Netgear took the opportunity Monday at the CES Pepcom event to show off its latest dual-band router, the Nighthawk AX12. Billed as a 12-stream router, this device includes some significant Wi-Fi enhancements over its predecessors. First, of course, is support for 802.11ax, a.k.a. Wi-Fi 6. This operates over the same 5GHz band as Wi-Fi 5 (a.k.a. 802.11ac), but uses OFDMA signaling to fit more bandwidth into the spectrum. Full utilization will require Wi-Fi 6-compatible clients, and nothing from Apple currently supports that. However, this 5GHz radio also supports Wi-Fi 5, and has a couple of benefits: first, with 8 streams for that antenna your chances of getting connected to the best streams double over even the top-end routers out there. Second, the Nighthawk AX includes the very latest Wi-Fi chipset which now truly supports full, 160MHz connections, delivering real-world speed and range increases to existing Wi-Fi 5 devices. Pricing hasn’t been announced, but we expect it to be north of $400. Interested users can sign up to learn more through NETGEAR’s upcoming Premier Beta program.
Amazon is having 12 days of product deals, and today’s deal is Netgear mesh Wi-Fi wall plugs. It creates a mesh Wi-Fi network that blankets your home in super fast, seamless Wi-Fi — room to room, wall to wall, floor to floor. Replaces your old router, works with your modem and internet service provider. Featuring a slim profile these wall-plug satellites make it super easy to extend your Wi-Fi to any room with a standard electrical outlet, just plug it in and stream with speed. They’re up to 123% faster than the leading brands, as certified by an independent study, makes Orbi the highest performance mesh Wi-Fi system on the market. They also eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones and buffering — 5,000 square feet of consistent coverage — at speeds up to 2.2 Gbps (gigabytes per second). You’ll get simple setup with the Orbi app — create guest network, access parental controls, and run speed tests right from the app. Amazon: US$199 (Regular price US$299)
Sorting through the mesh wireless systems available today can be tricky. Read on, and we’ll teach you how to decide which one is best for you. [Update: Added new Plume SuperPods and Deco M9 Plus hardware to the list, and started tracking Plume overall (and I’m impressed!). Updated a note in the buying advice section comparing the robustness of eero, Plume, Velop, and Orbi. – Dave]
Dave Hamilton joins Jeff Gamet to talk about Wi-Fi routers, what to look for when replacing your AirPort Extreme, why you may want a stand-alone router instead of Wi-Fi Mesh, and more.
DOCSIS 3.1 modems bring more than just possible gigabit speeds, they also bring a solution to the Bufferbloat problem. Dave Hamilton answers Phil’s question about this and explains how and why.
LAS VEGAS – Netgear’s Orbi is one of our favorite wireless mesh systems available, and they’ve been doing a lot to update it over the past few months (see our “How to Choose Mesh Wireless” article for more details). The most recent update came at CES in the form of new hardware: the weather-resistant, AC3000, RBS50Y Orbi Outdoor Satellite. The only product that can be paired with both the consumer-grade Orbi and pro-grade Orbi Pro, the RBS50Y is a fully sealed, outdoor mesh point that can be added to an existing Orbi system. Just plug in power and go. Netgear wisely chose not to add Ethernet ports to it for security reasons – an outdoor access point gives people easy (and perhaps unwatched) ability to plug in. The Orbi RBS50Y is available immediately and Amazon has it for $329.99.