Ask people who have used it, and you’ll agree with the idea which claims:
The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router is a must-have.
But why? Two reasons come to mind. First, despite costing less, this dual-band router delivers the same performance which Wi-Fi clients expect of its high-priced counterparts. Second, the router allows you to consult Open source support, meaning it will never go out of vogue.
However, as Wi-Fi nerds might testify, there is more to a router than its features. Put simply, go for a router AFTER you feel at home with its bandwidth, design, performance and customer support and installation procedure.
And in today’s post, we are going to make sure you know everything about this dual-band router.
Subsequently, once you have reviewed through all of the Wi-Fi router’s good (and bad) points, you’ll be in a better position than when you arrived here to decide whether this dual-band router can meet your requirements or not.
At 11. 2*7.3*2.0’’, AC1900 is one of Netgear’s smallest. It has three antennas attached to its backside which use beamforming technology to adjust signals. You can either aim them to get the strongest signals or replace them altogether with a third-party option. That said, as far as I was concerned, these antennas did more than enough for me.
Apart from the antennas, you’ll also get the 4 LAN ports and one USB2.0 port on its rear side. Another USB port – a 3.0, is located on the front side for printers, hard drivers and memory keys.
Turning our attention to its front side, and you’ll notice a dozen LED-lights. Each of these lights serves a useful purpose. For example, just by viewing the lights, you can check whether the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi router is ON/OFF, which band is turned on, and whether the Ethernet ports are active or not.
If you want to turn the lights off, you’ve to consult the Netgear’s software since there is no physical switch on the router. However, there is a reset button on the dual-band router which allows you to reset all settings to go back to the default version.
Where to start with the features review? Despite its low price tag, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi router comes loaded with features. Here are some of the features which I found the most useful during the review:
Netgear Genie App
Let’s be honest, none of us like visiting our router’s manufacturer’s website just to manage our Wi-Fi network. Luckily, the AC1900 dual-band router allows managing, repairing and controlling your home network from your smartphone. The App has a user-friendly interface which allows you to tinker with your router’s settings to select the best one.
Once you log into it, it shows how many devices are connected, which of the two bands is active, the status of the guest network (s), whether you are using parental controls or not and the USB devices that are connected. Similarly, whether you’ve updated it or not, the firmware’s version will also be on display in the app.
Another thing which I liked about this app is the Quality of Service System. Use it, and you can select which data packets to prioritize and which clients should get special treatment.
One thing, however, which I didn’t like about this app was its scrolling type passwords. Put simply, as you scroll down the app, the passwords will be on display. So, you may not want to open the app in the company of strangers.
Lastly, if you have a limited data package, you can take help from the Traffic meter in the app. As implied by its name, the Traffic Meter lets you monitor which device is getting how much data. In this way, you can keep your data usage in check.
Open Source Support
Why am I stressing the importance of open source support offered by this router? To know the answer, try using iPhone 4. You can’t because Apple won’t send any updates to its operating system any longer. You’d never encounter such a problem with this router for, being open source, it allows you to update its firmware from the market. Consequently, you can keep on using it for years.
Quality of Service
By virtue of this feature, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi router will prioritize providing data to where it is being used the most. Put simply, if you are playing COD and browsing Facebook simultaneously, it will divert more data towards the former. What’s more, the AC1900 also empowers you to designate which sites you want to be prioritized. That is, if you are a fan of 4K, HD videos, the agonizing mid-video buffering will be history.
Have you ever had to leave your bed just to sit close to your router to get more signals? If your answer is in the affirmative, the AC1900 dual-band router would make your bed a hub of Wi-Fi signals. How? Say thanks to the beamforming technology.
This technology dictates the router to direct the signals towards connected devices. That means, instead of you searching for the signals, it is the signals that will search for your device. As a result, you'll get maximum signal strength all the time, every time.
Before using the parental control feature, you’d have to open a free account on OpenDNS. Once you have done that, download Netgear Live Parental Controls before installing and associated it with the dual-band router. You can use this software to manage the parental control feature.
It has five web-filtering levels: none, minimum, low, moderate and high. Of course, while you can block nearly everything on“High” level, nothing will be blocked on the“none” level. Even if you aren’t at home, you can access the OpenDNS website from anywhere to manage this feature.
If there’s one area where you sense cost cutting measures, it is the setup of AC1900. For, where other modern routers allow you to connect to the Wi-Fi before going through the whole setup process, AC1900 has gone old school.
Here, after plugging in the router, you’ve to type its IP address (192.168.1.1). Afterward, Netgear Genie will pop up from where you’ll download the software of the router. From here on, you’ll be taken to the old-school router setup manual to install the router. Finally, at the end of the installation process, a summary page will pop up, show all your settings and passwords.
What’s worse is the fact that to authenticate and connect potential clients, there is no LDAP or radius server. Rather, every new client will either have to connect to the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi router manually or using the abovementioned WPS system.
Finally, giving credit where it’s due, all it took me to go through the whole installation process was five minutes. That says more about the user-friendliness of the Netgear Genie App than the installation procedure. That said, on the whole, the setup procedure wasn't easy.
Sincethe Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi router comes powered with a 1GHz processor, you expect some serious stuff of the AC1900 dual-band router. And if you forego the range limitation (more on this later), the speed offered by this router was commendable.
In fact, at a distance of 15feet and for 802.11ac at 5 GHz band, this router was giving the top speed of 431MBps. When I increased the distance to 100feet, the speed came down to 295MBps, still commendable.
When I switched to 802.11n on 5GHz band, the AC1900 delivered 188MBps and 181MBps at 15ft and 100ft, respectively. To put the speed into perspective, the R7000 delivered me a speed seven-times greater than that of an Ethernet connection.
Finally, as I set 2.4GHz band at 802.11n – the 2.4GHz band isn’t available on 802.11ac, the speed came rolling down. For, while it was 117MBps at 15feet, the speed dropped to 64MBps at 100feet.
As for the wireless range, the signals of Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi router fared much better horizontally than they did vertically. For example, while I was able to connect at 300feet away from the router, the signal-strength mitigated at 200feet above it.
Concluding theperformance review, I was amazed to see the storage performance after connecting an external hard driver with the AC1900’s USB 3.0port. For, it registered 60MBps for reading and 39MBps for writing. In case you don’t know, these speeds are real, really fast and all you need to attain them is a working USB 3.0 hard drive.
Warranty and Support
Look at other Wi-Fi routers, and you’d know that the majority provides a 2-year warranty. The R7000 dual-band router, however, disappoints by providing a 1year warranty. One thing you need to remember should you want to keep the warranty intact is to protect the serial number written on the back of the router. Do it, and you might as well say goodbye to the warranty forever.
If you are for a high performance WI-FI router, your search ends with the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 Smart Wi-Fi Router. Although its range might not be enough for big homes, it is more than capable of powering small offices. What’s more, it contains a large number of useful features. That is, even if you try, you'd get no indication of its low price from its features.