Knowing that Amazon could sell you a fairly good router at half price, why would you spend over $200 for a Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3000 Wi-Fi router?
Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3000 Wi-Fi Router at a Glance
First, this device isn’t a modem, but it works with one to allow more internet users at home or office to join the online party. For a matching workmate, consider Netgear CM600 cable modem.
Back to business, if you are out looking for a router to fill the sharing-the-internet-at-home void, then any $100 Wi-Fi router may fit in. But that definition is too narrow for a professional like Netgear Nighthawk X6 Wi-Fi router.
Though pricey, this router guarantees you lag-free gaming, end to nervy videos and stress-free streaming courtesy of Tri-band Wi-Fi, Smart connect and Beamforming + features.
But what does that really mean?
While Tri-band Wi-Fi allows more devices in your house to access the internet at high speed, Smart-connect separates fast devices from the slow and assigns them, different Wi-Fi bands.
The three available bands are; one 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz Wi-Fi bands. Beamforming+ guarantees the reliability of the signal and longer wireless range.
With Nighthawk X6 AC300, every device is assigned the fastest Wi-Fi band possible allowing it to connect at its highest speed; up to 3.0Gbps.
That’s regardless of the number of devices going online through the router and what the devices are doing. So if you have one person gaming, another watching a movie while the other emailing, none of them suffers signal dropping.
Physical Outlook of Netgear Nighthawk Wi-Fi Router
Compared to most of its competitors, Netgear Nighthawk router is considered bulky. It measures 11.6 x 8.9 x 2.1 inches and about 1.1Kg in weight.
If you are buying it to replace a Linksys router, for example, you may not have adequate space for this router to sit. That leaves you with the option of mounting it on the wall using the cutouts at the bottom to save on space.
On unboxing, identifying the six antennas indicated on the box may prove confusing. A strip of the polythene bag securing the router and lift each socketed antenna one at a time.
Once up, your router will resemble a UFO; rather dope if you may, but their inability to rotate like in other brands is a major turn off. Resist the temptation of hanging your coat on the antenna should you choose to mount it on the wall.
Right between these six parading retractable high-performance antennas are Nighthawk LEDs; a whopping 11 lights! It’s not easy to know if their lighting up at once is meant to please or annoy users, but they make the room feel rather Christmas-y.
If you aren’t a fan of blinking lights, feel free to turn them off using the switch at the back of the router. You will miss the fun though.
The back panel of Netgear Nighthawk X6 Wi-Fi router is adorned with LED On/Off switch, four Gigabit Ethernet ports, one WAN port for internet, power input and On/Off switch. You also have access to USB 3.0 port enabling you to connect a printer or several other devices. The possibilities are unlimited.
Should you get stack setting up the router at first – especially on the antennas part, consult with the Quickstart guide included in the packaging. Ensure the package includes a power adapter and Ethernet cable alongside the router before setting up.
Hard to Ignore Features
AC3000 router is built to serve large homes with backyards; no offense if you live in a dorm and want to share high-speed internet with your clique. That explains the 3.0Gbps Wi-Fi speed range and 802.11ac Tri-Band Gigabit Wi-Fi technology in use. Beware; Netgear remains non-committal on the router’s compatibility with future standards.
For great performance, X6 runs on Dual Core 1GHz processor and three offload processors, 128 MB Flash and 256 MB RAM. This has made it the go-to routers for gamers and hardcore Netflix-ers.
It embraces Digital Living Network Alliance standard (DNLA-ready) hence allowing you to play and share videos and music fast with your friends and family. It also connects to the iTunes server.
While in the performance neighborhood, note, AC3000 router employs MU-MIMO technology; Multiple User, Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output. What does this translate to?
This router breaks the bandwidth into three; 3 x 3 separate streams to ensure that all the devices in your house get a fair share of the internet without delay. Though MU-MIMO goes up to 4 x 4, X6 AC3000 is only able to do up to three.
So if you are in your living room watching a movie on YouTube, your spouse gaming in the bedroom and the children chatting with friends online at the balcony, you will all be on different streams.
If you share a room though, there are chances that you will end up in the same stream. That beats the need for MU-MIMO. Your gadgets must also be able to understand the technology to benefit from it.
X6 allows you to configure each stream for a different purpose. You could customize one stream carrying 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz for the parents, the second for the children and the third for the guests.
Keeping the guests separate guarantees you a fair level of security in the event you have one who isn’t trustworthy. Speaking of security, the router uses double firewall protection; SPI and NAT. You are also protected from Denial of Service attacks.
On system requirements, Netgear AC3000 router embraces Microsoft Windows 7, 8, Vista, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX, Linux and lately Windows 10. As for browsers, it supports Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0, Safari 1.4 and Google Chrome 11.0 on the lower scale.
Nighthawk App For Interface
With your Nighthawk AC3000 Wi-Fi router up and running, the Nighthawk App makes setting up and customizing easy. Connect your mobile phone to the router network to prompt the app.
Make sure you have downloaded the App from App store or Google play store first. This allows you to test internet speed and configure time when the internet will be available to your family.
Smart Parental Control
For a long time, Netgear devices needed a third-party parental control system to protect their families; users complained and Netgear brought in Circle with Disney smart parental controls. You must download the App from App Store or Google Play store to your mobile phone to use it.
The circle comes in Basic, which is free and Premium accounts. Basic allows you to filter content by age and category, pause internet signal to a device and visit history to see the sites earlier accessed.
The premium account comes with a free trial month and has more controls. It reports on time spent online, sets time limits for apps and sites, turns off the internet for devices, shows history and sets filters among others. It even has Alexa online assistance ready for action.
To Buy or Not To Buy
Before settling for Netgear Wi-Fi router, wisdom calls for you to understand that you only have 90 days technical support warranty.
If you call Netgear 91 days after purchase, they could ask you to purchase a package for such support for at least $89; quite a trap after spending over $200 for the router. The hardware warranty runs for one full year though.
But after evaluating the high-speed data, security and reliability guaranteed by Netgear Nighthawk X6 Wi-Fi router, it is impossible to turn down the offer.