Over the coming days we’re going to see a lot of cool hardware news drop at CES. Not all of it, like these weird ratio screens (opens in new tab), are particularly relevant to gamers. However, this new router from Netgear absolutely has gamers in its sights for the target market.
Netgear’s (opens in new tab)newest Nighthawk router (opens in new tab) (spotted by Cnet (opens in new tab)) builds on last year's Wi-Fi 6 release nicely (opens in new tab), and perhaps more importantly, costs $200 USD less. The Nighthawk RAXE300 WiFi 6E router maintains the same all black gull winged look, like some sort of stealth jet like last years' too. Though, this years’ model looks like it could be a nice matt black finish instead of a shiny, fingerprint prone one.
The new tri-band router packs eight antennas into this batplane form factor, and is obviously geared towards catering to the newly opened 6GHz band. Unfortunately, there are precious few Wi-Fi 6E devices that use it yet, so it might not mean much for many consumers. Plus, 6GHz speeds are supported up to 2.4Gbps, so for most people 5GHz at 4.8Gbps is still going to be where it’s at. 5GHz also tends to have a bit more range. For people who do have compatible devices then they get a band uncluttered by everything else, but for most this will likely be largely just a future proofing measure.
Gigabit connections appears to be another focus of this gaming router, which again is not something everyone has access to. For those that do you should see some pretty excellent speeds out of this thing with eight total Wi-fi streams split across the bands. Two streams of 6GHz, four streams of 5GHz, and two streams of 2.4GHz, and it even has the ability to aggregate two Gigabit LAN ports. This is mostly for a focus on multiple device use and high quality streaming. According to Netgear, the Nighthawk RAXE300 router can deliver uninterrupted 8k streaming, but again that's a bit beyond what most users would ever need.
Netgear’s Nighthawk routers are pretty iconic at this point, largely in part thanks to looking like the shadow ships from Bablyon 5, but also because they tend to be pretty great. The Netgear Nighthawk XR700 and Netgear Nighthawk AX4 both made it into our list of best gaming routers for 2021 (opens in new tab), and at $400 USD we might see the new Nighthawk RAXE300 WiFi 6E router make it in for 2022. Of course, we’ll have to try it first. Thankfully, Netgear says we should see it released in the first quarter of this year and hopefully we get to give them a spin.