Nighthawk XR1000 6-Stream WiFi 6 5.4Gbps Gaming Router Review

Nighthawk XR1000 6-Stream WiFi 6 5.4Gbps Gaming Router



Nighthawk XR1000 6-Stream WiFi 6 5.4Gbps Gaming Router Review – Three years ago I bought the XR500. After a few weeks, I sent it back. My conclusion then was that it had huge potential but it just wasn’t ready. Features had not matured and there were just too many bugs. Not enough preset games, VPN was fixed to a terrible non-gaming VPN and bugs meant that features either just failed to do what they were supposed to do or worse, crashed. Having said all that, the incredible graphical interface of the router felt like it had tons of potential given a bit of time. With that in mind, here I am three years later trying again with the XR1000.

The packing is uninspired but the product although very light is of good quality. Plugging it in it goes through a ridiculous setup process that completely fails if your internet requires a login and password as mine does. Five minutes are completely wasted while it is trying to connect when there is absolutely no hope that it can, lol. If you need a login then you go to the internet page and enter the details, and wait another few minutes while the router resets. This has to be the slowest router reset I have ever encountered, lol. There is plenty of time to grab a coffee while it resets. Finally, it will come back with an internet connection and you can start setting up the router. You can manually go through all the junk it tried to do automatically without an internet connection, this time with one! It’s a really slow process because each time you apply a setting it takes forever to update it. The router is very slow loading pages, but I guess that’s to be expected given the complicated graphical interface.

Nighthawk XR1000 6-Stream WiFi 6 5.4Gbps Gaming Router Review

The DumaOS has an amazingly good user interface. It is intuitive and just so easy. Everything is logically laid out and there is exactly what you want to know. There is comprehensive performance monitoring so you can see what the router is up to when you play games. You can tweak settings to avoid situations that may cause lag, and you can set priorities and bandwidth for games and gaming machines. And of course, there is Geo Location, which I am sure you have heard of.

The router software is already biased towards gaming without the need for any game-specific configuration. Just plug it in and go and it instantly favours games. Mine certainly seemed to know when I was gaming and whatever other things I was doing. If you take a look at the Traffic Prioritisation page a little icon lights up when someone is playing a game. As long as that lights up then really you don’t need to do anything else. If it doesn’t then you need to fiddle with the settings so it detects your game. But there are more settings aimed towards improving matters if you are having trouble. Reducing lag when your home network is very busy and helping you to select game servers that are closer to you.

Nighthawk XR1000 6-Stream WiFi 6 5.4Gbps Gaming Router Review

Nighthawk XR1000 6-Stream WiFi 6 5.4Gbps Gaming Router Review

The router has far fewer features than a traditional router, like an Asus, say, but presents them in a way that is just great. Overall if you want features then buy an Asus, but if you want gaming-specific monitoring, graphs and solutions then buy one of the Netgear DumaOS. After I sent the XR500 back I bought an Asus but over the following year concluded that I wasn’t using any of the features. The problem with the Asus is that it’s not a gaming router – it’s a normal router with some gaming functions. Netgear on the other hand is built around gaming functions. Also, with the Asus, if you do almost anything you have to agree to Trend Micro collecting all your data and browsing histories. The trend can even take your emails and those of your family. What? Seriously? It’s one of those agreements you need to read!!

One of the things you will do is check the Connection Benchmark. This is a detailed test of your broadband and gives you a ton of very useful information you can then use in QOS to optimise your connection. In my case, I discovered that my upload ping became very erratic when other people were using the broadband at the same time I was playing the game. My upload ping would wander about from 11ms up to 220ms. I enabled Congestion Control or anti-buffer-bloat. The Connection Benchmark showed me what figures I needed to set and moments later my ping was stable and never went above 12ms. Success!

The device map is really useful. It shows your network in graphical form. You do need to fill in some information for devices it can’t identify and also it took a reboot of my switch to get it to fully organise the graphic correctly. Oddly it has no enter-able information for the modem. The device map can also take a little while to update. One thing you need to know for that is that the “Apply Settings” buttons found on other pages force the table to update.

Nighthawk XR1000 6-Stream WiFi 6 5.4Gbps Gaming Router Review

The XR1000 has VPN settings where you can enter your VPN. This is a great improvement on the XR500 which was hard-wired to just one useless VPN – HMA. There are also rumours of the new Hybrid VPN being a future update for the XR1000. That is a VPN that allows you to choose what traffic goes through the VPN, which is ideal for gaming VPNs. And of course, there is the mighty Geo-Filter. This is a slam dunk for console owners.

I guess it all comes down to features. If you want a huge array of features then you should be buying an Asus. But if like me, you never actually use all the features, then the information provided by the XR routers is probably more useful. Certainly, console owners should be buying an XR because of Geo-Filter. Don’t forget, though, that all this niceness is costing money. The XRs are a lot more expensive than the competition but then you are paying for a regular router with a custom design and interface so it’s not too surprising.

When it comes to reliability, alas Netgear is not up there with the best. Unfortunately, they tend to keep on releasing the software with bugs. Left to run for a few weeks the Netgear does tend to fall over with some obscure error. There are routers I have never reset during the years I have owned them, but this is not one of those! Having said that, I would still buy one again. The fact is that the gaming features and information this router provides are streets ahead of any other router other than perhaps an Asus, and as I already mentioned the Asus has some pretty nasty downsides too.

Overall, the Nighthawk XR1000 6-Stream WiFi 6 5.4Gbps Gaming Router is, without a doubt, the best gaming router there is.

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