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Netgear Wi-Fi 7 Hardware: Affordable Nighthawk Router and Orbi Mesh System Now Available

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If you're into Netgear as a networking brand but taken aback by its first round of expensive Wi-Fi 7 hardware, namely the Nighthawk RS700S standalone router and the Orbi BE970 series mesh system, there's now some good news.

Following Asus, which just a couple of days ago showed off half a dozen new Wi-Fi 7 hardware products, Netgear today unveiled its second round of more affordable alternatives, including the Nighthawk RS300 router and the Orbi 770 Series mesh system.

While on paper, these two seem to have fewer hardware specs, in reality, both seem to be more sensible options that will likely deliver similar, if not even better, real-world experiences.

Let's dig in.

Netgear Nighthawk RS300
Netgear Wi-Fi 7 hardware: The new Nighthawk RS300 is not a gaming router, but you sure can play games with it.

Nighthawk RS300: Netgear’s sensible Wi-Fi 7 router

At a glance, the new RS300 is inferior to the top-tier RS700S. For one, it lacks 10Gbps Ethernet. And then, it has lower Wi-Fi specs.

However, looking closer, you'll note that the mid-tier router actually has three Multi-Gig ports instead of just two in the case of its older cousin. And since it only has 2.5Gbps on the wired front, it's pointless to feature top-tier Wi-Fi 7 specs since its bandwidth will cap at 2.5Gbps anyway.

Overall, the Nighthawk RS300 is similar to the TP-Link Archer BE550 in terms of specs and likely real-world performance. For this reason, its $330 price tag is a bit on the expensive side. That's especially true considering the TP-Link has more free features, including web-based remote management, which Netgear did away with almost two years ago.

Still, the new router is markedly more affordable than the Nighthawk RS700S, which might be overkill for most homes.

Other than that, the new Nighthawk RS300 is a familiar Nighthawk router. It has a standard web user interface, a minimum set of free settings/features, and an optional Nighthawk mobile app for setup and ongoing management.

If you opt for the apt, which Netgear has been coercing users into, you have the option to buy add-on packages for online protection and advanced parental controls. Netgear says that the app has enough for you to "do it all" with the router. However, in my experience, many settings, such as Dynamic DNS and port forwarding, still require the web user interface.

The table below shows its specs compared to the RS700.

Netgear Wi-Fi 7 hardware: Netgear Nighthawk RS300 vs. Nighthawk RS700S

Netgear Nighthawk RS300 BE10000 Wi-Fi 7 RouterNetgear Nighthawk RS700S BE19000 Wi-Fi 7 Router
Netgear Nighthawk RS300 routerNetgear Nighthawk RS700 is a Wi-Fi 7 Router
ModelRS300RS700,
RS700S
Wi-Fi BandwidthTri-band BE9300Tri-band BE19000
Modulation Scheme
(QAM)
4096-QAM (all bands)
1st Band
(Qchannel width)
2×2 2.4GHz BE: Up to 688 Mbps
(20/40MHz)
4x4 2.4GHz BE: up to 1376Mbps
2nd Band
(channel width)
2×2 5GHz-2 BE: Up to 2880 Mbps (20/40/80/160MHz)4×4 5GHz BE: up to 5762Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
3rd Band
(channel width)
2×2 6GHz BE: Up to 5760Mbps (20/40/80/160/320MHz)4×4 6GHz BE: up to 11,525Mbps
(20/40/80/160/320MHz)
4th Band
(channel width)
NoneNone
Network StandardsIEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b,
IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n,
IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax,
IEEE 802.11be, IPv4, IPv6
Network FeaturesWeb User Interface
Nighthawk Mobile App
Limited free features and settings
Vendor Login Account RequiredYes
(to use the Nighthawk Mobile app)
Premium Add-onNetgear Armor ($100/year)
Parental Control (70/year)
(both require the mobile app)
Mesh-ReadyNo
Operating ModeRouter
Access Point
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5GBASE-T WAN,
2x 2.5GBASE-T LAN,
1x 10Gbps WAN
1x 10GGbps LAN
Gigabit Port1x LAN4x LAN
Automated Frequency Coordination
(AFC)
Unavailable at launch
(might be added via firmware)
Multi-Link Operation
(MLO)
Yes
Link AggregationYes
Dual-WANNo
USB Port1 x USB 3.0
DimensionsTBD11.09 x 5.59 x 4.88 in
(281.70 x 142 x 124.03 mm)
WeightTBD3.61 lb (1.635kg)
Processing PowerQuad-Core 2.0GHz CPUQuad-core 2.6GHz CPU,
512MB Flash, 2GB RAM
Power IntakeTBD120V
Firmware
(at review)
not yet testedV1.0.7.82
Power Consumption
(per 24 hours)
TBD≈ 375 Wh
(as tested)
US Release DateJune 11, 2024Q4 2023
US Price
(at launch)
$329.99$699.99
Hardware specifications: Netgear Nighthawk RS300 vs. Netgear Nighthawk RS700S
Netgear Wi-Fi 7 hardware: The new Orbi 770 series mesh system
Netgear Wi-Fi 7 hardware: The new Orbi 770 series mesh system

