Netgear XR500 router, EX8000 Extender and SX10 (10 Gbps) Switch
AC2600 in a Nighthawk gaming Pro series jacket - gaming packet magic?
Gaming routers are a hot topic these days, with online gaming you need your data-packets delivered as fast as possible! To cater to the gamers, Netgear now offers a 2.6Gbps capable Dual Band Wi-Fi Router. This router is fitted with a dual-core processor outputting at 1.7 GHz. It should not only offer proper WIFI ranges but also performance. MESH is the new hot topic as well, as such we'll pair the router with the EX8000 Mesh, meaning you can expand your WIFI range for every little gap in your house to be filled with a WIFI signal, WIFI everywhere! And you know what, this puppy looks mean as well. I mean, Netgear really tried to design something that appeals more to gamers and that XR500 router will man as it looks like it's something not from this planet. As stated we'll pair and test the router configured as a mesh setup as well, e.g. we'll add the EX8000 Mesh from Netgear, boosting the range and filling every little corner in the house with a WIFI signal.
In this review we test:
- Nighthawk Pro Gaming router (XR500)
- NightHawk X6S Range Extender (EX8000)
- NightHawk Pro gaming (SX10) 10 Gbit/s switch
Last but not least, Netgear also submitted a new switch, the SX10 is once again a rather space/stealth looking unit. But it's not about that, this ten port switch offers eight-gigabit jacks, but here it comes... it has two 10 Gigabit jacks as well, offering 100M, 1G, 2.5G, 5G or 10G Ethernet connectivity. With two ports it's a small step to make, but finally, there is a consumer switch available that at the very least has two 10G ports, yay! So this review will cover three products. The primary focus, of course, is the router. Routers these days, you can purchase a dime a dozen and most of them end up all being the same, as such the more predominant manufacturers continuously seek to add new features to their products in order to differentiate themselves in the market. And that's difficult as there isn't a lot of extras you can add to a router really, you are tied to industry Ethernet and WIFI standards, you can make sure the throughput of the devices is good enough for modern age high-bandwidth file throughput and you can make the firmware as sexy as possible with a nice GUI and extensive feature set. The Netgear XR500 Gaming Wi-Fi Router is included in the gaming line from Netgear, added into the Nighthawk pro series. The router is catered at gamers, it oozes and breathes that even in the NetDumas's DumaOS operating system, bringing gamers more tools and monitoring options for them to minimize latency and keep their online games running smoothly. Something new in the router, for example, is filtering, you can physically set a radius from your house to ensure that you only connect with local servers and players to keep as low a ping time as possible. It also offers traffic shaping in the form caused by, say, extreme downloading and the ability to set per device bandwidth with QoS. This model has a QUALCOMM IPQ8065 Dual-Core processor SoC at 1.7 GHz, 512 MB DRAM and 256MB of local flash NAND based storage. Wi-Fi is based on two QCA9984 radios and a QCA8337 switch bringing 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band with 256QAM and 1733Mbps on the 5GHz band.
The router has four dual-band removable antennas and comes with two USB 3.0 connectivity ports for a bit of UPnP NAS functionality. Following the latest standards, the AC2600 is compatible with 802.11a, 802.11ac, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n. We'll advance on that, dual-band is possible by combining the two together. A nice feature of the router is that it offers multiple guest networks as well, so your friends and family can use their iOS or Android smartphone or tablet on your network completely isolated and secured from your LAN. The router can be used as a gigabit switch as well, you'll spot four Gigabit ports that are free and one extra for the WAN side of things (internet). This router, however, is a little on the pricey side, tagged with a price of 279 EURO / $299 / £239.99 will it be worth it? Let's find out.