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.
NETGEAR AC1200 (R6220-100NAS) Review
Pros: Easy to use, solid 5 GHz. throughput
Cons: Mediocre range, sparse on features, slow 2.4 GHz. throughput
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. The chart below shows how this stacks up against the rest of the pack.
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.
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.
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.
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