I used to have Apple Airport Express units dotted around the house to try and get Wi-Fi coverage everywhere. Since Apple departed the router scene several years ago I’ve ended up just using the ISP supplied modem / router. It’s been ok, but not great.
Coverage doesn’t reach upstairs well, it seems to struggle when we’re all streaming stuff in separate rooms and sometimes the Wi-Fi itself just stops dead and I have to power cycle the router to get us all back online.
With increasing streaming from our family, along with my smart home obsession, the number of connected devices in our place has skyrocketed in the last 2 years. The Wi-Fi needs a boost.
Enter the NEATGEAR Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6 Mesh AX1800 (MK63). A long product name for 3 boxes that make the internets work good.
I’ve been researching a little on the best solution for my house and subsequently played with a Ubiquiti Pro unit on a job a few weeks ago. It was amazing….. until I came home and googled the price.
I’m not in a position to pay that much just to ensure that when my son is streaming Mr Beast he doesn’t accidently walk through a Wi-Fi black spot as he’s simultaneously eating EVERY SINGLE thing we have in the cupboard.
The Nighthawk system is much more price friendly and NETGEAR is a brand that many of us would think is synonymous with internet related connectivity devices. So, is it any good?
It sure is!
I’ve had the base station and two satellite routers in the house now for a few weeks and improvement to our connectivity and stability has genuinely been brilliant.
I read many whinging reviews written when this product was launched about a year ago. Stability issues, satellites dropping off the network etc. Sure, there may have been some glitches at the start, as there is with many products when they are pushed in to a competitive market at high speed. BUT a year later, following firmware updates and some refining, often the products are great.
That is exactly what I have found.
Out of the box this system was a breeze to set up using the Nighthawk in-app prompts.
This is a Wi-Fi 6 device that merges the 2.4gHz and 5gHz networks so no need for 2 separate networks anymore and if you name the new network the same as your old one and use the same password, most of your devices will not require any changes to their own settings.
Once set up, you can see a list of all your connected devices and which unit they are connected to as well as enabling / disabling their internet access.
I’ve placed one of the satellites upstairs, one downstairs and the main unit in the office next to our modem. The units have created a seamless mesh throughout the house with no blackspots that I or my son can find. The signal is even good out at the BBQ!
Before using the Nighthawk, our average speed was around 45mbps, it’s now averaging 53mbps which I think is pretty fantastic.
The app lets you monitor speed and traffic and you can subscribe to Netgear Armor, a security partnership with Bitdefender, for in-app monitoring of your network and connected devices looking out for malware, spyware and other threats. I enabled the trial of this service and got RSI from all the notifications so turned it off.
For those of you with friends you don’t trust there is a simple setting to toggle on and off to create a guest Wi-Fi network too. You can also share the network settings with a custom QR code. I’m thinking of getting the QR code tattooed on my forehead just because every time my father-in-law visits us he asks what our Wi-Fi password is. (We’ve had the same password for 15 years… how hard is it to remember *‘HOWIE12’)
The simplicity in the set up of this product is a massive win. The Wi-Fi itself is robust and brilliant and hasn’t missed a beat since being installed. However I think the app lets the product down a little. I’d like a little more control and more in-depth reporting, such as individual device metering not just network metering. As a parent, scheduling device access to the internet would also be a great addition.
Lastly the app is slow, like real slow, like slower than my dad’s driving. The old fella slows down at green lights in case they turn orange.
All of that aside, we need to remember this is not the Bugatti of mesh systems, this is the user-friendly Hyundai i30 that provides exactly what it says it will and is pretty aesthetically pleasing to boot.
*Not actual password