Netgear outs a router with looks from the future

Networking gear can look industrial at the best of times, but the latest wireless router from Netgear reminds us of a stealth fighter, ready to slice up the airwaves with its angular design and souped-up tech.

Designed to send out speeds on the 802.11ac network, Netgear’s “Nighthawk” is a new router that boasts some powerful innards, and is aimed at not just making a network run more efficiently, but offer uber-fast speeds for gamers keen to cut that cord once and ford all.

“Netgear’s goal in creating the Nighthawk was to design the world’s best WiFi router, especially when it comes to data-intensive activities such as online gaming and video streaming,” said Brad Little, Netgear’s Vice President and Managing Direction in Australia and New Zealand.

“We’ve listened to the demands of high bandwidth users and made sure Nighthawk is packed with features that will exceed their expectations for speed, range, sharing, reliability, ease of use and security.”

Those features include a dual-core 1GHz processor inside the router, which Netgear says will improve both the wireless and wired performance, as well as three external antennas and some powerful amplifiers aimed at helping you get the most reach possible from the router.

Netgear is also including some updated 802.11ac hardware boasting AC1900 speeds, which essentially means up to 1900Mbps speed split up over a combined 600 and 1300Mbps connection, similar to the router Linksys announced at the end of 2013.

Aside for the speed, though, Netgear is also boasting a technology called “Beamforming+” which the company says will boost speed, range, and reliability by “locking onto a wireless device on the network and pinpointing WiFi signals directly at the device,” something other networking devices can struggle with.

It’s expected that 802.11ac devices will get the best performance with this, including not just the few 802.11ac USB connectors that exist, but also the few smartphones, tablets, and laptops, with many of last year’s flagship devices supporting the 802.11ac networking technology.

Gaming devices don’t have to support this technology, though, and the Nighthawk has been preconfigured at Netgear to be prioritised to the Xbox, giving gamers a little more oomph without needing the know how to make the network device shine. If you don’t game on an Xbox, Netgear’s quality of service (QoS) feature can automatically pick up on what services you’re using that require high speeds and prioritise accordingly, which is useful too.

Prior networking technologies are all supported too, including 802.11a/b/g/n, with a USB 3.0 port built in for sharing a high-speed hard drive, while other features include a free URL for making your own FTP server, a QR code for letting guests jump on the network, AirPrint support, and give Gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as not needing a CD to setup the router.

All of this won’t come cheap in the router, though, and the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk will hit stores this week for a recommended retail price of $319.

It’s unknown at this time whether Netgear will make a similar looking 802.11ac USB dongle, but we’ll let you know when we know.