Netgear Orbi 770 Series: The dedicated backhaul band shenanigans is no more

Like the case of the Nighthawk RS300 above, the new Orbi 770, as its model name suggests, is at least a tier lower than the previous Orbi 970 series in hardware specs.

However, it's a much more special mesh system. It's the first Orbi in a long time, since the Orbi RBK13, that doesn't have an additional 5GHz band that works as the permanent backhaul link. That means in a wired setup, users can use all of the hardware's Wi-Fi bands for the clients. That's a huge step up from all the previous Orbi sets, including the nightly (yet buggy) 970 series.

The reason is that with Wi-Fi 7's MLO feature, which significantly increases the hardware's bandwidth, the dedicated backhaul band no longer makes sense. In fact, it only complicates things necessarily.

Other than that, the new system is very similar to the rest of the Orbi family. The hardware has a full web user interface. Still, you'll need to use its Orbi mobile app to access certain features, including remote management and add-on premium features, such as online protection and parental controls. It shares the same vertical tube design as the 970 series, but Netgear says there will be mounting accessories (not included) to help users with placement.

What's most important is that, per Netgear, the new Orbi 770 series is now much more affordable, though it might not be affordable enough for some.

The table below shows the differences and similarities between the new Orbi 770 series and the previous 970 series.

Netgear Wi-Fi 7 hardware: Orbi 770 series vs. Orbi 970 series

Netgear Orbi 770 SeriesNetgear Orbi 970 Series RBE973S Back
Netgear Orbi 770 SeriesNetgear Orbi 970 Series
Model and Mesh CompositionRouter: RBE771
Satellite: RBE770
Router + Satellite(s)
2-pack (RBE772)
3-pack (RBE773)
Router: RBE971
Satellite: RBE970
Router + Satellite(s)
2-pack (RBE972S)
3-pack (RBE973S)
Pre-Synced HardwareYes
Dedicated Backhaul Band
(default)
None
Wired BackhaulYes
(all bands are available to clients)
Yes
(backhaul band unavailable to clients)
Multi-Gig Wired Backhaul
(before a switch is required)
2.5Gbps throughout via daisy-chaining10Gbps (first satellite)
2.5Gbps (2nd satellite)
Dimensions 
(each unit)
TBD11.58 x 5.68 x 5.15 in (29.40 x 14.42 x 13.8 cm)
Weight
(each unit)
TBD3.96 lbs (1.79 kg)
Wi-Fi DesignationTri-band BE11000Quad-band BE27000
1st Band
(2.4GHz)
2×2 BE: Up to 688 Mbps
(20/40MHz)
4×4 AX: Up to 1147 Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2nd Band
(5GHz upper channels)
2×2 BE: Up to 4324 Mbps
(20/40/160/240MHz)
5GHz-1
4×4 BE: Up to 8647 Mbps
(20/40MHz/160/240MHz)
3rd Band
(6GHz)
4×4 BE: Up to 5765 Mbps
(20/40MHz/160/320MHz)
4×4 AXE: 
Up to 4800Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
4th Band
(5GHz lower channels)
None5GHz-2
4×4 BE: Up to 5765 Mbps
(20/40MHz/160MHz)
Mobile AppNetgear Orbi
Login Account RequiredYes
Web User InterfaceYes
FeaturesArmor, Parental Control premium
subscriptions via mobile app
AP ModeYes
(as a router or a mesh)
USB PortNone
Gigabit PortNone
Multi-Gig PortRouter: 1x 2.5GBASE-T WAN, 3x 2.5GBASE-T LAN,
