On Wednesday, Netgear launched a new Wireless AC router that is based on Broadcom's new 5G WiFi XStream platform: the Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router (R8000). This device packs six high-performance antennas and three radios: one 2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz. The router can be pre-purchased online on Wednesday for a hefty price of $299.99 here in the United States.
This new router is compatible with Wireless AC adapters and devices, providing up to 1300 Mbps on each 5 GHz band and up to 600 Gbps on the 2.4 GHz band, totaling 3200 Mbps (aka AC3200). The router's Smart Connect feature "intelligently" places fast devices on one band and slower devices on the other, ensuring that each device connected to the network has the best possible connection.
For example, on a dual-band router, video streaming and online gaming may share the same band, slowing each other down. But with this new AC3200 router, video streaming would be placed on one 5 GHz band and online gaming on the other 5 GHz band. Smaller devices like smartphones and tablets may be pushed to the 2.4 GHz band to receive the best connection.
The R8000 is powered by a 1 GHz dual-core processor and three offload processors. The device also supports Beamforming+, which locks on to a specific device to provide better downloads, clearer VoIP calls, lag-free gaming and so on. There's also a USB 3.0 port and a USB 2.0 port for sharing and streaming files across the network, and ReadySHARE Vault, a free application that backs up a PC on the network when incremental changes are made.
The R8000 also provides users with VPN support for secure remote access by using a customized free URL. There's also SPI and NAT firewalls, a separate guest network access, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, one Gigabit WAN port, iTunes server support, and Netgear MyMedia, which will stream media files stored on the USB port to DNLA-ready TVs and music systems.
Netgear did not provide a ship date for this router.
Asus revealed something similar during COMPUTEX 2014 earlier this month: the RT-AC3200. This networking solution includes six external antennas linked to two 3×3 802.11ac and one 3×3 802.11n radios, providing up to 1300 Mbps on both 5 GHz bands and up to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. Also included are four Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port.
Asus is pushing to get its tri-band router out onto the market in the second half of 2014. With Netgear now taking pre-purchases for its tri-band router, it looks as if Netgear will be the first to offer a tri-band solution for networking. So if you're looking to beef up the local network at home or in a business, one of these routers may be the way to go when they eventually hit the market.