The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 is a top-of-the-line product made specifically for gamers and live streamers. It’s designed to provide the fastest and most stable wireless connection possible, using its DumaOS 3.0 software for smart bandwidth allocation and ping reduction.
More interested in video format? Check out the XR1000 review video in the next section.
We loved the XR1000’s predecessor, the Netgear Nighthawk XR500, in our previous review. It even won editor’s choice on our list of best routers for gaming, so we were more than a little excited to give its big brother a try.
We’ve been using the new Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 for the past two weeks in order to write this review. Hopefully, we can help you decide whether this premium router is the right choice for your gaming setup.
Zoom In: Specs
- WIFI: Dual-Band WIFI 6: 2.4GHz, 5GHz
- Ethernet Ports: Gigabit: 1 WAN, 4 LAN
- USB Port: 1x USB 3.0
- Processor: 1.5GHz Triple-Core
- Software: DumaOS 3.0
- Wireless Communication Standard: 802.11ax
- Security Protocol: WPA2-PSK
- Voltage: 100240 Volts
Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Video Review
Prefer watching a video instead of reading? Here’s an unboxing video from our hardware reviewer Cody Campbell.
Unboxing and Setup
The unboxing process for Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router is a breeze. The router is set into a cardboard sleeve inside the box, alongside some instructions. Underneath the router, you’ll find a small box containing four antennae, an ethernet cable, and an AC adaptor.
The antennae are labeled with their corresponding place on the router, taking the guesswork out of attaching them.
There are two ways to set up, but the easiest is using the Nighthawk app and simply following the on-screen instructions. It took me about 10 minutes from start to finish.
Don’t go deleting the app when you’ve got it up and running, though. It also allows you to control specific settings for the router. You can monitor connected devices, security, internet speed, and even make changes to WIFI settings such as naming and password protecting the different WIFI bands.
WIFI 6 is the newest and best form of wireless internet connectivity on the market. It’s almost three times faster than WIFI 5 and has up to four times more device capacity than AC routers. The XR1000 can broadcast wireless speeds up to 5.4Gbps! The downside is that it’s still new, and few devices have jumped on board yet.
There are a few stand-out exceptions, though. The PS5 is WIFI 6 compatible, making the Nighthawk an ideal choice for owners of Sony’s new console. Online gaming is one of the most demanding tasks for a router to endure, and the PS5 needs a lot of bandwidth. Several newer computers and smartphones are also able to take advantage of WIFI 6.
I ran several tests using Ookla Speedtest and the test provided by Xfinity. I didn’t find much difference in internet speeds before and after switching from my old WIFI 5 router, but that makes sense. Most of my devices are not WIFI 6 compatible. I did notice a higher degree of stability and noticeably lower ping, however.
There’s also something to be said for future-proofing, as WIFI 6 will only become more common in the future.
DumaOS 3.0 seems like the main reason to buy this router right now. It took me a while to figure out how to access it, as the instructions are a little vague.
Here’s how to do it:
- Type http://192.168.1.1 into the URL bar
- Enter the username: admin
- Enter the password you used to set up the Nighthawk app
- Follow the prompts until software is setup
Once I managed to get everything set up and working, I was blown away by the customization options DumaOS 3.0 had to offer.
DumaOS 3.0 Features
Here are my favorite DumaOS 3.0 features:
- Geo-Filter: This allows you to reduce lag times in your game by only using the most reliable servers for whatever game you’re currently playing.
- Ping Heatmap: Tracks the amount of time it takes for signals to travel between servers and your system, thus reducing your ping by as much as 93%. I didn’t experience these numbers, but my ping did noticeably drop about 25%.
- QoS: This is the one I was most excited about and spent the most time playing with. QoS allows you to allocate bandwidth to certain devices and tasks. Your smart coffee maker doesn’t need as much bandwidth as your PC, so why share?
- Connection Benchmark: DumaOS runs a much more comprehensive connection test than Ookla or even your service provider. It tests upload, download, ping, ping (under load), and even your Netflix speed!
- Device Manager: There is a device manager on the Nighthawk app, but the one on DumaOS shows you all the offline devices as well. You can use this to turn off the internet connection to devices you aren’t using in order to preserve bandwidth.
- Network Monitor: Allows you to monitor data usage and where your bandwidth is going by category (web, media, gaming, etc.) It also shows you which devices are active and how much upload and download bandwidth they are currently using.
- Traffic Controller: This allows you to set traffic rules for specific devices and provides traffic analytics.
Nighthawk is one of the most popular router brands on the market, and they have a well-earned reputation for their reliability and ease of use. The XR1000 is the current apex of Netgear’s lineup of all-star routers.
There’s no denying it’s expensive, and it’s probably overkill for most people right now. But it isn’t designed for most people’s needs right now — the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Gaming Router is designed for enthusiasts with high-speed internet and the newest devices. That said, it’s also a solid choice for those willing to spend more now in order to future-proof their setup.
Zoom Out: Verdict
The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 is a top-of-the-line router that’s ideal for PS5 owners, tech enthusiasts, and people seeking to future-proof their setup. The DumaOS 3.0 software gives gamers and streamers a tremendous amount of control over gaming servers and bandwidth allocation. Who isn’t the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 suitable for? Folks on a smaller budget and those with few WIFI 6 devices may want to skip it for now.
- Dual-band 2.4GHz and 5Ghz
- DumaOS 3.0 control software
- WIFI 6 with wireless speeds up to 5.4Gbps
- MSRP $349.99
- No built-in modem
- Not a lot of use for WIFI 6 just yet