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Netgear’s new Nighthawk RAXE500 is its first Wi-Fi 6E router

Netgear’s new Nighthawk RAXE500 is its first Wi-Fi 6E router


Blistering speeds over the 6GHz band from a pricey router

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Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500

At CES 2021, Netgear announced its first Wi-Fi 6E-ready device that takes full advantage of the 6GHz band: the Nighthawk RAXE500, a $599.99 tri-band wireless router.

Wi-Fi 6E wireless routers like this one broadcast over the 6GHz band, in addition to serving the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands that most devices can use. A number of devices launching at CES 2021 will support Wi-Fi 6E, and as a result, routers like the new Nighthawk RAXE500 can provide unfettered bandwidth to devices that require a lot of it. Not just that, devices connected via 6GHz can avoid disruptions from the many other household devices (even those being used by nearby neighbors) that operate on the crowded 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Netgear’s new high-end router looks like a manta ray, which is to say it’s relatively par for the course for the Nighthawk line of wireless routers. Looks aren’t everything, though — the router should provide some very fast AXE11000 Wi-Fi signals. Netgear claims that this device can push beyond gigabit speeds for mobile devices, and that it has a total throughput of 10.8Gbps over wireless.

The new Nighthawk features five gigabit ports and two USB 3.0 ports on its rear. It supports multi-gigabit speeds via a compatible DOCSIS 3.1 modem, either through the RAXE500’s single 2.5Gb link or by opting for a multiport link aggregation method (which offers up to 2Gbps speeds).

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500
A view of the ports featured on the RAXE500 Wi-Fi 6E router.

Netgear has some other announcements for CES 2021, including an unlocked version of its Nighthawk M5 5G mobile Wi-Fi 6 hotspot. A variant that’s locked to AT&T already exists, but this one’s unlocked for use with a SIM from any carrier that supports sub-6GHz 5G spectrums. (For this and the products mentioned below, Netgear says it has certification for T-Mobile and AT&T, though it’s still working to get Verizon’s certification and hopes to by February.)

Netgear Nighthawk M5 5G

The mobile hotspot’s internal battery can last up to 13 hours, if it lives up to Netgear’s claims, or it can operate plugged in via its USB-C port. In addition to serving as a wireless router that can connect to up to 32 wireless devices at once, the hotspot can be used as a 5G modem by plugging it into a wireless router via its Ethernet port. This could be handy if you live in a place that doesn’t have great options for internet service.

The Nighthawk M5 5G mobile Wi-Fi 6 hotspot is coming to North America in the first half of 2021, and while no price has been announced for the US region, it currently costs a hefty €799 in Europe.

Netgear LM1200 and LAX20 routers
From left to right: the Netgear LM1200 modem and the Nighthawk LAX20.

In a similar vein, Netgear has two other new products that are unlocked and support a mobile network via SIM cards, which could be useful to fall back on if there’s an internet service interruption or in place of having internet wired into your living space.

The LM1200 is a $149.99 modem that accepts a 4G LTE SIM and supports CAT4 speeds (up to 150Mbps). It’ll be available later this month. If you want a Wi-Fi 6 wireless router that accepts a 4G LTE SIM card, the $299.99 Nighthawk LAX20, which is now available, may be a good fit. In addition to supporting wireless connections, it’s faster for wired connections than the LM1200 with CAT6 speeds (up to 300Mbps).