Netgear transforms your power plug into a fast WiFi hotspot

The Powerline WiFi 1000 marries gigabit HomePlug tech with 802.11ac wireless.

2016 is here, and the flying cars and hoverboards are disappointing, to say the least. Worse yet, we still can't get a decent internet connection in our man cave, but Netgear is at least trying to solve that problem with a string of new devices for CES 2016. The most interesting is the PowerLine WiFi 1000, a product the company claims is the first to marry gigabit powerline (aka HomePlug) with 802.11ac WiFi. (The Devolo DLAN 1200+ also does the trick, but it's only available in Europe.) The idea is to plug the base unit into an electrical plug and hook it up to your router, then plug the WiFi extender into another socket. You can then connect via 802.11ac WiFi in a remote room to your device of choice.

That should help you avoid connection woes in remote sections of your house or behind walls. However, powerline connections often fail to work well in houses with "noisy" electrical setups and speeds are always much lower than the maximum specified. Nevertheless, it could may solve a problem dead spot in places where you can't run an ethernet cable and WiFi extenders won't do the trick. The Powerline WiFi 1000 Kit is now available in the US for $119.99.

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Speaking of WiFi range extenders, Netgear also launched the Nighthawk X4 AC2200 (2.2Gbps) and AC1900 (1.9Gbps), the first such devices to feature Multi-User MIMO tech. What that jargon means is that the extenders multitask by sending separate WiFi streams to each user so that everyone gets faster speeds with less waiting. Both devices have 802.11ac WiFi, Beamforming+ and four internal antennae that cover up to 10,000 square feet. The units are now available in the US for $169.99 for the X4 AC2200 and $139.99 for the slightly slower AC1900.

Netgear also unveiled the Nighthawk X4S AC2600 router, a mid-priced model aimed at the gaming and streaming set. The company said it built on its popular Nighthawk X4 AC2350 router by adding a bunch of new features like quad-stream architecture on both 2.4 and 5GHz bands, Multi-User MIMO and 160MHz bandwidth. The company claims that the latter feature will provide better support for upcoming smartphone tech. The other features, meanwhile, will let you connect more devices and stream faster with lower latency and higher bandwidth.

Other features include a pair of USB 3.0 ports and an eSATA port to easily add storage to the device, which also functions as a smart hub. It's also got VPN support for secure remote access and the MyMedia app for DLNA connectivity. The Nighthawk X4 AC2350 is now available at a suggested price of $269.99 in the US.