Netgear AC4000 Review – NIGHTHAWK X6S (R8000P) ROUTER WITH MU-MIMO

What is AC4000?

AC4000 indicates the maximum speeds that a particular router can deliver. Of course, this number is the total peak calculation which was taken using optimized settings and placement.

The router's performance will vary from user to user. Take these tags such as AC4000 as the optimal level of performance that you can achieve.

In particular, let's take a look at the Netgear X6S router. By design, it uses tri-band Wi-Fi and delivers around 750Mbps with its 2.4GHz band, and up to 1.625Gbps with two 5GHz channels.

This adds up to an impressive AC4000 router rating that this unit has.


Routers with an AC4000 rating are generally tri-band routers.

Similar to the Netgear X6S, this is usually the easiest way to achieve this level of speed.

AC4000 routers are also highly recommended for HD streaming and online gaming due to the overall level of performance you can expect from routers with this rating.

Routers with AC4000 ratings are usually part of the mid-range units in the market.

Most will provide more than an adequate performance that will be able to provide a smooth experience with home network users.

To give you a good understanding of what to expect with AC4000 routers, let us go and take a look at one of the best sellers in this category, the Netgear X6S.

Netgear X6S (R8000P) Review
Intro

The Netgear X6S is a tri-band router that also provides MU-MIMO support. This router incorporates the 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard and uses this to deliver Wi-Fi that covers three channels.

The Netgear X6S has a rating of AC4000 which it achieves thanks to its use of three Wi-Fi bands which, when combined, can deliver a maximum speed of up to 4,000Mbps.

Its overall performance is further enhanced with its ability to support MU-MIMO streaming which boosts transfer speeds exponentially.

How does the Netgear X6S fair against its competition within the same price range?
Let's go on an in-depth look at what makes the Netgear X6S unique and find out of any potential downsides or shortcomings that it has.

Design

At first glance, the Netgear X6S is quite an intimidating figure with its large and bulky appearance.

It has an old-school charm to it though once you get past the 'hardcover book' size of the unit. Speaking of its size, the Netgear X6S comes in with a hefty 11 x 9 x 2.1 inches in dimension.

Truly an old-school design that harkens back to the gadgets of yesteryear.

However, this exceptionally tank-like aesthetic will most likely be quite appealing for some who prefer the sleek and compact charm of modern devices.

Fortunately, if available space is an issue, the Netgear X6S is designed so that it can be mounted onto the wall.

We do need to point out that the jutting antennas can make it a bit cumbersome to look at if you choose the wall mount route.

There is no way to circumvent this design issue as the antennas are set in place and cannot be adjusted once attached.

Flipping the device towards the back will reveal a slew of ports that should cover everything for home use.

The Nighthawk X6S features four LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN connection, and two USB ports that support 2.0 and 3.0 USB connection.

It has everything you need to transfer files from your hard drive to use it as a wireless printer for all devices within the network.

The power button and reset switch can also be located at the back of the unit. As for the WPS button, it can be found on the front end of the device, making for a relatively easy way to turn Wi-Fi broadcast on and off.


Other notable aesthetics aspects of the Nighthawk X6S are the 11 LED lights that show the status of your router.

If that sounds like too much-LED lights, well, it is. If you prefer the router not to generate too much attention with its Christmas lights-like blinking, there is a switch on the back of the unit that allows you to turn off all LEDs.

Within its bulky exterior is a dual-core 1.8GHz processor which incorporates a 128MB RAM and 512MB of solid-state memory storage.

The device also utilizes MU-MIMO technology which will assist the X6S in supporting multiple connected devices to the network simultaneously.

To improve the Wi-Fi range, the Netgear X6S features Beamforming+ protocol technology as well, which helps boost the X6S' range and speed while remaining compatible with 802.11ac devices.

One of the first features that the Netgear X6S provides is its ability to aggregate two wired connections to a single device.

This can significantly speed up the throughput by as much as double the initial speed (up to 2Gbps) which should benefit online multiplayer gamers.

As we have noted earlier in this review, the Nighthawk X6S is a tri-band router.

It features a 2.4GHz channel as well as two bands that employ 5GHz Wi-Fi — the Nighthawk X6S clocks in 750Mbps with the 2.4GHz channel and around 1.62Gbps for both 5GHz channels.

