ARRIS W6B Surfboard Thruster Review: An Expensive 6GHz Alternative to a Network Cable | Gamer Tech

The ARRIS W6B Surfboard Thruster Wi-Fi 6E Gaming Acceleration Equipment is a distinct segment product — it’s not for everybody.

Particularly, it’s just for these too lazy to run a community cable. And by that, I don’t imply the entire job of getting your property wired; only a comparatively lengthy ready-made cable will do.

That stated, when you’re in search of a fast solution to get one wired system — a desktop, a sport console, or any Ethernet-ready {hardware} –linked wirelessly at doubtlessly Gig+ sustained charges, the ARRIS W6B Surfboard will turn out to be useful. I may even be beneficiant and say it’s a good selection.

What’s Gig+

Gig+, or Gig plus, conveys a velocity grade sooner than 1Gbps however slower than 2Gbps. So, it’s 1.5Gbps, give or take, and it’s not quick sufficient to be certified as Multi-Gig.

Gig+ usually applies to the sustained speeds of Wi-Fi 6 or 6E (through a 2×2 connection) or Web velocity, not wired native connections.

However contemplating the present avenue value of over $300, I’d remind you that it’s a super-expensive different to a community cable or a easy Wi-Fi 6E add-on card.

So, whether or not or not this Equipment is definitely worth the funding will depend on how tough it’s so that you can settle for that little wire that snakes round your property and how a lot your pad permits you to benefit from Wi-Fi 6E.

The underside line: The ARRIS W6B is a giant if.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit vs ARRIS W6U
The ARRIS W6B Surfboard Thruster Wi-Fi 6E Gaming Acceleration Equipment appears to be like like two ARRIS W6U items put collectively. But it surely’s not.

ARRIS W6B Surfboard Thruster vs W6U: A Wi-Fi 6E wired answer

The ARRIS SURFboard W6B jogs my memory of the W6U. The {hardware} appears to be like the identical, however as an alternative of 1 unit, you’ve two, and as an alternative of white, you’ve them in black.

In actuality, the W6B is completely completely different from the W6U. The latter is a wi-fi entry level — it hosts a number of wi-fi purchasers and is a wonderful solution to improve an present router to Wi-Fi 6E. Alternatively, our W6B is designed to exchange a single wired connection.

The Equipment consists of two identical-looking items which have solely completely different roles. One is the Foremost Entry Level, and the opposite is the Satellite tv for pc. Because the names recommend, you join the previous to your community (a router or a change) and the latter to the tip system you wish to be a part of that community.

A comparatively uncommon use case

Often, while you wish to join an Ethernet-ready system to a community, like a desktop laptop or a server, you hook a community cable to the system’s community port and the opposite finish of that cable to your router (or change).

The longer the space between the 2, the longer the cable must be. And if for some motive, that lengthy cable just isn’t an choice and you’ll be able to’t improve your system to a Wi-Fi shopper through an add-on card, such because the Intel AX210 chip or the Netgear A8000 USB adapter, the ARRIS SURFboard W6B comes into play.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit two Different Units
The ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Equipment consists of two {hardware} items. One is the Foremost Entry Level, and the opposite is the Satellite tv for pc. Their roles can’t be revered.

Particularly, as an alternative of that one lengthy cable, you utilize two shorter ones. First, use one to attach the Foremost Entry Level unit to the router, then use the opposite to hook the Satellite tv for pc unit to the system. Plug each into energy and mission achieved.

In a nutshell, the ARRIS W6B is a Wi-Fi 6E-to-wired adapter. It permits a wired shopper to connect with a community through the brand new 6GHz Wi-Fi band.

Easy, plug-and-play design, zero customization

And what I described above can also be the way you arrange the W6B. The 2 {hardware} items are pre-synced out of the field — all it’s important to do is plug them in.

Every unit comes with a 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port on its again, and on the within, they help 4×4 Wi-Fi 6E to supposedly ship the backhaul velocity of as much as 4800Mbps. “Supposedly” as a result of we are going to by no means know for the reason that 2.5Gbps port is the bottleneck.

In contrast to the W6U, which has a easy internet interface, the W6B has no consumer interface in any respect.

You need to use the SURFboard Central cell app, however on this case, all you are able to do is register the {hardware} together with your account, view its standing, and replace the firmware.

There’s no solution to customise the Foremost Entry Level unit’s Wi-Fi community. Consequently, you’ll be able to’t join any additional 6GHz purchasers to it — it’s the one entry level I’ve identified that may host only one shopper, the Satellite tv for pc unit.

Contemplating the cell app requires a login account with ARRIS, it’s greatest to skip it — there’s no worth in utilizing it in return for the potential privateness threat.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit Mobile App
The SURFboard Central cell app provides no worth to the W6B kits.

In brief, the SURFboard W6B package works actually as a substitute for a single community cable. As is, the 2 {hardware} items are pre-programmed to work with one another; when you lose one, the opposite turns into ineffective.

