Netgear 'Nighthawk' the Fastest Home Router Yet

Dennis Faas's picture

Not willing to compromise when it comes to your home router? For those of us who stream a lot of music and video content or play demanding video games online, reliable and fast networking equipment is a necessity.

That's why it's hard not to be impressed with Netgear's new Nighthawk AC1900 Smart WiFi Router (Model R7000), which appears to be the fastest router on the market right now.

Serious Hardware for Serious Streamers

The Nighthawk is part of Netgear's attempt to establish an in-demand piece of hardware using the new 802.11ac wireless networking standard.

This device is powered by Broadcom's BCM4709 system on chip (or SoC), which uses a 1GHz, dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor. The device also features two USB ports, allowing users to connect USB storage devices or a printer.

As far as appearance goes, the Nighthawk resembles a Stealth figher plane. Fans of Asus' Republic of Gamers hardware will appreciate the hard lines and bulk of this device. (Source:

But there's more to the Nighthawk than chunky looks and impressive hardware. The device also features some rather stunning features, starting with a personal FTP server that provides users with dynamic DNS support.

Netgear's included software allows users to quickly and easily establish an FTP address and connect it with any web browser to access drive contents.

Router Analyzes, Prioritizes Network Traffic

Undoubtedly, though, the most impressive thing about the Nighthawk is its incredible speed. Tests by PCWorld showed that, in a home office where the router was 65 feet from the user, the device boasted transfer speeds of 108 megabits per second.

At shorter distance (9 feet), the speed jumped to 288 megabits per second. (Source:

The included USB ports are also quick. The Nighthawk was able to read a 10GB file from a USB 3.0 hard drive more than four times faster than the Asus RT-AC66U router.

So, why is the Nighthawk so fast?

Netgear says the Nighthawk is capable of analyzing and prioritizing the traffic passing through it in order to improve speed and performance. For example, the device can detect a video stream through a service like Netflix and Hulu and assign it a higher priority than a file download.

Netgear says it's done the same with video game traffic, ensuring that you can download a TV show or movie without having it affect your online game of Call of Duty. Right now the system is optimized for Xbox, but Netgear says it's working with other companies (like Sony) to expand the service.

Overall, the Netgear Nighthawk, which is available now and will run you about $200, isn't the world's best-looking router -- but it sure is fast.

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