Netgear ax12 rax120 review

Early Wi-Fi 6 routers have been around for a while, but Wi-Fi 6 clients are still very few in the market.

One way or the other, we managed to get a PC with an 802.11ax network adapter and set to test some Wi-Fi 6 routers, one of which is the Netgear ax12 rax120. The Netgear ax12 rax120 is quite expensive, costing about $499.99 with a B-2 stealth bomber look.

This router, very odd-looking, delivers an exceptional 5GHz throughput performance and a satisfactory file transfer performance. One of the downsides to this router is its lack of malware protection and parental controls.

If you are going to spend so much on a new router, you ought to expect much from it too, like excellent performance, future-proofed speeds, and high-end features, one like the Netgear ax12 rax120.

It is a dual-band router that supports the newest and latest version of Wi-Fi with many customizable options, especially if you will be using it to manage networked storage. That’s not all.

There is also a multi-gig LAN/WAN port that supports about 5Gb/s incoming speed. There is also the option to combine both ethernet Jacks for an aggregate incoming wired speed of 2Gb/s.

That said, the Netgear ax12 rax120 best suits advanced users ready to test the multipacks. If all you want is a Wi-Fi 6 router with a fast, reliable, and steady connection all through your home, you have other options out there, even way cheaper ones.

Connectivity TechnologyUSB, Ethernet
Frequency Band ClassDual-Band
BrandNETGEAR
Wireless Type802.11n, 802.11b, 802.11ax, 802.11g, 802.11ac
Security ProtocolWPA3
Voltage100240 Volts
Operating System0, Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX or Linux,
Control MethodApp
Controller TypeGoogle_assistant, Amazon_alexa

What is Wi-Fi 6?

You’ve been hearing and seeing Wi-Fi 6 all over the place but still don’t know what it means? Here is a quick breakdown of what it is.

The demand for data has spiked far above the modern standards of Wi-Fi. This is what brought about Wi-Fi 6.

Regular Wi-Fi gives a fast speed and a significant increase in the network capacity, making it possible for multiple devices to connect at the same time. Wi-Fi 6 is suitable if you have more than 20 devices to be connected to a network. In summary, Wi-Fi 6 is a very efficient Wi-Fi for many devices.

When multiple users, at the same time, connect to a particular network and stream videos, play games, download from the internet, or do anything at all, the network losses efficiency, and the performance drops massively.

Wi-Fi 6 is built to handle such scenarios and allows each device to enjoy a stable and fast network.

Design 

The Netgear ax12 rax120 has eight antennas hidden within its sleek set of fold-up wings. It looks less like a router and more like a small spaceship.

Similar to the Nighthawk RAX80, it measures 6.5 × 13.5 × 8.5 inches, and its wings, fully extended. Its finishing color is matte black.

The router's top has LED indicators located on it for activities like power, WAN, LAN, and others. Four gigabits LAN ports are located at the back (you can configure two of these ports for link aggregation).

Other things you can find around the back of the router are a 5GbE port for fast ethernet connectivity, a WAN port, the reset buttons, and a power jack.

The Netgear ax12 rax120 is quite a flexible router because it is the start of a new era in the world of wired networking. You should know that the faster connections can’t do anything about speeding up slow incoming signals.

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Connectivity Technology – USB & Ethernet.
  • Frequency Band Class – Dual Band.
  • Security Protocol – WPA3.
  • Wireless Type – 802.11n, 802.11b, 802.11ax, 802.11ac & 802.11g
  • Processor – 64-bit 2.2GHz quad-core processor.
  • Weight – 1.36kg
  • Speed – 5Gb/s.

FEATURES

  • Faster Speed, More Power – Best for devices that support Wi-Fi 6.
  • Wi-Fi 6 – Simultaneously, you can stream movies, videos, games, and more at an uninterrupted speed of up to 6Gb/s.
  • Compatible with every Network Providers – Support all internet providers up to 2Gb/s.
  • Easy to configure and Manage – connect to an existing cable modem and complete configuration within minutes from the Nighthawk app. Manage your device and network Wi-Fi settings, test the internet speed, and others.
  • USB Connections – Share a storage drive with a connected device and create cloud storage that you can access at any time. Use the 2 × 3.0USB port for this.
  • Wired Ethernet Ports – Game consoles, PCs, and other close-range wired devices can be plugged into any of the 4 × 1G & 1 × 1, 2.5, 5G ethernet ports.
  • Multi-Gig Ethernet Port 5G, 2.5G, 1G – Gives you 5 times the speed of the regular ethernet port.
  • Advanced Cyber Threat & Protection – Powered by BitDefender.
  • Advanced Tech – armed with the newest technology, also includes VPN, firewall, Guest Wi-Fi access, DOS, and many others.
  • High-Performance Antennas – Pre-optimized for the best Wi-FI performance and more coverage for wireless connection both indoors and outdoors.
  • Automatic Firmware Update – Automatically updates the firmware to the latest security patches. 
  • Port Aggregation – Aggregate 2 gigabit LAN ports for a better file transfer performance.
  • Voice Commands – Supports Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa. You can give basic instructions and commands to your router with any of the assistants.

