Netgear today announced what it claims is the industry's first AC3200 tri-band Wi-Fi router, the Nighthawk X6. That claim is born from the fact that this is the only consumer tri-band router that's available to purchase today (in pre-order form, with shipping expected in July) -- Asus has its RT-AC3200 on tap as well, though it doesn't look like it will beat Netgear's newest unit into homes.
The X6 (or R8000, if you prefer) utilizes Broadcom's new 5G WiFi XStream chipset. It has six high-performance antennas and three network bands -- one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz. By adding the maximum theoretical throughput of each one (600Mbps + 1300Mbps + 1300Mbps), Netgear arrives at its advertised combined speed claim, though as we're often remiss to point out, you can't combine separate radios into a single super-channel.
What this router can do, however, is balance the load on your home network. The X6 discerns between slower and faster devices and then directs them to the appropriate band rather than treat all devices the same. And with two 5GHz bands to play with (split into upper and lower channel ranges), the X6 can effectively de-clutter crowded networks competing for the same high-speed bandwidth.
"Home networks are being weighed down by an exploding number of WiFi devices demanding bandwidth for more and more video content," said Sandeep Harpalani, Netgear's director of product marketing for Retail Network Products. "Nighthawk X6 solves these issues by not only providing more WiFi bandwidth but also segmenting slower and faster devices across different Wi-Fi bands, and balancing the number of devices in each band to deliver the best-in-class experience for streaming, sharing and gaming."
Other features of the X6 include a 1GHz dual-core processor with three offload processors, Beamforming support, VPN support, five GbE ports (one WAN and four LAN), and a USB 3.0 port.