The next generation Wi-Fi begins to arrive, and Netgear jumps in with its first two routers: Nighthawk AX8 and Nighthawk AX12.
These are two very high-end routers, capable of theoretical speeds well beyond what most home Internet connections can deliver. But their real standout feature supports the next major Wi-Fi standard, 802.11ax – or what's recently labeled as "Wi-Fi 6."
Wi-Fi 6 does not bring many incredible speed leaps or fancy consumer-turned features. But its speeds should be something faster, and more importantly, it would be better to handle a number of devices on a network at one time, which is becoming increasingly important when our home is packing with smart gadgets. [1
The two routes also look like sci-fi stealth fighter jets. In a world of evil spider routers, this is a promising development.
Netgear developed this new design style as a way to ensure that the router antennas remain upright. The antennas are hidden inside the device's wings, a position that Netgear says optimizes them for optimal performance.
The AX8 is the bottom end of the two Wi-Fi 6 squares. It has two 4 x 4 antenna arrays (one for 5 GHz Wii, one for 2.4 GHz), five gigabit Ethernet ports, and supports a total of 6 GHz wireless throughput. The AX12 is very similar, but it contains an 8×8 antenna array for its 5GHz network, which Netgear says offers improved long-range stability, along with a faster processor and a 5GB Ethernet port.
For now few (if any) people can actually benefit from all that power. In fact, you are probably better expected to buy into the Wi-Fi 6 ecosystem: the phone, computer, game console and anything else in your home almost does not support the new Wi-Fi standard, so many of these gains will not help you. You must buy all new products in the coming years before you get support for any of these newer technologies.
But if you are eager to jump in or just love the idea of connecting to a highly competent local area network, Netgear is one of the first to offer this class of router. AX8 is sold this month for $ 399. AX12 arrives at "late Q1 / early Q2" in 2019, with pricing still indefinite.
And while this is the first major Wi-Fi 6 router to be unveiled after the Wi-Fi 6 mark was announced, this router did not actually say it supports "Wi-Fi 6" on the box. It still says 802.11ax (maybe because Netgear basically plans to announce this product months ago, but continued to today). A representative of Netgear said that the company "should use the generic language of the Wi-Fi Alliance", but it would take time to implement.