Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900: Setup & Performance

Gordon Kelly

By Gordon Kelly

Reviewed:

Awards

  • Recommended by TR
Netgear Nighthawk R7000 AC1900

Summary

Our Score:

9

Netgear R7000 Nighthawk – Setup

A negative consequence of this stripped down approach is the R7000 isn’t quite as user friendly to setup as routers from Asus, D-Link or Linksys. The modern approach is to boot first time with an open wireless signal which you connect to and it opens your browser and walks you through the setup process letting you choose your own SSID and passwords along the way.

Netgear remains more old school. Here you either use WPS or type in the password stuck to the router. At that point the browser tab opens and you’re whisked off into the familiar setup wizard, in this case the ‘Netgear Genie’.

In fairness this minor deviation isn’t a great hardship and the R7000 wisely splits its 5GHz and 2.4GHz signals into separate SSIDs as all sensible dual band routers should (we’re looking at you AVM and BT). That said setting the login and password for the R7000’s admin as ‘admin’ and ‘password’ is a little too out of date for our liking. Be sure to change it.

Netgear Nighthawk UI

Netgear R7000 Nighthawk – Performance

Netgear Nighthawk acBefore we get into the raw figures, it is worth pointing out that not everyone will get the bolstered 802.11n 2.4GHz speeds from an AC1900 router.

To do so requires an AC1900 receiver and currently that limits you to just the (admittedly excellent) Asus PCE-AC68, a key part of our test kit, but this should diversify soon.

Back to the numbers and, as expected, the R7000 was fast. Very fast. In fact out of 11 speed tests it set six new records. Let’s break them down.

At our test distances of two metres and 10 metres line of sight and 15 metres behind two solid walls the R7000 managed 802.11ac speeds of 77.1MBps (616.8Mbps), 65.4MBps (523.2Mbps) and 34.2MBps (273.6Mbps).

The first of these is the fastest throughput we have seen from any router, narrowly edging out the EA6900 by 0.7MBps.

It keeps pace with both its AC1900 rivals at 10m, but does slip back at 15m compared to the 46MBps and 41.2MBps achieved by the EA6900 and RT-AC68U respectively.

Netgear Nighthawk 5GHzInterestingly at 802.11n 5GHz the picture was reversed. The R7000 scored 39.1MBps (312.8Mbps), 38.4MBps (307.2Mbps) and 26MBps (208Mbps), which saw its peak speed edged out by the EA6900, but it set two records at 10m and 15m battering the AC-68U at both while sneaking past the EA6900 at 10m and pulling ahead by a noticeable 3.2MBps at 15m.

It remained strong at 802.11n 2.4GHz as well (graphs in the gallery above). Speeds of 15.2MBps (121.6Mbps), 14.8MBps (118.4Mbps) and 7.02MBps (56.16Mbps) put it in the middle of the AC1900 trio.

It came second at 2m to the EA6900, was fastest at 10m and came third at 15m where less than 2MBps separates them all.

As with other AC1900 routers performance across the board is significantly higher than any ‘normal’ AC1750 router courtesy of not just the Broadcom chipset, but also the extra processing power and heavyweight antennas.

Netgear Nighthawk USBThe R7000 has one final pleasant surprise as well: superb USB performance.

It clocked 28.9MBps (231.2Mbps) over USB 3.0 and 28MBps (224Mbps) using USB 2.0, with both speeds almost twice as fast as both the EA6900 and RT-AC68U.

We’ve always argued extra horsepower would bolster the typically disappointing speeds of USB over a network and we hope such end results will inspire rivals.

toboev

April 2, 2014, 5:16 pm

These things are always portrayed with their aerials striking some kind of a funky pose geared towards maximum visual impact. But what's the word on how they should be arranged for maximum functionality?

My understanding was that they should be simply straight up an parallel. But does it maybe depend on the orientation of the aerial of the other party, which could (for handheld devices) be any way up or sideways?

Gordon Kelly

April 2, 2014, 5:58 pm

I've heard that but aside from sticking them out horizontally (detrimental!) I've found very little difference (certainly within a margin of error) whether they are straight up or at a slight angle.

Kat

February 19, 2015, 5:33 pm

I've been reading reviews and on every review forum I find, it appears that this is a known issue that NetGear refuses to deal with and fix. I've been an IT System Administrator for over 20 years and I would not buy another Netgear product again after dealing with their support which doesn't admit there is a known problem.

I had the Netgear WNDR3400 and never had any trouble with it. I bought the Nighthawk R7000 and for $200 and my experience with other Netgear hardware I thought this unit would be great. The configuration lets you lock down your wireless and looked like an excellent product for the money.

I have had nothing but trouble with it. The Nighthawk r7000 is constantly going down. I upgrade firmware and it craps out and I have to redo the configuration. I get up in the morning and no wireless, I have to reboot it. Sometimes it goes down 2-3 times a day. The other day I got up and again no wireless, I rebooted and that didn't fix it. I go into the configuration and it says the wireless is turned off. First time I had this issue and you have to hold the wireless button on the front for about 10 seconds to turn it back on.
This is ridicules that this unit has so many issues. Of course it's now out of the 90
warranty and Netgear says as long as the correct lights are on it not a
hardware issue so pay us to troubleshoot or fix it yourself. When the device is a lemon, you can't fix that!

NOW THAT I’M WRITING THESE REVIEWS, I FIND THAT USERS HAVE THE SAME ISSUES I’M HAVING. THEY HAVE ALSO CONTACTED NETGEAR TO NO AVAIL.
BOTTOM LINE, BUY ANOTHER PRODUCT.

Tim Degrey

March 5, 2015, 6:56 pm

This happened to me out of box. I was irritated and frustrated, especially with a router that has such high praise worldwide.

Looks like the issue is with some bugs in the latest firmware. I decided to downgrade the firmware a few revisions, and now my connection is really solid. I get full 300mbps down from Time Warner on my wireless devices. Sometimes speedtests need a warmup to get there, but after that, it is really solid.

If you are having buyer's remorse, I recommend trying the firmware downgrade. It might be a specific one that works best with your modem.

Kat

March 6, 2015, 5:48 pm

Netgear contacted me and we did troubleshooting. They sent me a new router and I updated the firmware as soon as I got it out of the box, which they also recommend. I've had it so far a week with no trouble. They have also just released a newer firmware (Wednesday) which I'm about to upgrade to as well.
When they troubleshoot that is the 1st thing they want to know, is if your firmware is up to date. The entire reason for these updates is to patch problems so I wasn't going to downgrade anyway.

Gary Goslin

December 17, 2015, 2:41 am

Range you got all wrong. IMO, it's top notch. Maybe the best yet. Not a huge Netgear guy but so far, the 2nd one I've owned, WNDR3400 and now this one and they have worked fine. Nothing I can't fix on my own.

Anyone familiar with computer components know that sometimes things don't work like they should. Like power cords on Dell laptops, that's another story.

Daniel Morgan

April 19, 2016, 12:29 am

We have an unusual house with steel siding and a patio in the middle. So getting a signal from the router in the living room to the master bedroom meant penetrating two steel clad insulated walls. Neither of our two previous routers could do it. The Nighthawk R7000 even send the 5G signal to the bedroom. We can get a signal anywhere in our 2900 square-foot house and almost anywhere on our .4-acre lot

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