NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (R7000): Fast and Furious

When I got my hands on the NETGEAR’s Nighthawk AC 1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router, or better known as the R7000, I knew I’m in for a treat. NETGEAR is a company that’s dedicated to providing top-of-the-line networking hardware. Now imagine the R7000 equipped with QoS, and I in testing conditions. Curious much? Read on to know what this cool named router has to offer.

Experience Fast and Lag-Free Streaming

Do you remember the last time when you were unplugged? Like from the modern-day Matrix? Internet might have different purposes for different people and tasks, but one thing is certain – you want it smooth, slick and uninterrupted.

Gamers and lags do not go well together. That is why some even go as far as investing in the best Xbox router, or a PS4 router and powerline adapters. Though factors that you must consider when buying a router may vary depending on your preference, we can agree that it should be stable, fast and solid. 

When I got my hands on the NETGEAR’s Nighthawk AC 1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router, or better known as the R7000, I knew I’m in for a treat. NETGEAR is a company that’s dedicated to providing top-of-the-line networking hardware. Now imagine the R7000 equipped with QoS, and I in testing conditions. Curious much? Read on to know what this cool named router has to offer. 

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router (R7000)
  • Fast wifi performance: Get up to 1800 square feet wireless coverage with AC1900 speed (Dual band up to 600 + 1300 Mbps)
  • Wired Ethernet ports
  • Loaded with advanced technology: Designed with a 1GHz dual core processor, 3 amplified antennas, Beamforming+, Dynamic QoS, Smart Connect, Amazon Alexa Voice Controls, and more
  • USB connections
  • Smart parental controls
  • Netgear Armor Powered by BitDefender

Specifications

Size 2.0 x 11.2 x 7.3-inches 
Antennas 3
WiFiAC 1.9 dual-band 802.11ac 
Ports4 Gigabit Ethernet, USB 2.0 (back), USB 3.0 (front) 
Range140 feet 

Design and Features 

My impression of the R7000 is that it is big and bulky. Even though it is quite large, you can still mount it on a wall or place it on a spacious shelf. If you decided to mount it up, its in-wall AC adapter, at 3.5 x 2.8 x 1.1-inches, will make it look a bit chunky. 

Aside from the R7000 being a chubby boy, the router looks amazing, though barely inconspicuous. The unit has an all-black frame and comes with three removable antennas. This router is gigantic and needs extra space to accommodate it. The shape is quite cool and does justice to its fighter jet namesake. 

On the front panel, you can see a dozen LED status indicators. These lights will tell if the device is powered on, if it is connected to the Web, or if its two bands have any activity. These lights will also blink whenever its Ethernet ports are active, the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) is enabled, or if the Wi-Fi transmissions are on.  

With tons of light indicators available I quickly scanned the device to find a physical switch in the back to turn the lights off. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have one. This, however, is still doable from the system’s software.  

As usual, this router is also equipped with a reset button for clearing the firmware settings and starting from scratch. 

On the back of the R7000, there are 4-gigabit Ethernet ports. There is also a USB 2.0 port on the back as well as a front USB 3.0 connection for hard drives. You can also plug in memory keys and printers in this router. Sadly, the R7000 does not have an eSATA port. That would be an issue if you want to directly plug in your hard drive. 

Rather than a tri-band design that is quite common, the R7000 uses a 3×3 dual-band approach with 2.4- and 5-GHz transmitters. 

Set-up 

You will like the fact that the R7000 is easy to set up. Inside the box, you will see an installation guide. In here, they have already outlined the steps you need to follow, to set the device up. You will have no problem with it, as the instructions are clear and simple. 

The NETGEAR R7000 is bundled with a network cable and AC adapter. There’s no CD inside the box, so you’ll need to download the software yourself. 

During my initial set up it only took me no more than 5 minutes to set up the Wi-Fi network. Upon plugging, type in its IP address (192.168.1.1) or “routerlogin.net,” then the NETGEAR ‘s intuitive Genie software should pop up to set the system.  

If you are particular with router installation, don’t worry because you can also manually configure the R7000 if you want. When you are all done with the configuration process, the R7000 will pull up a summary page of all the settings and passwords. 

