Coming this December, the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 is a tri-band gaming router that can send and receive signals in the newly opened 6GHz band.
Earlier this year, the Federal Communications Commission paved the way for a new generation of Wi-Fi connections by voting to open up the spectrum in the 6GHz band for unlicensed use. Now, at its Meta Buffs launch event, Asus is taking advantage of that fresh Wi-Fi real estate, and announcing the first router to support Wi-Fi 6E transmissions in that 6GHz band.
Specifically, it's the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, a high-end, tri-band gaming router that'll hit stores in December of this year. Like the previous router in the lineup, the ROG Rapture GT-AX11000, the new model features eight antennas in a modern, show-offy design meant to appeal to gamers -- but as the extra "E" in the model number suggests, it adds in support for Wi-Fi 6E.
"Asus is an established leader in the networking market and was the first to launch a Wi-Fi 6 router," the company said in its press release announcing the product. "Now Asus is delivering the wider bandwidth and increased 160 MHz channels of Wi-Fi 6E with ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, the world's first Wi-Fi 6E router."
Pricing details are still yet to be determined, but given that the previous Wi-Fi 6 model is still selling for $450, you shouldn't expect the GT-AXE11000 to come cheap once it arrives.
The big benefit of support for Wi-Fi 6E is that it allows devices to access a massive swath of relatively untapped bandwidth in the 6GHz band. With 1,200MHz, it's more than twice as wide as the 5GHz band, which allows for a greater number of wider channels that can pass traffic faster and more efficiently. And, since there aren't any legacy Wi-Fi devices in that band, it'll serve as a semi-exclusive VIP section for the newest Wi-Fi gadgets equipped to take advantage. That means less interference and improved latency.
The GT-AXE11000 features a multi-gig LAN port that supports incoming wired speeds as high as 2.5Gbps, and it'll let you aggregate two of the gigabit WAN ports together for combined speeds of up to 2Gbps, as well.
Earlier this year, Extreme Networks Director of Product Marketing Perry Correll, who sits on both the IEEE 11ax and Wi-Fi Alliance Wi-Fi 6 task groups, explained that Wi-Fi 6E connections might be of particular interest to gamers on the cutting edge.
"AR/VR and gaming is another great use case for the 6GHz band," Correll told CNET. "Many don't realize the high-end VR sets that require the most bandwidth are actually tethered with cables. With Wi-Fi 6E, you not only get more bandwidth but cleaner bandwidth -- meaning it is able to wirelessly provide the higher data rates required along with true mobility."
Beyond the Wi-Fi 6E support, the GT-AXE11000 is powered by a 1.8GHz, 64-bit CPU with 1GB of RAM. It supports 4X4 Wi-Fi 6 connections, features a multi-gig LAN port for wired speeds of up to 2.5Gbps, and allows for WAN aggregation, where you combine the incoming speeds from two Ethernet WAN ports to achieve wireless speeds of up to 2Gbps. The router also uses "the latest 6GHz power amplifier" to improve signal strength and coverage -- a noteworthy inclusion, since signals won't travel quite as far in the 6GHz band.
Hopefully, we'll know a lot more about this new gaming router in the coming weeks -- including just how much it actually costs. Once we've had the chance to test it out for ourselves, we'll be sure to tell you all about it, so stay tuned.