Today, I’m taking a look at the Amped Wireless RTA2600 MU-MIMO AC2600 wireless router, but before I open the box, what does MU-MIMO and AC2600 actually mean?

MU-MIMO stands for Multi-User, Multi Input, Multi Output which builds on the previous standard, SU-MIMO – Single User, Multi Input, Multi Output. Multiple streams of data could be sent and received simultaneously, limited to the number of antennas the router had. However, with SU-MIMO, only one device could be communicated with at a time. MU-MIMO takes this further by communicating with multiple devices simultaneously – up to a current maximum of four – by using a separate stream for each device. Don’t forget, that the client device has to be MU-MIMO capable as well to be able to take advantage of these features. MU-MIMO clients have been thin on the ground, but we’re slowly starting to see more appear in the marketplace – particularly in mobile devices.

The AC2600 refers to the combination of the theoretical maximum speeds of the two wireless bands transmitted by the router – 1733 Mbps on the 5 GHz and 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, so approximately 2600 Mbps total. These bands can be accessed simultaneously on the router.

Short IT lesson complete, let’s take a closer look at the device itself.

What’s in the Box?

The Athena’s box is made from corrugated cardboard – around 1/16 in. (2mm) thick. Each panel lists the features, specifications and descriptions of the technology used by the router.

Let’s take a look inside:

On opening the box you’ll find :-

  • Amped Wireless Athena High Power AC2600 Wi-Fi Router with MU-MIMO.
  • 4 x Detachable High Gain Dual Band Antennas.
  • Power Adapter.
  • RJ-45 Ethernet Cable.
  • Setup Guide.
  • User’s Guide and Installation Video CD.
  • Warranty (of which a period of one year is given by the manufacturer) and Wi-Fi Analytics Tool Information Leaflets.

Specifications

  • Up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1733 Mbps on the 5GHz band. This gives the total 2600Mbps Wi-Fi speed.
  • A total of 16 advanced amplifiers, four for each band and four signal reception amplifiers for each band, deliver up to 800mW of output power to penetrate walls and eliminate Wi-Fi dead spots.
  • 1.4GHz Dual Core Qualcomm CPU paired with 512MB DDR3 memory together with 128MB Flash Memory for faster performance.
  • Four Beamforming antennas focus Wi-Fi streams for each connected device for more reliable and stable connection.
  • One USB 2.0 and one USB 3.0 port for multimedia and file sharing.
  • Four Gigabit LAN ports for wired devices.

First Look

The Amped Wireless RTA2600 router is relatively featureless, visually, except for the three ventilation grills and status indicator LEDs (which are tricky to read at a distance). The outer case is made from matte black plastic that doesn’t really reflect the amount paid for it. The chassis just feels a little cheap, belying the $250 the router currently retails for. There are two screw holes on the underside which allow it to be wall mounted in any direction. The label set in the centre shows the device’s serial number, MAC address of each of the wireless bands, & the WPS PIN on the left and the default SSIDs & wireless passwords on the right.

To the rear you will find the power switch, power socket, USB 2.0 connector, four Gigabit LAN ports, Internet (WAN) port, status LEDs On/Off, WPS On/Off and factory reset recessed switch. The USB 3.0 connector is found on the right side of the router.

The device measures 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.75 in. (242 x 165 x 38 mm). I have shown it next to my iPhone 5s for comparison.