Both routers support the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, 802.11ax. The AX8 supports eight streams while the AX12 offers 12 for maximum speed.
In theory, these devices will get you multiple 4K streams without trouble — if your internet connection supports it or if you have a local video server.
According to Netgear, the routers’ evil Galactic Empire styling — which apparently is a thing now — has a technical reason: they house eight high performance antennas in the right position to guarantee maximum coverage in “very large homes.”
The company claims that the Nighthawk AX12 has 8 x 8 MU-MIMO to deliver faster streaming performance to multiple devices in a Wi-Fi network. To distribute the traffic, Netgear claims that the router comes with a quad-core 2.2GHz processor that is optimized to work with Wi-Fi 6 and “boosts wireless, wired, and WAN-to-LAN performance.”
The AX8 offers less performance with 4x4 MU-MIMO and a 1.8GHz processor, and less streams.
It also has multiple Ethernet ports, including a 5Gbps Ethernet port to connect to your fiber internet connection and use as much bandwidth as it can suck from it.
The AX8 is available for $400 at Amazon now. No price for the AX12 yet, but it’s expected to arrive in the first quarter of 2019.