As its name suggests, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000P may be the successor to one of the very most popular dual-band routers, the Nighthawk R7000, a device known for both its solid wireless performance and because of its iconic, stealth plane-inspired design. 3 years following its release, Netgear decided that it had to stick to more of the 802.11ac WAVE features, so that it made a decision to keep using the Broadcom platform, nonetheless it has upgraded a few of the key hardware elements, therefore pushing the prior AC1900-class to AC2300 and adding both support for the MU-MIMO technology and for the 1024 QAM modulation.

Furthermore, Netgear also advertises the support for the NETGEAR Armor™ which is powered by BitDefender and acts instead of the TrendMicro (mainly employed by Google WiFi, Eero plus some Asus routers), and there’s also support for Circle with Disney for better Parental Controls, but both these features are limited by a free of charge trial and you’ll have to acquire a paid subscription to keep to use them.

But, as well, the R7000P doesn’t feel just like a radical improvement over its predecessor because it is difficult to put it to use at its full power (you will need compatible WiFi adapters), but due to the fact the R7000 was a casino game changer for Netgear, I am curious to see if the Nighthawk R7000P’s performance rises up to today’s exigences.

Design
Certainly, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000 was among the finest designed wireless routers of its time, overshadowing its direct competitor, the RT-AC68U by firmly taking inspiration from the Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk stealth plane (from where it took the name of the complete series). The Nighthawk R7000P looks identical to the R7000, to help you expect the same angular plastic case included in a dark grey matte finish, using its lateral parts slightly inclined towards the bottom, exposing two sets of ventilation grills. The router continues to be large, especially by today’s standards, measuring 11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97 inches (while a Google WiFi unit is merely 4.1 x 2.7 inches) and, from the trunk area, there are three omni-directional antennas, shaped like fins, that can be removed and upgraded.

Some may feel that the decision to keep carefully the same case design is a superb one because then your new router may easily replace the old R7000, but I saw an identical approach from Linksys which to its most recent WRT router, it simply changed the color and this will get tiring for an individual after a few iterations. Don’t misunderstand me, the R7000P can still contend with the most recent wireless routers with regards to design, however the new Netgear Orbi and the XR500 show that the maker can still create a cool designed product, so a brand new looking router could make a difference.

Unlike some small, minimalist designed WiFi system units, a more substantial case may offer a few advantages, including the better heat management also to ensure it, Netgear in addition has added ventilation grills on its rear side and some on underneath area, near to the facts label (that mainly provides the SSID/passkey, Serial Number and MAC address). While testing the R7000P, the case did get slightly warm near to the label and at the top surface, nonetheless it never showed any signs that it could overheat. Much like its predecessor, the Nighthawk R7000P could be positioned horizontally on a set surface, but, because of both mounting holes from underneath area, the router may also easily be mounted on the wall (so that it doesn’t cram your desk). Furthermore, the R7000P weighs 1.65 lbs (a bit beneath the WRT3200ACM) and, by pairing it with the four silicone feet, we get yourself a stable device which won’t budge whatever the number of cables connected.

Getting back to the most notable surface, you’ll spot the reliable selection of LED indicators that contain the role of showing the status of the router and of the network: from the left, there’s the energy LED (solid white indicates that the router is preparing to be configured, while flashing white demonstrates the firmware is corrupted; the LED will blink amber either when the firmware has been upgraded or when the router returns to the factory default settings), the web LED (flashing white indicates that the WAN port is acquiring and sending traffic), one LED for the two 2.4GHz and another for the 5GHz radio, one LED for the USB 3.0 port, one LED for the USB 2.0 port and four LEDs for the four LAN Ethernet ports.

Next to the last Ethernet port LED, there are two buttons that contain LED lights underneath them, one in charge of turning the WiFi On or Off and the other for initiating the WPS pairing. As I said often before, I do choose the traditional selection of LED lights rather than the single LED approach of the WiFi systems because it’s more intuitive and make it easy to understand everything that occurs with the router, and never have to constantly talk to the manual. On the trunk side of the router, Netgear has positioned a tiny recessed Reset button (press and hole it for seven seconds to come back the R7000P to factory default settings) and then to it, there are four LAN Ethernet ports (RJ45, Gigabit).

