Review New In The Charts: NETGEAR RAX45

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Product Review

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
NETGEAR RAX45
NETGEAR's RAX45 Nighthawk 6-Stream Dual-Band WiFi 6 Router has been tested and added to SmallNetBuilder's Wi-Fi Router Charts. Its Broadcom-based design is very similar to ASUS' RT-AX58U, supporting two 2.4 GHz streams and four 5 GHz streams. But it did significantly better in our tests. Check the Wi-Fi Router Charts and Wi-Fi Router Ranker for more details.

NETGEAR RAX45 vs. ASUS RT-AX58U 5 GHz RvR downlink
 

fr0stedfl4ke

New Around Here
Thanks for testing this router out! I've noticed that there are a couple other routers within this class - particularly the rax40, rax42 and the rax50. Would it be possible to get some test results on these other routers as well? The reason I ask is because it appears that the rax45 doesn't support 1024 QAM and the rax40,42 and 50 does. It kind of seems like the rax45 is a stripped down version. Not sure why Netgear would do something like this.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
NETGEAR has made tweaks like this on a number of products, the RAX15/20 for example. Mostly done to create a special SKU for Costco.

Note that you get 1024 QAM only with a very strong signal.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
I've never had a Costco membership, but past purchases from customers have led me to believe that Costco, BestBuy, etc. offer worse products (from computers to routers and more) than what the manufacturer offers in general. 'Worse' may be a bit harsh here.

But I wouldn't want a crippled product (no matter how slightly crippled it is) to save a few pennies at most.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
I've never had a Costco membership, but past purchases from customers have led me to believe that Costco, BestBuy, etc. offer worse products (from computers to routers and more) than what the manufacturer offers in general. 'Worse' may be a bit harsh here.

But I wouldn't want a crippled product (no matter how slightly crippled it is) to save a few pennies at most.
At least in NETGEAR's case, the products are physically the same. Only a tweak in the firmware to lock out certain MCS rates.

"Crippled" is indeed harsh. Many (most) of the Wi-Fi clients in the wild are not AX, so can't access MCS 11/ 1024 QAM anyway.

And it's not a few pennies, either. The Costco RAXE450 is $450. The RAXE500 is $530.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Spending '15% less' and also getting less than what you think you're buying, (regardless of the state of the clients in the wild) is not my idea of savings.

To each their own. $80 is two dinners at a fast food place (and that is just with myself and two kids).
 

fr0stedfl4ke

New Around Here
@thiggins - would you be able to explain why companies like Netgear make special sku's for resellers like Costco, BB, etc instead of selling the standard model? The RAX45 is like $180 and the RAX43 is $223 and RAX50 is $250. I would think that the higher you go up in # the more features, capabilities a product would have - even if it's minimal. Like, the RAX45 lacks 1024 QAM while the RAX43 and 50 has these features included. Yet, the mbps capabilities are higher with the RAX45 and lower with the RAX43. Almost seems like a trade-off, though minimal. But If I'm getting slightly better connectivity speeds with the RAX45, why would I want to pay more for the RAX43? (4.2gbps vs 4.3gbps). I'm just trying to make sense of these different products and whether or not the test results on SNB would be different between the different models. Sorry for the dumb question. I'd like to better understand what this looks like for purchasing decisions.

Any help is appreciated.
 

HWDan

Regular Contributor
Mostly for price matching reasons I believe.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Having an 'exclusive' product doesn't work, even if it's cheaper unless it's the best example in its class.

Manufacturers and resellers don't care about the confusion it causes. Their goal is to sell more units, period.

That is why I just buy the 'real' version and not some big store knockoff version of it.
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
Special SKUs have been around for a long time. You'll find them in appliances, mattresses and other consumer products.

Yes, one reason is to prevent price matching. Another is to protect margins on higher-priced versions of the essentially the same product.

Most people, @L&LD excepted, like getting a bargain. Costco seems to have done pretty well as a business.

As far as product numbering schemes, I won't even try to make sense of them.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
If a large retailer like Costco contacts Netgear, and promises to buy 200,000 items of a product if Netgear can drop the price to a certain point, then Netgear sees it as a business opportunity to generate a good sale, and they will do so by providing a slightly feature-reduced product, so not to impact their sales of the regularly priced SKU.

It frequently happens with Costco, Best Buy and even Amazon (the Asus RT-AC68A back in the day). Ultimately, it allows the manufacturer to score a large sale, and it allows a reseller to offer a cheaper product, which will generate sales on their end.
 

fr0stedfl4ke

New Around Here
Thanks for the response everyone. This makes more sense, now that I understand how this plays out in context. Anyways, hope to see more tests with additional Wi-Fi 6 and 6E devices @thiggins! Thanks for all the effort so far.
 

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