Introduction & Pricing, Availability, and Specifications
We first ran into NetDuma nearly three years ago when we had our first looks at the Nighthawk XR500, and honestly, it changed how we looked at gaming routers. Typically, we will see gaming features added to existing router platforms to cater more towards enthusiasts and gamer alike. NetDuma changed this being built from the ground up to offer more control over your devices with features like geo-filter, ping filtering, and Gaming QoS.
With the Nighthawk XR1000, Netgear, still in its partnership with NetDuma, offers DumaOS 3 as the base platform. This will enable new features such as Application QoS, Traffic Controller, and Enhanced Geo-Fencing, and services like Connection Benchmark to aid you in optimizing your connection.
As for hardware, the XR1000 is an AX5400-class platform built on the Broadcom BCM6750. This is a three-core SoC operating at 1.5GHz paired with 512MB of DRAM and 256MB of flash. Radios include a 2x2 solution for the 2.4GHz band housed in the BCM6750, allowing 574Mbps support. For 5GHz, we have a separate solution - the BCM43684 in a 4x4 configuration supporting 4804Mbps for the 5GHz band while the four port LAN and WAN is support by the BCM6750.
Pricing and Availability
The Nighthawk XR1000 will be available at all major retailers with an MSRP of $349.99. The warranty is listed at one-year.
Nighthawk XR1000 Wireless Router
The XR1000 enjoys updated packaging, including the Wi-Fi 6 badge found on the right corner.
Along the spine of the box, we have package contents along with system requirements.
On the back, we go further into detail with features listed on the right side.
Included in the box, we have quick start guides, power adapters, and an ethernet cable along with an antenna.
The XR1000 is a complete redesign with some design elements coming from the XR700. At the top, we have a red mesh panel, below Nighthawk branding and power indicator. Moving down further, you will find LEDs for each Wi-Fi band and USB 3.0 on the left side, while the right is dedicated to the LAN ports.
The front edge houses a red mesh panel as well.
The I/O starts with USB 3.0 on the left, followed by LAN and WAN ports. We then have power input and switch to the right. The XR1000 houses four antenna connections that are numbered 1, 2, or 3.
The bottom is mostly open with a plastic mesh design. It is wall mountable for those interested.
Each antenna is specifically designed to interface with a numbered port on the router. This is likely due to the different lengths of wire internally.
Management GUI Details
Setup begins with the router detecting your connection type. You will then have the opportunity to configure admin details along with your SSIDs and password.
After we configure our settings, DumaOS will run through some testing to adjust network bandwidth; we are getting 481/24 currently.
Landing in the dashboard, DumaOS 3.0 is a data heaven showing everything from internet status to network overview and installed Rapps.
Geo-Filter has been updated to allow multiple fences to be deployed. To start this, you simply select polygon mode at the bottom left and then chose the drawing icon to map your limits with an allowed 50 points.
Next, we have the Ping Heatmap. Netgear has built a library of 14 games as of writing, allowing you to ping their servers to find the best connection. In our image above, we have a Fortnite server selected with at least ten servers within 35ms.
QoS has been updated to allow application control across your entire network. No software is needed on the PC. This works with the initial setup testing your bandwidth; that number is set at the top of the screen. From there, you can choose a type of traffic that will open another window, allowing you to set the bandwidth you want to be dedicated to that task. Additionally, down below, you can set device prioritization as well.
Connection benchmark allows you to easily test your connection, including bandwidth, ping, and ping under load, giving you a score and storing those results below in a histogram.
System information gives you that broad overview of the router, including CPU, RAM, and flash usage.
Last, we have the many options for configuring the Wi-Fi, including smart connect that moves devices to the appropriate band automatically.
No modern router would be complete without a storage option, so Netgear has made sure to include ReadyShare in the XR1000 for access to FTP, media, and SMB sharing options.
Test System Setup & Benchmark Throughput Tests
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair VIII Formula X570 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 16GB 2x8GB DDR4 3600 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H60 (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Carbide 275R (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Corsair MP600 1TB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
We perform all tests in a real-world environment. You may get better range and throughput results in a spacious facility with few internal walls or outdoors. Our tests provide a benchmark for estimating the range and throughput of wireless networking devices in an indoor setting with some obstacles.
Wired LAN throughput topped at 950Mbps with wireless LAN bringing in 516Mbps device to device.
2.4GHz proved rather good for the XR1000. We were able to get a peak of 361Mbps with 40MHz channels and just under 200Mbps with 20MHz.
With 5GHz, we saw a peak of 919Mbps with 160MHz, while 80MHz was only slightly slower at 820Mbps.
Mobile Throughput / Range
Switching from our dedicated test system to our iPhone for mobile throughput testing, the XR1000 ran with the best, reaching 160Mbps.
5GHz in our mobile testing landed the XR1000 right in the middle of the pack at 450Mbps at 30Ft.
Benchmarks - Storage Performance & Final Thoughts
Finishing up our testing, we gave storage performance a run through with CDM. In this scenario, we could reach 114 MB/s read and 92 MB/s write with a portable SSD formatted NTFS.
Netgear has done a rather impressive job with the XR1000. Build quality seems quite good. The router has a good weight to it, and the plastics feel smooth with the chassis exclusively designed to remove as much heat as possible without active cooling.
The underlying hardware is now moderately proven to be good. We have seen several routers now use this same setup, including Netgear's RAX50, the base for the XR1000. Also, something I mentioned in the AX82U review, which uses this hardware, the BCM6750 is compatible with WiFi6e, as is the secondary BCM43684 used in this solution. This means Netgear could, if they so choose, upgrade this solution to support the new standard later.
As far as numbers go, the XR1000 does quite well. It performs nearly identical to the AX82U we reviewed a month back. LAN performance is on par with gigabit at 950Mbps while using to wireless clients will net you 516Mbps on this solution. Wireless through reached a peak of 361Mbps for 2.4GHz while 5GHz tapped 919Mbps in our testing. Mobile throughput was on par with nearly every other platform we tested, 2.4GHz peaking at 160Mbps and 5GHz at 450Mbps.
Duma OS 3.0 is one of the best platforms I've seen on a router. It gives you complete control over who you play with when gaming using features likes Geo-Fencing and Ping Heatmap, along with improving your overall router experience with Application and Device-based QoS. That said, with all of the data being captured by Duma, it slows this router down, making me think Netgear should have added more memory to their build design or even went with a stronger platform like the RAX75.
Additionally, the XR1000 doesn't support multi-gig, a truly important feature in my eyes for moving the market forward, especially on Wi-Fi 6 solutions with such good storage capability.
The Bottom Line
DumaOS is easily the best router platform for gamers looking for an edge in online competition and Netgear brings it to life with the XR1000.