Netgear is stomping all over Linksys' latest MU-MIMO dual-band WRT3200ACM wireless router with its new tri-band Nighthawk X10 AD7200 device. The X10 is Netgear's first 802.11ad device, and offers support for the 60 GHz wireless band, a 1.7 GHz quad-core CPU, and an SFP+ port for a NAS or any other high-bandwidth device. Support for Plex Media Server is the software cherry on top of this hardware sundae.
The router's maximum theoretical wireless bandwidth is 7.2 Gbps. The main chunk of 4.6Gbps is handled by a 60-GHz antenna, while a 4x4 array of 5 GHz antennas takes care of 1733Mbps. Finally, there's 800Mbps on tap by way of a 4x4 set of ye olde 2.4 GHz antennas. The front of the X10 is done up in rather subdued styling, turning the page on the F-117-inspired fashion seen on previous Nighthawk routers. The back sports four fin-like antennas, six GbE LAN ports, a seventh GbE port for connection to the outside world, and a single 10 Gb SFP+ port. The inclusion of the SFP+ port is curious, as a quick perusal of Netgear ReadyNAS devices reveals zero units with this type of connection. A pair of USB 3.0 ports reside on the side of the black plastic device.
The Nighthawk X10 can be used as a Plex Media Server (PMS) with transcoding abilities. Netgear claims the device is capable of transcoding 4K files and that the X10 is the first router that can run PMS without the need for a computer. The router comes with a three-month subscription to Plex Pass, an upgrade to the standard Plex service that offers clients extra features like offline syncing and DVR.
Buyers should plan to drop pretty serious coin to join the 60 GHz cool-kids club. The Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 will be available on October 26 for $499.
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