Satellite: 2x 2.5GBASE-T LANs
Router: 1x 10GBASE-T WAN, 1x 10GBASE-T LAN,
4x 2.5GBASE-T LANs
Satellite: 1x 10GBASE-T LAN, 2x 2.5GBASE-T LANs
Link AggregationNo
Dual-WANNo
Automated Frequency Coordination
(AFC)
Unavailable at launch
(might be added via firmware)
Multi-Link Operation
(MLO)
Yes
Processing PowerUndisclosedQuad-core 2.2GHz CPU,
4GB flash, 2GB RAM
Internal FanNo
Firmware Version
(at review)
not yet testedV9.10.4.1_1.1.17
Power Consumption
(per 24 hours, measured at the router unit)
TBD≈ 550 Wh
Release DateJune 11, 2024September 2023
US Retail Price
(at launch)
$999.99 (3-pack)
$699.99 (2-pack)
$399.99 (satellite unit)
$2,299.99 (3-pack)
$1699.99 (2-pack)
$899 (satellite unit)
Hardware specifications: Orbi 770 series vs. Orbi 970 series

Availability

Netgear says the new Orbi 770 series Wi-Fi 7 mesh system and Nighthawk RS300 Wi-Fi 7 router are available today at its website and will soon hit the shelves of online retailers. While they are not exactly the most affordable hardware on the market, their availability means you have more options to pick from, and that's never a bad thing.

It's worth noting that none of Netgear's Wi-Fi 7 hardware, including those announced today, supports Wi-Fi 7's AFC feature. It's unclear if they will get it via firmware updates. I'm waiting to hear back from Netgeat on the matter and will update this post accordingly.

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4 thoughts on “Netgear Wi-Fi 7 Hardware: Affordable Nighthawk Router and Orbi Mesh System Now Available”

  1. Hi Dong,

    Love reading your reviews and articles. Do you know how the Orbi 770 compares to the TP-link Deco BE11000? According to the Netgear website the 770 is an 11 Gbps Tri-Band BE11000 (5,760 + 4,320 + 688Mbps) and the Deco is also 11 Gbps Tri-Band 5764 Mbps (6 GHz) + 4324 Mbps (5 GHz) + 688 Mbps (2.4 GHz). So they seem very similar. They also only have 2.5 Gbps ports.
    The reason I ask is because I own and have owned Orbi systems and for the most part, they are really reliable. I’ve never tried the Decos but their prices are hard to beat. Specially the BE11000 ($499.99 for 3-pack) at Costco. Thanks!

    Reply
  2. Thank you for publishing your reviews and technical information. I noticed that it says No for mesh ready for both the RS300 and RS700S instead of saying maybe available with a firmware update. I recently bought the RS700S, your review helped my choice, I remember in the review it saying Netgear plans on adding Easy Mesh to it. Do you know if Netgear no longer plans to add that feature? I see that MLO is mentioned as a yes in this article for both Nighthawks but I thought that it is not on the RS700S yet, I even noticed that I don’t see that feature listed in the tech specs for it like it used to be- now the closest is MU-MIMO. Thank you for asking Netgear about AFC as I hope it comes to the RS700S. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Netgear first claimed Easy Mesh for the RS700S which has so far not supported that. The company is often full of misleading claims, I’d not hold my breath.

      Reply

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