NETGEAR has announced the first AC3200 router.
The R8000 Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router is no longer a rumor. It's the first router based on Broadcom's XStream platform announced only in two months ago, beating ASUS' RT-AC3200 announced a few weeks ago at Computex.
The "Tri-Band" branding refers to the three radios in the XStream architecture; one covers the 2.4 GHz band, while the second radio covers the low 5 GHz band (Channels 36 - 48) and the third radio covers the high band (Channels 149 - 165).
NETGEAR R8000 Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band WiFi Router
A total of six non-upgradeable antennas are configured as three dual-band for the 2.4 and 5 GHz low band radios and three single-band for the high-band 5 GHz. The router comes configured with a single 5 GHz SSID with the router automatically assigning devices to one of the two radios based on actual connect rate. (For more on XStream see MU-MIMO vs. XStream: The Coming Battle For Wi-Fi Airtime.)
NETGEAR R8000 feature callouts
NETGEAR's specs say the R8000 supports alternative distros that will be available from MyOpenRouter.com. Other features include:
- Dual-core 1 GHz Broadcom BCM4709 CPU
- Beamforming support
- IPv6 support
- Open VPN server
- Gigabit WAN (1) and switched LAN (4) ports
- One each USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports for storage and printer sharing
Not among the R8000's features is Multi-User MIMO (MU-MIMO) support. That requires a "Wave 2" 802.11ac chipset, which Broadcom's XStream architecture doesn't have. The first MU-MIMO capable routers will be based on either Quantenna or Qualcomm Atheros silicon and require client devices also supporting MU-MIMO.
ASUS announced its Quantenna-based RT-AC87U at CES and recent Forum posts indicate that engineering samples are in the field. But no firm ship date has been announced. It is unclear whether the RT-AC87U will support MU-MIMO when it starts shipping. NETGEAR's outed R7500 X4 Nighthawk presentation material clearly states that it will be "MU-MIMO Ready".