedicated chips for each connection. wireless. Next to them we have 5 12 MB of DDR4 RAM and 256 MB of flash storage for the operating system. The main chips are passively cooled with aluminum blocks and copper heat pipes.
The connections that it provides us and its characteristics will be the following:
- Wi-Fi 6 2.4 GHz band: supports 2×2 connections up to 574 Mbps with 40 MHz channels
- Wi-Fi 6 5 GHz band – 1: this band operates at a maximum of 1201 Mbps when using 80 MHz channels in a 2×2 configuration.
- Wi-Fi 6 5 GHz band – 2: this band is the one with the highest benefits designed for games, since it operates at a maximum of 4804 Mbps with 160 MHz 4×4 channels, although in a 2×2 configuration, it will support a maximum of 2402 Mbps.
Like most Wi-Fi 6 routers, this unit supports MU-MIMO, OFDMA, Bss Color, 1024-QAM frames, and Beamforming technologies. It has a WPS mode, although we never recommend its use because it leaves the wireless network exposed, so it is better to use passwords with WPA3-PSK encryption. As we say, the three bands can work simultaneously with independent chips, giving us a maximum capacity of 6600 Mbps. They support the Smart Connect function and Wi-Fi configuration for guests in each of them independently.
We have some quite interesting additional functions such as a VPN server or client configuration with OpenVPN and QoS by AI (Artificial Intelligence). With this mode, the router automatically manages network traffic and prioritizes connections based on the use we are giving it, always putting the most demanding games or links first. The profile can be configured to our liking from the operating system. We will also have a file sharing service with FTP, Samba and DLNA thanks to the rear USB port.
firmware and configuration
MSI RadiX AX660 begins its journey in the best possible way, with an operating system very well designed and distributed to encompass a large number of configuration options on an intuitive interface that is similar to the style of MSI Center. We will have three ways of managing the router, through the usual web interface, the MSI Router App, and the MSI Center.
We start with the initial configuration of the MSI RadiX AX660, which we will carry out directly from the web interface, its access IP being 192.168.10.1. We must take into account that in the first configuration we must connect the Internet to the 2.5 Gbps port and the PC to one of the normal ports since the router will assign these interfaces by default.
The configuration process begins by accessing with the admin user and the password that comes on the label under the router. Immediately afterwards we must assign a new password for future accesses.
We will have to do two steps, assign the WAN configuration mode and possible manual configuration, as well as configure the three available network interfaces, separately, or all united under and only SSID.
Let’s dive right into the operating system of the MSI RadiX AX660, which presents us with a dashboard that shows the selected QoS mode, hardware telemetry and network traffic, connection status, and connected devices.
If we interact with the QoS mode we will directly access its section where we will have the option of IA, traditional QoS, and bandwidth limiter. We have left it in IA mode so that the router automatically manages which is the best option at all times. This option is located in the Game Center section, which also includes the option of port forwarding, VPN configuration, and network analysis, a great idea to make everything more intuitive and access similar functions.
Next we have the Wi-Fi options, coming by default 3 separate SSIDs for us to connect to the one we deem appropriate. This mode gives us the advantage of being able to assign different names, configure the type of WPA encryption, assign different passwords or, most importantly for us, select the channel bandwidth.
If we want to get the maximum performance, we will set 40 MHz to 2.4 GHz, 80 MHz to 5 GHz-1, and 160 MHz to 5 GHz-2, the most powerful mode. In intelligent mode or Smart Connect the options will be reduced and it will be the router that manages, in principle, the best route. We will also have advanced options and multiple SSID. We also have guest Wi-Fi for all three separate connections.
In the advanced configuration, we see an important configuration such as selecting the function of the 2.4 Gbps RJ45 port. By default it is assigned to WAN, but we are going to change it to LAN and thus take advantage of its additional bandwidth for Wi-Fi tests. We have typical filtering functions in the Firewall, parental control, IPv6 capability and a series of generic administration parameters in almost all routers.
We must also emphasize the USB section, where we have the possibility of enabling a multimedia server through DLNA, files shared by Samba or FTP, as well as BiTorrent configuration. We have not been able to get the Samba system to work despite enabling it and plugging an SSD into the USB port. Perhaps we have not found the trick or this firmware version is not yet polished in this regard, in any case, we do not see the unit on the network. DLNA has worked correctly.
