Netgear announces world's first 802.11ac Wi-Fi router

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Netgear today announced the release of what it claims is the world's first router to utilize Broadcom's "5G Wi-Fi" 802.11ac chips, which are supposedly capable of delivering speeds over 1Gbit/s on wireless. Mind you, there aren't any compatible devices out there yet but someone has to kick things off, right?

The R6300 WiFi Router is said to be up to three times faster than today's 802.11n routers, hitting speeds up to 1.3Gbps on 5GHz and 450Mbps on 2.4GHz. Netgear didn't specify which Broadcom chip model its router is based on, but going from the quoted speeds it appears to be the high end BCM4360.

Of course, overall speeds will vary depending on the environment and surrounding obstructions, though in general Broadcom's 802.11ac chips should deliver 40 to 60 percent better range compared to 802.11n. Needless to say, the R6300 will be backwards compatible with current 802.11n devices.

On the software side, you can expect to find features like Netgear Genie for configuring and monitoring the network from a computer or smartphone, MyMedia with DLNA support to stream video and photos, AirPrint and ReadyShare Printer to turn any printer into a fully functional networked (there are two USB ports built-in), parental controls and pre-configured wireless security to keep Wi-Fi piggybackers off your network.

The Netgear R6300 WiFi Router will be available in May starting at $199.99.

The Wi-Fi Alliance is not expected to formally ratify the 802.11ac specification until sometime around Q1 2013. However, much like it happened with the transition from 802.11g to 802.11n, users will be able to buy "pre-standard" hardware early without worrying about compatibility issues when the standard is approved.

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