Plex is trying to get its media server software in as many locations as humanly possible. Having launched on the Nvidia Shield TV and Amazon Cloud in recent months, Plex is now coming to the Netgear Nighthawk range, allowing users to run a media server straight from their Wi-Fi router.

Netgear is billing the Nighthawk X10 the ‘world’s fastest router’ and it has been specifically designed to take advantage of that raw power. The router is especially geared towards media lovers and gamers.

Inside the Netgear Nighthawk X10 is a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, which enables some of the more power-hungry operations this router is capable of. Netgear has also managed to pack in the latest Wi-Fi spec, including Quad Stream Wave 2 Wi-Fi architecture, that helps the device reach speeds of up to 7.2Gbps, as well as the latest 802.11ad standard.

Alongside the addition of new standards and extra computing power, the Netgear Nighthawk X10 also represents the company’s first tri-band Wi-Fi router. It utilises a dual band 4×4 802.11ac solution for 1733Mbps and 800Mbps, while a 1×1 802.11ad solution is available for 4600Mbps.

The Nighthawk X10 isn’t the first 802.11ad router on the market, nor is it the first supporting tri-band – in fact both the Acelink BR-6774AD and the TP-Link AD7200 support those technologies. It is the first capable of running the Plex media server software with transcoding capabilities however.

While in previous years Netgear has leaned on Qualcomm for its router processors, this year marks a change in strategy. Instead, inside the Nighthawk X10 is a quad-core Annapurna Labs SoC running at 1.7GHz – which is designed to do much more than network processing.

The power that this processor affords is enough to transcode 4K content for smooth streaming, even to remote devices. It even supports multiple transcodes simultaneous, much like other devices that support the Plex media server.

Netgear Nighthawk X10

Connecting content to the Plex media server is done by connecting any storage source to the USB 3.0 ports that can be found on the back of the Netgear Nighthawk X10. The server will then scan for content without ever requiring a computer to interact with it. From there users will be able to stream their content to hundreds of devices, including Google’s Chromecast, Apple TV, iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV, Raspberry Pi and more.

While media streaming is a big focus for Netgear in its marketing of the Nighthawk X10, equally important to the company is gaming. With support for 802.11ad allowing for lower latency and faster speeds, Netgear says that the Nighthawk X10 is the ideal device for VR gaming in 4K. The Netgear Nighthawk X10 is also the industry’s first router designed for the home market that includes a 10Gigabit port, which supports a fibre connection.

Despite being one of the most powerful Wi-Fi routers on the market, Netgear says that the Nighthawk X10 is one of its easiest to set-up, thanks to the launch of a new iOS and Android App, dubbed ‘Netgear Up’.

“Nighthawk X10 sets a new bar for performance and a new record for speed when moving large video files within your network and to the cloud,” says David Henry, senior vice president for home networking at Netgear.

“Today’s video files are getting larger with 4k and VR video. Offloading from capture devices and moving these large files within a network often becomes a time-consuming and challenging task. The Nighthawk X10 is powerful enough to move these files at unprecedented speed and provides easy access once the file is stored on the network.”

Being one of the world’s fastest and most powerful Wi-Fi routers comes at a price, with Netgear adding a premium onto the X10 when compared to previous flagship Nighthawk routers. Pricing in the US has been set at $499.99, where it is available now. UK availability and pricing has yet to be announced.

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