I had a little *ahem* run-in with Cisco a while back. Now, as you can well imagine, my wireless router gets a lot of usage in my house. The only time someone isn’t connected to it (via a device) is when we’re asleep!
I have generally purchased Cisco routers in the past, mostly because they have a pretty decent price-point, and they are readily available. But I haven’t always been happy with them.
So, when I got the opportunity to test-drive a top-of-the-line Netgear router, well, I pretty much jumped at the chance.
The Netgear AC3200 Nighthawk X6 Tri-Band WiFi Router retails for around $300. But it can do some pretty amazing things that you’d never think your router could actually do.
The Netgear Nighthawk looks like something that belongs in Darth Vader’s home office, though. It has six antennae, and it is shiny and black. On the few nights where I’ve ended up sleeping on the couch in the living room where it lives, I’ve had to turn the lights off, because they were a little bright for my liking. There is, however, a toggle button on the back of the router for exactly that purpose.
After unboxing, I plugged ‘er in, and attached my computer and the modem. The router then automagically took me through the setup process.
I did have a few problems with the setup process, primarily because of browser issues. It didn’t like Chrome for some reason, or Chrome on Mac. Once I switched to Safari, I was able to complete the setup process with no problem.
This baby is fast! Up to 3.2 Gb/sec download speeds, if your internet provider is able to provide that. I did do some side-by-side tests with my old router, and it was slightly faster than my old one. I think this is more due to my internet service provider’s limited download speeds, however.
One thing I really noticed though, is how it doesn’t slow down, even when you’ve connected multiple devices. We have, on average, 3 devices connected at any given time: my macbook, Michael’s iPad, and my iPhone. We also have a Wii that sometimes also uses the system. It works really well–even if we are streaming something on one of the devices.
There is an app that allows you to control everything. It’s available to download for your computer, and also for your phone. You can manage all your settings right from your phone–kinda cool!
One of the options you can do with this wireless router is set up a completely separate channel for your media computer. This computer can house all your music, photos and videos, connected to your TV. It already has a guest connection built in, or I could create a separate one for my son, upon which I could enforce parental controls (which are excellent, and also work well).
The Netgear Nighthawk does this cool trick where you can make any printer a wireless printer. I invested in a laser printer 7 years ago. Even though it’s only black and white, I still keep it and it still fills my needs. I have no plans to replace it any time soon–like with one of those fancy new wireless printers. Well, I can teach my old printer to do new tricks simply by plugging it into the USB port in the back of the router. It’s now a wireless printer! And it it will print from any connected device, not just my MacBook.
Music, Video Photo storage and sharing. I have to confess, I’m a bit of a digital hoarder. I have probably hundreds or thousands of photos that should be deleted to preserve hard drive space, but I’m nervous to do so, “in case I need them someday” (hoarder mentality!). The router creates a sort of at-home cloud. All you do is buy a largeish USB flash drive (or you could use a large stand-alone hard drive, as long as it has a USB connection), and plug it into the back of the router. You can upload and store on this drive, all your photos, music and videos, and again, stream them to any device connected to the router. Cool, huh?
All-in-all, I really like the extra bells and whistles that the Netgear Nighthawk has. It seriously does things I didn’t really know a router could do!
You can check out all Netgear’s stuff here: netgear.com