It seems as though many of us are finally getting used to Wi-Fi 6E, and now Wi-Fi 7 is nearly ready to hit the market. Several Wi-Fi 7 routers were announced at CES 2023, and now Netgear is the next in line with the $699 Nighthawk RS700 (opens in new tab).
Unlike many traditional routers with relatively flat base units, the Nighthawk RS700 (opens in new tab) features a tower-esque design akin to the Asus ZenFi Pro ET12 or Netgear’s high-end Orbi mesh routers. In addition, it’s a tri-band router covering 2.4GHz, 5GHz and 6GHz bands. It is backward compatible with all the popular IEEE standards, including the most recent Wi-Fi 6E, with a maximum total throughput of 18.7 Gbps.
Of course, the Netgear RS700 can take full advantage of Wi-Fi 7 features like multi-link operation, which allows a router to aggregate multiple wireless bands. For example, instead of a client connecting to a single 2.4GHz, 5GHz or 6GHz band, it could connect to all three simultaneously. This allows for reduced latency and increased data rates. Wi-Fi 7 also enabled preamble puncturing, allowing clients to better leverage wireless channels experiencing interference.
In addition to its impressive wireless portfolio, the Nighthawk RS700 also packs one 10 Gbps WAN port, one 10 Gbps LAN, and four 1 Gbps ports. While the 10 GbE ports might seem like overkill at first, Netgear was quick to point out that AT&T Fiber and Frontier already offer 5 Gbps service to customers, while Google Fiber (8 Gbps) and Comcast Xfinity (10 Gbps) promise even faster speeds for customers. Thus, the Nighthawk RS700 can theoretically handle those high-speed pipes to your home or business.
The Nighthawk RS700 also supports LAN aggregation, combining two 1 Gbps ports for up to 2 Gbps. Internet aggregation is also supported between the 10 Gbps WAN port and one of the 1 Gbps ports. Netgear also includes a USB 3.0 port for attaching a printer or storage device for NAS duties.
While Nighthawk RS700’s features can be accessed via the traditional web user interface, Netgear also provides a Nighthawk smartphone app for quickly setting up your router and maintaining it once operational. The company also includes one year of Netgear Armor protection for the router with Bitdefender security and a VPN (includes 200MB of daily traffic). After the first year, Netgear Armor costs $99 per year.
Netgear says that the Nighthawk RS700 will be available during the second quarter, priced at $699 (you can preorder it now direct from Netgear (opens in new tab)), which is a hefty price for a Wi-Fi router. The Nighthawk RS700 also supports mesh operation, meaning you could add two more units in a home or office to increase coverage (and your financial outlay). However, this will be the company’s flagship consumer model, and we’re sure to see stripped down and cheaper options from the company in the coming months.