We're at Broadcom and Netgear's joint press event today, where both are announcing the commercial availability of the R6300 three spatial stream 802.11ac router which was announced at CES, and two new products: the two stream R6200 router and A6200 USB 2.0 adapter. 

As a reminder, the previously announced R6300 supports 802.11ac at speeds of 1300 Mbps by utilizing 80 MHz channels on 5 GHz, 256QAM, and three spatial streams. That particular router rounds out Netgear's high-end 802.11ac offering with Broadcom's solution inside. The news today is Netgear's mid-range product, the R6200, which includes 2 spatial streams and an 867 Mbps maximum bitrate. The R6200 one USB 2.0 port compared to the R6300's two, for file and printer sharing.

Although MiniPCI Express 802.11ac adapters are coming for notebooks, those wishing to upgrade devices immediately can use the A6200 two-stream USB 2.0 adapter. The USB 2.0 adapter is built around Broadcom's BCM43526 solution. It's unfortunate the adapter isn't USB 3.0, given USB 2.0's 480 Mbps theoretical throughput limit, however BCM43526 only has a USB 2.0 host interface onboard. I'm told that Broadcom has a future USB 3.0 802.11ac solution for those wanting to see higher transfer rates not clamped by USB 2.0. 

The R6300 will be available on online retailers starting tomorrow. Netgear expects the rest of the products to be available on store shelves by the end of the week. Pricing for the R6300 will be $199.99, and $179.99 for the R6200, and $69.99 for the A6200 adapter. 

Update: We asked for more details about the SoC and WLAN controllers inside both the R6x00 series, and learned exactly what we wanted to know. Inside the R6300 is a BCM4706 for routing and 2.4 GHz 3x3:3, alongside the expected BCM4360 802.11ac 3-stream controller. The R6200 moves one tier down to the BCM4518 for 2x2:2 on 2.4 GHz, and a BCM4352 for 2-stream 802.11ac. This is exactly the combination that we suspected for the devices, but now have confirmed them with Netgear. In addition, the shipping firmware doesn't include beamforming, but will enable it in a software update soon after launch. 

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  • 1ceTr0n - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    I'm in love with my Asus RT-66U Dark Knight router. Most i've spent on a router but damn, its freaking worth every penny! I don't use alot of the feature on it anyway, even N speeds, but its nice to know i've got future room Reply
  • ericloewe - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    You said it. Past experience tells us that drafts should be avoided until there's confirmation that it's final, and that Netgear tends to be underwhelming.

    I just bought the RT-N66U myself. It restored my faith in Wireless N and the 2.4 GHz band, while solidifying 5 Ghz as the best option if you want speed.
    Reply
  • 1ceTr0n - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Yeah, i've tried a netgear 3700N and 3800 premium routers and I just was not impressed at all. And seriously, who the hell makes a router were the status LED's don't blink to indicated traffic activity. Total fail Netgear.

    My Linksys E3000 from last year only lasted several months before it started to loose connection randomly, likely cause it ran so warm. I even had it propped up on rubber legs to keep it running cooler to no avail. Then I tried a E4200 and I was bummed out that Cisco is still in 1995 GUI land, its just not acceptable by todays standards and it also ran warm even propped up.

    RT-66U hasn't flinched since I got it up and running last month, it runs warm with both radios running but that big ass heatsink keeps in in check, even during my torrenting sessions.

    oh, and their is a new .112 firmware that fixes the autocheck for firmware, so people can stop bitching about that now. But seriously, how hard is it to download the firmware from website, go to into router and point it to the file? Too much apparently for some peeps....
    Reply
  • hechacker1 - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    It's all about custom firmware for any router. The e3000 is great with Tomato or openwrt. A little under powered, and lacking in flash, but it works fine. And it handles far more connections than the default build.

    Personally my favorite so far is the WNDR3800, which is completely open source (wireless drivers and all).

    It's benefiting by getting all the latest patches, performance tuning, and buffer bloat is non-existent on it with special firmware.
    Reply
  • Guspaz - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    What does the RT-N66U add that my NetGear WNDR3700v2 running OpenWRT doesn't have, apart from another spatial stream (300Mbps versus 450Mbps), which itself isn't a big deal since none of my 802.11n wireless devices support more than 300Mbps anyhow? Reply
  • 1ceTr0n - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Reliable uptime for one. Reply
  • EnzoFX - Friday, May 18, 2012 - link

    Reliable uptime is #1 for me. Which is why if I were to buy a new router I'd go with an Airport Extreme. There isn't anything that's less worry free. I too have had great experiences with Asus routers, but every now and then people do have issues with them, that usually stem from quality control IMO. This is much more so with other manufacturers of course. As for the N66U, I'm sure it'll prove great. Though it does seem a bit silly to comment on it's reliability when it's such a new device. That's something that would be proven after the 1 year mark of ownership at least for me. Reply
  • ericloewe - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Excellent range. Better than anything else I've seen. Speed is also impressive. Can't comment on uptime since I use it as an access point, but everyone is impressed with its reliability.
    It's also compatible with most alternative router OSes (the stock is based on OpenWRT, I think)
    Reply
  • 1ceTr0n - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Oh yeah, how could I forget. The 3700 range was average in my 2 story townhouse but the 66U is full crank no matter where im at, its awesome! Reply
  • hechacker1 - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    Do you got your 3700 outputting it's maximum of 500mW?

    I don't know of many other routers (besides the new Airports) that can crank out that much power.

    It certainty covered my whole house any my neighbors.
    Reply

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