HarborFront

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Next-generation Wi-Fi routers are all over the place at CES this year, and while Netgear doesn’t have one to debut right this second, it is promising a big launch for later in the year. The company says it’s working on a version of its Orbi mesh router that supports Wi-Fi 6, allowing it to take advantage of the improved speeds while spreading internet signal from different routers across a home.

Right now, details are borderline nonexistent. Netgear says the router will have a 4x4 backhaul for connecting with other mesh router nodes, which presumably means this’ll be a tri-band model. And that’s basically it. There’s no pricing yet, and the launch date is as broad as “the second half of 2019.”

For now, there isn’t a ton of reason to upgrade anyway. Even if you buy a router that supports Wi-Fi 6, consumer products like laptops, smartphones, and TVs still don’t support the new standard, so you won’t see any big speed gains for the time being. There might still be some small improvements from having a mesh Wi-Fi network that’s connected by Wi-Fi 6 backhauls, but that would require buying multiple new routers — just having one Orbi unit that supports Wi-Fi 6 won’t do you any good. So expect this to be a pricey upgrade.

Earlier today, TP-Link announced that it, too, would launch a Wi-Fi 6 mesh router later this year. TP-Link plans to sell those routers, the Deco X10, in two packs for $350. It’s likely we’ll be hearing about a few more as the week goes on.