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Netgear Intros Wi-Fi 6 Routers, Hardware Membership

The Nighthawk AX8/8-stream AX6000 WiFi Router (model RAX80)
The Nighthawk AX8/8-stream AX6000 WiFi Router (model RAX80)

Netgear just announced its first two Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) products, the Nighthawk AX12/12-stream AX6000 WiFi Router (model RAX120) and the Nighthawk AX8/8-stream AX6000 WiFi Router (model RAX80). They are the answers to those Asus announced a while back.

Update: The full review of the RAX120 is now available here.

Top-tier Wi-Fi specs

There are a lot of similarities between Netgear’s two new routers.

Both sport a futuristic-looking design and shape like space ships. They also share the top Wi-Fi speed of up to 4.8Gbps on the 5GHz and of up to 1.2Gbps on the 2.4GHz. Both are backward compatible with previous Wi-Fi standards. And both come with five Gigabit LAN ports — with Link Aggregation — and one Gigabit WAN (internet port).

Nighthawk RAX120 Nighthawk RAX80
Wi-Fi technology802.11ax Dual Band WiFi (AX6000)
2.4GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40MHz, up to 1.2Gbps.
5GHz AX: 8×8 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40/80/80+80MHz, up to 4.8Gbps
Backwards compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi
Same
Wi-Fi securityWPA, WPA2, WPA3
Dimentions12.2 x 7.48 x 1.77 in (310 x 190 x 45 mm)12.0 x 7.95 x 6.34 in (305 x 202 x 161 mm).
Weight3 lbs (1.36kg)2.82 lbs (1.28g)
CPU2.2GHz 64-bit Quad-Core Processor1.8GHz 64-bit Quad-Core Processor
PortsFive Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, one 5G Multi-Gig Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 portsFive Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, two USB 3.0 ports
Link aggregationYesYes
MU-MIMOUp to 8 Simultaneous WiFi Streams: 8-stream MU-MIMO enables up to four 2×2 devices at the same time.Up to 4 Simultaneous WiFi Streams: 4-stream MU-MIMO enables up to four 1×1 devices at the same time.
OFDMAYesYes
AvailablityQ2 2019Pre-Order Now
MSRP$499.99$399.99 
Netgear RAX120 vs. RAX80

8-stream MU-MIMO vs. 4-stream MU-MIMO

The biggest difference between the two is the RAX120 features 8-stream MU-MIMO while the RAX80 has 4-stream MU-MIMO. As a result, the former is capable of supporting twice the amount of simultaneous Wi-Fi 6 clients than the latter, per each Wi-Fi channel.

The ability to handle multiple clients per stream is a new feature of Wi-Fi 6. It’s called Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiple Access (OFDMA) which optimizes signals’ efficiency.

RAX80 Back

RELATED: All you need to know about Wi-Fi.

Before you get all excited, though, it’s not yet possible to enjoy the benefits of Wi-Fi 6 because you’ll need Wi-Fi 6 clients for that. Like with previous Wi-Fi standards, the client side of the market will take a while to catch up. In other words, there are not many reasons to rush to buy a Wi-Fi 6 router right now.

However, both of these routers will work with all existing Wi-Fi clients and chances are, thanks to their powerful hardware, they will deliver a better Wi-Fi range than your current router.

Availability

It’s a good idea to wait till you have Wi-Fi 6 clients before getting a Wi-Fi 6 router. However, if you can’t wait, the RAX80 is available for pre-order now at $399.99.

As for the RAX120, it won’t be available until next year. And you can’t buy it, either, since it’s only available via Netgear’s new Premier Membership (currently in beta), where you pay a small subscription for the hardware. More details of the membership will also be available next year.

See also  Netgear Intros Orbi NBK752, First Mesh with Built-in 5G Modem, for a Price
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