Netgear's first WiFi 6E router offers plenty of bandwidth for streaming

Too bad you probably don't have a lot of gadgets that support 6GHz WiFi.


The past year has put a lot of strain on our connections at home, meaning that better wireless tech like WiFi 6E can’t come soon enough. That’s right, not just WiFi 6, which began its rollout in 2019, but WiFi 6E, which adds in the 6GHz band as well for even more channels. ASUS introduced a 6E router in the fall and now Netgear is releasing its first tri-band 6E router, the $599 Nighthawk RAXE500.

Tri-band 6E means it’ll also support 2.4 and 5 GHz, so your current stable of devices, like smart home gadgets, printers and televisions can still access the RAXE500. It also has five gigabit ports and two USB 3.0 ports for when you need a wired connection, and contains a quad-core 1.8 GHz processor. Any devices in your home that do support 6E will have access to 59 channels older gadgets can’t even touch, meaning not much as competition for bandwidth and far less interference. It’s ideal for activities easily ruined by high latency, like 8K streaming and wireless VR.

However, there aren’t a lot of devices that support 6 GHz WiFi right now — Intel just released its first 6E product in November, and even the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S released just two months ago aren’t compatible. But we may see plenty of announcements during CES, particularly with Samsung’s new flagships coming this week. The S21 and S21 Plus will run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888, a SoC that does support the standard.

If you’re not quite ready to make the leap to WiFi 6E, Netgear announced a few more routers that should work fine with your existing setup — especially if you’re in an area with no wired broadband. The LAX20 is a 4G LTE device with four gigabit ports, which is already available in Europe and will run you $300 in the US. There’s also a new LTE mobile router, the LM1200, which will cost $150 and comes out this month. No release date has been announced for the RAXE500 just yet, but it should hit stores some time in the spring.