The transition from 802.11n to 802.11ac is bringing about a fast and furious stream of new wireless routers, including new flagship models that continue to take advantage of today's streaming landscape. Netgear, a familiar name in the high-end router market, just launched its new Nighthawk X4 AC2350 Smart Wi-Fi Router (R7500) with a quad-stream Wi-Fi architecture (4x4).
While the Nighthawk X4 looks similar to Netgear's previous Nighthawk, the DNA makeup is very different. This new model pairs a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm Internet processor with Quantenna's 500MHz chipset for improved multi-tasking performance and blistering fast speeds -- up to 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band and up to 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Like all router makers do these days, Netgear combines the speeds on both bands to advertise this as an AC2350 device, though as we always point out, you can't actually combine both bands into a single connection.
This is the first Wave 2 router to market. It features 4x4, MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO) technology and something Netgear calls "Dynamic QoS." You can think of this as a new generation of QoS -- rather than treat all devices the same, the Nighthawk X4 is able to discern between different hardware and applications when prioritizing network traffic. In theory, this should lead to more stable HD streaming and less lag when gaming.
"The Nighthawk X4 is designed for gamers and people who do a lot of video streaming," said Sandeep Harpalani, Netgear’s director of product marketing for Retail Network Products. "We are excited to leverage the best in processing power, Dynamic Quality of Service, and dual-band WiFi technology to exceed the expectations of these demanding consumers."
You'll find two USB 3.0 ports on the Nighthawk X4, along with eSATA port. Other features include Beamforming, ReadySHare, DLNA, and iTunes server support.