Friday | September 30, 2016
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NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router R7000 Review

NETGEAR Nighthawk Smart WiFi Router R7000 Review

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Nighthawk R7000 front

Nighthawk R7000 base

Nighthawk R7000 ports Nighthawk R7000 ports

At the rear of the Nighthawk we have all the ports and connections. Starting from the left we firstly have four gigabit LAN ports, then one gigabit WAN port. We then have a second USB port, though this is only a 2.0 port. Finally we have the power on/off button and the power socket.

Nighthawk R7000 antenna

Unlike the other WiFi routers in the NETGEAR range the Nighthawk features external antennas. These are simply screwed into the rear of the main body of the router and can then be adjusted to suit our personal preference.

Nighthawk R7000 antenna fitted Nighthawk R7000 rear

Additionally, the Nighthawk has Beamforming+ functionality which boosts speed and increases the range of the WiFi connections while also improving reliability.

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Software

To set up the Nighthawk we firstly connect the router to our PC and then navigate to URL www.routerlogin.net in our web browser. Entering the default administration user name and password get us to the, now familiar, overview page for NETGEAR products.

Software

Running the smart set up wizard the Nighthawk will identify the type of internet connection we are using and provide the correct next step. For example we were using a PPPoE connection so it request our internet service provider user name and password.

Software

Once these have been provided the Nighthawk goes about the job of applying the correct internet connection settings to allow us to access the internet. This normally takes a couple of minutes on previous NETGEAR products however with the Nighthawk we found it was much quicker.

Software

Once the Nighthawk has completed its set up process we are provided with a confirmation screen, which lets us know that we are successfully connected to the internet. It also provides us with confirmation of the default wireless passwords.

Software

After initial setup the router software allows us to control all aspects of the Nighthawk. This familiar software is used across the NETGEAR range so we are quickly able to get to the settings we wish to change. If we had been unfamiliar with the software it is well laid out in sensible sections with lots of helpful information provided.

User Experience and Conclusion
Let’s start with the design of the Nighthawk, which is quite different from the other routers and ADSL modems that we see from the current NETGEAR product range. Opting for a lay flat design, the Nighthawk has a very sleek and slender profile. With angular surfaces and sharp edges it certainly looks very striking sitting on our desk. The external antennas fit in well with the overall design, as well as being very easy to screw into place.

Installing the Nighthawk, as we can see from the previous section, is very simple. Either using the web interface or the NETGEAR Genie. For those who have used NETGEAR products in the past, configuring the router is a familiar experience. Novice users will find it a straight forward process. The software leads us through the stages step by step, with helpful information provided along way, in case we run into difficulty.

Turning to performance, and here the Nighthawk cannot be faulted. The top end router really delivers on its promises of speed, reliability and range. We found that streaming HD content across our network was flawless, with no buffering or loss of quality. The external antennas certainly help with boosting range, we had solid WiFi connection throughout our home, and even well into the garden.

Software

The Nighthawk has advance quality of service (QoS) features for both upstream and downstream traffic. The router automatically prioritises gaming connections from platforms like the XBOX One or downstream traffic from streaming providers like Netflix or YouTube. Should the default prioritisation not be to our liking we can amend the settings in the web based software configuration tool.

With a price point of around £180 / $200 the Nighthawk is certainly at the high end of WiFi routers but that said the features and performance certainly mean we are getting what we pay for. With more and more HD content being streamed and on more and more devices at a time it can be seen as a wise investment now to protect us against future demands on our home network.

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The Nighthawk provides a stylish package, combining top end performance with excellent reliability and range for a modern WiFi router.

Performance Award
Where to buy…
UK Store Ebuyer.com – £187.00

About Author

Stuart Davidson

Stuart Davidson is Senior Editor at HardwareHeaven having joined the site in 2002.