[Test] the Netgear XR300 Nighthawk gaming router


After discovering the Netgear XR500 last year, it’s time for the little brother Netgear XR300 to pass into our hands and go to the test bench. Combining network functionality and gamer specifics, this new model placed a little lower in the price list aims to offer almost the same services, at least in general terms. Offering technical characteristics a little behind, we will check if the newcomer will be able to live up to what his big brother had offered us and the good memory he had left us.

Presentation

Netgear uses the codes of its Nighthawk router range by supplying its XR300 in black and orange packaging, with its clearly visible “Nighthawk” emblem. Photo of the product, some features listed, brand and emblem on the front and diagrams on the back, the technical specifications are listed on the side. We find a real packaging unit when we compare it to the XR500. Once unpacked, we find the router and its charger, a yellow network cable and some technical documentation (quick start guide).

Design

If the superior model that we tested had a very particular design which gave it its charm and made it unique, even atypical, Netgear remains more conventional with its XR300, much more square and with straight edges and bevels of all sides.

All finely glittered anthracite, the faces are all flat. On the front of the upper side are all the indication LEDs (12 in total), 2 of which are also buttons associated with a function.

The two side sections have large air vents and the front section has the single USB3.0 port. This is the rear of the connection, consisting of the 4 LAN ports, the WAN port, the power connector, the On / Off ignition button and the Reset button.

Unfortunately we do not find the physical button controlling the lighting of the LEDs (you will have to go to the interface), and at night, the LEDs light up well!

Being Wifi dual band Tx / Rx 3 × 3 (2.4Ghz) + 3 × 3 (5Ghz), the router has 3 orientable antennas which for their part are fixed (they cannot be detached). This is neither a defect nor a quality, because if you lose a little (but not a lot) in storage, it is however not possible to lose them.

Technical characteristics

  • Brand: Netgear
  • Model: Netgear XR300 Nighthawk
  • Type: Wifi Router
  • Integrated modem: No
  • IP V6: Yes (possibility to deactivate)
  • MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO): Yes
  • Processor: Dual core 1GHz
  • Memory: 128Mb of flash and 512Mb of Ram
  • 3 external antennas
  • possibility to switch off the front LED lighting (via the software interface)
  • connectivity: 4 LAN ports 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 WAN port 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x USB3.0IEEE 802.11 b / g / n 2.4GHz + 256 QAM support
  • EEE 802.11 a / n / ac 5.0GHzAC1750 (450Mbps @ 2.4GHz — 256QAM support + 1300Mbps @ 5GHz 11ac)
  • Dual Band WiFi simultaneous – Tx / Rx 3 × 3 (2.4GHz) + 3 × 3 (5GHz)
  • Security: Support for a secure VPN, WIFI WPA / WPA2-PSK protection, double firewall security (SPI and NAT), Prevention of denial of service attacks (DoS)
  • Supported OS: Microsoft Windows 7, 8, 10, Vista, XP, 2000, Mac OS, UNIX, or Linux
  • Supported browsers: Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or more, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome 11.0 or more, Firefox 2.0 or more, Safari 1.4 or more
  • Dimensions: 183 x 285 x 62 mm
  • Weight: 719 grams
  • Package Contents: XR300 Nighthawk Pro Gaming Router, Ethernet cable, Quick Start Guide, 1 AC adapter.

Features

  • Customizable Gaming dashboard that displays real-time traffic by device, ping…
  • Geo-Filter: master the lag (latency) by specifying a location (geographic) with an adjoining area in order to minimize the server distance during games
  • VPN: Support for a secure VPN to preserve one’s identity and protect against denial of service (DoS) attacks
  • Network monitoring: monitor traffic by device in dynamic graphs and determine the causes of delays
  • Quality Of Service: set a priority for certain devices (such as for playing) by allocating bandwidth individually
  • Beamforming + to increase stability and signal strength
  • ReadySHARE USB to make accessible USB storage devices (USB sticks, Self-powered hard drives) and printers
  • ReadySHARE Vault to automatically create a backup of your Windows computer on a USB device connected to the router (requires software on the computer)

Getting started

Since its XR500, Netgear has replaced the austere interfaces of equipment with something much more visual and user-friendly. It is the use of DUMAOS that allows this by making the settings more accessible and user-friendly, while respecting its Gaming philosophy with a theme (red / very dark red) going in this direction. The positive point is that it is translated into several languages, including French. Although the interface and the translation of this router give it a user-friendly, almost simplistic aspect, the advanced settings such as port routing, DNS and others remain what they are (from the network rest of the network, whatever the ‘interface) and the adoption of an interface such as DUMAOS will not make the novice user into a seasoned network engineer.

