Disclaimer: I am a NETGEAR Ambassador and I received this product in exchange for my honest, unbiased opinion and review.
The Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Router is the first Tri-band router from NETGEAR, and has one 2.4GHz and two 5 GHz Wi-Fi bands. It is designed to improve your Wi-Fi speed by intelligently connecting each of your devices to the Wi-Fi band where it can connect at the best possible speed. My internet is via DSL and we live quite a long way from the hub so we have relatively poor Wi-Fi speed, which can cause problems in our household with internet connectivity, so I was interested to test out the Nighthawk X6 to see how it performed.
I have never installed a Wi-Fi router before, my husband installed our previous router – an Apple Airport Express, so this was an ideal opportunity to see how easy the X6 is to install for a novice. The X6 comes with a quick start guide which goes through the installation step-by-step with pictures and was very easy to follow. When unboxing the X6 it did look a little like an Alien spaceship had landed – especially once you extend all 6 antennas, quite a contrast to the simple white box of the AirPort Express.
Disconnecting the Airport express from the Modem, switching off the modem, connecting the X6 and switching back on the modem was very simple. Then I connected the power to the X6 and switched it on. The next steps are all done on your computer- you connect to the network via an included ethernet cable or via Wi-Fi and launch a web browser and the NETGEAR Genie will come up to guide you through the rest of the installation process. I found it very straight forward to set up.
When it comes to setting up your Wi-Fi name and password, NETGEAR has already picked a network name (typically NETGEAR plus a number) and Wi-Fi password, these are written on a label on the base of the X6 making it very easy to find if you forget them, yet it is still hidden from anyone visiting the home (unless they pick up your router and look under it!) You can able choose to change the name and/or password if you like. The X6 has a WPS button so it is very quick and easy to connect any device with a WPS button, for other devices you just enter the Wi-Fi name and password as usual.
You may be wondering what the advantage is to having 3 Wi-Fi bands, I was curious about this myself and did some research to find out more. Basically 2.4GHz is the old Wi-Fi standard, but is slow and prone to interference from things such as microwaves and Bluetooth, but you need to have it if you own any older devices so they can still connect to your network. 5.0 GHz is the newer standard and gives faster performance with less interference, but if you have a lot of devices using it at once, especially ones that use a lot of bandwidth such as gaming or TV streaming it can slow the network. The X6 uses a smart connect technology to spread out the demands across 3 bands- 2.4GHz for the older devices and two 5.0 GHz bands for the newer devices, so that you can get the best performance on each device.
I must admit my husband was not very supportive when I suggested changing our Airport Express for the X6, he thought: a) it would be a lot of hassle to set up, b) as we are an Apple household with 3 Macs and multiple iOS devices that the NETGEAR X6 probably wouldn’t be set up as well for Mac as the Airport Express, and c) he wasn’t convinced we would see any improvement in performance. He specifically asked me to mention in the review how wrong he was !! It was easy to set up, talks well with our Apple devices, and we have seen a noticeable improvement in Wi-Fi performance since I installed it.
We cut the cable almost a year ago and only have TV via DVD and streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, unfortunately as our internet connection is weak we frequently have times when the streaming services stop working due to a poor connection. Since we installed the X6 this has noticeably improved- I have only seen it happen once in the last 2 weeks, and that was when my husband was doing a large download at the same time as I was watching Netflix. Our download speeds have also noticeably improved – my husband has commented many times that these are the fastest speeds he has seen at our house, our speeds are now typically around 14-15 Mbps, which is noticeably better than we could get before.
As well as acting as a smart router the X6 has a bunch of other features you can access via the Genie app on your computer, smartphone or tablet.
You can set up a guest network so you can allow visiting family and friends to access Wi-Fi whilst keeping your network password secure.
It lets you turn any printer into an Airplay printer so that you can print from your iOS devices- this takes seconds to set up.
You can look in the Network Genie app to see what devices are connected to your network and set up to be notified if any new devices connect. It also allows you to disconnect or block individual devices from connecting to the network. You can also see what the current status of your internet connection is and what the signal strength is for different devices.
For Windows computers owners there is also the Readyshare vault back up app which lets you continuously and automatically backup to a hard drive connected to your X6, I could not test this features as it doesn’t work with the Mac.
The NightHawk X6 also has the option to enable parental controls – if these are switched on you can choose from different levels of protection against things such as phishing scams, pornography, illegal activity, adult-related sites and even video sharing sites and social media. You can customize different setting for different times of the day.
The X6 has an option to allow you to connect a USB to the router and then access the content from all the computers on your network. You can also connect a USB with music on it to the X6 and then play it via iTunes server on your Mac or PC, iOS devices and Apple TV.
Overall, I have been very impressed with the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router not only has it improved our home Wi-Fi speeds but it was easy to set up, works well with our Apple devices and has lots of extra features- many of which I am still discovering.
RRP $299.99 available from Amazon and other retailers
- Model # R8000-100NAS
- Simultaneous Tri-Band WiFi
-Tx/Rx 3×3 (2.4GHz) + 3×3 (5GHz) + 3×3 (5GHz)
- Smart Connect intelligently selects the fastest
WiFi for every device
- Six (6) high performance external antennas
- High power amplifiers
- Implicit & Explicit Beamforming for 2.4 & 5GHz
- Powerful Dual-Core 1GHz processor
- Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports
-1 WAN & 4 LAN
- Memory: 128 MB Flash and 256 MB RAM
- Two (2) USB ports : 1 USB 3.0 & 1 USB 2.0 port
- ReadySHARE USB to share your USB
hard drive & printer
- IPv6 Support (Internet Protocol Version 6)
- On/Off LED light switch
– VPN Support- secure remote access
Mary is originally from England but now lives in California with her husband, dog, cat and three children. Mary and her family love Apple products and own an iPad2, iPad3, iPad Mini, iTouch, iPhone5 and several MacBook Pros. They also love cub scouts, skiing, camping and hiking. The family iPads are also used for therapy for their daughters Apraxia (speech disorder).