Performance and coverage tests
In this MSI RadiX AX6600 we are going to evaluate the network coverage in the frequencies 2.4 and 5 GHz-2 with 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:
- MSI RadiX AX6600 Router
- Wireless equipment: Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 2×2
- Computer (LAN): Asus ROG Areion 10G
- Android Terminal for Heatmap
As always, we have placed the router on the upper deck to see how far it can go on the lower deck.
The coverage distance does not seem to be the main strength of this router, since even on the top floor, where there are only two walls, the signal already drops to -60 dB in the furthest place. By the way, we have kept the automatic channel width so that the router manages the optimal option. The forecasts are met on the floor below, the router manages to cover approximately 65% of the useful area, less than other Wi-Fi 6 routers tested by us.
2.4 GHz coverage
At 2.4 GHz we have better wall penetration and therefore we manage to achieve around 80% coverage downstairs, a figure similar to other routers, although the coverage area better at -50 dB is small.
In this case we have performed bandwidth tests both near and far for each SSID.
5GHz band-2. Theoretical speed 2402 Mbps in 2×2 client
In this section, the router does prove to be a real beast, approaching the theoretical figures of the connection. With the Wi-Fi 6 client near the antennas, we get 2 Gbps in upload mode with Jperf and 1.6 Gbps in download, being one of the most powerful models we’ve tested. It is satisfying to see how routers are getting closer to the theoretical figures, imagine what you can do with a 4×4 client.
When we do the test with the client placed in the next room and two thin walls in between, the bandwidth falls by half, obtaining almost 1 Gbps of transfer, again being in the highest positions. In file transfers from Windows 11 we obtain slightly lower figures in download mode, coinciding in part with what was seen in the Jperf test.
2.4 GHz band. Theoretical speed: 574 Mbps in 2×2 client
The 2.4 GHz network presents figures similar to other routers, and it seems that in this case we still have about 100 Mbps left to reach the theoretical maximum. In the remote tests, the performance falls by approximately half, as we have already seen that the coverage weakens a bit.
Ethernet link (1 Gbps)
We only have one 2.5 Gbps interface, so as expected we get 1 Gbps of bandwidth capped by the second interface, nothing new here.
Final words and conclusion about the MSI RadiX AX6600
Although some details can still be improved, we consider MSI’s entry into the router market to be very positive. Points as important as the maximum bandwidth, operating system management, or appearance are at an outstanding level. In fact, those 2 Gbps at 5 GHz have surprised us, approaching the theoretical maximum.
The configuration of the operating system is very simple at the same time that it gives a wide range of options such as IA QoS, VPN, or advanced Wi-Fi configuration. Obviously it does not reach the Asus level, but it does not pretend to, it adapts to a normal / advanced user and his knowledge. We have a 2.5 Gbps port, and hardware to manage the 3 bands individually.
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As small details to improve we see that perhaps the coverage is not the strong point at least in this first version, but we suppose that with a firmware optimization, we can give a little more gain to those 6 antennas. We have not been able to make Samba work, we may have missed something or the firmware has a bug in this section. We miss the Wi-Fi Mesh option with other MSI routers, but we’re sure it’s only a matter of time to see it on MSI routers.
The price of this MSI RadiX AX6600 will be €323, somewhat higher than two direct rivals such as the Archer AX90 from TP-Link or ZenWifi XT8 from Asus. Polishing the details mentioned and adjusting the price a bit, this router will be one of the most powerful in its segment, or at least we trust it because of the brand behind it. The MSI AX1800 and MSI AXE6600 models appear for a price of €56 and €363 respectively.
|ORIGINAL AND AGGRESSIVE DESIGN FOR GAMING SETUPS
|WIRELESS COVERAGE WITH ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT
|MAXIMUM BANDWIDTH AT 5 GHZ CLOSE TO THEORETICAL
|WE HAVE HAD PROBLEMS ACTIVATING SAMBA
|EASY TO UNDERSTAND AND CONFIGURE OPERATING SYSTEM
|IT DOES NOT HAVE A WI-FI MESH MODE
|ADVANCED WIFI MANAGEMENT
|AI QoS FEATURES FOR GAMES AND VPN
The Professional Review team awarded him the platinum medal:
MSI RadiX AX6600 WiFi 6 Tri-Band Gaming Router – Fast WLAN up to 6600 Mbps (5GHz, 2.4GHz Wireless), AI QoS Priority, MU-MIMO, Beamforming, WPA3, 2.5G WAN/LAN & 4 x 1G LAN Ports