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NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 Review

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router is a unique router that provides the speed, security and features you should expect from a premium wireless router, and adds a little extra. The main difference between the Nighthawk X6 and other routers is that it is a Tri-band device.

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A panel of LED indicator lights is situated in the center of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6.

A panel of LED indicator lights is situated in the center of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6.
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You can quickly turn off the Nighthawk’s Wi-Fi signal using this convenient button.

You can quickly turn off the Nighthawk’s Wi-Fi signal using this convenient button.
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The X6 features a USB 2.0 port for connecting shared network devices.

The X6 features a USB 2.0 port for connecting shared network devices.
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A USB 3.0 port makes it easy for the Nighthawk X6 to provide fast file transfers to network storage devices.

A USB 3.0 port makes it easy for the Nighthawk X6 to provide fast file transfers to network storage devices.
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A reset button allows you to return the Nighthawk X6 to its factory defaults.

A reset button allows you to return the Nighthawk X6 to its factory defaults.

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Router is a unique router that provides the speed, security and features you should expect from a premium wireless router, and adds a little extra. The main difference between the Nighthawk X6 and other routers is that it is a Tri-band device. Plus, it comes at a higher price point than most wireless routers.

The best wireless routers are usually dual-band and broadcast one band at 24GHz for older devices and the other at 5GHz for the fastest speeds on compatible devices. The Nighthawk X6, however, takes it a step further and broadcasts a 2.4GHz band and two 5GHz bands.

Since the introduction of the new 802.11ac Wi-Fi standard, the top speed for premium wireless routers has increased from 450 Mbps to 1300 Mbps. All of the premium routers we reviewed make use of this standard, and the Nighthawk X6 is no exception.

Although it is a tri-band device, its top speed is no faster than those of other dual-band routers. Instead of increasing the overall speed of your wireless connections, the Nighthawk X6’s three simultaneously broadcasting bands serve to balance the load of connected devices. Because there are three differently bands serving the devices in your home, you can connect and use more devices on your network before its performance begins to suffer.

While the 2.4GHz band offers compatibility to older devices, two 4GHZ bands offer all of the benefits of the 802.11ac standard. These benefits include its increased speed of 1300 Mbps and beamforming technology. With two bands that offer these advancements simultaneously your network should be able to handle almost anything.

The Nighthawk X6 is one of the largest routers that we received, has an interesting, Kafka-esque design, as an insect flipped upside down with the six antennas protruding like legs from a shiny black thorax.

On the back of the device, you’ll find the typical ports for a premium wireless router. There are four gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a USB 2.0 port and a USB 3.0 port. You’ll also find a variety of buttons for resetting the device, turning the device off and disabling the LED panel. This LED panel, as well as a Wi-Fi and WPS button, are found running front to back across the top of the device.

This device protects from web-based attacks in the same way that other premium wireless routers do: an SP and NAT firewall. The wireless networks themselves can be secured in a number of ways including WEP, WPA2 and WPA2 enterprise. This keeps strangers from accessing your local files and encrypts the information you transfer across your network.

Although they are initially somewhat difficult to access, the parental controls offered by NETGEAR are outstanding. Like most premium wireless routers, you can use this router to set time allowances for internet usage on specific devices and block specific URLs. Nighthawk X6 also has filter presets from minimum to high that block varying degrees of potentially offensive content.

The initial set-up of the NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 is simple. Because this device comes with a preconfigured network, all you have to do is enter the included password for immediate internet access.

While this simplicity is nice, further configuration requires you to download and install the NETGEAR Genie application. Once installed, you’ll have access to the router’s advanced features. However, when we attempted to configure the parental settings from here, we hit another roadblock. Adjusting your parental settings requires an OpenDNS account.

Once the application is downloaded and your OpenDNS account is created, however, accessing all of the settings you need becomes a cinch. Using an application built for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, you’ll be able to access and adjust your network settings with ease.

NETGEAR provides extensive support for Nighthawk X6. A comprehensive support page offers everything from installation and set-up tutorials to troubleshooting and problem resolution. You can also contact a NETGEAR representative for support by phone, email or live chat. Additionally, NETGEAR provides a two-year warranty with the Nighthawk X6, which is more than the typical one-year warranty for premium wireless routers.

The NETGEAR Nighthawk X6 AC3200 is one of the most powerful wireless routers available. It offers the latest in Wi-Fi technology on two 5GHz bands, for impressive speeds and an uncongested wireless network. Additionally, it features accompanying software that makes its deep network settings accessible from virtually any device.