The Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router (R9000) may be the second 802.11ad router we’ve tested. Created for large homes, this gargantuan router is chock-full of networking goodness, including Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) data streaming, circuitry for 60GHz 802.11ad networking, and 160MHz Wi-Fi technology. Actually, it’s the only 1 we’ve reviewed up to now to have all three, in addition to a 10G SPF+ LAN port, additionally seen on enterprise-level routers. While its MU-MIMO performance was middling in testing, it turned in the most effective 5GHz range performance scores we’ve seen to date, and comes near the 1Gbps mark inside our 60GHz 802.11ad throughput tests. In addition, it offers a lot of LAN and USB ports, but at $499.99, it isn’t a tiny investment. But if you are willing to pay in advance to future-proof your router, it’s worthwhile.

Design and Features
At 2.9 by 8.8 by 6.6 inches (HWD), the R9000 is huge, however, not as imposing as the TP-Link Talon AD7200 Multi-Band Wi-Fi Router (1.7 by 9 by 9 inches). It has four adjustable antennas, that have blue LEDs that light when the Wi-Fi radios are active, and there’s an extended type of LED indicators positioned along leading edge of the router for power, internet, 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 60GHz radio bands, guest networks, six Gigabit LAN ports, a 10G SPF+ LAN port, and two USB ports. Here, you will also discover a WPS button and a Wi-Fi On/Off button.

I/O ports abound. There are two USB 3.0 ports on the left side of the router, and around back are six Gigabit LAN ports, a WAN (Internet) port, an SPF+ LAN port, and power, Reset, and LED On/Off buttons. The R9000 supports Ethernet Port Aggregation, which enables you to incorporate two LAN ports (port 1 and port 2) to boost file-transfer speeds to compatible aggregate devices, such as for example network switches and network-attached storage (NAS) devices. The 10G SPF+ LAN port, that is a feature usually within an enterprise-oriented router, can be used to hook up the R9000 to 10-gigabit Ethernet devices, such as for example enterprise servers and switches.

Built with a 1.7GHz quad-core CPU, the R9000 is a quad-stream, dual-band 802.11ac router that may hit 800Mbps on the two 2.4GHz band and 1,733Mbps on the 5GHz band. Much like the TP-Link Talon, it supports 802.11ad networking, which operates on the 60GHz band and is with the capacity of (theoretical) throughput speeds as high as 4,600Mbps. However, as a way to take good thing about 802.11ad speeds, all clients will need to have Wi-Fi circuitry that supports 802.11ad networking, and around this writing, they are few in number. This technology is suitable for transferring big chunks of data and for streaming 4K video, nonetheless it can’t penetrate walls, and is bound to same-room communications.

The R9000 supports MU-MIMO data streaming, which sends data to MU-MIMO-compatible clients simultaneously, instead of sequentially, and beamforming, which directs Wi-Fi signals to specific clients, instead of over a wide spectrum. Additionally, this router supports 160MHz Wi-Fi, which can be featured on the Linksys WRT3200ACM MU-MIMO Gigabit Wi-Fi Router. This basically doubles the 80MHz channel width on the 5GHz band to accomplish faster throughput speeds, but there is absolutely no way to check this feature, as 160MHz clients aren’t yet available. Other key top features of the R9000 include programmed backups to the Amazon Drive cloud-based storage service, and Plex Media Server support, that allows you to control and share photos, videos, and audio tracks files placed on a linked USB hard drive.

You should use either the Netgear Genie web-based console or Genie mobile software to control the R9000. The house page contains Basic Internet and Wireless settings. Here, you may also view info on Attached Devices (Ip and MAC address), create Guest Networks, configure a Plex Media Server, view Amazon Drive backup settings, and permit ReadySHARE printer and storage-sharing options. Also you can permit Parental Controls to restrict access to the internet time and block specific sites, but you will need to download the mobile or web software first.

The Advanced settings page displays detailed Router, Wireless, and Guest Network information. The Setup menu enables you to configure advanced Internet, Wireless, and Guest Network settings and lets you allow a simple Wi-Fi MultiMedia (WMM) Quality of Service (QoS) feature, nonetheless it lacks QoS settings that permit you to prioritize network traffic for specific clients and applications. Advanced Security settings enable you to block specific websites and create access schedules, and the Advanced Setup page is where you head to permit Ethernet Port Aggregation, adapt Port Forwarding and Port Triggering settings, configure VPN Services, and view network traffic statistics.

