Netgear R6300 preview: Our first 802.11ac router

The Netgear R6300 is the first 802.11ac router we have ever reviewed. It looks quite different to previous Netgear routers. Whether it's a good design decision is a matter of personal taste, but we aren't overly excited by it. It's pretty large and thick and, since it needs to stand up, it takes up some space. Its illuminated Netgear logo and gold stripe mean that it will be noticeable no matter where you place it.

While we aren't particularly impressed by its looks, what we really care about is performance. Before we move on to the tests, we'll have a look at the hardware hidden inside the relatively large case. While we're at it we'll mention its rather high £188 pricetag, but fear not - routers usually drop in price quite quickly soon after hitting the market.

We were very curious about the internal contents of the Netgear R6300. After quite a bit of effort we managed to open up the router, and the first thing we found was a relatively large motherboard with a daughterboard connected to it by a PCI-E connector. We found the same construction in the D-Link DIR-857.

A difference between the two daughterboards is that in the D-Link it contains all the wireless chips, while in the Netgear router it only has the 5GHz chips. The 2.4GHz chips are spread over the motherboard. The amplifiers for the 2.4GHz band are on the back of the board, while the Broadcom BCM4331 controller chip is on the front. That chip is a common one, we saw it in the first version of the Cisco Linksys E4200 and the Netgear WNDR4500. You can read the rest of Netgear R6300 802.11ac router preview on Hardware.info.

Above is an interview with Netgear's Lionel Paris, Marketing Manager Europe, about the Netgear R6300 and the 802.11ac standard.