ARRIS SURFboard W6B: {Hardware} specs

Mannequin W6B
Identify ARRIS SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Equipment
{Hardware} an Entry Level + a Satellite tv for pc
Wi-Fi Requirements Single-band AXE4800
Wi-Fi Band
(channel width)
6GHz 4×4 AXE
As much as 4800Mbps
Backward Compatibility N/A
Community Port
(every unit)
1x 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port
Safety WPA3
Internet Interface None
Cellular App SURFboard Central
Working Function Various to a single community cable
Visitor Community N/A
(every unit)
.79 lb (360 g)
Firmware Model
(at evaluation)
Processing Energy
(every unit)
Quad-core ARM Cortex A53 Processor
Energy Specs Socket: 100-120V, 60Hz, .7A
Enter: 12VDC, 2A
Energy Consumption
(per 24 hours)
≈ 175 Wh
(predominant entry level unit)
Launch Date June 6, 2022
US Retail Price
(at launch)
ARRIS W6B SURFboard Thruster’s {hardware} specs

ARRIS SURFboard W6B: Element images

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit BoxARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit Box Content
Right here’s the ARRIS SURFboard W6B’s retail field and its content material. Every unit comes with an influence adapter and a community cable.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit is Pretty Compact
Every ARRIS W6B unit is comparatively compact and lightweight.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit Power adapter
Just like the case of the W6U, the facility adapter of the ARRIS W6B additionally doesn’t work with a 240V outlet.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit Underside
Listed below are the undersides of the ARRIS SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Equipment’s {hardware} items. Regardless of the completely different roles, Foremost Entry level vs Satellite tv for pc, the 2 share the identical mannequin, which is W6B.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit vs ARRIS W6U hardwareARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit vs ARRIS W6U backside
SURFboard W6B vs SURFboard W6U: Right here’s the latter sandwiched by the previous’s two {hardware} items. Observe the similarity between them.

6GHz-only, tough {hardware} administration

As talked about above, it’s tremendous simple to arrange the ARRIS W6B — it’s about as sophisticated as hooking two community cables.

Nonetheless, ensuring you get the perfect efficiency will be fairly tough. That’s as a result of the Equipment solely helps Wi-Fi 6E, which operates on the 6GHz band. This band has confirmed my expertise to be shorter than 5GHz and a couple of.4GHz.

That stated, ideally, it is best to place the Foremost Entry Level and the Satellite tv for pc no farther than 50 ft (15 m) away inside a line of sight. If that’s not doable, the efficiency degrades an ideal deal. And that was additionally the case in my week-long trial, identical to the 6GHz band of all different Wi-Fi 6E broadcasters.

And that brings us to the “lazy” notion I discussed firstly. When you have positioned the 2 items inside a line of sight or a brief distance, likelihood is you’ll be able to run a community cable and save your self an excessive amount of money.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard Thruster’s efficiency: Quick however could possibly be sooner

The ARRIS W6B SURFboard labored as anticipated in my testing, contemplating the {hardware} configuration. For the reason that Equipment doesn’t help any Wi-Fi shopper, I examined it with a pc linked to the Satellite tv for pc unit’s 2.5Gbps port.

That stated, whereas the 2 may need linked at high Wi-Fi 6E velocity (4.8Gbps), 2.5Gbps is the ceiling velocity. On high of that, it’s powerful to search out out which {hardware} was the bottleneck, one of many items, their ports, or the port on the check laptop.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard Thruster Short Range PerformanceARRIS W6B SURFboard Thruster Long Range Performance
The ARRIS W6B SURFboard Thruster’s efficiency

Nonetheless, the performances you see on the charts above are these you’ll get when you’ve got a Multi-Gig community and a Multi-Gig shopper. In any other case, 1Gbps is the quickest you’ll be able to count on from this set.

The ARRIS W6B handed my 3-day stress check with no disconnection. So it proved to be dependable. Nonetheless, it was noticeable in my electoral check that its efficiency can fluctuate an ideal deal — between 320Mbps and 800Mbps when there have been a few skinny partitions between the 2 items. However that’s fairly regular for the 6GHz band.

ARRIS W6B SURFboard THRUSTER Gaming Acceleration Kit Front


Dependable and comparatively quick 6GHz efficiency

Shortly join a wired system to a community when wiring just isn’t doable

2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port, compact design; fully pug-and-play


No help for Wi-Fi purchasers, zero customization

No 5Gbps or sooner port; efficiency could possibly be higher


The ARRIS W6B Surfboard Thruster Wi-Fi 6E Gaming Acceleration Equipment is a super-expensive solution to keep away from a community cable. It’s even idiotically so.

However even when it’s justified in some way, contemplating it’s primarily a single Wi-Fi connection, you’re higher off upgrading your wired system to Wi-Fi 6 or 6E through an adapter. In reality, it’s cheaper to get the ARRIS W6U and a Wi-Fi 6E card.

Wi-Fi vs Wired

Wi-Fi is all the time Half-Duplex: Information strikes in a single path at a time. You’ll be able to consider Wi-Fi because the walkie-talkie in voice communication.

Wired connection is (usually) Full-Duplex: Information journey each methods concurrently. That’s just like a telephone name in voice communication.

Wi-Fi beats wired when it comes to comfort and design. Wired beats Wi-Fi in all the things else.

However for some motive, when you insist on spending over $300 to get this inflexible method of getting a single wired system linked, the ARRIS W6B Surfboard Thruster will work out effectively (sufficient) regardless of the very fact it is senseless.

ARRIS W6B Surfboard Thruster Review: An Expensive 6GHz Alternative to a Network Cable