There are modem routers, and then there are modem routers, and generally the ones that look a little crazy are. Netgear’s Nighthawk series is one such product, and the technology seen in its routers is now landing in something a little more convenient.
Netgear’s Nighthawk series has always been one of those playful concepts, with the company using this specific range to push out slightly more unusual designs with some high-end performance inside.
Last year, we saw Nighthawk try something before anyone else, with the world’s first tri-band router, delivering two 5GHz bands alongside one 2.4GHz band in an 802.11ac WiFi network, essentially making it a router made for homes and offices with a lot of super-fast network speed needs, the six-antenna device looking more like a weird space ship that you’d not want to have an encounter with.
Previous Nighthawk devices have been just as playful in their design and normally lead in terms of technical prowess, providing high-end innards for people who are keen to update their network setup with stuff that might be seen as a little more ahead of the game than other places.
But one of the catches of previous Nighthawk devices has been that they have arrived in routers first, and this is still much the case. In the US, where much of this technology comes out first or is primarily made for, homes and offices don’t always have an ADSL2+ modem to connect to the internet, with fibre or cable used over the phone-line reliant ADSL technologies.
That means they don’t need an ADSL2+ modem, and can usually plug the home line direct to the web straight into a compatible router (if fibre is being used), making this upgrade even easier.
In Australia, however, most of us are still on ADSL in some form, with the National Broadband Network still in the long task of rolling out (and not expected to be done for quite a while yet), while others are on cable and a few on a smattering of other options, like the not-all-that-reliable satellite, and the super-slow dial-up (yes, some people still use this).
With ADSL used in abundance, you can bet that there are a lot of modem routers used in this country, rather than routers alone, and from what we’ve seen — and we’re not much different — people tend to prefer the one device that does two things, rather than a modem and a router separately. You can always switch off the router or add to it with a secondary router, but from what we’ve seen, Aussies like the hybrid gadgets, with the two-in-one product of a modem router more than a router by itself being plugged into a router.
Fortunately if you feel you need some cutting edge tech, Netgear now has a Nighthawk model that sits in that that two-in-one category, with a 2015 product.
It’s called the Nighthawk D7000, and essentially is another of the 802.11ac routers with an AC1900 chipset that divides the 2.4GHz and 5GHz spectrum into being able to handle a maximum of 600Mbps on the former and 1300Mbps on the latter.
Beamforming+ is also here, a technology used to improve wireless range that extends on the standard beamforming tech, while a dual-core 1GHz processor controls what’s going under the hood.
Backwards compatibility is there for older devices, supporting 802.11a/b/g/n devices, while hard wired gadgets and computers will appreciate the four Gigabit Ethernet ports found on the unit, and storage devices and printers will like the two USB 3.0 ports on the router.
“Australian households continue to add more and more connected devices to their home network, and are quickly adopting content streaming services for video and music,” said Brad Little, Vice President and Managing Director at Netgear in Australia and New Zealand.
“If the household modem router has not been upgraded in some time then it is impossible to enjoy the best experience as you will not be maximizing the fastest WiFi or latest device features for in-home networking.”
It’s important to note that Netgear’s D7000 modem router isn’t the only modem setup to deal with AC1900, with this one joining D-Link’s Viper, which hit stores last year.
That said, Netgear’s version is a little different, and offers support for VDSL, a different technology to ADSL2 that is a faster but not rolled out in abundance in Australia, compared to New Zealand where quite a few ISPs use the technology. Locally, our connections are more likely to be in the National Broadband Network, but when that gets rolled out in your area is a matter for the government.
Until then, you’ll find Netgear’s D7000 joining the other 802.11ac routers on store shelves for a recommended retail price of $429.