The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 was one of the best Wi-Fi routers of 2021, offering blazing Wi-Fi 6E speed, but it was also one of the most expensive, with a list price of $599.
If that's a little too rich for your blood, the new Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300, just announced at CES 2002, offers nearly the same specifications (and the same Death Star fighter-spaceship looks) as its big brother but at a more affordable price of $399. That's still rather a lot for a home Wi-Fi router, but you do get quite a lot for your money.
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Both of these routers use not two, but three Wi-Fi spectrum bands: the usual 2.4- and 5-GHz bands as well as the newly available 6-GHz band. That's what makes the RAXE500 and RAXE300 compatible with Wi-Fi 6e rather than just Wi-Fi 6. (Technically speaking, both 6 and 6e fall into the IEEE 802.11ax specification.)
This means that when the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 connects to a device capable of using Wi-Fi 6e, such as a Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra smartphone, maximum throughput can be as much as 7.8 Gbps — fast enough to transmit a full-length HD movie in a few seconds.
That's assuming the Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 is using all six of its antennae to fire on all eight possible simultaneous channels — two on the 6-GHz band, four on 5-GHz and two on the 2.4-GHz band — to connect to a single wireless device in your home.
Real-world scenarios are a little messier, of course, given the sheer number of connected devices in today's average home. But the RAXE300 is still going to be very fast. It will also cover up to 2,500 square feet, according to Netgear. If you'd rather connect a few devices via Ethernet, the RAXE300 has five gigabit-speed ports to spare, plus a 2.5-gigabit port for the modem.
Like Netgear's other high-end routers, you'll be able to interact with the RAXE300 via the Nighthawk mobile app, though you can also set up and administer the router the old-fashioned way, through an Ethernet port.
Optional services include Netgear Smart Parental Controls and Netgear Armor security, both of which come with free trial periods before you have to start coughing up some cash.
The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE300 will be available by the end of March, though it could arrive much sooner, Netgear says.