Originally Posted by bobsilver
I received my Nighthawk X6 yesterday. NETGEAR has begun shipping the X6 this past week. The unit shipped with V126.96.36.199_1.0.17 firmware. When booted up there was no notice of additional firmware upgrades. I haven't confirmed with NETGEAR what this firmware has or doesn't have regarding limitations but I will do that this week.
The unit is very sleek. It is larger then the R7000 by about 30%. It is table top or wall mountable. I will wall mount this once I get things situated. I have set it up as an Access Point. This operates as all the latest NETGEAR routers with an easy selection to turn access point on. Then you simply connect it to your network and you are good to go. In access point mode it looks for an ip address from the DHCP server. After the initial reboot I went in and changed it to a manual address so I can easily access it for settings and other maintenance functions.
The first thing you will notice is that the router boots with 3 wifi bands. One 2.4 and two 5ghz bands. You then have the option of turning on Smart Connect in the wireless section which combines the 2 5ghz band into 1 with a common SSID. Very easy and really seamless to do.
All other aspects of the router work as expected.
The hardware is very nice. The unit has a good array of led lights so you can get an idea of what is happening at a glance. My power light is flashing white and amber so not sure what that is about but the router appears to be functioning normally though.
The antennas are interesting. I was in error when I thought they operated on on their own. They require manual intervention to raise and position them. But unlike the R7000 is is clear where the antennas should be placed. They all extend from the case and extend outward about 45 degress from the case. The upper and lower antennas can then be rotated about 45 degrees up and for the top and down for the bottom set.
NETGEAR has said that the range of the R8000 is similar to that of the R7000. Untill I can mount the R8000 in a simalr place I will need to wait to determine that.
But again first blush with the unit all seems very good.
I will report back once I have had a few days to live with the R8000 and report on its 5ghz performance.
NETGEAR AV Consultant
I have been living with the X6 R8000 for a couple weeks now. I placed it on a printer table about desk height. I have been using the router in Access Point mode. And have set the SSID's to the same as my R7000 so I could switch back and forth between the 2.
My impressions are this so far. Range wise it appears to equal the R7000 in both 2.4 and 5ghz bands. I have a 3k sq ft single story home and it is strong enough for me to roam anywhere within my home and outdoors. I can walk almost 50 feet or more outside and still remain connected.
Antenna placement I have settled on is 90 degree vertical for all 6 antennas. I tried playing with different angles but none seem to make much of a difference. Since the router is exposed visibly the 90 degree position looks best. (actually the router looks pretty cool anyway). The antennas BTW can be angled out and forward and back. Quality wise they are plastic like the rest of the case but feel sturdy enough. I wouldn't lift the unit by the antennas but you shouldn't anyway. And lastly I like that there is little ambiguity about where the antennas should be.
I have been using Netspot on my Macbook Pro to test signal strength and noise rejection. Again compared to my R7000 results are very similar. Switching between the 2 did not result in much of a difference in my case.
The one thing I will say that I have seen is what I believe is an improved response time when using the R8000. When connecting and using the network things just seem snappier. I can't quantify it (and maybe I am imagining it) but things just seem better. Its like some days my network seems to work better then others. Well with the R8000 most times seems to be one of those days. And this could be from the fact that there are 4 cpu's in the R8000. 1 for each of the bands and the dual core for all other router functions.
Load balancing on the 5ghz radios is transparent. The router sets itself up with 1 radio in the 160 channel range and the other radio in the 48 channel range. Since most of all my 5ghz devices are fast devices the router has put them on the 160 channel side. It is my understand that this is only done once when you connect to the net. So I am not certain of the approach NETGEAR used in determining what goes where. I intend to have a follow on discussion with NETGEAR to better understand the R8000 now that I have some real time experience with it.
So my initial reactions are very positive. Is the R8000 worth a 33% price premium over the R7000? Well that really depends on your environment. Id still say if you have a family with multiple users then this is probably the router to buy. Wireless bandwidth goes fast and having the dual 5ghz bands is really valuable when you need it.
NETGEAR Networking Consultant