While 5G is always in the news for the past one or two years, it isn’t the end-all and be-all of wireless communication technologies. On the one hand, there are still more people and devices who use and need 4G LTE networks. On the other hand, At CES 2021, Netgear announced its first Wi-Fi 6E-ready device that takes full advantage of the 6GHz band: the Nighthawk RAXE500, a $599.99 tri-band wireless router, that operate on the crowded 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
Netgear’s new high-end router looks like a manta ray, which is to say it’s relatively parring for the course for the Nighthawk line of wireless routers. Looks aren’t everything, though — the router should provide some very fast AXE11000 Wi-Fi signals. Netgear claims that this device can push beyond gigabit speeds for mobile devices and that it has a total throughput of 10.8Gbps over wireless.
The new Nighthawk features five-gigabit ports and two USB 3.0 ports on its rear. It supports multi-gigabit speeds via a compatible DOCSIS 3.1 modem, either through the RAXE500’s single 2.5Gb link or by opting for a multiport link aggregation method (which offers up to 2Gbps speeds).
Netgear has some other announcements for CES 2021, including an unlocked version of its Nighthawk M5 5G mobile Wi-Fi 6 hotspot. A variant that’s locked to AT&T already exists, but this one’s unlocked for use with a SIM from any carrier that supports sub-6GHz 5G spectrums.
The mobile hotspot’s internal battery can last up to 13 hours if it lives up to Netgear’s claims, or it can operate plugged in via its USB-C port. In addition to serving as a wireless router that can connect to up to 32 wireless devices at once, the hotspot can be used as a 5G modem by plugging it into a wireless router via its Ethernet port. This could be handy if you live in a place that doesn’t have great options for internet service.
The Nighthawk M5 5G mobile Wi-Fi 6 hotspot is coming to North America in the first half of 2021, and while no price has been announced for the US region, it currently costs a hefty €799 in Europe.
In a similar vein, Netgear has two other new products that are unlocked and support a mobile network via SIM cards, which could be useful to fall back on if there’s an internet service interruption or in place of having internet wired into your living space.
The LM1200 is a $149.99 modem that accepts a 4G LTE SIM and supports CAT4 speeds (up to 150Mbps). It’ll be available later this month. If you want a Wi-Fi 6 wireless router that accepts a 4G LTE SIM card, the $299.99 Nighthawk LAX20, which is now available, maybe a good fit. In addition to supporting wireless connections, it’s faster for wired connections than the LM1200 with CAT6 speeds (up to 300Mbps).