Networking company Netgear just made a big move in the cable modem router world. So big, in fact, that high-speed Internet users on home fronts everywhere have good reason to rejoice. The firm just rolled out the industry’s fastest-ever cable modem router. It’s the first router in the Nighthawk line and it aims at cable Internet subscribers who have an extreme need for broadband speed.

The Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router works with HD and 4K streaming service tiers. Netgear is bragging that its router has the highest-performance integrated AC Wi-Fi cable modem on the market today. The secret sauce: the ability to support 24 download bonded channels at the same time to offer a bigger "pipe" for data traffic.

A Preemptive Strike

"Customer demand is causing cable Internet service providers to continually update their offerings, rolling out new, faster service tiers to support the demand for improved home streaming experiences," said Sandeep Harpalani, Netgear’s senior director of product marketing for Retail Networking Products.

The Nighthawk is a two-in-one device with Wi-Fi speeds up to 1900 Mbps (600 Mbps+1300 Mbps) with high performance amplifiers. It is the first in the market with the latest 24x8 channel bonding modem technology that paves the way for Internet cable download speeds up to 960 Mbps. All this translates to faster streaming, high-speed online gaming, and faster downloads.

Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, told us this is an interesting announcement in that it qualifies as a preemptive strike by Netgear at the still nascent markets for 4k video and gigabit fiber.

“Offerings in those service classes are still fairly limited but the Nighthawk's 24x8 channel bonding is designed to improve the quality of existing cable services by effectively providing Nighthawk owners a 6x larger ‘pipe’ that the company claims will improve data throughput during peak usage periods,” King said. “Netgear also points out that by buying a Nighthawk solution, customers can escape the monthly fee cable companies charge for leasing their proprietary routers.”

Under the Hood

As King noted, you have to buy it outright to enjoy its benefits. This isn’t something that comes standard with your cable broadband subscription. But Netgear said you’ll save money over time by skirting the rental fees. The Nighthawk will eventually pay for itself and you’ll have faster speeds along the way. The cost: $279.99. It will hit the market any day now.

Technically speaking, two processors power the Nighthawk: a 1.0 GHz processor for wired, wireless and USB storage Relevant Products/Services backup, and a 600 MHz processor for running DOCSIS cable. Nighthawk also offers Beamforming+ technology with implicit and explicit Beamforming support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands that boosts WiFi speed for new and legacy WiFi mobile devices.

Netgear has also packed in its genie app, a dashboard that works to make it easier to install, monitor, control and repair your home network using a PC, Mac, as well as iOS and Android smartphones or tablets. And the MyMedia feature lets you find and play your media files stored on your network to DLNA-ready TVs and music system. You can also make any printer AirPrint-compatible for printing from an iPad or iPhone.

“There's more than a little ‘your mileage may vary’ insofar as quantifying the Nighthawk's immediate impact in cable service quality,” King said. “But for consumers who are already using 4k/gigabit fiber services or planning to adopt them in the near future, Netgear's Nighthawk could be a worthwhile investment.”