Netgear Unveils More Affordable Wi-Fi 7 Routers To Ease The Early Adopter Tax

Netgear Nighthawk RS300 router on a table next to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.
Living on the bleeding edge often comes with a high price tag, and for the most part, that's true of early adopters of Wi-Fi 7 hardware. Hoping to ease the pain a bit, however, Netgear is rolling out its "most affordable Wi-Fi 7 products to date," which includes the Orbi 770 tri-band mesh router system and a standalone Nighthawk RS300 router.

These aren't cheap products, mind you, with MSRPs ranging from $329.99 on up to $999.99. But they are generally less expensive than a spattering of early Wi-Fi routers that have popped up at retail, including Netgear's own product line.

Starting with the least expensive option, the Nighthawk RS300 is a somewhat sleek and stylish Wi-Fi 7 router with 9.3Gbps of combined speed. This is spread out over three bands, with a 6GHz band (2x2, 320MHz, 4K-QAM) offering up to 5.8Gbps, a 5GHz band (2x2, 160MHz, 4K-QAM) rated to deliver up to 2.9Gbps, and a 2.4GHz band (2x2, 40MHz, 4K-QAM) pumping out up to 700Mbps (0.7Gbps).

You can't actually combine the three bands into a 9.3Gbps super connection of sorts, though it's common practice for router makers to advertise the collective max bandwidth.

For wired connectivity, the rear of the unit offers up two 2.5Gbps LAN ports, two 1Gbps LAN ports, a 2.5Gbps internet port, and a USB 3.0 port for sharing storage or a printer over your network.

As for coverage, while you don't see any antennas protruding out like tentacles or something resembling a head crab, Netgear claims it can handle up to 2,500 square feet across a max of 100 devices. That's pretty impressive if the claim holds up to testing.

Netgear Orbi 770 router on a cabinent top.

Moving on to the Orbi 770 mesh system, it's priced at $699.99 for a router with one satellite, and $999.99 for a router and two satellites. The single satellite package is touted as offering whole home coverage for up to 5,500 square feet, while the two satellite pack bumps that up to 8,000 square feet. Additionally, Netgear is selling add-on satellites for $399.99 a pop, with each one extending coverage by 2,750 square feet.

This is also a tri-band setup with a 6GHz band (2x2, 320MHz, 4K-QAM) delivering speeds of up to 5,760Mbps, a 5GHz band (2x2, 240MHz, 4K-QAM) rated for up to 4,320Mbps, and a 2.4GHz band (2x2, 40MHz, 1K-QAM) rated for up to 688Mbps. That works out to 11Gbps (rounded up) of combined bandwidth.

There are 2.5Gbps LAN ports and a single 2.5Gbps internet port on the back of the router, and two 2.5Gbps LAN ports on each satellite. Both lack any USB connectivity, though at least as it applies to printers, most models are wireless these days anyway.

The slim, cylindrical bodies of the Orbi router and satellites are purposefully designed for optimal performance and make them a subtle addition to any desk, shelf, or entertainment unit. Each unit features four high-performance internal antennas with high-powered amplifiers for 360-degree coverage, regardless of the home layout, from the front door to the backyard, Netgear says. "Orbi 770 offers a robust WiFi connection using preamble puncturing which selectively blocks interference for a stable connection, keeping the home network functioning flawlessly."

The Nighthawk RS300 and Orbi 770 are both available to preorder direct from Netgear, and will release later this month.