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NETGEAR AC1200 (R6220-100NAS) Review

This low-end router couldn't hold a candle to the top models
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Price:   $90 List
Pros:  Easy to use, solid 5 GHz. throughput
Cons:  Mediocre range, sparse on features, slow 2.4 GHz. throughput
Manufacturer:   NETGEAR
By David Wise and Austin Palmer  ⋅  Feb 8, 2018
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47
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 12
  • Features - 25% 4
  • Ease of Use - 20% 7
  • 2 4 ghz throughput - 20% 3
  • 5 ghz throughput - 20% 6
  • Range - 15% 3

Our Verdict

The NETGEAR AC1200 delivered a subpar performance in the majority of our metrics, only doing a slightly above average job in our Ease of Use and 5 GHz. Throughput metrics. It delivered a particularly poor showing in the 2.4 GHz. Throughput metric, has a lackluster range, and is pretty light in terms of features. All in all, it didn't really impress.


Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Best Buy Award  
Price $90 List$270 List
$213.96 at Amazon
$130 List
$98.99 at Amazon
$130 List
$77.88 at Amazon
$200 List
$129.00 at Amazon
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Pros Easy to use, solid 5 GHz. throughputExtremely easy to use, packed with featuresRelatively inexpensive, exceptional rangeVery easy to use, more affordable, solid set of featuresSuper easy to use, decent set of features
Cons Mediocre range, sparse on features, slow 2.4 GHz. throughputAverage range, throughputSparse on features, average throughputUnimpressive throughput and rangeBelow average throughput, somewhat expensive
Bottom Line This low-end router couldn’t hold a candle to the top modelsTaking home the top score, the Asus is the best of the best when it comes to routersThe NETGEAR would be a good option for those shopping for an upgrade pick on a budget and have a larger homeThe Nighthawk AC1750 is our top recommendation for those budget-conscious shoppers that are willing to spend a little bit more for better performanceWhile this router did alright, it seemed a little expensive relative to its results
Overall Score Sort Icon
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Rating Categories NETGEAR AC1200... ASUS RT-AC88U... NETGEAR AC1750... Nighthawk AC1750... ASUS RT-AC68U...
Features (25%)
10
0
4
10
0
8
10
0
5
10
0
6
10
0
6
Ease Of Use (20%)
10
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7
10
0
9
10
0
7
10
0
7
10
0
9
2 4 Ghz Throughput (20%)
10
0
3
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
4
5 Ghz Throughput (20%)
10
0
6
10
0
6
10
0
5
10
0
5
10
0
4
Range (15%)
10
0
3
10
0
5
10
0
7
10
0
5
10
0
5
Specs NETGEAR AC1200... ASUS RT-AC88U... NETGEAR AC1750... Nighthawk AC1750... ASUS RT-AC68U...
MU-MIMO No Yes No Yes No
Wireless Specification 802.11ac 802.11ac 802.11ac 802.11ac 2.4 GHz: 802.11n
5 GHz: 802.11ac
LAN Ports Available 4 8 4 4 4
Security WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA/WPA2 Enterprise WPA2 Personal, WPA Auto Personal, WPA2 Enterprise, WPA Auto Enterprise WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA/WPA2 Enterprise WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA-PSK [TKIP] + WPA2-PSK [AES], WPA/WPA2 Enterprise WPA2 Personal, WPA Auto Personal, WPA2 Enterprise, WPA Auto Enterprise
Wall mountable Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Beamforming No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Frequency 2.4GHz and 5GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz 2.4GHz and 5GHz
USB Ports 1: 2.0 2: 3.0 and 2.0 2: 3.0 and 2.0 1: 3.0 2: 3.0 and 2.0
Dimensions 9.43" x 7.14" x 1.59" 11.8" x 7.4" x 2.38" 7.2" x 11.22" x 2.4" 7.26" x 11.22" x 1.97" 6.3" x 3.3" x 8.6"
Antenna 2 external 4 external 3 external 3 external 3 external
Processor 880MHz 1.4 GHz dual-core 880 MHz dual-core 1 GHz dual-core 1 GHz dual-core processor
Memory 128 MB Flash
128 MB RAM
128 MB Flash
512 MB DDR3 RAM
128 MB Flash
256 MB RAM
128 MB Flash
256 MB RAM
128 MB Flash
256 MB RAM
2.4 GHz. Short Distance Throughput - Line of Sight 25 Mbits/s 51 Mbits/s 47 Mbits/s 48 Mbits/s 45 Mbits/s
2.4 GHz. Short Distance Throughput - Obstructed 28 Mbits/s 39 Mbits/s 37 Mbits/s 47 Mbits/s 44 Mbits/s
2.4 GHz. Medium Distance Throughput - Line of Sight 21 Mbits/s 39 Mbits/s 39 Mbits/s 43 Mbits/s 29 Mbits/s
2.4 GHz. Medium Distance Throughput - Obstructed 19 Mbits/s 38 Mbits/s 40 Mbits/s 37 Mbits/s 23 Mbits/s
2.4 GHz. Long Distance Throughput 0 Mbits/s 27 Mbits/s 22 Mbits/s 25 Mbits/s 13 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Short Distance Throughput - Line of Sight 219 Mbits/s 212 Mbits/s 220 Mbits/s 211 Mbits/s 186 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Short Distance Throughput - Obstructed 192 Mbits/s 211 Mbits/s 184 Mbits/s 201 Mbits/s 161 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Medium Distance Throughput - Line of Sight 201 Mbits/s 204 Mbits/s 196 Mbits/s 211 Mbits/s 153 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Medium Distance Throughput - Obstructed 181 Mbits/s 186 Mbits/s 181 Mbits/s 194 Mbits/s 167 Mbits/s
5 GHz. Long Distance Throughput 41 Mbits/s 37 Mbits/s 17 Mbits/s 11 Mbits/s 35 Mbits/s
Video Playback Range Test 143 ft. 158 ft. 204 ft. 155 ft. 144 ft.

