As more people continue to work from home even as we emerge from Covid, internet speed is more important than ever. 

To meet greater demands on Wi-Fi networks, NETGEAR has released the world’s first Wi-Fi 6e router, the Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-band Wi-Fi router, which supports new 6Ghz band and speeds of up to 10.8Gbps. 

Devices are often in contest for bandwidth but Wi-Fi 6e resolves congestion by adding previously unavailable 6GHz Wi-Fi spectrum, enabling more devices to be connected without compromising on speed or reliability. 

Up until the introduction of Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi routers were limited to 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The new third 6GHz band increases the capacity of networks to support more devices with up to 200% more available spectrum than dual-band (5GHz and 2.4GHz) Wi-Fi alone, delivering faster speeds, smoother streaming, and less interference.

The RAXE500 router is designed to provide the fastest Wi-Fi speed possible with higher capacity, lower latency, and the latest WPA3 security, and I put it to the test.

During the testing period, I was in a household of four people using internet for working from home on desktops and laptops, as well as streaming content on TVs, in a unit that measures approximately 144m2. The RAXE500 claims to be able to support up to 60 devices across 325m2.

Setting up the router was simple. Just download the Nighthawk app and follow the setup instructions. The Nighthawk app lets you run speed tests, pause the internet, see connected devices and more, while providing a 30-day free trial of NETGEAR Armor Security – an advanced multi-layer cyber security solution that protects your network, as well as individual devices. In addition, the latest security patches are delivered to the router without the need for intervention.

The design of the RAXE500 is quite futuristic – but for good reason. With proprietary Wi-Fi optimisation and eight optimally positioned antennas, it delivers more capacity, stronger and more reliable connections, and less interference.

After set-up, I used the speed test on the Nighthawk app which showed download speeds of 53Mbps and upload speeds of 18Mbps. This compared to download speeds of 39Mbps and upload speeds of 17Mbps on my usual Telstra Wi-Fi network when using my 6e enabled Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

According to Canstar Blue, ‘good’ internet speed is recording download speeds of around 25Mbps. However, to support multiple devices and users at the same time, download speeds of at least 50Mbps are recommended, particularly for streaming 4K content and playing online games.

When testing the signal strength through the app, it varied between rooms due to distance and barriers such as walls and doors. The best result recorded was -26dBm which the app categorises as ‘amazing’ with other results ranging between -35dBm and -42dBm, which are categorised as ‘very good’. According to flexible collaboration and content sharing platform, SreenBeam, -50dBm is considered an ‘excellent’ signal strength so against this benchmark, the RAXE500 performed extremely well.

As the Nighthawk RAXE500 Tri-band Wi-Fi router is the first Wi-Fi 6e router that I have tested, I was unable to compare its performance to other routers of its kind. However, based on first impressions, it is a sleek unit that delivers solid speeds and good signal strength. Priced at $1,099, it is $300 more than its predecessor, the Nighthawk Tri-Band AX12 Wi-Fi router but may be worth the extra money, particularly if you own Wi-Fi 6e enabled devices.