Remember when an AC1900 router was considered top shelf? It was not all that long ago, though by today's standards, an AC1900 router is simply average. Case in point, Netgear apparently felt its AC3200 Nighthawk X6 (R8000) was not fast enough, so it's now offering an upgraded variant, the AC4000 Nighthawk X6S (opens in new tab) (R8000P).
The new model is not even Netgear's faster consumer router—that distinction belongs to the next-generation AD7200 Nighthawk X10 (R9000), followed by the AC5300 Nighthawk X8 (R8500). Still, the X6S is near the top of the stack and brings blazing fast performance spread across three bands.
As is common among router makers, the speed designation represents a combined tally of all available channels, even though you can't actually combine them into a single super-fast band. As it pertains to this model, the 2.4GHz band operates at up to 750MHz and each of the two 5GHz bands deliver up to 1,625Mbps of throughput. Add those together and you arrive at AC4000.
In most cases, those speeds are not going to make your Internet connection any faster, as any modern router is more than capable of delivering the full speed offered by your ISP, and then some (there are exceptions). Where these speeds come into play is when streaming and/or transferring files through your home network.
Antenna strength is also important. That can have a direct impact on your Internet performance, depending on how far away your PC is from the router. Netgear's Nighthawk series has traditionally been very good in this regard. We suspect that will be the same with this model, which features six external antennas.
Beyond a simple speed bump, Netgear added some new features to its X6S model, including link aggregation. As with most routers, there is a built-in four-port switch for wired connections, though somewhat unique is the ability to combine two of the Ethernet ports for faster speeds.
You'll also find a USB 3.0 port and USB 2.0 port on the back of the X6S. These can be used for external devices to share storage and/or a printer across your home network.
Other notable bullet points include beamforming support, MU-MIMO for smoother simultaneous streaming of data to multiple devices, and compatibility with Amazon's Alexa digital assistant (you can control your home network using voice commands).
The Nighthawk X6S is available to preorder at Amazon for $300 (opens in new tab), with availability listed for June 30.