Among the small-sized and low-priced Netgear routers available today is the 802.11ac dual-band Netgear AC1600 Smart Wi-Fi Router.
While going for less than $100, this router retains its glory in speed making it impossible for its mates from other manufacturing houses to access the market.
What’s Unique About Netgear AC-1600 Smart Wi-Fi Router?
From the physical look of things, It doesn’t have the kind of beauty to woo the mass. The upright slab with sheen finish though attractive at a glance demands more physical care than any other devices around it.
But that doesn’t make it less enticing where speed is concerned. Being a dual-band router, it delivers 300Mbps on its 2.4GHz band and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz for better connectivity of all wireless devices in your network.
While its mates are adorned with external antennae to broadcast Wi-Fi signal in all directions, This Wi-Fi router acts unconcerned with its internal antenna.
This allows it to adopt the unparalleled Beamforming+ technology to meet the growing needs for digital homes. It increases the Wi-Fi range, cuts down on interference, gets rid of blind spots and extends the signal speed!
For Netgear, communication is personal and confidential; from the router to each device. It doesn’t matter how many devices are in the network, they are all treated special.
That makes the communication faster, more focused and reliable with no chances of signal dropping. Even when you move around the house with your smartphone chatting with your friends online, communication is never compromised.
This results in less buffering, high-quality videos, faster uploading of content and lag-free gaming.
This Smart router deploys advanced Quality of Service technology to ensure smooth High Definition streaming and gaming.
One factor missing in this router that its competitors strive to add is MU-MIM0 technology. If added, though the price may rise, the overall performance would shoot twice high.
A competitor, Linksys EA7500 Max-Stream AC1900 Wi-Fi router deploys the technology but keeping its cost below $100.
Unboxing the Dual-Band AC1600 Router
Its physical size stands at 7.5 x 7.9 x 2.6 inches and 417 grams in weight making it the youngest kid in the routing block. It consumes less space on the desk since it’s designed to stand on its base.
It comes with one USB 3.0 port for your Network storage drive, allowing you to back up data from various devices in your network at a central point. For a router with only one USB port, using 3.0 standards is a great investment.
Should you have videos or music to share across the network, the storage drive is the best place to put such. That way, you can stream at high speed on the Wi-Fi.
The dual-band router comes with five gigabit Ethernet ports; four LAN ports for devices using wired network and one WAN port to connect to your modem. It also has a reset switch, power On/Off button and power input port at the back panel.
There are four LED at the bottom front of the router showing the status of power, internet signal, Wi-Fi and USB port. Two others are on the side of the device.
Though the front NETGEAR logo glows when the router is powered, the bottom blue colored section against the black background doesn’t. The sides and back casing of the router have triangular cutouts to keep the device cool after the hard work.
While unboxing, make sure you have one Ethernet cable, power adapter and quick installation guide together with the router.
It is built around dual-core 800 MHz processor, 128 MB flash and 128 MB RAM. That enables high-performance connectivity in homes with multiple internet hungry Wi-Fi devices; iPad, iPhones, laptops and different types of smartphones.
For security, the 802.11ac dual-band This router uses Wi-Fi protected access (WPA/ WPA2-PSK), Denial of service attack prevention and double firewall protection (SPI and NAT firewall).
When setting up the router, the process is CD-less like it is with Linksys routers and the new versions of Netgear routers. To some people, that feels insecure. But once the Netgear Genie has loaded, you have an opportunity to see if the internet signal works well and begin setting up the Wi-Fi name and password for entry-level security.
With the Netgear Genie app, you can monitor, connect and manage your entire home network from your smartphone or tablet. This app provides remote management capabilities including diagnosing and repairing the router while in a different location; that includes restarting the router when the need arises.
You can also set up parental controls to filter the kind of content network users access and view the history of websites visited. Also, Genie makes sharing and streaming of music and videos easier and faster.
Testing on speed, It isn’t threatened by walls standing between it and the devices it needs to serve. It transmits a strong Wi-Fi signal beyond 15 meters behind solid walls and rooms with various electronic gadgets that would cause interference.
Like every other router from Netgear, it comes with one-year hardware warranty and 90 days 24/7 basic technical support from the day of purchase. The device must be sold by an authorized reseller for these to apply.
When setting up your network, ensure your computer runs on Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX or Linux. As for the browser, Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, Firefox 2.0, Safari 1.4 or Google Chrome 11.0 is the lowest you can work with.
To Buy or Not to Buy
Netgear router isn’t the fastest router you may ever come across; looking at its specifications, it’s considered an entry-level device for your home network.
Those of the same level but from different manufacturers are mainly cheaper. But the deployment of Beamforming + technology makes the router stand out from all others in its price range; below $100. It’s able to retain its speed and efficiency claim.