NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Wi-Fi 6E AX1100 tri-band router now available at A$1099

The new NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Wi-Fi 6E AX11000 tri-band router is in Australia, and it is going to set you back a hefty $1099. Delivery from 3 June.

In part, the late release of Wi-FI 6E routers has been due to the late certification of the band by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). We covered that on 25 April. Wi-Fi 6E AX 6Ghz now approved in Australia. What does that mean for you? And we will soon see a flood of different brand Wi-Fi 6E routers. But CyberShack’s advice is to wait a while. Why?

  • You must have Wi-Fi 6E clients to get any speed benefit over Wi-Fi 6 routers. This includes a few select smartphones (OPPO Find X5 Pro, Samsung S22 Galaxy) and some later laptops.
  • Australian Wi-Fi 6E adds 500MHz (5925-6425 MHz) of the 6Ghz band (Wi-Fi 6 uses all the 2.4 and 5Ghz bands). Other countries use 700-1200Mhz. That means only 25 new channels are available, whereas most publicity refers to 60 new channels (for 1200Mhz). NETGEAR assures us that its router can be firmware upgradable if ACMA allocates more bandwidth or increases the transmit/receive speeds
  • The ACMA has hobbled Wi-Fi 6E at half transmit/receive power to ensure it can’t leak outside the home and interfere with other devices like microwave repeater stations, geolocator beacons, radio astronomy and fixed-satellite operations.
  • 6 GHz has lower transmission distances (5-8 metres) and is more affected by walls, doors, windows, ceilings, and floors than Wi-Fi 6.

The bottom line is that Wi-Fi 6E will let Wi-Fi 6E devices have exclusive, uncongested channels, which may clear up some of the Wi-Fi 5Ghz traffic.

What is the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Wi-Fi 6E AX1100 tri-band router?

It uses a familiar ‘flying nun’ shape (or Star Wars tie-fighter).

It has 11,000Mbps data transfer rates over three bands (2.4Ghz 1200, 5Ghz 4800 and 6GHz 4800Mbps). It can support more devices and faster internal home Wi-Fi speeds (6E devices only).

The router has enough processing power to handle 2.5Gbit Ethernet WAN/LAN and 5x1Gbit Ethernet LAN ports. 2.5Gbit is becoming useful if you have a 2.5Gbit Ethernet switch or backhaul to another extender.

The main limitation is NBN Speeds. At present most users (about 70%) have 50Mbps DL plans. Some HFC and Fibre to the Premises have up to 1Gbps. Wi-Fi 6 and 6E Nighthawk (well, any Nighthawk) routers better manage the allocation of scarce bandwidth, but you may want to inquire about faster NBN plans if you have a lot of IoT devices.

What about Mesh and extenders?

NETGEAR has not announced any Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6E range extenders yet. You can use Wi-Fi backhaul from the Nighthawk EAX80 AX6000 dual-band extender (or other NETGEAR AX extenders), but you only get Wi-Fi 6.

NETGEAR has announced the Orbi 6E RBKE963 in the US. It will be here soon. Unlike the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 tri-band router, this is a Quad-band 2.4Gh 1200Mbps, 5GHz (1) 2400, 5GHz (2) 2400, and 6GHzx 4800Mbps. Given the short range of Wi-Fi 6E, the backhaul is via the second 5Ghz (2400Mbps) or up to 2.5Gbps Ethernet WAN port. This will offer Wi-Fi 6E devices the local speed but put through a smaller pipe. That won’t be an issue for the most part because 4K streaming takes 25Mbps and 8K 100Mbps – the pipe is plenty big enough.

NETGEAR Australian RAXE500 website.

Initially only available at $1099 from NETGEAR online with free shipping

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