New Netgear Nighthawk X6 R8000 Triband AC3200 Router June 24 2014
Netgear just introduced the new Nighthawk R8000 which is an advance over their hugely popular Nighthawk R7000 which many here feel is the the best AC router available. I was invited to Netgear a week ago to get an overview of the new Nighthawk. I was very curious how this router could be better then what they already accomplished with the R7000.
Netgear lately has been very creative with their high end wireless technologies. A big capability first seen in the R7000 was "Implicit Beam Forming". This is where the router intelligently can determine the best RF path to connect to a mobile device for the most optimum performance. The big difference here was the "Implicit Beamforming" works with standard N based devices as opposed to the AC standard of "Explicit" which requires an AC client to work. For more see the thread on the R7000 here at AVS Netgear R7000 Nighthawk AC1900 Router Review and Comments Thread
I bring this up as it was one of the many unique and powerful aspects of the R7000 that set it apart. So when I was being introduced to the R8000 I was really curious as to how this would be better.
While the R8000 hasnt be released yet (I am told it is a few weeks a way) the description of the feature set and enhancements were easy to see how they bested the R7000.
The R8000 includes everything that made the R7000 what it is. It has all of the R7000 software features including Implicit and Explicit Beamforming,iTunes Server, Readyshare Vault, Readyshare Printer, DLNA and a host of other features we would expect from a high end Netgear router.
The R8000 Difference
The R8000 is the industry's first (to my knowledge) Triband Router. TriBand? Up to now we have had dual band. The 2 bands were the standard 2.4ghz band and the enhanced 5ghz band. So where is the 3rd band? And why?
Given the growth of mobile wifi devices and the increasing consumption of streaming video wifi bandwidth in the home is under pressure. If 2 people are streaming wirelessly the current wifi technology must adapt to the slower of the 2 devices. Then add another device and congestion and speed suffer.
Netgear has taken a very novel approach to this problem. The "3rd" band is another set of 5 ghz radios. In essence it doubles the available wireless bandwidth in the 5ghz range.
What is completely unique and fascinating is that to your devices they see only the 1 5ghz SSID. The R8000 manages the traffic placing faster devices on 1 5ghz radio set and the slower on the other 5 ghz radio thus maximizing the performance for all devices without compromise. The software and intelligence built into the R8000 is impressive as described.
To support this added radio overhead the R8000 is in a new form factor that require 6 antennas. Unlike the R7000 there is no guesswork on antenna positioning. When set up the antennas rise to a 90 degree position relative to the router. It is very cool to watch as they automatically rise on their own.
The R8000 also supports Implicit Beamforming as mentioned earlier working with N based devices as well as Explicit Beamforming for the emerging AC based clients.
What should you buy a R7000 or R8000?
So who is the R8000 aimed at? The R8000 is designed for the family that cares about video streaming performance and has a variety of simultaneous users. With the multitude of mobile phones, tablets and laptops in the average home this is pretty much the norm. Our increased bandwidth to the home allows for many online activities at the same time. The R8000 is designed to eliminate or reduce the in home wireless bottleneck. If this describes your home environment then the R8000 was designed for you.
Review and Usage Report
As mentioned the R8000 has not yet hit the streets so I can only comment on what was told to me by Netgear product management. I expect a unit in hand in a few weeks and I will report back.
I am looking forward to trying this as I am constantly juggling my own network for best performance. The R8000 may be a big problem solver.
Here is a link you can download the data sheet on the R8000
Netgear AV Consultant