Have $500 lying around? Netgear has something that you might want to spend that on: the all-new Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart Wi-Fi router. It's the second router on the market that supports the latest 802.11ad Wi-Fi standard, after the TP-Link Talon AD7200. (UK and Australian prices are yet to be announced, but the US price converts to roughly £400 or AU$650.)
You can, but in a nutshell it works on the 60GHz frequency band. This allows for extremely fast Wi-Fi, up to 4.6Gbps in the case of the X10, but it'll only hit that speed at extremely short range -- up to about 30 feet -- and with a clear line of sight.
Obviously, in order to experience 802.11ad, you need compatible devices and as far as I know there's only one right now on the market, the Acer TravelMate laptop, which can connect at 2.3Gbps over Wi-Fi, in my trial. But even then, there's not much you can do with that speed. This is because on the other end of the connection, currently the fastest home devices would top out at the speed of a wired Gigabit connection. And Gigabit is already much faster than anything in your home would require to work well.
But the X10 itself can do more than Gigabit. It supports link aggregation, allowing you to combine two of its six network ports into a single 2Gbps connection. It also has a 10Gbps fiber port to connect to a supported NAS server. This means if you're a hardcore user, and willing to spend more on super-high-speed peripheral devices, you can truly enjoy 802.11ad speed. Now.
For most other home users, however, the Netgear X10 is way ahead of the curve and as good as future-proof. But for the most part, it'll be about as useful as any other quad-stream 802.11ac router.
Full technical features:
- AD7200 Quad Stream Wave2 Wi-Fi supports wireless speeds up to 4,600Mbps (60GHz band) + 1,733Mbps (5GHz band) + 800Mbps (2.4GHz band)
- Built-in Plex Media Server
- 1.7GHz quad-core processor with high-performance active antennas
- Six Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports with dual ports that can be operated in line aggregation mode for faster file transfers (up to 2Gbps wired speeds)
- Two USB 3.0 ports
- Automatic backup to the cloud with Amazon Drive
- Netgear ReadyCloud that provides easy and secure way to access USB-connected storage
- 10Gbps fiber port for super-fast connection to a supported NAS server
- MU-MIMO for simultaneous streaming of data to multiple devices
- New Netgear Up app for Android or iOS mobile device to help with the setup process
- Netgear Genie app for a personal dashboard to monitor, control and repair your home network, now works even when you're away from home
While extremely expensive, the X10 seems to be the most souped-up router to date. Who knows, it might just be worth every penny. Check back soon for CNET's full review.