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Review: Netgear Nighthawk X8 AC5300 VDSL/ADSL Modem Router
by Peter Gutierrez | Jul 4, 2017 | Comment Now
Recommended
Review: Netgear Nighthawk X8 AC5300 VDSL/ADSL Modem Router
Rating
Overall:

"$699 may seem like an eye-watering amount for an ADSL modem router, but if you want a no-compromise device that will serve you well both now and into the future, the Nighthawk X8 is one of the very best."

Price
$699 AUD *

> Pricing info

Specs
Dual-core 1.4GHz processor • 7 x Gigabit Ethernet ports (1 x WAN, 6 x LAN w. dual Gigabit aggregation) • Triband (1 x 2.4GHz @ 1000Mbps and 2 x 5GHz @ 2166Mbps each)
* Price at time of review
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One of the best modem routers we have ever tested.

Netgear’s Nighthawk range of wireless routers have been among the most technically advanced – and expensive – routers for power users, and the Nighthawk X8 AC5300 VDSL/ADSL Modem Router continues this proud tradition.

While the design is a little more subdued that its wedge-shaped predecessor, the Nighthawk X8 is nonetheless a fetching bit of kit, with an undulating ventilation grid on the top, a column of white LEDs to signal internet connectivity, Wi-Fi channel status and Ethernet connectivity, and three buttons on the front to enable/disable the LEDs, WPS and Wi-Fi, respectively.

Speaking of LEDs, the four external antennas possess their own blue LEDs that circle the tips. While dismissing them as a design touch at first, I came to appreciate them for signifying the status of the Wi-Fi at a glance, saving me an arduous walk across the living room.

These external antennas have built-in amplifiers for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, and complement the four internal 5GHz antennas nicely.

USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports lie underneath a panel on the right side, enabling connectivity to printers, USB storage, and the like. If you download Netgear’s ReadySHARE Vault app, you can also turn the Nighthawk X8 into a file server and back up your connected PCs to any attached storage.

This router is definitely for bandwidth-hungry households, with theoretical Gigabit throughput for the wireless-N channel and 2.166 Gbps for each of the wireless-AC ones. Furthermore, the two 5GHz bands can be combined into a single 5GHz connection, providing as much bandwidth as you could possibly ask for (as long as you don’t stray too far away).

MU-MIMO and beamforming tech come part and parcel with the router, and using tricky software smarts, is able to load-balance slower network devices on one 5GHz channel, leaving the other one for the gamers and streamers on the network.

Setup on my ADSL2+ connection was a relatively quick and painless experience, and I was up and running in short order. That the wizard encourages first-time users to change the router’s password as part of its process was a welcome sight.

Performance was, as you’d expect, blisteringly fast. While simultaneously streaming HD Netflix and Stan to a Google Pixel XL and a 12in iPad Pro respectively, streaming Spotify at Extreme quality to a Galaxy S7, and watching 1440p YouTube videos on an Ethernet-connected desktop PC, the Nighthawk X8 chugged along with nary a stutter, serving all devices with aplomb. Wireless range was impressive too. While the dual 5GHz channels predictably dropped off somewhat after moving a few rooms away, the 2.4GHz channel covered my entire three bedroom house and backyard with ease, even reaching my neighbour’s house 30 metres across the road.

$699 may seem like an eye-watering amount for an ADSL modem router, but if you want a no-compromise device that will serve you well both now and into the future, the Nighthawk X8 is one of the very best.



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