By default, the R7000 is furnished with some generic network names and passcodes, that can be found on the underside of the router. However, I strongly advise against using them. You should configure them to something that is unique to you. After all, you would not want the neighbors downloading movies while you are playing an online game, now would you? 

This router can work with WEP to WPA2 encryption. It is also equipped with Network Address Translation (NAT) and Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewalls, and can even protect against a Denial of Service attack. 

Software 

The Genie software powers the R7000. This software is pretty intuitive and if you want to open the system’s settings, simply do this by pointing a Web browser window at the R7000’s home address. 

The Genie’s main screen is uncluttered and will give you a clear overview of the configurations. I know the struggle of playing League of Legends, yet being lag-attacked. This software will show you how many clients are connected, so you can pinpoint whatever it is that is hindering your game. 

Here you can check which bands are active as well as the guest network’s status. There is also a Parental Controls option, should you need to restrict access to certain web content.

If you want to monitor what’s coming and going through your network, the R7000 includes a nice Traffic Meter. No more wondering about where your data allotment went.  

However, I can’t help but think that the R7000 still struggles to compete against the latest 802.11ac routers, given the extra features that the latter have. For example, it lacks cloud storage and a virus scanner. I would also prefer a 3G/4G USB dongle, sadly it doesn’t have one. 

On a positive note, if you want to boost its performance or tweak some features, you can tap into DD-WRT open-source firmware. Should you do that, make sure you pick the right one, or else you risk bricking your router.

Performance 

Gamers and streamers, NETGEAR is emphasizing the fact that the Nighthawk is equipped with enhanced QoS (Quality of service).

If you enable QoS, you will be required to configure a few settings in the interface. Turning on the WMM (Wi-Fi Multimedia) for either the 2.4 or 5GHz signals will give priority to multimedia data. This means that video or audio streams are given higher importance. 

Under its hood, the R7000 is powered by a 1GHz processor with 256MB of RAM and 128MB of storage space. This router can work with three independent lanes of data flow, very convenient and useful for gamers who hate lag. The R7000 also tops out at a theoretical 1.9 Gbps of bandwidth. 

The max range of this router is 140ft, but overall the R7000 manages to function well on various ranges. The available bands will give you a good performance that is on par with the standard Ethernet connection. 

I moved on to further testing and bombed the R7000 with all the heavy-duty tasks I could think of, and it remained steadfast. 

First I used my smartphone to stream a movie on Netflix while streaming my Apex Legend match on Twitch. So far so good. For more intensity, I asked my friend to watch some YouTube videos on his tablet while simultaneously downloading a game from Steam. Throughout this brutal test, the NETGEAR was unflinching. 

Basically, the R7000 was built with a simple mission in mind, to be stable, yet a fast router. 

Final Verdict 

The NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk is fast and coupled with a decent WiFi range. The R7000 is an affordable pick and very easy to set up and install. If you need a high-performance 802.11ac router for a reasonable amount of money, then this router is your best bet. While it lacks the range for bigger houses, it still delivers solid speeds. The bulky frame might not appeal to aesthetically inclined people but hey, what matters here is the performance. 

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router (R7000)
  • Fast wifi performance: Get up to 1800 square feet wireless coverage with AC1900 speed (Dual band up to 600 + 1300 Mbps)
  • Wired Ethernet ports
  • Loaded with advanced technology: Designed with a 1GHz dual core processor, 3 amplified antennas, Beamforming+, Dynamic QoS, Smart Connect, Amazon Alexa Voice Controls, and more
  • USB connections
  • Smart parental controls
  • Netgear Armor Powered by BitDefender
Tracy has been working for RealGear since the first day it went online. She reads every e-sports related newspaper and website. She is a huge Twitch.tv fan and a gamer with a soft spot for Lineage 2, WoW, and Guild Wars 1 and 2. She says she does not suffer from PvP insanity, she enjoys every minute of it. Tracy defines herself as a person who’d spend two hours customizing a character rather than indulging in an activity that would not be as nearly rewarding as playing games and testing hardware.

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