Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you
Australian technology news, reviews, and guides to help you

Netgear gets the cost of WiFi 7 under $1K with Nighthawk RS300

An upgrade to WiFi 7 comes with an exy price tag, thanks in part to just how new the tech is, but what if it doesn’t? Netgear has something that qualifies.

It stands to reason that the latest tech is always going to be expensive simply because it’s the latest.

Living on the cutting edge means typically paying more, investing in the tech that everyone will eventually see later on, but affording you access much earlier on. That’s great, but it also can be costly, and the case of the latest wireless networking technology is definitely proof of that.

WiFi 7 was hinted at back in 2023, but in 2024, we’re finally seeing the goods, as the technology arrives in routers, as well as phones and laptops. Using a similar three-band approach to WiFi as WiFi 6E, but boasting more speed in general, WiFi 7 is the new high-speed wireless networking technology to beat.

It’s faster than anything else and reaches further, too. And it’s arriving first and foremost in mesh routers that charge upwards of $3K. That is not a cheap price for WiFi, for sure.

The current crop of high-priced high-speed WiFi routers are pricey because of the tech inside: WiFi and mesh networking, giving you the best networking tech of both worlds, with a Venn diagram of wireless activity at the highest speed.

But if you don’t want to spend several thousand for WiFi and still yearn for WiFi 7, you may be in luck: Netgear is ready with something aimed at getting the tech into the hands of more customers, all without needing to spend over a thousand dollars.

The latest router is the Nighthawk RS300, a tall router designed to offer WiFi 7 at up to 9.3Gbps, while providing a maximum coverage of 230 square metres and up to 100 devices at the same time.

It’s a fraction of the 27Gbps maximum speed for the $4K WiFi 7 Orbi mesh router from Netgear, but still offering almost two and a half times faster speeds than WiFi 6 routers found today.

The point is clearly Netgear’s RS300 is still fast, but may not offer the same speed and network balancing benefits of mesh, complete with a different price.

At $649 in Australia, the RS300 is a hell of a lot more cost effective for people who don’t need to live on the very cutting edge, but still yearn for the latest tech.

“For the ultimate in performance the Orbi 970 Series mesh system covers up to 660 sq m and supports up to 200 devices,” said Sandeep Harpalani, Vice President of Product Management at Netgear, who also noted more Orbi satellites could be added to extend the covering, each adding an extra 220 square meters. By comparison, the RS300 maxes out at 9.3Gbps and supports just half the devices, offering a max of 100.

“Recently, multi-gig internet speeds have become more affordable, work from home demands have remained steady, and more devices such as AR/VR headsets or AI-focused platforms like CoPilot+ have been introduced that require extreme low latency and higher throughput,” he said.

“Both the Orbi 970 Series and the Nighthawk RS300 Router delivers these connectivity benefits to a wider audience, helping them experience unprecedented speed and performance on their devices and applications with the strongest possible security available today.”

The price is clearly going to be the driver for many in this one, with Netgear’s sub-$700 price point being drastically different from others, which tend to cost several thousand dollars.

It’s worth noting the RS300 is different again to the first WiFi 7 router from Netgear, the RS700, which offered up to 19Gbps connections on that new technology when it launched last year. That model is still ticking around, but offers a little more speed than the $649 RS300, and yet less than the $4K Orbi.

Netgear’s Nighthawk RS300 WiFi 7 router is available now from stockists across the country.

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