Netgear is set to launch the mother of all routers that’s packed with almost every feature imaginable in a router.
The Netgear X8 is not going to be cheap, it’s currently selling in the USA for $555 so expect this beast to top $650 when it goes on sale in Australia.
But before you jump up and down at the price, remember one thing, today the be all and end all of connectivity is having a router that is capable of delivering the speed necessary to host multiple downloads to multiple devices at the same time, while at the same time deliver blistering speed.
With a top end router, you can easily download 4K ultra High Definition movies to a TV.
And if you are spending $3,000 + on a TV you cannot afford not to have a top end router especially if you have multiple devices such as tablets, smartphones, PC’s, cameras, security systems or a bog standard PC connected to the network.
Remember slow network has the power to bring even the highest-end PC to a crawl, and troubleshooting a wireless network is a vague and frustrating process.
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So why is this beast worth the investment.
The 802.11ac router is capable of 5.3Gbps of total Wi-Fi bandwidth across three channels. It also has beamforming and MU-MIMO; it’s a DLNA and FTP server; it can run VPN utilities; and it offers security features like DoS protection and a built-in firewall.
Netgear’s Nighthawk line has always gone above and beyond in network performance which is why it won the SmartHouse Best of The Best Award for routers, and the new X8 is no exception.
The first thing you notice is that the box being sold in Australia is different and because the device, which is radically different from prior devices has been on sale in the USA for some months the Company is moving to eliminate a wave that appears across the top of the device. The Australian models will be flat, but I warn you don’t go putting anything on the top of the device because it does generate heat.
The first thing you notice about the box is three times the size of the standard home router, and has four thick plastic antennas that stick straight up off the back. These antennas are the first on a router to be individually powered.
Underneath the bonnet the X8 has seven Gigabit Ethernet ports. One is for Internet into the router, and four are traditional LAN ports.
The final two are a pair of aggregated ports, mostly for increased bandwidth to high-end NAS solutions such as storage devices which you can attach via either a USB 3.0 or 2.0 port.
Wireless connectivity is the standout feature in this device.
It has 802.11ac Wi-Fi, with bandwidth as high as 5.3 gigabits per second (across multiple devices), broadcast from one 2.4GHz radio and a pair of 5GHz radios, and four active antennas.
Netgear says the Wi-Fi amplifiers are now in the top of each antenna, rather than on the motherboard like usual. This allows both the sending and receiving signal to operate free from any interference from the rest of the router’s components.
For gamers this is the ultimate device it’s fast and doesn’t break into a sweat when pumping multiple 4K UHD content.
I first saw this device in action at CES and earlier today in Sydney.
There are two options for accessing the admin panel on the Nighthawk X8. The first is through a standard web browser access screen, which pops up on first connection, and can be accessed via the router’s IP address. Despite the vast selection of features, the web interface is as straightforward as on any Netgear router, and the documentation clear and detailed.
The router is intuitive because the terms and details listed by its software can change based on the complexity of the task at hand. If you’re trying to do something basic, the software assuming you might be unfamiliar with networking and offers a bit of guidance. Every checkbox is clearly labelled with exactly what turning it on does, and is often phrased as a question such as “are there other routers in your network?”
Shortly we will have one of these routers to bench test till then we can only wet your appetite on what’s coming.