The arrival of gigabit fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) service has shaken up the North American Internet market in a big way. Cable companies are feeling the heat and racing to join the gigabit bandwagon, though they still have plenty to do before they can genuinely compete with fiber on speed. But is there anything you could do in the meantime to get the most out of your existing cable broadband connection? According to Netgear, there is.
The company today announced the launch of the Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi Cable Modem Router (a.k.a. the Nighthawk C7000), a device it says is the highest-performance cable modem and Wi-Fi router hybrid on the market. In a first for such hybrid devices, the C7000 marries a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem with a 1900Mbps 802.11ac Wi-Fi router.
Why this matters: No matter which provider you are with, you may have noticed that your actual Internet speed often tends to falls short of promised levels. One of the reasons for this could be network congestion, meaning you’re having to compete with your neighbors for bandwidth. Netgear contends you could get a leg up on the competition with a modem that supports a high number of bonded channels. The C7000 supports up to 24 downstream channels and 8 upstream channels.
“Whether you have a 50Mbps service tier or 250Mbps service tier, our new Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi Cable Modem Router supports this increase in data throughput and helps sustain optimal performance even during peak usage times,” said Sandeep Harpalani, Netgear’s senior director of product marketing for Retail Networking Products. “The more bonded channels your cable modem router supports, the more likely you can avoid Internet congestion and enjoy the best streaming and gaming experiences.”
The 2-in-1 device supports Internet download speeds of up to 960Mbps, which is pretty much the maximum throughput possible with the DOCSIS 3.0 standard that it’s based on. But with cable broadband speeds in the U.S. topping out at 505Mbps, it should be able to do its job without breaking a sweat. There’s a dedicated 600MHz processor just for this purpose.
The C7000 is no slouch in the router department either. Powered by a 1GHz processor, the built-in 802.11ac router is theoretically capable of wireless transfer speeds of up to 1900Mbps—that’s 1300Mbps on the 5GHz frequency band and 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. Beamforming support means instead of mindlessly transmitting the Wi-Fi signal every which way, the router cleverly broadcasts it only to client devices in order to improve range and connection quality.
Another noteworthy feature is NetgearMyMedia, which allows for streaming of media files from various devices across your network to a DLNA-ready TV or media player. Further, you can plug in a USB hard drive into its Netgear ReadySHARE-enabled USB port and access the data from any device in your network. And in addition to higher performance, buying a cable model means you can stop paying your service provider to rent their slower hardware.
The Netgear C7000 will be available later this month for a suggested retail price of $280.