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. 

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  • Souka - Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - link

    I have the RT-66U.. love it.

    It is defaulted to 80mW, max of 500mW
    in the router config page Wireless--> Professional tab
    "FCC: max. 500mW for North America."

    I picked up the e4300 v2 (thought it was a v1 but it wasn't, and returned it a few days later) I was disappointed by the range and wireless performance even at close range. Tried a number of things, helped, but not what I hoped for.

    Got my my mom a DIR-645 (coffee can looking router). EXCELLENT range and good overall performance...but no custom firmware possible (like the linksys e4200v2)

    Anyhow... my $.02
  • damianrobertjones - Wednesday, May 16, 2012 - link

    ... Unless its been available for at least 3 months. I'll never buy Netgear again unless I'm sure that it works and REVIEWS are not to be trusted unless from somewhere like Amazon or the actual Netgear support forum.


    It didn't work and was never fixed (as far as I can tell).
  • slyck - Thursday, May 17, 2012 - link

    Back in the G days it was possible to find good even great routers after not too much wait or looking. With the draft-N debacle, and all the final spec N garbage that came down the pipe, it tooks years of waiting to find halfway decent gear. I think it's worth waiting a LONG time before springing for anything AC.
  • trivor - Saturday, May 19, 2012 - link

    Those of you with RT-66U could you get by with the next lower model - 56U. It does seem like a big step with 2 Internal (vs 3 External) antennas. I've not been happy with my WNDR 3700 - had great reviews, wanted a top of the line router for streaming video to my XBox 360 - bought the microsoft External N Adapter (with 2.4 GHz N and 5.0 GHz with dual external antennas). My biggest issue is the reliabillity - have to reset the Netgear an average of every week because the XBox loses the connection. I have Gigabit lan on my WHS 2011 and expected to get top notch performance and sometimes it seems to lag when streaming HD video (my Blue Rays are actually fairly compressed at about 3.5-4.0 GB per movie - looks good enough for me on my 60 Hz 1080p 46" LCD). I've been thinking about changing routers and this sounds like the one to get (although if I can get one with this performance for backwards compatiblity AND the new 802.11ac for not too much more i'd be willing to wait). Thanks for anyone who helps.
  • 1ceTr0n - Saturday, May 19, 2012 - link

    If you need maximum wireless performance, pony up the extra for the 66U
  • Shuxclams - Monday, May 21, 2012 - link

    I bought the ASUS RT-N66U as well, and after fixing the login page issue got it going... man alive what an nice piece of equipment

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