The Netgear Nighthawk X6 is a tri-band gigabit wireless router that comes with a powerful set of features. Its hardware components are worthy of praise, and the router also acts as an impressive NAS server when connected to an external hard drive. The Wi-Fi data rates on the 5Ghz band are also excellent, though the 2.4Ghz performance is slower than other competitor routers.
While Netgear created a lot of hype prior to the release of the Nighthawk X6, it didn't live up to the expectations of some. While a sophisticated router by all means, it simply doesn't justify the high price tag for the product.
Released after the R7000 model which shook the router industry with its powerful features, the R8000 promised even superior functions. It did receive a number of upgrades and new features. For instance, it has an innovative design and is the first tri-band router that delivers up to 3200Mbps of Wi-Fi bandwidth. However, the performance didn't exceed that of the predecessor. In fact, it didn't fare well against many AC1900 routers. It also has a relatively short Wi-Fi range and suffers on the 2.4Ghz band.
Slightly larger in size compared to the R7000, the R8000 comes in black color. It has 6 antennas that are collapsible. The antennas can completely be folded out of the way. For maximum range though, you will have to open the antennas. It resembles its predecessor in many features, including a Gigabit WAN port, four Gigabit LAN ports, and two USB ports. These ports are located towards the rear of the device. It has a vibrant set of LED lights on the top of the device, running from the front to back. The LED lights indicate the status of router (on or off), Wi-Fi networks, and active ports. The lights can also be switched off if you find them too bright. The Wi-Fi on/off button and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button is positioned below the lights. WPS allows you to connect a Wi-Fi client that supports WPS to the router in an easy way without having to manually type the password.
It is powered by a dual-core 1,000 Mhz processor that is similar to that found in R7000. It also complies with the latest Wi-Fi standards, delivering up to 600Mbps Wi-Fi speed on the 2.4Ghz band and up to 1300Mbps speed on the 5Ghz band. The tri-band wireless router offers two separate access points for the 5Ghz band and one access point for the 2.4Ghz frequency band. As the first tri-band router available on the market, the X6 offers a net potential bandwidth of 3200Mbps, hence introduced as the AC3200.
Its software didn't receive any upgrades. It employs the same connectivity methods via the same Genie user interface that is used on most Netgear routers. It allows network management via a Web browser or a dedicated mobile app.
If you're switching from another high performance router, it won't take you by surprise. While the second 5GHz access point is a plus, it hardly makes any notable difference in performance. To truly benefit from the duo access points on the 5Ghz frequency band, you need to be connected via a score of 802.11ac clients to the router, which can hardly be achieved for the average user.
Overall, the AC3200 Nighthawk X6 comes highly recommended. The feature suite is extensive and includes everything that you could want in a router, from secure connections and high WiFi speeds to parental controls and DLNA. Though there are a couple of downsides, such as initial difficulty with locating the settings, the Nighthawk X6 is one of the very best routers on the market today.