Mesh Wi-Fi 6 router systems are slowly starting to roll out. They should give you the strongest and fastest speeds your network can offer. But so far they’ve been expensive—like $700 worth of expensive. Netgear’s new Nighthawk Mesh WiFi 6 goes for a much more reasonable $230, but it gets there by cutting out features.
Easy Mesh And Affordable
Wi-Fi 6 is the future of networking, and if you have trouble covering all corners of your home in wireless goodness, then mesh is a must-have too. Netgear’s Nighthawk combines both, and in a surprise move, the company is embracing the EasyMesh standard for the first time.
Netgear is the second company we’ve seen at CES to embrace the standard, accompanied by D-Link, but unlike the latter, Netgear hasn’t yet made a complete commitment to EasyMesh—at least not yet.
The system includes two nodes, a router and satellite, which is less than you’d get for the equally priced eero system (which doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6). Unfortunately, that’s not the only place where you’ll lose out on some features.
Less Powerful Than Other Wi-Fi 6 Systems
To reduce the price, Netgear pulled back on some features. The router unit comes with two ethernet ports, as opposed to the usual four, and likewise, the satellite unit sports just one ethernet port (reduced from the usual two).
You’ll get less bandwidth to work with and fewer antennas: the Nighthawk relies on 2×2 arrays for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks as opposed to the 4×4 arrays other more expensive have. The company claims this mesh system should still 1,500 square foot home, but that’s likely under ideal conditions.
Netgear also says the system won’t support wired backhaul at first, a staple of mesh systems, but it plans to add the feature in a future update.
If you need all the extra power and can afford the added cost, Netgear’s Orbi Wi-Fi 6 does feature more antennas, bandwidth, and ethernet ports. But if you’re looking to future-proof for less, the Nighthawk is the more affordable mesh Wi-Fi 6 option we’ve seen.
You can preorder the Netgear Nighthawk Mesh Wifi 6 now, and you shouldn’t have to wait too long— the company says it will release on January 15th.