If your router can’t handle your growing number of gadgets, Netgear’s latest WiFi 6 router could solve the problem. The freshly-announced Nighthawk AX4 comes in yet another spaceship-like design, and offers dual-band 4-stream WiFi with up to 600 + 2400Mbps speeds — a generous 3Gbps in total. These are handled by the AX4’s dual-core processor plus Intel’s WAV600 WiFi chipset, with the latter being notable as this is Intel’s first foray into the WiFi 6 router market. As for physical ports, the AX4 comes with five Gigabit Ethernet ports (one WAN and four LAN) plus a USB 3.0 socket.
So what exactly can a WiFi 6 router give you that your old WiFi 5 router can’t? First, there’s the obvious benefit of higher connection speeds, which is crucial in the age of streaming services and competitive online gaming. According to Intel, users can see a 40 percent improvement in connection speeds; or in Netgear’s words, WiFi 6 delivers “four times increased data capacity.” WiFi 6 can also handle multiple devices better, with Intel’s WiFi chipset supporting up to 256 devices at a time. Naturally, WiFi 6 routers are backward compatible with client devices running on older WiFi radios.
Like many of the WiFi 6 routers available now, the AX4 is expensive, but at $199.99, it’s actually less costly than Netgear’s other WiFi 6 routers — namely the $400 AX8 which offers a whopping 1.2 + 4.8Gbps 8-stream WiFi. So if speed is your priority but you’re also on a tight budget, the AX4 may be a more reasonable option. If you’re still balking at the cost, don’t fret, as you can always wait out for more cheaper options at some point in the future.
Update 4/9/19 11:34AM ET: This article has been updated to include detailed specs for the AX4, as well as to clarify the technology provided by Intel here.