Netgear has announced their next-generation flagship router – the Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router also known as the R8000. This is the market’s first tri-band WiFi router and features six high-performance antennas working over three network bands, one 2.4Ghz and two 5.0GHz for combined speeds of up to 3.2 Gbps (or 1300+1300+600Mbps). The $299 (MSRP) Nighthawk R8000 X6 is designed to automatically balance the network ensuring the best WiFi performance and maximum range for each device.
The biggest feature surrounding the Netgear R8000 is the additional 5GHz WiFi radio.
We were told that Netgear will be using the same dual-core 1GHz processor found on the last flagship router model for the R8000. Of of the main differences from other routers and this flagship device how each of the WiFi channels have its own dedicated processor on the R8000. This new processing power allows the R8000 to have even more robust processor intensive features such as “Open VPN” and a new USB 3.0 Backup feature, ReadShare Vault, Beamforming +, Personal FTP Server, new Netgear Genie, and so on. The Broadcom 5G X Stream that powers the Nighthawk X6 is designed to identify and offload processing to free up the main dual-core processor for other tasks..
Netgear says that the USB 3.0 ports can be connected to faster devices like external hard drives that are networked and then the USB 2.0 ports are available for slower devices like printers.
Using “Smart Connect” the Netgear R8000 can optimize the speed of each attached device and allocates them to a particular channel. This automatic parsing allows the R8000 to keep devices working at their optimal speeds.
Netgear has once again partnered with Broadcom to supply the System on Chip (SOC) architecture and processor for the Nighthawk X6. We spoke to Richard Najarian, Broadcom’s WLAN Product Marketing Senior Director, and he explained that Broadcom’s 5G WiFi XStream technology optimizes speeds for all WiFi devices to alleviate bogging down the entire network. The slide below shows how in a typical dual-band WiFi-AC network, usage speeds can slow the more devices are connected.
The Netgear R8000 is designed to handle a greater number of WiFi devices and keep them at their ideal WiFi speeds. We see here how Netgear’s Smart Connect has automatically placed attached devices in different 5GHz channels. As a Power User, you are able to place devices in whatever band you want, but for the typical user, this parsing (or Load Balancing) is happening in the background keeping network traffic flowing.
The Netgear R8000 has a USB 3.0 port is again included in the router, but this time Netgear has included a new feature called Netgear ReadySHARE Vault that automatically backs up Windows-based PCs to USB hard drives connected to the Nighthawk X6 R8000.
Internal testing done by Netgear has shown that the Nighthawk X6 is network storage ready with 16MB/s transfer speeds as a network storage device.
One of the other exciting features explained to us was the new “Implicit Beamforming” function where the R8000 router detects what devices are connected via WiFi and optimizes the signal to improve speed and stability. In the past, the client device needed to have Beamforming functionality, but the new R8000 can utilize this beamforming technology unilaterally with “legacy” devices making the R8000 a perfect match to most every WiFi enabled device.
With the addition of a new radio transceiver and new processing functionality, you would expect there to be a power draw greater than that of previous models. While the Netgear folks didn’t tell us specifically what the power draw was, we can look back at the older R7000 where Netgear included a 12V, 3.5A power adapter. The new Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 R8000 router uses a 12V 5 Amp power adapter, so it does use slight more power. Of course we will see when we get our hands on the new unit.
The new Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 (R8000) router is now available for pre-order for $299. Netgear expects units to ship in early July.