Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router, hands on: High-performance, high-capacity

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While most of us are deciding whether or not to upgrade to a new router that supports the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard (a.k.a. 802.11ax), it turns out there's another new flavour of Wi-Fi already on its way. Called Wi-Fi 6E (E for 'Extended'), this new standard adds the 6GHz frequency band to the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands currently supported by Wi-Fi 6 and its predecessor, Wi-Fi 5 (formerly known as 802.11ac).  

With the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands becoming increasingly crowded, the new 6GHz band adds additional capacity that, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance, provides strong performance "even in very dense and congested environments", such as sports arenas and business complexes. 

Several networking companies have announced new routers that support Wi-Fi 6E, but Netgear is first off the starting block with its new Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6E Router. Priced at $599.99 (UK pricing TBA), the RAXE500 is very much a top-of-the-range option, boasting a top combined speed of 10.8Gbps, and eight internal antennae designed to stream data to as many as 60 devices simultaneously.  

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Netgear's Nighthawk RAXE500 router supports the new 6GHz Wi-Fi 6E standard, delivering combined throughput of up to 10.8Gbps and 'fast and reliable' connections for up to 60 devices.

Image: Netgear

Netgear states that the new 6GHz band also allows the use of high-bandwidth 160MHz 'channels' -- rather like sub-bands within the main 6GHz band -- that are ideal for high-capacity applications such as streaming 4K or 8K video for entertainment or video conferencing. 

The router is powered by a 1.8GHz quad-core processor and supports the latest WPA3 security standard. As well as providing high-performance Wi-Fi, the RAXE500 also includes multiple high-performance wired connections for an office network. There's a dedicated 2.5Gbps 'multi-gig' Ethernet interface for high-speed internet connections, as well as five additional Gigabit Ethernet ports for wired devices, which also provide the ability to combine -- or 'aggregate' -- two ports for higher speed. The router also includes two USB 3.0 ports for connecting USB storage devices that can be shared with other network users. 

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Ports on the RAXE500 (left to right): 2x USB 3.0, WAN, 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 2.5Gbps Ethernet.

Image: Netgear

Netgear's Nighthawk range tends to be primarily aimed at home users, but with so many people still working from home, Netgear is describing the RAXE500 as an 'all-purpose' router that's suitable for video conferencing and e-learning as well.  

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Orbi Pro WiFi 6 Mini (SXK30): Affordable Wi-Fi 6 mesh networking.

Image: Netgear

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The company hasn't yet brought Wi-Fi 6E to its business-oriented Orbi Pro mesh systems, but it has just introduced a new Orbi Pro model that aims to provide a more affordable entry-point for Wi-Fi 6 technology. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: Computer Hardware Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

Previous models have been expensive tri-band mesh systems aimed at larger businesses, but the new Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 Mini is a more affordable dual-band option for home office use and small businesses. There are two options available, both providing Wi-Fi 6 speeds of 1.8Gbps and supporting up to 40 devices. Prices start at $299.99 for a two-piece system suitable for covering areas of up to 2,000 sq.ft, while a three-piece system that can cover 4,000 sq.ft comes in at $399.99. Like other Orbi Pro systems, the Mini allows you to create four separate networks (SSIDs) that can be assigned to different tasks or different groups of users, such as guests, employees, IT staff or admin. 

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Specifications

Networking
Form Factor desktop
Type wireless router
Connectivity Technology wired, wireless
Data Link Protocol 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet, Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n
Features Beamforming+, Circle with Disney, Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS), LED on/off button, MU-MIMO technology, Tri-Band, VPN support, firmware upgradable, guest access
Compliant Standards IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11ac, IEEE 802.11ax, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11i, IEEE 802.11n
Data Transfer Rate 10.8 Gbps
WAN Ports Qty 1
Integrated Switch 4-port switch
Key Features USB port, VPN support
General
Frequency Band 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz / 6 GHz
Performance Maximum data rate (2.4 GHz): 1.2 Gbps
Maximum data rate (5 GHz): 4.8 Gbps
Maximum data rate (6 GHz): 4.8 Gbps
Capacity Streams: 12
RAM 1 GB DDR3 SDRAM
Flash Memory 512 MB
Encryption Algorithm 128-bit AES, WPA3
Antenna
Antenna Qty 8
Antenna Form Factor internal
Miscellaneous
Color Category black
Encryption Algorithm 128-bit AES
Processor
Clock Speed 1.8 GHz
Header
Brand NETGEAR
Product Line NETGEAR Nighthawk
Packaged Quantity 1
Country Kits North America
RAM
Technology DDR3 SDRAM
Interface Provided
Qty 1, 2, 4
Interface Ethernet 10Base-T/100Base-TX/1000Base-T
Type LAN, USB 3.0, WAN
Cable Details
Type network cable
Included Qty 1
Line Properties
Line Coding Format 1024 QAM, 256 QAM, OFDMA
Power Device
Type external power adapter
Performance
Type maximum data rate (2.4 GHz), maximum data rate (5 GHz)
Value 1.2 Gbps, 4.8 Gbps
System Requirements
OS Required Apple MacOS, Linux, Microsoft Windows 2000/XP/Vista/7/8/10, UNIX
Capacity
Value 12
Internet of Things (IoT)
Intelligent Assistant Compatible Alexa, Google Assistant
Dimensions & Weight
Width 11.7 in
Depth 8.3 in
Height 3.1 in
Weight 3.2 lbs
Service & Support Details
Type limited warranty
Service Included technical support
Full Contract Period 1 year, 90 days
Service & Support
Type 1 year warranty

Where To Buy

Price
$931.02

Where To Buy

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 - wireless router - 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax - desktop

Part Number: RAXE500-100NAS
Price
$931.02