We can’t believe it’s been a year already since Netgear gave us the wonderful Nighthawk X8. But now, we have the latest incarnation in the Netgear Nighthawk series, and boy, does it pack a punch!
Its full title? The Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 R9000 (yes that is a heck of a long title!).
No, your eyes do not deceive you, it’s an AD7200 wifi router. What does this mean? Did we mean to use ‘AC’ for 802.11ac instead of AD?
Well no, the Nighthawk X10 does have Wireless AC, as you would expect to see on a Netgear Nighthawk router. Except this time, Netgear have also added in Wireless 802.11ad technology!
802.11ad is the latest and greatest wireless standard to enter the market. We’ll go into more detail on this further below.
There’s also a few other party pieces from Netgear, including a quad core CPU, MU-MIMO and a 10Gig port (yup – 10Gbps on a consumer router!).
I guess we’d better start getting into more of the details…!
Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 R9000 Features
This is Netgear’s new top-of-the-line home router. As such, you can expect a lot of features to be packed in. And that means a lot for us to talk about!
7 Features of the Nighthawk X10
802.11ad (and 802.11ac & n)
802.11ad (let’s call it Wireless AD), works in the 60GHz range, rather than the 5GHz and 2.4GHz that have been used traditionally in consumer wifi.
This means that AD devices can transmit at much faster speeds than before. It is expected that many .11ad devices will flood the market over the coming years. The Netgear X10 R9000 will be ready to take full advantage of this onslaught when it comes.
7.2Gbps Tri Band
With the help of Wireless AD, the X10 has a combined total of up to 7.2Gbps data rates. Remember that these speeds are theoretical, so don’t expect this in the real world.
So on each band we have: 4.6Gbps on 60GHz, 1.733Gbps on 5GHz and a further 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz.
Awesome for 4k streaming, Virtual Reality Gaming and intense data transfers over wifi.
Quad Stream - MU-MIMO
Quad Stream .11ac & MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO), allows the X10 to talk to multiple wifi clients at exactly the same time. So much more efficient than traditional MIMO.
Plex Media Server – Share Easily!
You’ll be pleased to hear that Netgear have included Plex software in the X10. If you didn’t know, Plex Media Server lets users share their music, movies, photos etc from one source to other devices around the home.
The Nighthawk X10 has this software built into it, so that you don’t need a dedicated box to act as a server. You can just use the X10 to serve out the media.
To do this, all that is required is a USB drive inserted into one of the ports. Then ensure that the Plex Media Server is enabled on the X10 – you can check this by logging into the GUI.
The X10 can also be used as a DLNA server, an iTunes server or can be used with TiVo. Pretty cool.
Plex media Server On Nighthawk X10
Quad Core 1.7GHz CPU & 1GB DDR3 SDRAM
The X10 R9000 has a heap of powerful features. So it’s going to need plenty of ‘juice’ to keep things running along smoothly. Netgear have included a quad core 1.7GHz processor and a Gig of RAM in order to do just that.
The X8 ‘only’ had a 1.4GHz dual core CPU – so quite an upgrade here!
10Gbps LAN SFP Port
Perfect for connecting your NAS box via fiber (if your NAS supports it). The X10 has an SFP+ port that supports up to 10Gbps speeds - sweet.
Enhanced Active Antennas
Another feature inherited from the X8, is ‘Active Antennas’.
The Nighthawk X10 has 4 external antennas. But rather than having the amplifiers located on the router motherboard, at the base of the antennas, Netgear have added the amplifiers to the end of the antennas themselves.
The idea of keeping the antennas away from the motherboard, is to reduce any noise or interference from the motherboard itself. Noise can impact how ‘clean’ the wifi signal is. The less noise, the ‘cleaner’ the signal, which in turn should produce better coverage.
This is particularly of benefit to mobile devices. Why? Well, it’s all well and good having routers and access points that have fantastic wifi coverage and are always being upgraded. If the devices that connect to them are not, then the benefit of increased wifi coverage is negated somewhat.
Netgear’s Active Antenna technology aims primarily to help your small, portable, wifi devices connect to your router better than before, and hopefully increase throughput at further distances.