Our Analysis and Test Results

While this model did tie with one of our award winners in terms of performance, the AC1200 lost out to the TP-Link Archer for the Best Buy Award. The Archer had a more consistent performance across both of the throughput metrics and retails for slightly less, netting it the award.

The NETGEAR AC1200 R6220 finished towards the back of the pack.
The NETGEAR AC1200 R6220 finished towards the back of the pack.

Performance Comparison


To determine which wireless router is really the best, we bought all of the best products currently available on the market today and pitted them head-to-head in a comprehensive series of tests, divided among five weighted rating metrics. These are 2.4 GHz. Throughput, 5 GHz. Throughput, Ease of Use, Range, and Features, with the sections below describing how the AC1200 performed and how it compared to its peers.

The indicator LEDs on this router are permanently illuminated  with no way to dim them or turn them off.
The indicator LEDs on this router are permanently illuminated, with no way to dim them or turn them off.

Features


This metric is the most important, accounting for 25% of the total score for each router. We compiled a list of crucial features on these products, then determined the score for each router by how many of these features it had. The AC1200 delivered a bit of a disappointing performance, earning a 4 out of 10 for its efforts.

First, we looked at if the router had beamforming and Multiple-user, multi-output, multi-input (MU-MIMO) capabilities. Unfortunately, this router lacked both of these features, hurting its score significantly. However, this router is wall mountable and supports IPv6, as well as having a wireless reset button. This dual-band router has the LED lights permanently illuminated, with no way of dimming them.

The back of the NETGEAR AC1200 R6220 showing its collection of LAN and USB ports.
The back of the NETGEAR AC1200 R6220 showing its collection of LAN and USB ports.

This router has the standard 4 Gigabit LAN ports and a single 2.0 USB port. It also has the ability to host a guest WiFi network and supports VPN.

It is very easy to use the NETGEAR AC1200 R6220  even if you aren't very tech-savvy.
It is very easy to use the NETGEAR AC1200 R6220, even if you aren't very tech-savvy.