Installation and Performance
Just like the Netgear Nighthawk X4S Smart Wi-Fi Router (R7800), the R9000 is simple to install. Once it’s linked to your personal computer and online sites, you open a browser and type www.routerlogin.net to gain access to the Setup Wizard, which walks you through the essential internet and wireless network settings.

The R9000 turned in spectacular scores inside our throughput performance tests. Its score of 558Mbps inside our 5GHz close-proximity (same-room) test beat the D-Link AC5300 Ultra Wi-Fi Router (DIR-895L/R) (515Mbps) and the TP-Link Talon (440Mbps), both also top picks, and was simply a tad slower compared to the Linksys WRT3200ACM (569Mbps). Far away of 30 feet, the R9000’s score of 392Mbps was the best we’ve seen from any router, beating out the D-Link DIR-895L/R (324Mbps), the TP-Link Talon (237Mbps), and the Linksys WRT3200ACM (238Mbps).

Performance on the two 2.4GHz band was also good. The R9000 managed 99.1Mbps in the close-proximity test, topping the D-Link DIR-895L/R’s score of 98.4Mbps and the TP-Link Talon’s throughput of 98.9Mbps. The Linksys WRT3200ACM scored 76Mbps in this test. In the 30-foot test, the R9000’s score of 73.3Mbps beat the D-Link DIR-895L/R (71Mbps) and the Linksys WRT3200ACM (58.5Mbps), but came in behind the TP-Link Talon (79.8Mbps).

To check the R9000’s 802.11ad Wi-Fi prowess, I used an Acer TravelMate P648 Series notebook built with a Qualcomm Atheros Sparrow 11ad Wireless Network Adapter. In the close-proximity test, it turned in a scorching 951Mbps, practically double that of its 5GHz throughput speed. The TP-Link Talon also did well in this test, scoring 945Mbps. Much like the TP-Link Talon, the R9000 couldn’t hold a sign far away of 30 feet, which isn’t surprising, given the limited selection of 802.11ad Wi-Fi.

To place the R9000’s MU-MIMO capability through its paces, I used three identical Acer Aspire E15 laptops built with Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 wireless 802.11ac network adapters as my clients. In the close-proximity test, the R9000’s score of 156.3Mbps trailed the Linksys WRT3200ACM (174Mbps), the D-Link DIR-895L/R (264.6Mbps), and the TP-Link Talon (226Mbps), but was somewhat faster compared to the ZyXel Armor Z2 AC2600 MU-MIMO Dual-Band Wireless Gigabit Router (NBG6817) (150Mbps), and the Asus RT-AC88U Dual-Band Router (138Mbps). At 30 feet, the R9000 scored 112Mbps, once more trailing the Linksys WRT3200ACM (138Mbps), the D-Link DIR-895L/R (134.5Mbps), and the TP-Link Talon (113Mbps), but besting the ZyXel Z2 (72Mbps) and the Asus RT-AC88U (80Mbps).

File-transfer speeds were excellent. The R9000 scored 89.1MBps inside our hard drive read ensure that you 77.1MBps in the write test, edging past our previous leader, the Linksys WRT3200ACM (88MBps read and 74MBps write). The D-Link DIR-895L/R scored 44.1MBps (read) and 33.2MBps (write), and the TP-Link Talon garnered 56.8MBps and 27.9MBps, respectively.

Conclusion
You’ll pay a lot of money for the Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router (R9000), nevertheless, you get yourself a high-end, feature-packed router that gives some of the most effective throughput performance we’ve seen. While there are other routers that contain MU-MIMO, 160MHz, or 802.11ad Wi-Fi capabilities, the R9000 may be the only 1 we’ve seen up to now with all three. It’s packed with six Gigabit LAN ports, an SPF+ LAN port for 10-gigabit connectivity via fiber (an attribute we haven’t observed in a consumer-level router as yet), and computerized Amazon Drive backup and Plex Media Server capabilities. Granted, there aren’t many clients around to take good thing about the 802.11.ad and 160MHz Wi-Fi features, but if you wish to get prior to the curve with a router that’s ready for future years, the Netgear Nighthawk X10 R9000 is our latest Editors’ Choice for high-end routers. If $500 is too steep, you’ll receive 802.11ad connectivity and better MU-MIMO performance with the $350 TP-Link Talon AD7200, but you will want to do with fewer I/O ports, and there is no 160MHz Wi-Fi.