At our test distances of two metres and 10 metres line of sight and 15 metres behind two standing walls, the R6250 exceeded all expectations. 802.11ac was explosive, hitting 67.1MBps (536.8Mbps), 65.4MBps (523.2Mbps) and 34.2MBps (273.6Mbps) putting it in the top bracket of premium routers.
It was a similar story with 802.11n 5GHz and 2.4GHz as well, as its wireless n compromise paid off. 5GHz speeds reached 28MBps (224Mbps), 22.3MBps (178.4Mbps) and 12.8MBps (102.4Mbps) – some of the best we’ve seen, particularly at range.
2.4GHz held up its side of the bargain too managing 12.1MBps (96.8Mbps), 10.7MBps (85.6Mbps) and 4.49MBps (35.92Mbps) speeds, only beaten by the AC1900 crop of routers – currently the Asus RT-AC68U and Linksys EA6900, which use Broadcom’s 2.4GHz enhancing proprietary TurboQAM.
Snappy USB 3.0 performance polishes things off, clocking 16.5MBps (132Mbps), again something only the AC1900 products can live with. (graphs of all test speeds can be found in the gallery above)
Based on its incredibly impressive wireless performance across the board the answer is an unequivocal ‘yes’ though we do have a couple of caveats.
Firstly, the R6250’s £129.99 price is high for an entry-level 802.11ac machine leaving it just £40 off the Linksys EA6900. Secondly, appearance is not its strong suit: the user interface is starting to look very long in the tooth and it isn’t the most attractive of hardware designs.
That said, this is one of the fastest routers we have tested and it costs less than any model that can match it. And while it's around £20 more than our other 'cheap' 802.11ac pick, the TRENDnet TEW-812DRU, it's a good 20MBps faster from medium range and more so at our 15m test range. We are in no doubt the inclusion of Beamforming is the crucial aspect here, especially when combined with its full fat 802.11ac implementation.
Netgear has pulled off something of a performance miracle with the R6250. It challenges the fastest routers available while cutting a big chunk off the price tag. You do pay for this with just one USB port, the omission of ReadyShare Cloud and Netgear really needs to upgrade its stock user interface, but few will complain at this. We’d be tempted to call the R6250 more mid-range than entry-level, but either way it tops its peers and whets our appetite for the impending UK launch of its new AC1900 flagship, the R7000 'Nighthawk'.
Next, read our pick of the top 5 best routers