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If you're in the mood for an upgrade on the networking front, Netgear recently announced a solution in the form of the Nighthawk X4. This is an alternative router to their previously announced Nighthawk X6, which made waves back in June.
However, unlike the X6 the X4 comes at a lower price and with slightly less gusto than its bigger and badder sibling.
For instance, the X6 sports a 3.2Gbps Wi-fi setup, where-as the X4 runs at a max of 2.33Gbps. Yes, it's slightly slower but it still carries a wallop when it comes to delivering speeds. Gamers will see up to 1733 Mbps on the 5.0 GHz band, in addition to 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band.
Sandeep Harpalani, Netgear’s director of product marketing for Retail Network Products commented on the new device, saying...
“The Nighthawk X4 is designed for gamers and people who do a lot of video streaming,”. “We are excited to leverage the best in processing power, Dynamic Quality of Service, and dual-band WiFi technology to exceed the expectations of these demanding consumers.”
At one point the router was always the least of my worries. So long as the connections didn't drop I didn't care. However, with streaming media becoming a huge part of the regular content consumption practice, and multiple devices sometimes running at one time – downloading, uploading, etc. – it becomes obvious that there's a lot of wear and tear put on the router when it comes to bandwidth management.
It's not an issue that readily surfaces until you begin to play games while streaming music from an online radio station, or watch an HD movie while attempting to update or patch software on another device. The old routers don't really handle the multi-purpose devices designed for today's online ecosystem.
Netgear, however, has finely tuned the Nighthawk X4 to take into consideration the different priorities and devices on a network server, enabling different kind of bandwidth thresholds based on the recognition of those devices. This feature comes courtesy of the Dynamic QoS Prioritization capability. This enables the Nighthawk to recognize smart televisions, game devices, PCs, mobile phones and tablets. What does this result in? It means that streaming HD content on the TV will take priority over watching a trailer on a mobile phone. This also helps cut down on the packet loss and inconsistent latency issues that some users might suffer from on a multi-device home network.
The device also doubles down as a sharing station, very similar to Netgear's Nighthawk X6, insofar that users are able to share, store and transfer files through the router's “SuperSpeed” USB 3.0 ports or the eSATA port.
Additionally, the router can also work as an information storage containment unit, utilizing the ReadyShare Vault to store and safeguard specific kinds of information. This would be invaluable to anyone who runs a small business or has a lot of data information they transfer between networked devices but sometimes need to make secure backups without the risk of losing sensitive data due to a computer or mobile device having some sort of software or hardware failure.
The Nighthawk X4 is currently available for $279.99. It's $20 cheaper than the Nighthawk X6. It's hard to say that the $20 price difference is really worth it, because X6 offers slightly more and is obviously a beefier router for high-end network performance. If the X4 was maybe $50 cheaper I think it would probably look like a better deal to some folks. Anyway, you can learn more about the new device by visiting the official Netgear website.