Netgear is announcing a new high-end router today with two standout features: first, it supports Wi-Fi 6, the brand-new Wi-Fi standard; and second, it’s a tri-band model, meaning it’s capable of delivering much more data at once.
Tri-band routers have become popular, thanks to mesh networks, which involve placing a number of routers around your home to get a stronger signal everywhere. In those cases, a third band is often used as a dedicated communication channel between the routers, so that the actual information you’re requesting doesn’t get delayed.
For this new router, the Nighthawk Tri-Band AX12, mesh networking isn’t part of the equation. It’s just a standalone router. So that third band is all yours to use, offering owners up to 10.8 Gbps of data transmission in total.
The router includes a single 2.4GHz band and dual 5GHz bands, with all three bands including 4 x 4 antenna arrays. Wired connectivity is high-end as well: the router supports up to 2.5 Gbps connections and includes five gigabit Ethernet ports for networking.
Very few people have access to this kind of speed at home, so this router’s specs are going to be far more than most people need. It’ll sell for $599 and be available in May.
Netgear has already announced a pair of other Wi-Fi 6 routers with this same spaceship-style design: the AX8 and the AX12 (which, yes, is different than today’s confusingly named Tri-Band AX12). Both of those are dual-band routers offering 6 Gbps of connectivity and a number of gigabit Ethernet ports. They’re also somewhat cheaper, with the AX8 going for $399 and the AX12 for $499. TP-Link has unveiled several Wi-Fi 6 routers as well.
Wi-Fi 6 is just starting to arrive, and since it’s brand-new, it’s not a huge surprise to see it come first to high-end routers. But it won’t be until Wi-Fi 6 arrives on cheaper models — the ones most people pick up when they walk into Best Buy to get a new one after their current model suddenly stops working — that the new standard will really start to catch on.