Last week Netgear announced their first Wi-Fi 7 router, the tri-band Nighthawk RS700.
In recent months, we have seen multiple Wi-Fi 7 router and access point announcements. ASUS ROG have two routers with the tri-band ROG RT-BE96U and the quad-band ROG Rapture GT-BE98.
TP-Link has gone all in with Wi-Fi 7, with three Deco mesh systems, four Archer routers and two access points. Three of the routers are tri-band, while the flagship BE900 is quad-band.
Netgear always seems a little slow at announcing products, but more often than not, they get the product to market before other brands. At the time of writing, Netgear US is stating a shipment date of 27th of May at a price of $699.99.
The other brands have no shipment date at all, just that it will be sometime in 2023.
It is worth noting that there is no rush to get one of these systems as there are currently no Wi-Fi 7 clients available, but this should start to change later in the year.
So how does the new Nighthawk RS700 compare to the other tri-band routers from ASUS and TP-Link?
Tri-Band vs Quad-Band Routers – Tri-Band is the new Dual-Band
With the launch of Wi-Fi 6E, there was a new 6Ghz band added by default for any router supporting this Wi-Fi standard.
All routers that support Wi-Fi 6E and Wi-Fi 7 will need to be tri-band as standard which will allow them to support all legacy Wi-Fi devices.
When mesh Wi-Fi was introduced, we started to see routers, or mesh systems, adding an additional 5GHz band which is then used as a dedicated backhaul to and from the satellite to the main router.
With a system that does not have a dedicated backhaul, one of the bands (normally 5GHz) will be shared as the client-side band and backhaul. When this happens, you get signal loss causing around a 50% drop in throughput.
With Wi-Fi 7 and 6E routers, a tri-band router, will have the same signal loss as a dual-band Wi-Fi 5/6 router when using mesh and connecting to one of the satellites. The main router will not have its throughput affected.
All the routers in this comparison are compatible with mesh. The Nighthawk will be updated to support EasyMesh, which is the same system that is used as TP-Link. ASUS use their proprietary AIMesh.
Nighthawk RS700 vs ROG RT-BE96U vs TP-Link Archer BE800 Wi-Fi 7 Specification
|Wi-Fi 7 Router||Netgear Nighthawk RS700||ROG RT-BE96U||TP-Link Archer BE800|
|Wi-Fi Standard||Wi-Fi 7||Wi-Fi 7||Wi-Fi 7|
|Wi-Fi Bands||2.4 GHz: 1.4Gbps 4×4 40MHz|
5 GHz: 5.8Gbps / 4×4 / 160MHz
6 GHz: 11.5Gbps / 4×4 / 320MHz
|2.4 GHz: up to 1376 Mbps |
5 GHz: up to 5762 Mbps (160 MHz)
6 GHz: up to 11,525 Mbps (320 MHz)
|2.4 GHz: 1376 Mbps (4×4)
5 GHz-1: 5760 Mbps (4×4 160 MHz)
6 GHz: 11520 Mbps (4×4 4096 QAM + 320 MHz)
|CPU||Quad-core 2.6GHz CPU,|
512MB NAND Flash, 1GB RAM
256 MB Flash and 2 GB RAM
|Memory||256 MB Flash, 2 GB DDR4 RAM||Not stated|
|WAN/LAN Ports||1x 10Gbps WAN|
1x 10Gbps LAN
4x 1Gbps LAN
|1 x 10 Gbps WAN/LAN|
2 x 10 Gbps LAN
3 x RJ45 10/100/1000 Mbps LAN
|1 x 10 Gbps SFP+/RJ45 Combo WAN
1 x 10 Gbps LAN
2 x 2.5 Gbps LAN
4 x 1 Gbps LAN
|USB Ports||1x USB 3.0||USB 3.2 Gen1 x1|
USB 2.0 x1
|1 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
|Mesh||Wi-Fi EasyMesh to be added via firmware||AiMesh||EasyMesh|
|Price||$699.99 from Saturday, May 27||?||?|
Price and Availability
The Netgear Nighthawk RS700 is available to pre-order now with an RRP of $699.99, and it will ship in late May. No word on UK availability just yet.
For ASUS, there is no word on the price or availability of the RT-BE96U. The ROG Rapture GT-BE98 was stated as becoming available in Q1 2023, but that seems unlikely. The ROG Rapture GT-BE98 is also reported as being $800, so I’d expect the tri-band RT-BE96U to be quite a bit cheaper.
Similarly, TP-Link may have announced the most products, but there is no word on when they will be available to buy. The Archer BE900 was supposed to be available for pre-order in December with a Q1 launch, but I can’t find anywhere that allows you to pre-order. The Archer BE900 has an RRP of $699.99, so the tri-band TP-Link Archer BE800 should undercut Netgear significantly.
Nighthawk RS700 vs ROG RT-BE96U vs TP-Link Archer BE800 Opinion
It is too early to form a conclusive opinion of these routers; they will all inevitably be excellent.
All three routers will likely offer comparable performance. The Wi-Fi performance will likely be identical.
The main considerations when buying will be:
- Your preferred ecosystem – I am used to both Netgear and TP-Link
- LAN/WAN Configuration – TP-Link has the advantage here
- USB Ports – I can’t say I use USB on a router myself, but the ASUS, with its 10Gb/s USB 3.2 Gen1 x1 port, has an advantage. Though I doubt you’d see any real-world difference with the 5Gb/s USB 3.0 ports.
- Mesh – I doubt this will make much difference, but the EasyMesh on the Netgear and TP-Link should give you more flexibility in what satellite you pair with the router.
- Price and Availability – It is likely that Netgear will be the most expensive but also the first to be available. I would guess that TP-Link will be the cheapest.
Based on what we know so far, the TP-Link looks the most appealing of the three, but who knows when it will be available?
Originally posted on mightygadget.com – Follow on Twitter – Instagram – Facebook – Mighty Gadget Latest Reviews
I am a UK tech blogger and have been in the industry for over 10 years now, running Mighty Gadget and its sister sites and contributing to other sites around the web. I am passionate about all tech, including mobile, wearables, and home automation. I am also a fitness fanatic, so I cover as much fitness tech as possible.