Netgear Nighthawk R7000 Router Review
Ryan Bloom / Oct 14th, 2015 No Comments
Wireless routers are seemingly a necessary evil. They’re typically bulky and unattractive, and they are pricey for a gadget that has no sex appeal. But let’s face it — you need a wireless router, and a good one will make your life a heck of a lot easier.
Upgrading your router could be the easiest way to boost your Internet speeds. But with a robust market of routers ranging in price from $50 to $300, picking the right router for your purposes can be a daunting task. Gamers with large homes may want to splurge on an expensive device, while occasional web-surfers won’t need to spend a small fortune on a router. Falling somewhere in the middle to high-end range is the Netgear Nighthawk R7000, a solid wireless router that will have your Internet performing at its peak.
Inside the Box
Out of the box, users will notice the R7000’s sleek black design and angled body. When it comes to router aesthetics, this is about as good as it gets for now, although the Nighthawk is fairly large for a router. Three antennae protrude from the back of the router, but subtle indicator lights on the front help maintain its simplistic look.
The router features five Ethernet ports (one to connect a modem) and two USB ports, including a USB 3.0 port on the front. During our testing, fast WiFi speeds made the Ethernet ports unnecessary, but it’s always nice to have the option of a hardwired connection. A hard drive can be attached to the USB ports (we recommend using the front-facing USB 3.0) to easily create an in-home cloud network.
Setup is very simple, but it does require the use of a computer. After attaching the antennae, you will need to connect your modem via Ethernet, then plug in the router. You will also need to visit routerlogin.com to complete the setup, but this should automatically pop up the next time you turn on a computer. However, you may want to bookmark this site as it can be used to customize settings for the router.
Lastly, the Nighthawk should include a sticker with information regarding preset wireless settings. This will include the name of the WiFi and password in order to log in. Of course, this can be changed after the initial setup, but it is important to keep that sticker until you personalize those settings.
Soaring Like a Hawk
After setting up the Netgear router, it immediately performed at blazing fast speeds. Tests run throughout our review period indicated that wireless internet was running at peak speeds for the internet tier the router was attached to, even exceeding the advertised tier peak by about 2 Mbps. We experienced no connectivity issues or interruptions throughout the entire house and on outdoor patios, although some devices took a bit too long to connect to WiFi.
The router continued to send out equal speeds while running multiple devices. We had no issues connecting multiple smartphones, laptops and a game console at the same time. However, Netgear solves the bandwidth issue by allowing users to prioritize devices. By going back to routerlogin.com, settings can be changed to ensure wireless connections to your most important devices aren’t interrupted. For instance, if you’re playing multiplayer games on your PlayStation 4, you can use QoS settings to make sure there aren’t any issues when multiple devices in the area are running WiFi.
Along those lines, the router sets up two wireless channels — one 2.4 GHz channel and one 5 GHz — so that neither is packed with traffic. This was never an issue for us but it gives users the ability to keep their devices running at peak speeds while guests crowd another channel. The router also gives owners the ability to set up a guest network so that all in-home devices are prioritized.
Additionally, the R7000 has excellent security features that keep unwanted users off your wireless network. Aside from parental controls and firewall settings, the simplest security system is how devices connect. Pressing an LED-lit button on the front of the router will briefly open up the network to connecting devices, but nothing can connect unless someone physically presses that button. It is a simple feature that goes a long way to securing your network.
The R7000’s $200 price tag may be discouraging to some, but its performance and range compete against more expensive models. Unfortunately, Netgear hasn’t discovered the secret to making routers that aren’t overly large eye-sores, and setup can be a bit unruly for those who aren’t tech-savvy. Overall though, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 delivers high speeds and an excellent set of features, and it is one of the best wireless routers currently available.
The Netgear Nighthawk R7000 was reviewed using a router supplied by Netgear.
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