This article will be another look at two routers from Netgear. Now, before we go any further, we should be clear that these two routers (the R6900 and the R7000) ship with very similar specs.
To start off with we'll confirm the features they share. Then we will point out those subtle differences.
Let’s see how the two routers stack up below!
R6900 vs R7000: Shared Features
For people looking for a great router, the good news is that both these products have a ton of really great features in common...
AC1900: Super Fast Speeds And Dual Band
Both these routers are AC1900 routers, this means that they offer a total bandwidth of 1900Mbps with 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz channel (802.11n) and 1300Mbps on the 5GHz channel (802.11ac).
What this means is that you will have plenty of bandwidth to allow a high number of devices (this will not be an unlimited number!) to connect to the router and use bandwidth-intensive activities such as streaming HD video across your LAN from an attached drive (or streaming box on another appliance), online gaming, and general web browsing, all while being "policed" by the QoS feature these routers contain - helping to keep things running smoothly.
The fact that they are both dual-band also means you will be able choose the best band for your device by putting the ones that need a faster connection, on the 5GHz band. Use the 2.4GHz band for less important nodes, or ones that are at the edge (or off the edge!) of the 5GHz wifi coverage area. Yes, 2.4GHz usually covers a greater distance.
Both these routers use Netgear’s beamforming technology to focus your wifi signal, thus giving devices, especially those on the outer edges of your network, a more reliable and faster wifi connection even though they may be some distance away from your router.
Superfast wired connection, and lots of them!
Both these routers come with five Gigabit Ethernet ports. One of which is WAN and four of which are LAN. This means you can connect up to four devices directly to your router to give them a more reliable connection that is less susceptible to problems such as latency.
We're not saying don't use wireless, but cabled Ethernet is generally a more solid way of connecting to your gateway to the internet. Consider using Ethernet if you're a gamer.
1GHz Dual Core Processor: More Power To You...
While having the ability and bandwidth to provide multiple connections is great, it’s nothing if the router doesn’t have the processing power to back it up. Luckily, this shouldn’t be a problem with either of these two routers as they both bring super powerful dual-core 1GHz processors to the table.
This means that even when you have multiple devices connected to your network, your router shouldn’t have any problems.
Quality of Service (QoS): Differences In The Details
Both these routers offer Dynamic QoS. For example, if you're participating in a video conference call, you can set your router to prioritize traffic to and from that device and application (the actual video conferencing).
Other nodes on your network, or applications take must "give way" to any video conferencing you do on that device.
This should mean that your video conference runs smoothly, with less chance of video or audio loss...or of the vc call dropping altogether.
Downstream and upstream directions are catered for (the upstream QoS function is recommended only for gamers), and requires little setting up. Multiple applications and devices can be favored, based on MAC address or down to individual Ethernet LAN ports,
This means that should you need one device to have as fast a network connection as possible, for example, if you are doing a video conference call, you can set your router to prioritize traffic to that device at the expense of others.
So, What Are The Differences Then?
So, all well and good so far, but the two routers can’t be exactly the same, right? Let’s see if there and any differences and, if so, how important they are.
USB Ports, How Many Do You Need?
The first difference will likely go unnoticed by a lot of consumers, but it is nonetheless there. While the AC6900 has one USB 3.0 port, the AC7000 has both a USB 3.0 port AND a USB 2.0 port.
This will allow you to connect both an external hard drive or similar device that will benefit from the extra speed provided by USB 3.0, and also another device to the USB 2.0 port. Of course, it is up to you to think about how important this is and whether or not you will likely use the extra feature.
No Firmware Upgrades...
Want to flash your router? Fancy some Tomato, OpenWRT or DD-WRT to pimp up your router? Well, that's all possible with the R7000. As long as you know what you're doing, it's a great way of gaining much more control over your router.
The R6900 however, does not. You've got the stock firmware, and that's it really. No flashing possible. The stick firmware is probably fine for most people, but if want to get your hands dirty, the R7000 is gonna be the one to opt for.
R6900 vs R7000: Which One Should I Choose?
Both of these routers are excellent and likely to be more than feature packed enough for most people out there. The only questions comes down to whether or not you need the little extras that are offered by the R7000.
If you think you do, then the R7000 may well be the best choice for you, if not, then you could take advantage of the slight price difference and go for the R6900. Either way, you should end up with an excellent router!