Netgear’s Nighthawk range is the company’s flagship consumer networking device. They’re presumably in your local big box store’s electronics section. They have the flashiest packaging, the finest features, and the highest prices. Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700 AC2200 Tri-Band Wi-Fi Mesh Extender follows suit. The X6 EX7700 from Netgear’s Nighthawk range features mesh networking and MU-MIMO technology, but it’s expensive.
We tested the router’s setup, network speed, connectivity, and functionality.
The Setup is Straightforward and Routine
The Netgear Nighthawk X6 works like most Wi-Fi extenders. It has useful features that make setup easier. First, plug it into your router. When it turns on, press the WPS button on your router and the X6, and you’re prepared for basic setup.
The X6’s Router Link LED turns white when connected to your router, indicating a solid connection. If you utilized WPS, the X6 should have copied your router’s network settings, preserving the same SSID and password.
Find the ideal spot for your Wi-Fi extender. We assume you have a dead area since you bought an extension. Move the extension halfway between your router and the dead spot to acquire coverage. For Netgear Wifi Extender Setup visit Mywifiext.
If the Router Link LED isn’t white, move the extension closer to your router for the best speed, but amber is still “excellent.” If there’s still no coverage, move it further away. The Router Link LED helps locate your router’s Wi-Fi coverage without accessing the web interface.
You must utilize the web interface if you don’t want to use WPS or have a concealed SSID. You can do this by connecting to the extender using one of the two Ethernet ports on the rear of the unit or by joining the temporary Wi-Fi network it generates.
Web interface setup is only a little more complicated than WPS. A wizard will help you clone your router’s settings or set up the extension under fresh SSIDs.
Software: Everything in the Background
You don’t need to locally install any software to utilize the Nighthawk X6. Likely, you won’t even need to see the extender’s UI if you connect to your router using WPS. But you’ll eventually have to use the web browser if you need to adjust the settings. The same holds true if the extension and router are no longer connected. To log in and troubleshoot, you must connect via a wired or wireless connection.
But don’t be alarmed by the web interface. Advanced users can choose from various options, including MAC filtering, setting a static IP address for the extender, time-based usage restrictions, and all the other features you would often find with a Netgear product. However, there won’t be as much choice as with custom firmware like OpenWRT.
Network performance: Consistently Strong Signal
The Nighthawk X6 has one 400Mbps 2.4GHz band and two 866Mbps 5GHZ bands. Theoretically, this offers 2.2Gbps, however, one of the 5GHz frequencies is required for Fastlane3. Fastlane3 creates a direct link with the router to reduce congestion and packet drop. X6’s quad-core CPU should speed up request processing.
10 to 25 feet from the extender, we got 150Mbps down. We usually receive 300Mbps from our router’s Wi-Fi, so this isn’t terrible. We slowed from 25 to 40 feet distant. After 50 feet, signal dropouts began. At 75 feet, the network died. Results depend on living space. Walls and floors block Wi-Fi signals. Thickness reduces signal range. Overall, we liked the Nighthawk X6’s range.
Connectivity: Link Everything
The X6 offers MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple input, multiple outputs), making it an excellent choice if many devices will be utilized simultaneously. It streamlines requests and reduces network congestion. Not every device is MU-MIMO compatible, especially older ones, so bear that in mind if most of your hardware is older than two years.
The X6’s ability to construct mesh networks helps justify its high price. A mesh network is a group of devices that work together to send you data. If you have multiple X6 extenders enabled, they’ll work together to send requests to your router and return data.
If you have a large area to cover, you can chain together extenders or place them in strategically overlapping locations, and they’ll automatically adjust to your needs. Setting up a mesh network is easy and requires little configuration.
You probably won’t need a full mesh network unless your home is big. Netgear says one X6 can cover 2200 square feet. Unless you live somewhere palatial or with numerous levels, you won’t receive much benefit from a mesh network.
There’s no standard for mesh networking, so if you implement one with Netgear, you’ll be stuck with its unique form. Buying more extenders can be costly. Most people with a large living space will find it easier to use Google Wifi or Netgear Orbi. Costly but easier to set up and manage.
Cost: Not Very Affordable
Where the Netgear Nighthawk X6 falters is in the price. You must carefully consider whether you need any of the extra functions it offers, given that its MSRP is $159.99. MU-MIMO isn’t a significant concern if you’re extending Wi-Fi in your home, and only a few people will be utilizing it.
The X6’s ability to use the same SSIDs as your route is another of its widely praised features. But you can do it with any extension; depending on the model, it might not be automatic. The X6 doesn’t do much to set itself apart from other AC2200 extenders, other from mesh networking, which is only going to be beneficial if you need to expand Wi-Fi coverage to a very big area or have a multi-story home.
The Netgear Nighthawk X6 EX7700 Mesh Wi-Fi Extender is feature-rich, attractive, and offers dependable performance. The features that set it apart from the competition are just not necessities for most users. Unfortunately, the price is a little too exorbitant compared to other extenders on the market.