The world is relying more and more on wireless devices, and you know this because your phone, tablet, computer, game console, TV, printer, Blu-ray player, speakers, camera, and smartwatch are jumping on to your network. But with all of that activity, you need a router that can handle it, and that’s where a Netgear development is stepping in.
Netgear has this week unveiled a solution to our WiFi woes with a world first, a tri-band router, the Nighthawk X6. That’s a concept the world of consumer electronics has yet to see, with a network router delivering a single 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands for your wireless devices, sporting a massive 3.2Gbps of speed across 802.11ac and 802.11n.
That “3.2” number divides up with two 1300Mbps bands operating on 5GHz and one 600Mbps band operating on 2.4GHz, providing a regular network, and two very fast networks for all of your very fast devices.
“The number of WiFi devices in Australian homes that require high bandwidth for video content, gaming and sharing, is constantly increasing and weighing down the home network,” said Brad Little, Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Netgear in Australia and New Zealand.
“Nighthawk X6 solves this challenge, by not only providing more WiFi bandwidth but also segmenting slower and faster devices across different WiFi bands, and balancing the number of devices in each band to deliver the best-in-class experience for streaming, sharing and gaming.”
Six antennas help spread the wireless, with some other technologies that are becoming commonplace to high-end routers, such as beam-forming, which focuses the wireless transmission directly to devices, and some load balancing which works out the best band for devices at certain times.
Helping the Nighthawk X6 AC3200 (R8000) do this is a 1GHz dual-core processor for working out what device needs what, with three offload processors for sending extra processes that might not need the full strength of the main processor at the time.
Smart Connect is one of these technologies, which looks at the properties of the device to help you work out which network speed it should use, making the router smarter. In essence, this means your PS4’s need for 802.11ac and your iPhone 5’s need for 802.11n can be worked out by the router, and while you can change it from the router’s settings page, most people can let the device sort out what setting it needs best.
Also included are four Gigabit Ethernet ports for the wired devices in your home (wired Gigabit needs Cat6 cables, though), and two USB ports, one of which is USB 3.0. While you might wonder why only one is based on the faster USB 3.0 technology, Netgear’s Brad Little confirmed to us this week that it had a lot to do with signal and noise problems, with cost not one of the factors.
Given the recommended retail price of the Nighthawk X6 AC3200, we’re inclined to believe him, since it carries an RRP of $399 when the router launches locally later this month.
That’s no small chunk of change, especially since it is a router only, with Netgear hinting that a model including an ADSL modem will likely pop up later this year, but that it will take some time to put together.
For now, it’s the sort of high-speed technology that early adopters will want in their home, especially if there are loads of wireless devices currently struggling under the limits that other routers suffer from, so if that’s you, look for this when it comes out.