Nighthawk X10 Ports
More X10 Features
6x 1Gbps LAN Ports (with Link Aggregation) & a 1Gbps WAN Port
There are Gigabit LAN & WAN ports as you would expect. Netgear have included 6 ports, just like they did with the Nighthawk X8. And yet again, they have included Link Aggregation (also known as Port Bundling) for 2 of the LAN ports.
This is great if you want to add redundancy to a server, or NAS box, or if you want to boost the throughput to said device, from 1Gbps to 2Gbps. Make sure your device supports it to enjoy the full benefits.
Supports 160MHz Channels
Extra wide channels mean extra more bandwidth (or something like that?!). Seriously though, having wider channels enables faster throughput. 160MHz channel bonding can increase wireless throughput. Be wary though that it can congest other networks around you, as well as your own if not used properly.
Explicit Beamforming is available for devices on 2.4 & 5GHz. If your clients support it, they will be able to transmit & receive data faster over wifi, especially at longer distances away from the router.
You have the option to set up guest networks on both the 2.4 & 5GHz bands.
This is a good way to keep visitors (scrupulous, genuine or whatever) away from your private local LAN network, while they hop onto the Internet without bugging you (no pun intended!).
2x USB 3.0 Ports
Conveniently located at the side rather than at the back of the router. Thankfully Netgear have not added USB 2.0 ports. On a router of this grade and quality, USB 3.0 is the only way to go really…
‘READY’ Suite Of Netgear Software
Access to the ‘READY’ software from Netgear. This includes:
READYSHARE Vault – which is used to back up your Windows devices to a USB drive attached to the X10.
READYSHARE Printer – For sharing a USB printer among your network.
READYCLOUD – This is used to share your personal files, securely, on a USB drive, again attached to the X10. Users (as allowed by you) can then access the drive from the Internet.
You can back up your data to Amazon Drive.
Enhanced controls so that you can control who can access the network and when. Oh, and have some sort of a say as to what they can access…
OpenVPN support access into your network.
Easy Setup With Netgear Up / Netgear GENIE
Netgear have recently launched ‘Up’ which can be installed on Android or iOS and used to set up your Nighthawk router.
Alternatively you can use the Netgear GENIE app to monitor and maintain your X10 R9000 router.
Wi-Fi Multimedia / Quality of Service, to help you prioritize traffic within your network.
R9000 Technical Specs
- Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ad
- 7.2Gbps Wi-Fi Data Rates
- Tri Band - 4.3Gbps 60GHz AD / 1.733Gbps 5GHz AC / 800Mbps 2.4GHz N
- Quad Core 1.7GHz Processor / 1GB DDR3 RAM
- 2x USB 3.0 Ports
- 1x SFP+ Port (10Gbps)
- 6x 1Gbps LAN with Link Agg / 1xGbps WAN
- Active Antennas
A Video Overview Of The X10 From Netgear
802.11ad devices are few and far between at time of writing, so the Wireless AD feature is more of a future-proofing feature than anything else....for now. We don’t think it’s going to be too long before manufacturers launch AD products by the bucketload.
Remember to take into consideration that Wireless AD, due to using the higher frequency of 60GHz, has a lower coverage area compared to 802.11ac & n. Wireless AD will really come into its own in single rooms. For example, streaming 4k from you media server or NAS box without wires.
You’ll also notice that the Tri Band is a little different to former Nighthawk routers. Normally, two of the three networks, are 5GHz AC.
However, the X10 uses a band per wireless standard. So we have:
- 1x Wireless AD band (4.3Gbps)
- 1x Wireless AC band (1.733Gbps) and
- 1x Wireless N band (800Mbps).
You need to decide if you are happy with this setup. If you currently have a Tri Band router (and are thinking of upgrading – you must be a router fanboy!) and enjoy the 2x 5GHz bands, and do not have any .11ad devices, then you need to balance out if you are happy to have one .11ac band for your wireless nodes in that interim period before you splash out on lots of available AD devices.
If you are just looking for a decent .11ac router, the X10 might be overkill for you. The original Nighthawk R7000 (if you want to stick with Netgear) might be enough for you in this case. Or, perhaps one of the other Nighthawks.
Otherwise, if you just want the latest, greatest router, with all the bells and whistles then you may well plump for the X10 regardless of what router you already have!!!
Have you got a Nighthawk X10, or maybe thinking of getting one? Let us know about it below…