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The XR1000 router provides high-end Wi-Fi 6 performance while Netgear’s DumaOS operating system provides advanced features that can help you to locate the fastest servers for your favourite games. However, it’s a little expensive for a router that only provides dual-band Wi-Fi.
Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Specs
|Wireless Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6 (IEEE 802.11ax), dual-band 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz + 5.0GHz|
|Processor||1.5GHz, tri-core CPU|
|Beamforming||Implicit and Explicit for 2.4GHz and 5GHz|
|Ports||WAN = 1x Gigabit Ethernet; LAN = 4x Gigabit Ethernet; 1x USB 3.0|
Design and features
The sleek space-shuttle design of the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 clearly hints at streamlined speed for your gaming action, while the array of four external antennae helps to ensure good range and distribution for the router’s Wi-Fi signal. The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 supports dual-band Wi-Fi 6 – aka 802.11ax – with a maximum speed of 5.4Gbps per second. That’s certainly fast enough for gaming and streaming 4K video although, as mentioned, it is a little expensive for a dual-band router.
Tucked around the back you’ll find a Gigabit Ethernet port for your Internet connection, and four additional Ethernet ports for devices, such as games consoles, that tend to prefer lag-free wired connections. There’s also a USB 3.0 port that will allow you to connect a printer or hard drive and share it with other people on your network.
By default, the router creates two separate Wi-Fi networks on the 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz bands, but there’s also a SmartConnect feature that allows you to merge the two bands into a single network, and will automatically select whichever band provides the best performance in your current location.
It shows you all the devices that are connected to the Wi-Fi network, and allows you to pause internet access for any device if you need to get the kids away from the Xbox at bed-time. There’s also an option to set up a guest network as well.
However, the app also proves rather annoying at times. It includes Netgear’s Armor security software, which is free for one month but then requires an annual subscription of £59.99/US$69.99 (around AU$90). And, not to miss a trick, the app also has a shot at selling you an extended warranty as well.
To be honest, it sometimes seems as though Netgear is using the app to drum up some extra cash, rather than focusing on useful features.
Performance and getting started
Getting started is very straightforward, although the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 doesn’t include a modem, so you’ll need to use one of its Ethernet ports to connect it to your existing modem or router in order to use your internet connection. The Nighthawk app can then guide you through the installation process, and provides a simple set of features for setting up your new Wi-Fi network.
However, you’ll soon need to leave the Nighthawk app and delve into the router’s browser interface in order to use its key gaming features.
Powered by the router’s tri-core processor and Netgear’s own DumaOS operating system, the browser interface includes features such as ‘QOS’ – quality of service – that allows you to prioritise specific services, such as gaming or streaming video
There’s a ‘ping heatmap’ that can scour the entire planet to find the fastest servers for your favourite games, and a benchmark mode to fine-tune the performance of your network.
The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 delivers the goods on performance too. As you might expect, devices located nearby in the same room as the XR1000 didn’t deliver much improvement over our normal router, but the real test is our back office – where we normally have to rely on a wired PowerLine adaptor to provide our network connection.
Sitting in the office deadspot, we found that even the slower 2.4GHz band on the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 provided a steady Wi-Fi speed of 63Mbps, while the 5.0GHz band cruised along at the full 110Mbps supported by our ISP’s broadband service.
Steam downloads were equally strong. The 2.4GHz band peaked at a respectable 6.9MB/s, which almost doubled to 12.5MB/s on the 5GHz band. So, even though it’s a dual-band router, the XR1000 certainly provides strong enough performance to handle some serious gaming action. Our only complaint is that it’s quite expensive for a dual-band router when there are already tri-band routers competing for your attention for less than $550/£400/AU$720.