Netgear Announces 2-stream 802.11ac R6200 router and A6200 USB 2.0 adapterby Brian Klug & Ganesh T S on May 15, 2012 2:35 PM EST
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.