Dong’s note: The full review of the RAX200 is now available here.
Netgear announced today its latest Wi-F 6 router — the Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 12-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router (model RAX200) — and its price impresses me most. At $599.99 the new router sure affords you a tremendous amount of bragging rights — if you buy it right now. So, it’s my type of router.
Netgear Wi-Fi 6 routers
The RAX200 is the third Wi-Fi 6 router Netgear has introduced so far. The table below shows how its specs stack up against the other two’s.
|Nighthawk RAX40||Nighthawk RAX120||Nighthawk RAX80||Nighthawk RAX200|
|Wi-Fi Technology||802.11ax Dual Band Wi-Fi (AX3000)||802.11ax Dual Band Wi-Fi (AX6000)||802.11ax Dual Band Wi-Fi (AX6000)||802.11ax Tri-band Wi-Fi (AX11000)|
|2.4GHz Specs||2.4GHz AX: 2×2 (Tx/Rx) 1024/256 QAM 40/20MHz, up to 600Mbps||2.4GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40MHz, up to 1.2Gbps||2.4GHz AX: 2×2 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 40MHz, up to 1.2Gbps||2.4GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 40MHz, up to 1.2Gbps|
|5GHz Specs||5GHz AX: 2×2 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 160/80/40/20Mbps, up to 2400Mbps||5GHz AX: 8×8 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40/80/80+80MHz, up to 4.8Gbps||5GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 160MHz, up to 4.8Gbps||02 x 5GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 160MHz, up to 4.8Gbps (x2)|
|Wi-Fi security||WPA, WPA2, WPA3||WPA, WPA2, WPA||WPA, WPA2, WPA||WPA, WPA2, WPA|
|Dimentions||14.17 x 8.46 x 2.36 in (360 x 215 x 60 mm)||12.2 x 2.75 x 1.22 in (310 x 70 x 28.50 mm)||12.0 x 7.95 x 6.34 in (305 x 202 x 161 mm)||11.7 x 3.07 x 8.3 in (298x78x11mm)|
|Weight||1.36 lbs (618g)||3 lbs (1.36kg)||2.82 lbs (1.28g)||3.2 lbs (1433g)|
|CPU||Dual-Core processor||2.2GHz 64-bit Quad-Core Processor||1.8GHz 64-bit Quad-Core Processor||1.8GHz 64-bit Quad-Core Processor|
|Ports||Four Gigaibit LAN ports, one Gigaibit WAN port, one USB 3.0 port.||Five Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, one 5G Multi-Gig Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 ports||Five Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, two USB 3.0 ports||Five Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, one 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN port, two USB 3.0 ports|
|Availability||April 2019||April 2019||Now||Now|
Netgear RAX200: Top-notch specs
Indeed, the RAX200 sports the current broadest specs of Wi-Fi 6 with a 12-Stream Tri-band configuration, capable of delivering a total bandwidth of 10.8Gbps. There are two things to keep in mind about this number.
First, you need a Wi-Fi 6 client to connect at high speeds — the router will work with existing Wi-Fi 5 and legacy clients but only at their respective standards’ rates.
Also, the RAX200’s top theoretical speed actually caps at 4.8Gbps, since that’s the current ceiling speed of Wi-Fi 6 on the 5GHz frequency band, of which the router has two. The reason being a Wi-Fi connection always takes place on one frequency at a time. The router also has a third 2.4GHz band that caps at 1.2Gbps.
In other words, if you talk about a single connection, the RAX200 is about as fast as other dual-band Wi-Fi 6 routers — like the Asus RT-AX88U or Netgear RAX80 –, but it has one more 5GHz band and therefore can handle more clients at the same time.
That said, the RX200 is perfect for a home with tons of Wi-Fi 6 devices. This type of home is scarce right now — there are hardly any Wi-Fi 6 clients on the market — but I bet there will be plenty of them someday, considering the booming market of IoT devices.
As to raw power, the RAX200 is beefy. It sports a 1.8GHz quad-core processor, 512MB NAND Flash memory, and 1GB DDR3 SDRAM. It has so much power that I wouldn’t be surprised if some rapper decided to feature it in their music video. After all, this is a stylus, a futuristic-looking piece of hardware.
Multi-Gig Internet ready
What I like most about the RAX200, over some Wi-Fi 6 routers, is the fact it supports Multi-Gig connection speeds. The router has one Gigabit WAN (Internet) port, four Gigabit LAN ports, and one 2.5Gbps port that can work either as a WAN or a LAN.
What’s more, you can turn its first LAN port into a second WAN port and aggregate it with the WAN port to deliver a 2Gbps Internet speed. Also, the third and fourth LAN ports can work together to provide a 2Gbps LAN connection. So if Wi-Fi 6 turns out to be as fast as it’s been cracked up to be, at least there are scenarios where the router’s LAN ports won’t be the bottlenecks.
Unfortunately, though, the RAX200 doesn’t have a 10Gbps network option or more LAN ports, for that matter. This lack is somewhat of a big deal considering the price.
Familiar feature set
Other than that, the RAX200 has similar features as other Wi-Fi 6 and existing Netgear routers. It has a web interface as well as a newly-designed mobile app for setup and ongoing management. According to Netgear, the router has enough power to deliver even the most bandwidth-taxing tasks, such as 4K/8K UHD streaming and gaming. If you’re getting Gigabit Internet at home, it will fit right in.
At launch, the new router won’t get the NETGEAR Armor online protection, which has been available to the Orbi router and a few other Netgear Wi-F 5 routers. However, the company told me that Armor would be available to Netgear’s Wi-Fi 6 routers, via a firmware update, in the future.
Netgear says the Nighthawk Tri-band AX12 12-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router is available right now, making it hard for many since you don’t have enough time to start saving. But if you want to wait till you have Wi-F6 clients, you won’t be missing out much in the meantime. By the way, did I mention that it costs $599.99?