Netgear's first WiFi 7 router offers extra-low latency for gaming
The Nighthawk RS700S also provides speeds up to 5Gbps.
The WiFi 7 standard still isn't final, but that isn't stopping Netgear from making the technology available to the public. The company has launched its first WiFi 7 router, the Nighthawk RS700S, and it's clear the speed isn't the only draw. While the 320MHz channels promise up to 5Gbps on WiFi 7, the main allure may be the very low lag — Netgear claims "100x lower" latency that should help with gaming, VR and other timing-sensitive apps. You may not be in a rush to plug your PC into an Ethernet jack, then.
The tri-band router offers coverage up to 3,500sq. ft thanks in part to a new antenna design, and can handle up to 200 simultaneously connected devices. You can create a mesh network if you need to cover a large home. A 10Gbps WAN Ethernet port and a matching LAN port make sure the RS700S can support the fastest home fiber connections, although Netgear curiously limits the four additional local Ethernet ports to 1Gbps. You may have to use WiFi if you want to make the most of this hardware.
The Nighthawk RS700S arrives in the US in the second quarter of the year, and will cost a steep $700. You're paying for the privilege of being first. With that said, it costs less than Netgear's WiFi 6-based Orbi 860 two-pack despite much stronger performance in its (admittedly smaller) coverage area. If you're more interested in raw throughput than range, this may be the better value.
The greater issue is compatibility. Only a limited number of devices have the components needed to support WiFi 7, and the new format isn't enabled. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in the Galaxy S23 series is technically capable of WiFi 7, for example, but Samsung's phones officially support 'only' WiFi 6e. And while multi-gigabit internet service is becoming more commonplace, it's still rare enough that the RS700S' headroom may go unused. You're buying this router to future-proof your setup, not to realize any immediate speed gains.