Package Content

  1. The Nighthawk AX12/12-stream AX6000 Wi-Fi Router
  2. Power adapter.
  3. Ethernet cable.
  4. User guide.

Pros

  • Ease of installation.
  • 5 Gigabit Ethernet port.
  • High throughput and file transfer performance.

Cons

  • Absence of malware protection.
  • Not pocket-friendly.
  • Parental control is limited.

Installation and Set-Up

The Netgear ax12 rax120 uses the same mobile app as the Nighthawk RAX80 – the Nighthawk app.

The app can be used for things like the configuration and set up internet and Wi-Fi speed, control network access for connected users with just a touch, and run speed test.

For advanced configurations and setup, you might have to visit the web client console. The web client console allows you to link aggregation, supports port forwarding and port triggering, and VPN services.

From the home interface of the Nighthawk mobile app, you can access basic settings like wireless and internet connection, connected devices, ReadySHare USB devices, and Adaptive QoS.

The settings mentioned above allow you to edit and configure media server settings, check your network stats, view system logs, and update the firmware.

You can set up an access schedule and control visited websites and services but no parental control and anti-malware tools.

Installing the Netgear ax12 rax120 and getting it up and running can be completed in minutes. You start by plugging in the router to a cable modem, then to your PC, and turn it on from the power.

Opening your favorite browser (or any browser at all) from your pc will be the next step, then log on to http://www.routerlogin.net - this will open the installation wizard.

Now, by creating an admin password and setting up the two-step verification question, you will have to wait for about 12 seconds. The router will connect.

Once installation is complete, you will find that the firmware is on the latest version. You can create a new password too after installation.

Speed Tests

The Netgear ax12 rax120 was tested using a PC equipped with Wi-Fi 6. The 2.4GHz throughput performance test was run and earned the Netgear ax12 rax120 a score of 125Mb/s close range, which beats the TP-Link AX6000 but not up to the Asus RT-AX88U.

It was tested again for the 2.4GHz throughput, but this time, at a distance of 30feet. It scored 63Mb/s, making it faster than both routers used in the early comparison.

The 5GHz throughput performance test came out quite impressive as the Netgear ax12 rax120 scored a close-range speed of 839Mb/s, which is faster than the TP-Link AX600 and Asus RT-AX88U by 64Mb/s and 57Mb/s, respectively.

For 30 feet test, the Netgear ax12 rax120 beat both the TP-Link AX600 and Asus RT-AX88U with over 100Mb/s. The Netgear ax12 rax120 scored 417Mb/s in the 30 feet throughput performance test.

Testing the Netgear ax12 rax120 file transfer performance involved moving a 1.5Gb folder containing simple file format between a USB3.0 drive and a PC.

The Netgear ax12 rax120 came out top compared to the TP-Link AX600 and Asus RT-AX88U. It scored a speed of 69Mb/s on the written test and on the reading test too. As for the reading test, its counterparts performed better.

Conclusion

The Netgear ax12 rax120 might be the best pick for users looking to take advantage of the 802.11ax, though the price it goes for – $500 will leave a dent in your wallet, but nothing to regret as it is well worth it.

As of the time of writing this article, the Netgear ax12 rax120 is the only 12- stream router, the only 802.11ax router that supports the standards of the WPA3 router.

The Netgear ax12 rax120 throughput test for the 5GHz band was quite interesting, but that of the 2.4GHz was fair.

However, do not forget the lack of parental controls and anti-malware, which both TP-Link AX600 and Asus RT-AX88U offer.

There is a workaround in the cost of purchasing the Netgear ax12 rax120. If all you want is a fast, steady, and reliable upgrade that supports Wi-Fi 6, you can go for cheaper ones like the TP-Link AX600 and Asus RT-AX88U.

If, along the line you, get the Netgear ax12 rax120, you will notice the difference in the performances.

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