Netgear's new Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 mesh router costs less than Eero or Nest
The new, two-piece Wi-Fi 6 mesh router goes on sale later this month for $230.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
ExpertiseSmart home technology and wireless connectivityCredentials
10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Dubbed the Netgear Nighthawk Mesh WiFi 6 System and due in stores later in January, the two-piece setup is a dual-band router with a design that's nearly identical to the dual-band Netgear Orbi mesh system that we reviewed just last month. For about $100 more, the Nighthawk system paints the hardware black, adds an Ethernet port to the back of each satellite and, most importantly, adds in support for Wi-Fi 6.
Support for Wi-Fi 6 means that the Nighthawk mesh system can transmit data faster and more efficiently than previous-gen routers. Netgear clocks those top speeds at 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,200Mbps on the 5GHz band. For comparison, the Wi-Fi 5 version of Netgear Orbi specs in with top speeds of 400Mbps and 866Mbps on the two bands, respectively.
Locating local internet providers
Those speed gains are much more modest than what Wi-Fi 6 is truly capable of, which is a reflection of the budget-minded price tag. Same goes for the antennas. With two of them inside each unit, the Nighthawk mesh system supports 2x2 MU-MIMO connections, which allows the router to send signals from both antennas at once. It's a feature that can boost speeds to devices that include multiple antennas of their own, but other routers -- including the Nest Wifi router, which includes four antennas on the 5GHz band -- can do more with it.