Netgear unveils the Nighthawk RAXE500, its first-ever Wifi 6E router, at CES 2021

Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500
(Image credit: Netgear)

Netgear announced their latest piece of networking gear this week during CES 2021, the Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-Band Wi-Fi router.

Billed as the world's first all-purpose Wi-Fi 6E router, the Nighthawk RAXE500 promises speeds up to 10.8Gbps by accessing the newly unlocked 6GHz band, which at the moment is free of congestion and interference (though for how long is another matter).

“The proliferation of Wi-Fi over the last few decades first stressed the 2.4 GHz band and then eventually the 5 GHz band with Wi-Fi 4, 5, and 6,” Phil Solis, research director at International Data Corporation, said in a statement. 

“As regulatory bodies around the world open up the 6 GHz band, Wi-Fi 6E networks will provide enabled devices with the breathing room to use large channels even in dense and congested areas with higher average data rates and lower latency.”

Given that Netgear is a leading name in home and commercial networking equipment and is regularly featured on our list of best wireless routers, it's little surprise that they're the first out of the gate with new equipment to access this newly-opened frequency band.

"The Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-band Wi-Fi Router will capitalize on the available bandwidth afforded by the new 6GHz channel," said David Henry, senior vice president of Connected Home Products for Netgear, "delivering an increase in speed and capacity that has never been experienced up until this moment.”

Netgear's new Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-Band router at a glance

Adding another band to the current dual-band router setup found in modern routers might not seem like that big of a deal, but according to Netgear, the new 6GHz band will provide up to 200% more available spectrum than can be accessed by dual-band (2.4Ghz and 5GHz) routers.

What's more, given that very few devices are currently using 6GHz connections and likely won't for some time to come, there is very little congestion at this frequency, meaning much less latency.

The Nighthawk RAXE500 uses 12-streams Tri-Band Wi-Fi – four streams each for 6GHz, 5GHz, and 2.4GHz – to improve available bandwidth for an unlimited number of connected devices, leading to less interference that can cut down on connection speeds.

It also features a Wi-Fi 6E optimized 64-bit 1.8GHz quad-core processor for smoother video streaming up to 8K and improved gaming performance. 

If you want to go wired, the Nighthawk RAXE500 also features five 2.5G Gigabit Ethernet ports for 2.5 times the speed of the standard Gigabit LAN connection. 

Plus, it looks cool. You'll be able to pick one up yourself in the US in Q1 2021 with an MSRP of $599 (about £470 / AU$840). Launch details outside of the US haven't been announced yet.

John Loeffler
Components Editor

John (He/Him) is the Components Editor here at TechRadar and he is also a programmer, gamer, activist, and Brooklyn College alum currently living in Brooklyn, NY. 

Named by the CTA as a CES 2020 Media Trailblazer for his science and technology reporting, John specializes in all areas of computer science, including industry news, hardware reviews, PC gaming, as well as general science writing and the social impact of the tech industry.

You can find him online on Threads @johnloeffler.

Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 (just like everyone else).