Netgear’s releasing a new Nighthawk router that trades in the sci-fi spaceship look the line adopted in 2018 for a more monolithic tower design. The new Nighthawk RS700 will cost $699.99 when it launches this spring with looks that are more akin to the AmpliFi Alien or Linksys Velop routers. This is also the first of the line that’s equipped with Wi-Fi 7 — the upcoming IEEE specification that promises the lowest latency wireless connections yet.
Other devices we’ve seen announced with support for the new spec include a few from TP-Link and Asus; however, just like this one, they’re not available in stores yet.
The yet-to-be-adopted Wi-Fi 7 standard (known as 802.11BE) is designed to succeed Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 6. Wi-Fi 7’s biggest improvement, besides faster theoretical transfer speeds of up to 30Gbps (the RS700 is rated for up to 18.7Gbps combined throughput), comes in the form of Multi-Link Operation, which lets compatible devices connect with multiple bands like 5GHz and 6GHz simultaneously to improve reliability. There’s also Flexible Channel Utilization that can block interference on channels without shutting down traffic on it.
The Nighthawk RS700’s new design contains eight internal antennas supporting quad streams: that’s four receiving and four sending (4x4) antennas that the company says give “whole home” coverage and support for up to 200 devices. Netgear will release a software update later this year that will allow users to install multiple RS700 units to operate in mesh for even larger homes.
Like Netgear’s previous Wi-Fi 6E-powered Nighthawk RAXE500, the RS700 is also a tri-band (2.4 / 5 / 6GHz) router with four gigabit LAN ports, one 10Gbps “multi-gig” LAN port, and a multi-gig WAN port. The 10Gbps-capable WAN port can accommodate the highest-end tiers available from ISPs like AT&T, Optimum, Frontier, Google Fiber, and Comcast — though none of these yet support speeds greater than 5Gbps up / down. The router also supports LAN aggregation that allows for two gigabit ports to act as a 2Gbps port. It can also use its WAN plus one LAN port to link with existing supported DOCSIS 3.1 Netgear cable modems and enable gigabit-plus internet service on the network.
The RS700 includes one year of Netgear’s Armor subscription service, which otherwise costs $99 per year. It includes antivirus and VPN service for your devices — provided by Bitdefender — and an on-router threat protection service. The VPN service includes up to 200MB daily, or you can pay another $49 per year for unlimited traffic.
There’s also a Smart Parental Controls service that supports content filters, time limits, and monitoring — plus a rewards system that allows kids to exchange good behavior for extra internet time. You can also build profiles for yourself (and others) to keep track of how much time you’re spending on certain activities. These features cost $7.99 per month or $69.99 per year after a 30-day free trial.
Thankfully, the Netgear Nighthawk app doesn’t cost anything to use, and it lets you remotely connect to your router to check network status, see what devices are connected, run speed tests, and set up a separate isolated smart home device network. The Nighthawk RS700 costs $699.99 and is available to preorder today from Netgear’s website for Q2 shipment.