Ease of Use


This metric ranked next, taking credit for 20% of the total score. We looked at how much effort was required in the unboxing and setup process, as well as the quality of the user interface, QoS, and Parental Controls. The AC1200 scored reasonably well, earning a 7 out of 10.

This wasn't the most difficult to install of all the routers that we have tested, though it was close. We found out laptop would keep trying to connect to other networks partially through the setup process and cause an error, so we ended up forgetting any other networks. This router is essentially plug-and-play, allowing you to connect immediately, leaving it up to you to go back and set a network name, password, and an admin login.

The setup wizard for the NETGEAR R6220 was reasonably easy to use  though it didn't start automatically.
The setup wizard for the NETGEAR R6220 was reasonably easy to use, though it didn't start automatically.

This router also required a firmware update upon unboxing. The user interface is mediocre with a relatively outdated design, but it still worked, providing you were not using Chrome as a browser. We did like the parental controls on the NETGEAR the best, though they took a little more effort to set up. However, they did offer you the most precise level of control in terms of filtering content by device and by time.

We found the parental controls on the NETGEAR routers to be the best.
We found the parental controls on the NETGEAR routers to be the best.

It's easy enough to set up the guest network and the QoS is about average, though the default list is a little outdated. QoS refers to Quality of Service, allowing you to rank activities or devices by priority.

This router delivered a substandard performance in our throughput tests over the 2.4 GHz. network.
This router delivered a substandard performance in our throughput tests over the 2.4 GHz. network.

2.4 GHz. Throughput


This metric, similar to the previous one, makes up 20% of the total score. We assessed the throughput speed of each router by conducting an iPerf3 test over the 2.4 GHz. network. We scored each router on its performance in five different tests — short distance obstructed and line of sight, medium distance obstructed and line of sight, and long distance obstructed — averaging the results of three trials in each test to minimize variations. The AC1200 delivered a poor performance, earning a 3 out of 10 for its showing.

It started off with one of the worst showings that we have seen in both of the short distance tests. It averaged 25 Mbit/s in the line of sight test and 28 Mbit/s in the obstructed test.


This router didn't fare much better in the medium distance tests, again scoring close to the back of the pack in both with its average 21 Mbit/s in the unobstructed test and 19 Mbit/s in the obstructed test. Unsurprisingly, it continued its abysmal performance into the long distance test, as shown below.


The NETGEAR AC1200 essentially lost signal, achieving an average throughput speed of less than a 1 Mbits/s.

5 GHz. Throughput


We repeated the test procedure of the previous metric, this time conducting our iPerf3 tests over the 5 GHz. band. This metric is also worth 20% of the total, with the AC1200 performing much better than before, earning a 6 out of 10.

This router started off with a strong performance in the short line of sight test, averaging 219 Mbit/s and an average one in the obstructed test, with 192 Mbits/s, comparing quite favorably with the other routers in the test.


When tested at the medium distance, the AC1200 did about average. This router averaged 201 Mbit/s in the line of sight and the 181 Mbits/s in the obstructed test. Moving on to the long-distance tests, the AC1200 did surprisingly well, as shown below.


The AC1200 averaged 41 Mbit/s, putting it close to the top of the pack.

This router is quite lackluster in terms of range.
This router is quite lackluster in terms of range.

Range


Responsible for the remaining 15% of the overall score, our Range metric is comprised of only a single test. We streamed a video on a test laptop at various distances from the router and recorded when the video began to lag or experience a drop in quality. The AC1200 delivered a lackluster performance, earning a 4 out of 10, for successfully broadcasting a video 115' in our test.

Value


If it is on sale, this might be an alright value if you are shopping on a tight budget, but you would be better served by the TP-Link Archer if you are searching for a great value.

Conclusion


All in all, we weren't terribly impressed with the AC1200. It is exceptionally mediocre and performs extremely inconsistently, doing very well in one test and abysmally in the next. We wouldn't recommend it.


David Wise and Austin Palmer