In 2014, Netgear have released, with much fanfare, two new top-of-the-range routers. The Nighthawk X6, also known as the R8000 & the X4, also known as the R7500. Both have a powerful punch lying underneath the hood. In the era of Gigabit Wi-Fi, they need to… What we’re going to do here is draw up a comparison of the most important features they share, as well as outlining what unique features they have over one another.
The Netgear Nighthawk X6 AC3200 R8000 Router
The Nighthawk X6 has been heralded by Netgear as having “breakthrough Tri-Band Wi-Fi technology”. We’ll explain exactly what Tri-Band is and how it can benefit a little later on…
The Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2350 R7500 Router
Netgear’s first ‘Wave 2’ of AC routers to enter the market. Features Quad Streaming (4×4) and dynamic QoS to help optimize your network as much as possible.
Nighthawk X6 AC3200 vs X4 AC2350 – Common Features
Both Nighthawks share a long list of features. Here are the important ones…
Netgear have given us two high performing routers with awesome AC power.
The X6 has a combined data rate of 3.2Gbps across it’s bands. 2.6Gbps on the two 5GHz bands and a further 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
Although not quite as powerful, the X4 still racks up an impressive 2.33Gbps data rate over it’s two bands. 1.73Gbps on the 5GHz band, 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz. However, the X4 uses a quad stream (4×4) chipset.
One of the greatest technologies to enter the world of Wi-Fi over the last few years is beamforming. It’s helped boost coverage in particular for compatible clients. Both these routers use beamforming, so it’s big tick in the box for both routers on this one.
Both Nighthawks have a dual core processor. The X4 has a 1.4GHz processor as opposed to the X6’s 1GHz CPU. Aha! The X4 must be better as it’s a more powerful processor, you may ask… Well, the X6 actually has another 3 co-processors to ease the load on the main dual core. The extra 3 CPU’s are particularly useful when wired and wireless clients are talking to each other through the router.
Nighthawk X6 Ports
Nighthawk X6 AC3200 vs X4 AC2350 Special Weapons?
So, what’s the difference between the two you may all be asking. There are some subtle differences, each scoring points against each other…
– MU-MIMO (X4): MU-MIMO stands for Multi User – Multiple In Multiple Out. It is the successor to Wireless N’s MIMO, which was just as revolutionary in it’s day. MIMO technology basically took reflected signals from a transmitter, whether that be the router or the client, and merged them back into one solid signal again at the receiving end, improving throughput.
Reflections are usually caused by furniture and walls within the home – it is very normal to occur in any
home or environment.
MIMO was only able to be used one client at a time. MU-MIMO, yes you guessed it, lets multiple users benefit from MIMO at the same time.
– 2x USB 3.0 Ports & eSATA (X4): It’s a rarity to have a router with two USB 3.0 ports, there’s usually just a single 3.0 and a second 2.0 port. Not only that, but the X4 has an eSATA as well. Not quite sure why the X6 didn’t have both these ports too?
Nighthawk X4 Ports
– Tri-Band (X6): The buzz term of 2014….Tri-Band. I guess we were all sick and tired of hearing about Dual Band routers all these years, the manufacturers decided to spice things up a little, lol. Anyway, Tri Band uses, yeah that’s right, 3 radio bands. A single 2.4GHz band, but also two 5GHz bands, as opposed to a single 5GHz band with traditional Dual Band. Having two 5GHz bands means there is more bandwidth available to be used as the clients can be balanced across the two bands, rather than competing for available bandwidth on the single band.
Nighthawk X6 AC3200 (R8000)
Nighthawk X6 AC3200 vs X4 AC2350 – Which One?
We can’t really make a solid recommendation for either router. It depends on your situation, and what features appeal to you.
If you want a killer router for storage, go for the X4. With regards speed, there is very little to pick between these two. The X6 does edge it in most circumstances.
Nighthawk X4 AC3200 (R7500)
However, when it comes to single client sessions, you may be surprised to hear that in actual fact, last year’s original Nighthawk is actually faster on Wireless AC than both the X6 and the X4. Although it must be pointed out that the newer routers come into their own when multiple clients are ‘online’ at the same time…
The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 R7000 router is faster on AC with single sessions
Do you agree/disagree? Why not comment below and let us know what you think…