During the first start-up, after connecting the WAN port to a LAN port of our Internet box and connecting to its interface (router IP address: 192.168.1.1), Netgear invites us using a step-by-step wizard to configure the XR300 (standard configuration for basic operation).

This manipulation, which takes between 5 and 10 minutes, allows us to obtain an operational router and access the famous visual interface of DUMAOS. It is with pleasure that we found it, with its customizable dashboard which concentrates dynamic widgets (from the information of the other menus) in the place and the size of its choice. For example, we have the possibility of displaying various states and graphs such as CPU / RAM usage, IP addresses, Wifi (main and guest, in 2.4Ghz as in 5Ghz), general traffic monitoring in real time, mapping of connected devices and distribution of bandwidth.

During the installation, the router automatically configured a range of 192.168.1.xx addresses for its Ethernet ports and its Wifi, we did not have to go back and we did not encounter any conflict with the box and its connected equipment (which remains accessible via their IP addresses).

This allows you to leave your Internet box in place as a router (you do not touch it) and to have an independent network with devices that would be connected by wire or Wifi (while enjoying the Internet). Users who wish can still communicate the machines of the 2 networks, beware however of a possible bottleneck at the level of the single link (Gigabit Ethernet between the 2 routers if your box manages it is about 115 MB / s max ).

Features

Geo Filter

Netgear offers this gamer-typed function on its range of Nighthawk routers, meaning geographic filter, it filters your game servers by geographic location.

To do this, simply locate yourself on the world map, then specify a surrounding area. Then you add a device and then select the game, it’s that simple.

When you connect to your online game, the router will only search for servers located in the area. This is very useful for games that do not allow a choice of servers. In addition, as the distance between your computer and the server is close, the ping will be reduced: you will therefore not see the servers on which your ping will disadvantage you.

Likewise, if you only want to play with Japanese, you can select Japan on the world map and limit the area around it.

QoS (quality of service)

Here we allocate a bandwidth limit not to be exceeded for each connected device, and icing on the cake: for incoming and outgoing traffic independently. When several people are connected to the router with different devices, the latter applies the quotas that have been previously programmed. For example, devices may be allocated more bandwidth to watch online videos without the big brother spoiling the session by downloading his Linux iso 😉 his computer having been limited in incoming traffic.

This is equally valid for giving priority to a gaming computer which, with a larger allocated bandwidth, will see its ping remain very good regardless of the use of the other connected machines.

Of course, if a device is allocated low bandwidth, but is the only active device, all of the available bandwidth will be opened.

As a bonus, it is possible to let the router manage this traffic hierarchy on its own, because it can detect uses and act accordingly (playing a game for example which requires low latency).

Device Manager

It summarizes the devices that are connected (with a very practical visual mapping).

Network monitoring

This is where we visualize Internet traffic in real time (in Download as in Upload).

This useful function allows you to find out which device (s) monopolizes bandwidth and it will help to understand where slowness can come from.

Here, we unfortunately keep the same remark as on the Netgear XR500: the impossibility of launching a “recording” of traffic (menu change = resetting the graph), so you will have to play the navigation tabs. But above all, if it is indeed possible to view Internet traffic for each connected device, the visualization of local traffic is still not (copy / streaming from one computer to another, UPNP / DLNA), we would have appreciated an evolution on this point.

– Netgear also offers more conventional features such as backup / restore of a conf, cut / block planning, logs, remote management, email notification, port opening and triggering, blocking of sites and services, a multimedia server function, an access point mode or even that which affects the USB port (automatic backup of a Windows computer, file transfer, etc.).

The Netgear XR300 Nighthawk Pro Gaming also allows VPN connections by configuring it (OpenVPN protocol), however the possibility of connecting directly to a specific VPN service disappears, this did not seem to us at all handicapping so much this functionality is limited to one handful of users (especially that only the Hydemyass service was available during our test of the XR500).

