A really good Gaming Router - Netgear Nighthawk XR1000
Netgear's gaming routers don't just look like rebadged products with fancy colours; they also have a new OS that allows you to customize your gaming experience. Netgear's Nighthawk XR1000 is the first Wi-Fi 6 gaming model.
While the XR1000 router isn't the fastest in Netgear’s lineup, it is very fast and DumaOS has plenty to offer serious gamers. The XR1000 router is the same size and shape as the RAX50 but with red accents to indicate that it is a gaming router. I think the XR1000 looks better than the RAX50.
Look and Feel
The XR1000 is a traditional Wi-Fi 6 router from Netgear. While the other Wi-Fi routers have a stealth bomber design, and the antennas are inserted into fold-up wings to conceal them, the XR1000 has a more traditional design. You will need to attach the four antennas manually, and then stand them up. This is a simple job that makes the XR1000 look professional. You'll find four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back for wired devices and a Gigabit Ethernet port to connect to the WAN.
Netgear routers that are 2.5Gbps or faster don't have a WAN port. There is also no link aggregation. Gigabit Ethernet is capable of handling even the fastest UK broadband speeds. If you have to share files on your local network, a USB 3 port is included.
The Netgear Nighthawk App is used to set up the XR1000. The Netgear Nighthawk app will connect you to the router and guide you through setting up Wi-Fi and internet. You will end up with two Wi Fi networks by default - one for each 2.4GHz band, and one for each 5GHz band. However, Smart Connect can be turned on to create one network. The router will decide which device connects to which band.
You can do basic tasks through the Nighthawk App. You can manage your Netgear Armor service, turn on the guest network and change your wireless username. You can view connected devices, reboot the router and even monitor them remotely.
The XR1000's capabilities are only a small part of the total package. To fully appreciate the full potential, you need to explore the web interface. DumaOS 3.0 is here, and it's quite impressive. DumaOS was first introduced to me on the Netgear Nighthawk XR500. This is the most recent version. DumaOS was designed to offer the best performance per-device or per-application, and has some of most advanced controls.
To get an estimate of your bandwidth, the router runs a speed test after you install it. You can drag and drop performance groups (Web Media Gaming) to allocate more or less bandwidth. You can adjust any one of the groups, such as making gaming a priority. The other groups will follow suit.
You can also add devices to give them priority. This will ensure that your main TV has priority when streaming Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. DumaOS is able to easily adjust complex preferences, which can be difficult to do when QoS is not easy to set up.
You can set traffic rules that are more complicated than just prioritising traffic. You can, for example, set a time when one device may play Call of Duty online. This is useful if you don’t want your kids to go online constantly.
The Geo-Filter is perhaps the most well-known feature of DumaOS. This tech helps you connect to servers with the lowest ping times. It also ensures that you play online as quickly as possible. This can be used to create a Geofilter, which allows only certain servers to be connected to your router's console.
You can now explore the Geo-Filter and select the areas you wish to connect. This will prevent your devices from connecting to slow servers. The old version could only be used to select a radius around a specific location. This was less precise. The Geo-Filter, which is especially useful for gaming consoles, is extremely powerful. DumaOS, on the other hand, provides advanced controls that allow you to configure your wireless network or internet connection much like a Netgear router.
Speed and Bandwidth
The router is Wi-Fi 6 AX5400. The router can provide a two-stream, 2.4GHz network with up to 600Mbps throughput and a fourstream, 5GHz network running on the 160MHz band. This gives it a total throughput up to 4800Mbps.
Although the XR1000 can be used with Wi-Fi 5 devices backwards, the main benefits are only available if you use Wi-Fi 6. While there is a lot of bandwidth, the Netgear Nighthawk RAX80 doubles 2.4GHz streams to provide a total bandwidth bandwidth of 1200Mbps. It also maintains the same 5GHz speeds.
To test the XR1000, I used a Wi Fi 6 laptop with a two-stream Wi Fi 6 card. The performance of the router was excellent at close range with throughputs of 715.57Mbps. However, it suffered a drop in performance on the first floor, where it reached 318.59Mbps. It performed better on the second floor, at 355.15Mbps. Although these speeds are comparable, they are a little slower than those obtained with the Netgear RAX80 router.
It isn’t Netgear’s fastest router, and the XR1000 actually offers less bandwidth than the cheaper RAX80. If you’re mostly just using your internet connection for web browsing or streaming video, then the older RAX80 makes more sense.
However, if you’re properly into gaming, particularly on console where there’s less choice over servers, DumaOS comes into its own. If you need something different, then the guide to the best routers can help.