This is a pretty well-rounded mid-range router that delivers excellent speed with a focus on supporting multiple devices at once.

Security

The Nighthawk X6S comes with all the standard security protocols in modern routers. This device features WPA2 encryption which is enough to form excellent protection around your home network.

Of course, this does not mean that your Wi-Fi is fool-proof. Routers tend to provide the necessary cyberattack defense which cannot compete with the protection you can get from installing paid third-party security services.

As with all Netgear routers, the Nighthawk X6S also offers trustworthy parental control. However, you will need to create your own OpenDNS account to take advantage of this feature.

Once you have logged in using your OpenDNS account, you can now utilize the parental control options to its full potential.

For example, you can set a schedule for specific devices on when and how long they can access the network.

You can also filter web content and websites using keywords and destination. Updating the blacklist of banned keywords is relatively easy as well, especially if you have Netgear Genie installed into your smartphone.

The Netgear X6S also comes with Netgear's Dynamic Quality of Service program, which helps designate and allocate bandwidth usage to each client within the network.

This Netgear QoS software also automatically prioritizes video streaming and online gaming, but it tries to even out the bandwidth for the other devices.

We found this program to be quite useful if your internet connection speed is below the average.

The router also streamlines the delivery of data through its channels. It will then optimize the path of 'least resistance' to deliver smoother and faster internet speeds to every client in its network.

Another software included in this package is the ReadShare app. As the name implies, this is a software that aims to streamline file sharing and to create backups of essential data.

You can further configure this program as well to improve the overall convenience of your shared network.

For example, you can turn on notifications if a device in your network is trying to access restricted websites.

With the advanced settings, you can also utilize the router's built-in VPN settings and port aggregation.

We also recommend doing regular maintenance and check if your firmware needs updating. This can all be done using the advanced setting that you can find in the web browser interface.

You can also limit the data transfer for downloads and uploads, which is a crucial feature for those who have limited data.

When all of its features are pooled into one, the Nighthawk X6S excels as a router designed to support multiple devices. Thanks in large part to its MU-MIMO support technology.

However, I do want to point out that its SU-MIMO capabilities are a bit lacking in the speed department in comparison to other routers that provide similar performance.

That being said, this router does excel in handling multiple clients at the same time without any extreme dips in speed to note.

It maximizes its tri-band Wi-Fi by balancing out network traffic evenly through all three channels. By incorporating both 2.4GHz and 5Ghz bands to their fullest, the network effectively stymies issues like interference and overcrowding.

How Do I Setup My Netgear Nighthawk X6S?

Netgear is known for developing user-friendly yet advanced devices. This applies to their routers as well. To set up your Nighthawk X6S, plug it in and power it on.

Once it has finished booting, connect to the router either via LAN cable or Wi-Fi. I recommend using the web browser interface during the initial setup rather than using their Netgear Genie app.

Once you have connected to your router, go and open the official router interface by typing 192.169.1.1 or routerlogin.net on your browser's address window.

The admin credentials to log in are printed on the manual or the label sticker on the unit. Once you have logged in to your network, the first thing you need to do is update your login information.

You will then go through the standard installation wizard process. Afterward, you will be given the option to print out a confirmation page that has all the critical details.

Also, you will be notified if you wish to purchase a Netgear support contract. Netgear provides free support for up to 90 days, buy buying a said contract, you can remove that time limit.

Specifications:

  • Processor: Dual-Core 1.8GHz, 128MB RAM, 512MB Memory
  • Wi-Fi Chip: Broadcom BCM4365E
  • Antennas: 6, not removable
  • Ports: x1 WAN, x4 LAN Gigabit, x2 USB ports 2.0 and 3.0
  • Dimension: 11.1 x 9 x 2.1 inches

Pros:

  • Excellent throughput setting.
  • Maintains stability even with multiple connected devices.
  • Easy to install and set up.
  • Excellent customization of settings.

Cons:

  • File transfer speed is lacking in comparison to its competition.
  • Quite expensive.

Final Thoughts

This is a well-rounded router from Netgear that delivers an excellent ability to maintain a stable throughput even with several clients eating up the bandwidth.

The Nighthawk X6S also provides a wealth of options for the user to tinker with to ensure optimum performance.

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