Netgear R7000 Router & EX6200 Extender Review
Since the release of AC1900 wireless routers we here at Hardwarecanucks have tried to cast as wide a net as possible. Everyone ASUS, D-Link, and even Linksys are now represented in our charts, but one company was noticeable by its absence: Netgear. While Netgear may not have the same brand-name recognition as the other three major wireless router manufactures their R7000 'Nighthawk' has quickly gained quite a loyal following. This one device has introduced countless numbers of consumers to what Netgear has to offer.
The reason the Nighthawk has quickly received the attention of consumers is that it has been built from the ground up to outperform the competition. While it may use a Broadcom BCM4000 series System on a Chip as its main processor, unlike most, Netgear has opted for the faster BCM4709 instead of the slower but more common BCM4708. Unlike the 800Mhz BCM4708, the BCM4709 clocks in at brisk 1GHz. This may not sound like much of a difference, but an extra 200Mhz offers a lot more performance in high stress environments. Mix in three large and powerful external antennas, an aggressive angular form factor and the R7000 looks as fast as it is purported to be.
Thankfully, with an online asking price of $180 the Nighthawk is actually quite affordable compared to some of its compatriots. In fact the R7000 is now actually one of the lowest priced AC1900 options available today.
As stated previously, Netgear is not just a one trick pony and with numerous years of experience their current stable of 802.11AC networking devices is rather varied. Of all the other devices they make besides the Nighthawk, their EX6200 wireless range extender also stands out. It isn’t some small “plug directly into an AC outlet and forget about it” extender. Rather, the EX6200 is big, bold and promises to provide increased wireless coverage without most of the drawbacks that are associated with typical range extenders. First and foremost is its dual band (2x2) 802.11AC 'AC1200' nature that uses two 5Dbi external antennas and shares more in common with the Nighthawk than typical range extenders. In fact its form factor is pretty much the same as a typical 2x2 wireless router. This alone makes it stand-out from the crowded extender marketplace that usually prizes compactness over performance.
Besides the wow factor, this 'over-sized' form factor's additional space allows for higher performance internal components. Internally it also bears more resemblance to a wireless router than an extender as instead of the typical low power SoC, the EX6200 uses a Broadcom BCM4352, which is more commonly found inside mainstream 802.11AC routers. To best make use of these higher performance parts Netgear has then given this extender an amazing - for its class - 700mW of output power. Whether or not the combination of external antennas, high performance components, and excellent power output rating will allow this $130 device to overcome its high asking price, but on paper this is one potent looking range extender.
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