Netgear Nighthawk AX4 Router Review8/10 (Expert Score)
- WIFI 6 – STREAM EVERYTHING AT FASTER SPEED: Simultaneously stream uninterrupted movies, games, video calls or download/transfer files at 3Gbps WiFi speed. Works with existing and new WiFi 6 devices like iPhone 11, Galaxy Note 10 and Galaxy S10.
- Affordable performance
- Good set of features
- Support for 160MHz channel
- Familiar web interface
- Wall mountable
- Middling Wi-Fi range
- Not link aggregation or multi-GB ethernet
- Buggy app
With the Netgear Nighthawk AX4 you sacrifice some processing power, multi GB Ethernet ports, and long-range capabilities yet you still have steady WiFi6 speed with 160MHZ channel width capabilities and enough throughput for a good gaming experience. Let me let you in on a little secret. If you live alone or with just one other person and there aren’t a ton of other WiFi devices hogging your network bandwidth you don’t need all the additional horsepower and bells and whistles a high-end gaming router provides. Look at it this way. Most people would love to own a Porsche but would that improve their ability to sit in traffic on the way to work every day and make occasional trips to 7-11 to pick up chips and soda? The Netgear Nighthawk AX4 is perfect for the casual gamer who would like to spend his/her money on other things besides Tri-Bands and quad-core processors. It’s also a great choice for those looking to get their feet wet with WiFi6.
The Nighthawk AX4 manages to have an eye-catching design without being too garish. The sleek lines and matt black finish will complement most modern homes. Down the center are all the LED status lights you’ll ever need. In the back, you’ll find 4 GB Ethernet ports and one USB 3 port for printer and data sharing. The antennas are movable but not removable. The Nighthawks case is somewhat bulky at 13.38 x 8.11 x 2.24 inches high but is far from an eyesore like some more attention-seeking models. It weighs in at 1.32 or 600 g.
Netgear Nighthawk AX4 Features
As most gaming routers should the Netgear Nighthawk AX4 supports MU-MIMO and Beamforming technology to allow its 2X2 radio configuration to allow simultaneous connections to multiple devices. It also uses DFS (Dynamic Frequency Selection) channels to reduce interference from other Wi-Fi devices. This feature can be enabled or disabled depending on your situation. While the AX4 does provide QoS the controls are not as granular as you’ll find on more high-end wireless routers. It’s about as basic as it gets with a simple switch to turn gaming mode on or off. You won’t find Multi-GB Ethernet or link aggregation on this router. It does have an AP (Access point) mode which allows you to configure it as an extender. The Netgear AX4 is not quite bare-bones but it’s not exactly the multi-tool or wireless router either. The single USB port in the back is USB 3.2. The USB ports are designed to use Netgear’s well-known ReadySHARE feature for sharing storage space. You probably won’t have much luck with cellular dongles or printers.
Netgear Nighthawk AX4 Specs
The Netgear AX4 has a 2X2 radio configuration. This means it supports 2 send and 2 receive spatial streams. The router supports MU-MIMO and Beamforming. It’s a dual-band router capable of pumping out 2400 Mbps on the 5GHz Wi-Fi6 side and 867 Mbps on the Wi-Fi5 2.4GHz side. Keep in mind that virtually all Wi-Fi clients today are only capable of 2X2 so a 2×2 wireless router should not be seen as a limitation. It employs the usual 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK wireless security to keep the bad guys off and Internet bandwidth hogs from crashing your party. Netgear does not provide the exact processor specs of this router. We can safely assume it’s a dual-core processor capable of at least 1GHz.
Netgear Nighthawk AX4 Setup
The Netgear AX4 can be set up with the downloadable Netgear Nighthawk mobile app. You’ll need to sign in and create an account with Netgear first. The mobile app can be buggy but when it works it allows you to configure your wireless router remotely. We prefer mobile apps for Mesh setup and the web interface for wireless routers. If using a wireless router’s web interface is a sticking point for you check out my “Wireless Router Setup” video which shows you everything you need to know about setting up, securing, backing up, and restoring most wireless routers. The web interface is nothing fancy. No NetDuma OS here. You’ll find the typical web configuration interface as other Netgear routers. The Netgear Nighthawk AX4 has enough configuration settings to most gamers to customize their gaming experience including Dynamic DNS, Port forwarding, and VPN support.
At tests distances of 10 feet and 40 feet, the RX4 delivered sustained speeds that were faster than its major competitor the TP-Link AX3000 which is a more expensive router depending on which way the wind is blowing. The 2.4GHz band does not quite deliver the performance Netgear claims but it’s still sufficient for basic home router usage assuming you’ll be concentrating most of your gaming activities to the 5GHz band.
Netgear Nighthawk AX4 – Video
As I mentioned earlier the Netgear AX4 is an excellent choice for the casual gamer who lives in a small home and others who would like to get their feet wet with Wi-Fi6. Don’t forget – to get the maximum advantages of Wi-Fi6 you need Wi-Fi 6 clients. Many clients can be upgraded to Wi-Fi6 with a simple Wi-Fi6 adapter. The Netgear AX4 is an ideal way to make the switch to Wi-Fi6 because its price is the same as many Wi-Fi wireless routers. Once you have this router you can make the transition as you accumulate more Wi-Fi6 clients. The aesthetically pleasing AX4 is a great value that offers good Wi-Fi speeds and reliable coverage and will enable you to comfortably make the transition to Wi-Fi6.
Netgear Nighthawk AX4 Alternatives
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Specification: Netgear Nighthawk AX4 Router Review