A little more to the proper, there’s the WAN port (Gigabit), a USB 2.0 port (could be useful allowing you to connect a printer), a Power On/Off button and a proprietary Power port. In the event that you remember the frontal USB 3.0 port from the Nighthawk R7000, well, Netgear made a decision to also keep it on the R7000P, so, you get fast access when you have to hook up a NAS storage or USB drive (surely, it might also result in chaos of cables).

Hardware
In the case, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000P is noticeably unique of the R7000, nonetheless it still uses the Broadcom platform, being built with a dual-core Broadcom BCM4708C0 chipset clocked at 1GHz (which is not actually that unique of the dual-core BCM4709A0 also clocked at 1GHz of the R7000), 256 MB of RAM (Samsung K4B2G1646F-BCK0), 128 MB of flash storage from Spansion (S34ML01G200TFI00 622BB613) and it uses the BCM4708C0 as a switch chip.

Up to now, it’s almost identical to the R7000, however the area where in fact the R7000P got drastically improved was at the wireless chip for the 5GHz radio, which went from the Broadcom BCM4360 of the R7000 to the better BCM4365E KMMLG 3×3 SoC, that supports MU-MIMO (in addition, it includes the QPF4519 Qorvo integrated FEM). The two 2.4GHz wireless chipset remained the same Broadcom BCM4360.
The Nighthawk R7000P is advertised as an AC2300 class router, so that it includes a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of 600 Mbps on the two 2.4GHz band and a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of just one 1,625 Mbps on the 5GHz radio band (to get the perfect wireless performance, you must have a radio adapter that supports 1024-QAM, otherwise these devices won’t perform much better than an AC1900 class router).

Features and Performance
The Nighthawk R7000 was perfectly equipped because of its time, however the R7000P had to produce a step of progress and adopt one of the most popular WAVE 2 features, the MU-MIMO technology (Netgear added the 160MHz support and then its R7800). This means that multiple clients linked via WiFi are certain to get served simultaneously rather than fighting for the bandwidth (the compatible clients remain very scarce, but, surprisingly, MU-MIMO appears to get more ground each day, although in its lesser forms, such as for example 1×1 or 2×2). The R7000P has kept the support for BeamForming+, which means that the signal is directed (and enhanced) towards your client, so it increases the stability of the network and drastically reduces the result of the interferences.

And I also pointed out that the router takes good thing about the Smart Connect feature that automatically assigns the linked devices with their suitable WiFi band. Although some routers also pride themselves with this feature, it’s not necessarily properly implemented and you’ll still wrap up overcrowding one band and underusing the other, but Netgear appears to have done an excellent job in cases like this and R7000P is quite effective in this regard. Various other features that are worth mentioning will be the Netgear Armor (powered by BitDefender) that works as an Antivirus, provides protection against phishing and malware, looked after scans your devices for vulnerabilities (great in case you have IoT devices linked to the LAN network); the next feature may be the Circle with Disney for increased Parental Controls. The problem with Netgear Armor and the Circle with Disney integration is that the former offers simply a trial for 3 months, as the latter offers a simple free package and the entire access takes a monthly fee. I’m not just a fan of monthly / yearly subscriptions, nonetheless they do offer some extent of convenience for the users that don’t want the trouble of working with additional hardware or custom software solutions.

Note: If you were wondering whether Netgear has implemented some sort of mesh technology, the answer is no, nevertheless, you can browse the Netgear Orbi, which is undoubtedly one of the most effective WiFi systems available. To check the wireless performance of the R7000P, I took two computers, one is a DESKTOP COMPUTER built with the PCE-AC88 WiFi adapter (will become the client and you will be in a position to fully utilise the energy of the router) and the other is a potent notebook computer which will be linked to t