updated 07:26 pm EDT, Thu October 3, 2013
New router boasts USB 3.0 connectivity, beamforming technology
Networking company Netgear has launched its newest dual-band 802.11ac wireless router, the Nighthawk AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router (R7000). The Nighthawk combines a powerful 1GHz dual-core processor with a USB 3.0 port for peripheral connectivity and Netgear Beamforming+ to boost speed, reliability of connection, and best possible range for Wi-Fi 802.11ac connectivity in the home.
Nighthawk's combined Wi-Fi connection speeds reach up to AC1900 Wi-Fi-levels (600 +1300 Mbps) to boost performance in online gaming, video streaming, and other high bandwidth tasks. High-power Wi-Fi amplifiers and three external antennas provide wide coverage around the home. The router also boasts downstream Quality of Service monitoring and prioritization, Beamforming+, and built-in iTunes server compatibility.
From a hardware perspective, the Nighthawk has a dual-core processor running at 1Ghz. The device has 128MB of flash storage, with 256MB of RAM. Four Gigabit Ethernet ports provide wired networking, with a fifth port for the wide area network.
Content on a storage device attached to the USB 3.0 port can be accessed and transferred across the network, for streaming video to DLNA enabled screens around the home. Content can also be kept safe with Netgear ReadyShare Vault, free software for automatic backup to a USB hard drive connected to the Nighthawk router. The new model also supports Apple Time Machine backups across the USB 3.0 port.
Netgear Beamforming+ is a signal-focusing technology that boosts the overall performance of Wi-Fi connections by directionally locating a wireless device on the network and pinpointing WiFi signals directly at the device. Compatible 802.11ac Wi-Fi devices such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One, 2013 MacBook Air, and other upcoming 802.11ac devices will see boosted performance using the technology. The router fully supports OpenVPN for secure remote access to the home network.
A future maintenance update will add a smart connect feature, automatically choosing the best connection for a dual-band Wi-Fi device, such as the iPhone 5 and greater, the iPad 2 and later, and the Samsung Galaxy S4. Additionally, "Airtime Fairness" -- also to be implemented soon -- will prevent network lag when slower devices connect to the router. The new features are scheduled to be added in maintenance firmware update before the end of October.
The Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router (R7000) is available now via major retailers and online at an MSRP in the US of $200. While the router is backwards compatible to older Wi-Fi standards, compatible 802.11ac devices are required for maximum performance.