A few months ago, we took a look at the Netgear Nighthawk R7000. We came away quite pleased with the features that were put into that solution, along with its build quality and performance. After that review, not a month later, I caught the release of the Netgear Nighthawk X6 (R8000), and today we finally get the chance to get our hands-on this rather unique spin on 802.11ac.
The Netgear Nighthawk X6 (or R8000) is the first Tri-Band Wi-Fi router that I have ever seen. Remarkably, Netgear went to the drawing board and designed a solution that takes into account the many devices we already have that depend on legacy network infrastructure. This means with the R8000, you can connect your legacy 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n devices, along with your 5GHz 802.11n devices, and still have an entire 5GHz band left over for just 802.11ac devices. This means no network bottleneck and no slowdown because you have legacy devices on an 802.11ac 5GHz band.
Going over the Wi-Fi connectivity of the R8000, the 2.4GHz band is capable of 600Mbps via 256QAM modulation, and then we have both 5GHz bands that can do 1300Mbps each. On the back of the unit, we have 4-gigabit LAN ports, along with a single gigabit WAN port.
A dual-core 1GHz processor and three offload processors powers the X6, along with 256MB of DRAM, and 128MB of flash memory. Additionally, as with most routers these days, the R8000 deploys two USB ports on the back of the unit of which one carries the faster USB 3.0 specification.
Pricing, Availability and Specifications
Along with the specifications we went through above, the R8000 is the first router to come through the lab to utilize Broadcom's 5G Wi-Fi XStream. Broadcom's 5G Wi-Fi XStream is a MIMO platform for home routers that includes six 802.11ac streams and three 802.11n streams that run simultaneously, the platform deploys this through what Broadcom calls "Penta" core processing. Using the dual 5GHz bands along with the single 2.4GHz band and the dual-core main processor, the R8000 has a combined 2.96GHz of processing power to maximize network capacity.
MSRP of the Netgear Nighthawk X6 wireless router is listed at $299.99 with a one-year warranty. Availability of the router is quite high at this point in time with nearly every retailer having stock.
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