You will notice that routers will have a designated letter and number combination in their name.
Examples are AC1200, AC2700, and so on. What these codes signify is the router's theoretical max megabits per second or Mbps. The keyword there being 'theoretical'. You have to keep that in mind when choosing a router.
The 'AC' denotes the type of wireless standard that your router is using. In this case, 'AC' is for 802.11ac, which is the current wireless standard today.
Routers that feature AC wireless standards will be able to provide dependable performance across the board.
Of course, there are more advanced wireless standards out there today, but the devices that can support these routers are still uncommon.
To help simplify this explanation, let us focus on AC1200 routers. Routers that provide AC1200 performance can deliver 1,200Mbps connection speeds.
In actually, this is not how fast your internet can download files online or stream.
AC1200 routers can give an average of 150Mbps download speed which is still a substantial number and can easily download or stream one full movie in a matter of minutes.
The number after 'AC' is the combination of the two bandwidth channels that the router is using. AC1200 routers generally use dual-band Wi-Fi systems.
This means that clients have access to both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels.
On average, a 2.4GHz channel can deliver up to 450Mbps, and a 5GHz channel can offer an additional 1,300Mbps. That applies to the AC1200 as well.
What's important to note here is that most Wi-Fi devices can only utilize one type of band.
This means that if your device is restricted to 2.4GHz channels, it can't take advantage of the 5GHz channel's speed.
So, why pick routers with higher AC ratings? Because it can support more devices without affecting the overall performance of the network.
How Many Devices Can Netgear AC1200 Support?
AC1200 routers use two bandwidths that typically offer 300Mbps (2.4Ghz) and 900Mbps (5GHz). Taking this into account, the Netgear AC1200 router is recommended for homes with up to 20 devices.
Any more than that and you will notice a considerable drop in performance. If you have a Netgear AC1200 router at home, you don't need to worry about network traffic even if the whole family is connected at the same time.
Does Netgear AC1200 Work with Comcast?
Netgear AC1200 routers are marketed as being compatible with Internet Service Providers (ISP) such as Comcast, Spectrum, Xfinity, Cox, and a whole bunch of other services. Since Netgear is one of the more popular router brands in the market, it is safe to assume that they are compatible with most, if not all, Internet providers today.
Netgear AC1200 R6220 Router Review
The Netgear AC1200 R6220 is one of the more budget-friendly routers that are available in the market today.
While it may be an affordable device, its low price is, by no means, indicative of its performance.
It provides a surprisingly well-made and comes with some fantastic features that are not common with routers within its price range.
If you are looking for a router that primarily comes with the bare necessities to deliver reliable internet performance, the Netgear AC1200 should undoubtedly be in your shortlist.
During our initial trial run for the Netgear AC1200 R6220, it managed to achieve above-average performance on all board.
It did show visible limitations though which is why we recommend this router for use in small residences such as apartments.
It may not be able to provide stable Wi-Fi coverage on larger homes with multiple rooms, even if it is placed in an optimum spot in the house.
Also, keep in mind that the R6220 forgoes most of the advanced 'bells and whistles' that some of the newer router models provide.
This makes the R6220 router feel a bit dated, but it does go above and beyond with the performance that it can deliver, so it manages to balance out its shortcomings quite well.
Netgear routers pretty much follow the same pattern when it comes to its design, which is the sleek black aesthetic route.
In Netgear R6220's case, the router has an extremely original design without much visual flair.
This router is all business right out of the box. It measures in at 9.4 x 7.2 x 1.6 inches which places it on the more extensive group set of routers.
Other notable features in its design include two antennas that you can extend for up to 5 inches.
These antennas can also be adjusted and rotated to provide optimum coverage in your home. Each antenna also sports high-gain amplifier technology to squeeze in every bit of range that the router can muster.
Other visual aspects of note are the nine LED lights that show the status of your router.
For some, nine blinkings LED lights can be quite distracting. Unfortunately, this Netgear router does not come with the option of disabling the LED display.
Over at the back panel of the unit are the LAN ports and one USB port that utilizes 2.0 USB connectivity. This is expected as this is a dated model.
You can also find the WPS switch at the back as well as a recessed reset button that lets you return the router to its factory setting.
You will need to use a paper clip to reach the reset button though.
Now, for the muscle of the device.
Within the R6220 is a decent 880MHz MediaTek processor with 128MB of RAM and 128MB flash storage space.
While not a mind-blowing system, it does manage to deliver what's needed without issues.
The Netgear R6220 router can also be turned into a strictly wired router with a flip of a switch. This router will need to be updated manually though as it does not have an auto-update feature.
However, it does come with the Netgear Firmware Upgrade Assistant which helps streamline the process.
All you need to do is activate the Upgrade Assistant, and it will automatically search for all appropriate firmware updates required by the device.
In terms of safety, the Netgear R6220 manages to check all the crucial boxes. It uses SPA2 security protocol and provides the standard NAT and SPI firewalls which can effectively block DoS attacks.
The router security system also allows users to scan the vicinity of other Wi-Fi signals that may disrupt its performance.
Users will also have access to a Traffic Meter feature which can help limit bandwidth usage for homes that use a limited data plan.
Another aspect where the Netgear R6220 impresses is with its parental control feature.
This is a must-have for homes with children who are also using the internet as you can filter unwanted content and website from being accessed through your network.
The settings are pretty basic, which allows you to choose the level of restriction when it comes to certain online content.
There is a downside here in the form of needing to register to an OpenDNS account to use the parental control feature.
Not a deal-breaker, but it requires users to jump through a few extra hoops to access the full functionality of the router.
How Do I Setup My Netgear Nighthawk R6220?
Setting up your Netgear router is pretty straightforward and won't generally need help from a professional.
Most Netgear routers, the R6220 included, come with a plug-and-play design that streamlines the installation process.
Once you have booted up your router and connected your device, you will then need to access the web browser interface.
Once there, all you need to do is follow the Installation Wizard step by step. This can be completed within 5 minutes tops.
Once the setup process is completed, you will be notified to print the router settings and details.
You will also be given a choice to download and install two Netgear software: Netgear Genie and ReadyShare.
We recommend you do so as both applications can significantly improve convenience when operating your home network.
Also, Netgear routers come with one-year warranties which is why we suggest you buy directly from official Netgear retailers.
Dimension: 9.4 x 7.2 x 1.6 inches
Wi-Fi: 802.11ac, Dual-Band
Ports: x4 Gigabit Ethernet LAN, USB 2.0
Antennas: 2, non-removable
For those looking for a budget-friendly and entry-level router, the Netgear Nighthawk R6220 should be on your list. It can connect a decent number of devices at once and can deliver excellent and stable throughput speed. While it may be lacking in the advanced feature department, it makes up for it with its overall reliable performance and a decent number of features attached to a low-price tag. This is a highly recommended entry-level router for regular internet browsing family use.