Netgear has a bunch of new product announcements at CES 2021, and the most interesting of the lot is the RAXE500 - their first Wi-Fi 6E router with support for 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands. The key here is the availability of the wide-open 6 GHz band - while the move to 6 GHz doesn't deliver any extra bandwidth, the absence of interference (and additional free channels) in that band results in more stable throughput in practical scenarios.

The availability of client chipsets - the AX210 from Intel that is already shipping in some systems, as well as the Broadcom BCM4389 for mobile devices - means that we should see fairly rapid adoption and consumer benefits from Wi-Fi 6E compared to the long road that we had with Wi-Fi 6. Netgear shared some test results of 5GHz and 6GHz connections in a RF chamber and open air scenario to bring out the benefits of 6GHz channels.

Coming to the hardware itself, the RAXE500 follows the same industrial design of the other Nighthawk AX routers from Netgear. On the rear, we have two sets of LAN port pairs capable of link aggregation (one of them is capable of acting as a WAN port). There is also a 2.5Gbps LAN port, and two USB 3.0 Type-A ports. Internally, the WiSoC is a quad-core 1.8 GHz processor, and the radio chains are 4x4 each on the 2.4 GHz (at 40 MHz for 1.2 Gbps), 5 GHz (at 160 MHz for 4.8 Gbps), and 6 GHz (at 160 MHz for 4.8 Gbps) - allowing Netgear to claim up to 10.8 Gbps of theoretical throughput.

The additional radios for the 6 GHz band take the MSRP of the RAXE500 up to what the first AX12 (RAX200) was introduced at - $599. Netgear stated that the router should be available in the market by February 2021.

Interested in more of the latest industry news? Check out our CES 2021 trade show landing page!

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  • Operandi - Monday, January 11, 2021 - link

    Nothing you are saying is wrong is factually wrong but does lend any validity to a $600 consumer router making any sense? I don't think so.

    Yeah, it has powerful antennas and probably capable of a lot of speed but as others have pointed out (and anyone who's dealt with wi-fi will know) thats all highly dependent on the location of the AP in relation to your clients. Unless you live in a small apartment or a very small house odds are the location of where you would put this is going to cause issues with speed, limited coverage or both.

    You don't have agree with me but I think high-end consumer routers are the dumbest thing ever and there are better options for high performance home networking.
  • PaulHoule - Tuesday, January 12, 2021 - link

    I worked at a place that had a overgrown consumer Netgear router that looked embarrassing but performed pretty well -- if I was the first one to show up in the morning I'd set up in the supermarket across the intersection and have no trouble downloading Docker images and such.

    Unfortunately most sheeple think that wiring stuff with Ethernet is like putting your hand in a toilet so the market for an multi-AP solution that takes advantage of space and frequency diversity will always be suppressed.
  • jhh - Monday, January 11, 2021 - link

    I'm guessing the ceiling is the best spot for these APs. Who has a black ceiling which would allow this to blend with? And how does one hide all the cables this box requires? A single Ethernet cable (perhaps 2.5Gbps) with Hi-PoE, connected through the bottom would allow ceiling/wall mount. With 6GHz, the chances of working through walls go down, so building the router into this seems short-sighted. To serve something bigger than an apartment, an AP design with mesh routing becomes more valuable than a router solution.
  • krisvdvijver - Thursday, February 25, 2021 - link

    ..."bigger than an apartment, an AP design with mesh routing becomes more valuable than a router solution"...

    Isn't it possible to use a fast 6E router in the room where you need the most speed, and connect the router to mesh satellites in the other rooms?
  • SchmoeJoe - Friday, January 29, 2021 - link

    If this is going to hit the market in Feb 2021...they better get on the ball...
  • DTaibi - Tuesday, February 9, 2021 - link

    @Ganesh, has anyone in the WiFi Tech industry discussed the possibility of a Quad-band WiFi 6E router? With the 2.4 GHz, 2 X 5GHz, and now 6 GHz bands, it seems like Quad-band is a possibility and may be welcome for maximum backwards compatibility and operation in RF dense environments. I'm trying to time my next tech refresh and would prefer to wait for a Quad-band 6E router if there is even the remotest of possibilities on the horizon. Thanks!

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