Netgear has a reputation for building high-performance and uniquely styled WiFi routers. The company has announced its first routers supporting the next-gen WiFi 6 or 892.11ax standard. They are not only insanely powerful but also boast a spaceship-like design with an uncanny resemblance to Kylo Ren’s space shuttle. The Netgear Nighthawk AX8 and Nighthawk AX12 also come with upgraded specifications.
What you need to know about Netgear’s Nighthawk AX8 and AX12
Netgear told Engadget it chose the spaceship-like design to better position the antennas under the machine’s “wings.” The Nighthawk AX8 and Nighthawk AX12 feature antennas that remain upright. The company claims AX8 and AX12 both support speeds of up to 6Gbps at any given time, with 25% better data efficiency. The new WiFi routers deliver up to four times more data capacity than previous standards.
The WiFi 6 standard makes them much faster than the cheap routers you get from your ISP. More than just boosting speeds, the WiFi 6 standard enables routers to handle a larger number of connected devices at any given time. It has become particularly important as people add more and more WiFi-enabled smart home devices to their networks.
The WiFi 6 supports technologies such as MU-MIMO, OFDMA, 1024QAM, and 160MHz channel support. The Nighthawk AX8 features an improved 64-bit 1.8GHz quad-core processor that is capable of transferring gigabytes of data with “almost zero CPU load.” The router is ready for the Multi-Gig Internet wave coming in Docsis 3.1. The company claims the Nighthawk AX8 is the world’s first home router featuring Multi-Gig Internet support. It achieves Multi-Gig support by aggregating two gigabit Ethernet ports.
The Nighthawk AX8, the lower-specced of the two, has five Gigabit Ethernet ports and support for 6GHz of wireless throughput. It also gets two 4×4 antenna arrays. One of them is for 5GHz WiFi and another is for 2.4GHz. You will also be able to plug in two USB 3.0 devices and control your WiFi network through Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
The Nighthawk AX12 has similar features, but it runs an AX-optimized 64-bit 2.2GHz quad-core chipset. The better processing power is required for enabling high-speed connectivity for smart home applications, online gaming, 4K streaming, and more. It has 8×8 antenna arrays for the 5GHz network for reliable coverage and maximized range. While the Nighthawk AX8 can handle up to eight simultaneous data streams at a time, the AX12 can handle 12.
Pricing and availability
Netgear’s Nighthawk AX8 and AX12 are incredibly powerful and beautifully-designed routers. They are not going to compete with the cheap routers out there. They are going to be expensive. The Nighthawk AX8 is up for pre-order on Amazon with a price tag of $400. The listing suggests it would start shipping on December 21st.
Netgear didn’t reveal the price of the AX12, but it will cost more than the AX8. It is expected to arrive sometime in the first half of 2019. Whichever you choose to buy, it is going to look cool on your office desk or wherever you place it. The AX12 will be part of Netgear’s “WiFi as a Service” program that will allow customers to pay for the device 90 days after getting it. Considering they are so expensive, they make sense only if you want a futureproof or insanely powerful router.