LED side, the display is really powerful, fortunately, Netgear offers via its interface (and only its interface) to turn them off (all except that of Power), there is unfortunately no physical button. Small precision concerning the LAN LEDs, they light up in white for a link at 1000Mbps and in orange for 100Mbps.

As far as noise pollution is concerned, they are simply zero, although we have not undertaken to open it to verify it, we strongly assume that there must not be an active ventilation system (ventilator).

Mobile app

Netgear, like its Orbi range with routers and satellites, offers a companion mobile app with its Nighthawk routers, and the XR300 is no exception.

So we find the Nighthawk app available on Android and iOS. The latter offers to view and configure the router using a smartphone / tablet connected via WiFi. All the settings will not be accessible and the interface limits it to essential information as well as a few practical settings, nothing more.

Thus, it is possible to know which devices are connected, to measure the speed of the Internet bandwidth of the router, to visualize the strength and the quality of the Wifi signal, to list and visualize the neighboring Wifi networks, to compare the channels in order to find the more suitable, manage the guest Wi-Fi network (activation / deactivation and password), measure the Internet traffic used (over different periods), update the firmware, consult the router information (serial number, mac address, etc.) and access the support.

This app does not replace the web interface, but it allows you to view 2/3 essential little things without going to the web interface. Likewise, viewing WiFi channels with the advice of the most suitable one is welcome.

Performances

On this side, Netgear remains true to its image of a serious manufacturer. Stability is wired as in Wifi. Beamforming technology which reduces interference by concentrating the signal in a specific direction is involved and contributes to the quality of the wireless link.

Like its little brother, streaming fullHD or even 1440p videos to multiple devices simultaneously remains a formality and we have not encountered any problem of slowing down, lowering of quality or buffering.

To carry out more representative tests of the performances that this XR300 can achieve, we set up a local network with two PC computers (under Windows 10 x64 1903) and we transferred files (a 5.37 GB video for a “large file” transfer ”And 500 photos for a total of 2.66 GB for a“ small files ”transfer). We noted their durations in order to calculate the average of these transfer speeds (we retained the best result among several measurements for each type of measurement in the event that we had the slightest doubt). The computers (both with SSD) had a Gigabit wired connection and the test PC connected to Wifi was equipped with a Netgear A6210 AC1200 USB3.0 WiFi key (and well connected to a USB3.0 port!), The hard drive used for connection to the router was a 2.5 ″ external USB3.0 (with turntables) and could reach a speed of more than 60 MB / s (measured on a USB3.0 port of l one of the two PCs used).

PC in Gigabit LAN – PC in Gigabit LAN:

  • Small files: 77.82 MB / s
  • Large file: 110 MB / s

PC in LAN – PC in WIFI (AC 1200):

  • Small files: 50.4 MB / s
  • Large file: 55 MB / s

PC in WIFI (AC 1200) – PC in LAN:

  • Small files: 38.36 MB / s
  • Large file: 49.54 MB / s

PC in WIFI (AC 1200) – PC in WIFI (AC 600):

  • Small files: 17.69 MB / s
  • Large file: 18.58 MB / s

PC in LAN – USB of the router (USB3 disk):

  • Small files: 13.55 MB / s
  • Large file: 17.08 MB / s

USB of the router (USB3 disk) – PC in LAN:

  • Small files: 28.08 MB / s
  • Large file: 37.66 MB / s

We note that the transfer from Wifi device to Wifi device is rather weak, this may be due to the fact that the second Wifi PC only had an AC600 card (in mini USB3.0 key format and only receiving 450Mbps according to Windows during the test) and that this Netgear XR300 is not MU-MIMO certified.

As the graphs show, in comparison to our conventional Internet box, having this router at home has allowed us to multiply the transfer speeds over Wifi, both near and far.

The real question comes from the speed of the USB3.0 port, which we find low, at best a very good USB2.0 link.

Consumption

From this point of view, it takes between 9W and 11.5W for standard use (wired + Wifi) and up to 13.5W if you connect a self-powered external hard drive to the USB3.0 port.

Where to buy it?

Last Amazon price update was: May 19, 2020 7:14 PM

Software Engineer | Tech Enthusiast

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *