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Netgear AX-8 Router is WiFi 6 ready

May 6 2019: I have been trying out one of the first Netgear WiFi 6 routers to reach India  -- the Nighthawk  AX-8 (RAX80) -- and it is a  disrupter, not least in its aerodynamic shape that  hides the antennae which create 8 separate WiFi streams --   four in the 2.4 GHz band and 4 in the 5 GHz band. It's not just the 4-fold  speed boost it can  offer: A clever new technology  called OFDMA or Orthogonal Frequency  Division Multiple Access  complements MU MIMO or  Multi User Multiple In Multiple Out.

Forget the tongue-twisting jargon: the net effect is:  no matter how many devices you tag on to your home WiFi network and how heavy their data demand, they will all get equal and simultaneous attention -- instead of waiting in queue to be served.   Think of it as a congestion-free expressway instead of a log-jammed street.

One confession: I could not honestly test the WiFi6 speeds with the AX-8 in my home  because no one offers WiFi 6 speeds -- yet. To confirm the speed, I went to the Bangalore office of Netgear and tried  the router there. To check out a device, I used a Samsung Galaxy S10, the only phone in the world,   that is WiFi6-ready. And sure enough, a speed meter that is helpfully provided by the Netgear app, showed the data speed  crossing  into the gigabit range...  almost as exciting as seeing an aircraft crossing the sound barrier to hit Mach 1!

In other ways the Nighthawk AX-8 is as simple to set up as its slower cousins and  is available for Rs 39,999. A  4-stream version,  AX-4, costs Rs 10,000 less.  Not peanuts -- but that's the price of future proofing for 5 years at least and I'm guessing many customers  won't mind. 

- Anand Parthasarathy





    



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