Pros Super easy setup
USB 3.0 port
Lots of security options
REALLY fast local area network
VPN (virtual private network)
Good ventilation (it runs hot, stays cooled off)
Traffic metering with time limit and volume controls
3 antennas (look like fins!)
Cons Larger footprint than most routers
Good connectivity range, but nothing exceptional
Summary I've used a high-end Linksys router for about seven years, and even though it was performing adequately for my needs, there were a few features that did not leave me too impressed. For one, the WiFi reception was not as strong at the outer parts of my home, and if I were to venture outdoors to my back yard I could totally not use it. So I was definitely in market for a better and more powerful home router. Netgear Nighthawk more than satisfied all of my home networking needs, and it has managed to lay to rest all of my networking concerns for years to come.
One of the first, albeit minor, shortcomings of this router became apparent to me as soon as I had opened the box. The two included cables - one power cable and one Ethernet cable - were very, very short, much shorter than I would have liked. The Ethernet cable was not that much of a problem (I have plenty of my own laying around), but the short power cable made it difficult to connect the router to my preferred power outlet. I have the router sitting in my office, just few feet away from both the cable modem and the power supply, so in the end this also didn't turn out to be a major issue. However, I know that a lot of people like to keep their routers out of the way, and a pair of much longer cables would have come in handy for those purposes.
Of all electronic devices that I own and use on a regular basis, the ones that rely on tricky networking setup in order to function are the ones that I usually have the hardest time setting up. This would include Internet routers, network serves and storage, and IP cameras. However, Netgear router was a breeze to setup. The reason for this lays in no small part in the intuitive and straightforward stand-alone setup app. Once you set up your router, though, you are able to use all the bells and whistles of the traditional router website-based power interface. If you happen to be more tech savvy, and like to tinker with settings and networking configurations, then you will be really pleased with what this router has to offer. I am not an IT professional, but the router configuration interface seemed on the level of the best professional interfaces that I had seen.
One small feature that I really liked about this router is that it has a dedicated power switch on the back. I frequently need to power cycle the router, and unplugging and plugging back in the power is not the most convenient way of doing it. By having a dedicated switch power cycling has been made as convenient as it could possibly be.
The wired speed boost was the most noticeable when it came to downloading large files. The download speed for several torrent files easily exceeded by a factor of five or more the top speed that I had ever achieved with my Linksys router.
The advertised range of this Nighthawk router was indeed on par what I had experienced. The WiFi signal was really strong throughout my house, and I was getting full five bar reception even at the far end of my yard. There was no need for signal boosters. I tried streaming an HD video to my iPad all the way across my yard, and it worked without glitches.
The router comes with two USB ports - a USB 2.0 port on the back, and a USB 3.0 port in front. This allows you to connect up to two different USB peripherals at the time. (Unfortunately, no daisy-chaining is possible as far as I can tell.) The USB port on the back is primarily intended for connecting a printer. It allows you in principle to turn one of your old printers into a networked printer. This worked, sort of. It took me a bit of tweaking before I was able to access my old HP laser printer this way form my two Macs. Unfortunately I was unable to use the printer at the same time from both of my computers, which sort of defeated the purpose of having a networked printer to begin with. Also, when I upgraded my Macs to Mavericks I lost all of the printer configurations I had, and had to redo it from scratch again.
The USB 3.0 port on the front is a truly great feature. I connected it to a 1 TB hard drive, and had a centralized file storage point for my whole home network. The transfer speeds were really good, thanks to the USB 3.0 and fast network connections, as well as to the fast router processor. I have an old Windows home server, which I've been using for a similar purpose for years, but its aging processor and relatively meager memory make it very slow at times. The high file-transfer speed is the most noticeable when streaming high definition videos across the network. I was streaming 1080p home videos to all of my networked devices without a hitch.
This is a very large router. It is about twice as big as my old Linksys router, which in turn was about twice the size of my first Microsoft router. It is even bigger than my old Acer netbook. You would want to make sure that you have enough space wherever you intend to position this beast.
This is probably the most powerful and effective consumer-level router that I have come across. It will future-proof your home network for many years to come. I would also strongly recommend it for small businesses that have substantial data transfer and storage need. Overall, a wonderful product.
Tip! I suggest to check for its best price at: Gigabitrouters.wordpress.com/netgear-nighthawk-ac1900/
Thank for reading and I hope it helps.
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