Netgear's quad-stream 802.11ac router lifts off

There's a new quad-stream 802.11ac router out, and this one may be the most powerful yet. Known as the Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2350, this lethal-looking device has a 1.4GHz dual-core Qualcomm Internet Processor under the hood, and it boasts dynamic QoS capability as well as dual USB 3.0 ports and eSATA for external storage.

Thanks to its Quantenna 802.11ac Wave 2 4x4 MU-MIMO chipset, the Nighthawk can hit top speeds of 1.733 Gbps over the 5GHz band and 600Mbps over the 2.4GHz, for a combined peak of 2.33 Gbps. According to Netgear, the dynamic QoS tech can detect and prioritize individual apps, including "gaming, streaming, file transfers, web browsing, etc." The company is aiming the router at "gamers and people who do a lot of video streaming."

The Nighthawk is expected to hit stores "immediately" in the U.S. with a suggested retail price of $279.99.

CNet News has posted a helpful comparison of the Nighthawk with Asus' RT-AC87, which was the first router with quad-stream goodness when it arrived back in July. The RT-AC87 is slightly more affordable, at $269.99, but it apparently has a slower CPU and a less impressive combination of storage ports. From what I can tell, there's just a single USB 3.0 port on there. I know. Terrible, right?

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