If you have a spare $600 lying around and want to jump into the swirling waters that are today's draft 11ax/Wi-Fi 6 router market, you might be interested in NETGEAR's new Tri-Band draft 11ax router.
The Nighthawk RAX200 Tri-Band AX12 12-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router joins ASUS's "AX1100" class ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 in the Wi-Fi 6 three-radio router rodeo. But the RAX200's $600 price point is $150 higher than ASUS's current $450 for the GT-AX1100.
Both are based on Broadcom's draft 11ax platform, with three four-stream draft 802.11ax radios supporting maximum link rates of 1.2 Gbps in 2.4 GHz and 4.8 Gbps on each 5 GHz radio. The heart of the RAX200 is a 64 bit quad-core processor running at 1.8 GHz backed by 1 GB of DDR3 RAM and 512 MB of flash.
Port complement includes five Gigabit and one 2.5/1 Gbps "Multi-Gig" port. The 2.5/1 Gbps port is tied to the LAN side, but the single Gigabit WAN port can be aggregated with one of the LAN ports to boost WAN throughput for those with DOCSIS modems that also support aggregated connection. Two other LAN ports can also be aggregated. There are also two USB 3.0 ports that support storage sharing via NETGEAR's READYSHARE.
NETGEAR is touting two ways to improve bandwidth utilization for multiple devices. The RAX200 spec sheet says up to four 2x2 devices can share a data frame via MU-MIMO or 8 devices can share airtime using OFDMA. Of course, your devices must also support MU-MIMO, which some 11ac (Wi-Fi 5) devices now do. But OFDMA support requires draft 11ax devices, which are also available in the form of Samsung's Galaxy 10 phones. But OFDMA support is having a rough birthing process and is not yet enabled in any Wi-Fi 6 routers. Word is that WPA3 support and OFDMA will be turned on in a future firmware update.
Other features include support for dynamic QoS, smart connect band steering, DFS and 160 MHz channel support and some configuration via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.
The RAX200 can be pre-ordered now from Amazon for $599.99, for delivery on June 19. Or you can get ASUS' ROG Rapture GT-AX1100 today for $450.