Review Price £160.00
Netgear R6300 802.11ac Router Performance
So the Netgear R6300 isn’t much of a looker and, while intuitive to setup, lacks Cloud connectivity. This means the pressure is on to deliver fast performance and significant range and thankfully the R6300 does deliver both by the bucket load.
Dealing with the headline feature first, we found the 802.11ac speeds to be exceptional. At distances of two metres, 10 metres (line of sight) and 13 metres with two solid walls in-between the Netgear R6300 802.11ac Router delivered speeds of 32.8MB (260.8Mbit) per second, 26.2MB (209.6Mbit) per second and 7.31MB (58.48Mbit) per second respectively. Over the same distances the Buffalo AirStation 1750 achieved 26.7MB per second, 16.2MB per second and 5.61MB per second – giving the R6300 a huge advantage. Arguably such performance won’t be necessary for most Internet connections, but for anyone with a NAS it is a godsend and streams high bitrate 1080p video in the blink of an eye.
Furthermore the Netgear R6300 Router's impressive performance isn’t only evident over 802.11ac. Running in 802.11n (again over the same distances) produced speeds of 13.3MB per second, 10.8MB per second and 7.11MB per second over 5GHz. This outperforms the fastest 802.11n 5GHz router we have tested, the Linksys EA4500, by roughly 30 per cent when operating in line of sight and is 3x as fast at distance.
The only blot in the copybook is the R6300’s 2.4GHz 802.11n performance which is almost 50 per cent slower than its 5GHz speeds meaning it is outdone by our current 2.4GHz champ, the D-Link 645 SmartBeam. 2.4GHz devices still dominate the market so if you don’t own many 5GHz compatible products this is something to consider.
Netgear R6300 802.11ac Router Value
Another key consideration with the Netgear R6300 802.11ac Router is price. It may have the competition licked when it comes to both 5GHz 802.11ac and 802.11n performance, but the 802.11ac compatible AirStation is available for as little as £105 online while the R6300 (lacking an official RRP) retails for roughly £160. Furthermore, no 802.11ac compatible devices are available yet so this review had to be performed using two R6300 routers, putting one of them into a bridge mode and connecting PCs and laptops to the bridge via Ethernet cables. This is wildly expensive and for the masses not a viable solution, but 802.11ac USB dongles and the first products will start arriving in the next few months.
Netgear R6300 802.11ac Router Verdict
We come back to the key questions in the intro: will you see the performance benefit of switching to 802.11ac? Yes, 802.11ac to 802.11ac is incredible. But should you buy now? Arguably not until prices drop and 802.11ac devices and USB dongles become widely available – a bridge is impractical for all but the most hardened speed fanatic. That said we were equally amazed by the Netgear R6300 802.11ac Router’s groundbreaking 802.11n 5GHz performance which leads us to conclude that, while expensive, this is a router which offers immediate benefit along with long term future proofing. It is hard to ask for more.
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