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Hands-on Gear Review
NETGEAR AC1750 (R6400) ReviewPrice: $130 List | $94.99 at Amazon
Pros: Relatively inexpensive, exceptional range
Cons: Sparse on features, average throughput
Bottom line: The NETGEAR would be a good option for those shopping for an upgrade pick on a budget and have a larger home
Wireless Specification: 802.11ac
LAN Ports Available: 4
It was an exceptionally tough decision to select between the NETGEAR Nighthawk and the NETGEAR AC1750 for which one would win the Best Buy award, as they both scored the same and retail about the same as well. While we ultimately ended up selecting the Nighthawk, as it was slightly less expensive you shouldn't immediately discount the AC1750. The AC1750 has an unmatched range in our test, making it an excellent choice if you have a larger home and need the additional range and only retails for about $10 more than the Nighthawk. It's a great value pick for those that want a slight upgrade and is definitely worth considering if the Nighthawk is unavailable.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Matching the performance of the Nighthawk, as described above, the NETGEAR AC1750 did slightly outperform the Linksys AC1900 WRT1900ACS, mainly due to its superior range. However, the WRT1900ACS costs close to double, making the AC1750 a far superior choice.
To rank all of the routers that we bought, we split out testing process up into five weighted metrics. These were Features, 2.4 GHz. Throughput, 5 GHz. Throughput, Range, and Ease of Use. The sections below describe how well the AC1750 did against its peers.
Responsible for 25% of the total score, our Features metric is the most important of the entire group. After researching routers for a while, we made a list of the most critical common features, then compared that to each router to determine score. The AC1750 did reasonably well in this metric, meriting a 5 out of 10 for its performance, putting it in the middle of the pack.
Starting off, we checked to see if the router supported beamforming and MU-MIMO, or Multi-User, Multiple Input, Multiple Output. These features both act to speed up your network and give you faster internet. Beamforming is when the router has the capabilities to determine the relative location of a device and concentrate the WiFi signal in that direction. MU-MIMO allows a router to communicate with multiple device simultaneously, reducing load times when there are many users on the network. The AC1750 has beamforming abilities, but doesn't support MU-MIMO, as far as we could tell.
Next, we looked if you can remotely reset the router — handy for troubleshooting connectivity issues — and if you have the ability to dim the LED indicator lights, which can prove quite distracting if the router is visible in a darkened room. The AC1750 can be remotely reset, but the lights can only be dimmed through the web interface. This dual-band router supports IPv6 and has a guest WiFi network. This product also can be mounted on a wall.
Finally, we looked at the number of available connections each route had. The AC1750 has 4 LAN ports — right on par for the course for these products.
The AC1750 also has one USB 2.0 port and one USB 3.0 port.
Ease of Use
Our next metric, Ease of Use, makes up 20% of the total score. To score each router, we looked at how much effort was required to unpack and set up the network out of the box, as well as the quality of the user interface, the ease of enabling parental controls, and if the router has QoS. The NETGEAR AC1750 did very well, earning a 7 out of 10 for its results.
This router is relatively easy to set up out of the box, though it did need a firmware update before we completed the initial network configuration. This product has an installation wizard that will guide you through setting up the admin password and get you started.
The user interface on this router is fine, though it seems a little dated in design. We also found that it was quite prone to issues when using Google Chrome to access the web interface. We weren't big fans of the QoS, or Quality of Service on this router, as it seems very outdated and doesn't let you prioritize bandwidth by specific devices, only by topics. However, we did like the parental control functions, as the AC1750 and the other NETGEAR routers offer the most precise level of control, though it is a little more work to set up initially compared to some of the products from other manufacturers.
2.4 GHz. Throughput
Similar to the previous metric, this metric also is responsible for 20% of the total score for each wireless router. To determine performance, we used a piece of software called iPerf3 on a test laptop that allows you to determine the maximum throughput speed. The AC1750 delivered an overall mediocre performance, earning a 5 out of 10. We ran this test in five different positions relative to the router, averaging the results of three trial to determine scores. First, we started with two short distance test, with about 10' between the router and the laptop. One had a clear view between router and computer and one was blocked by a wall. The AC1750 started off with solid performance in both, averaging a throughput speed of 47 Mbit/s in the line-of-sight test and 37 Mbit/s in the obstructed version. This put it in the middle of the pack, as shown below by the results of the obstructed test.
Moving on to the medium distance tests — about 35' between the router and computer — we again conducted an unobstructed and obstructed version. The AC1750 again finished in the middle of the group, hitting an average speed of 39 Mbits/s in the line of sight test and — surprisingly — 40 Mbits/s in the obstructed test. The results of the rest of the group in the line of sight test are shown below.
Finally, the AC1750 again finished in the middle of the pack, achieving an average throughput speed of 22.3 Mbits/s.
5 GHz. Throughput
This metric is practically identical to the previous one in terms of weight and testing process, with the exception of using the 5 GHz. band instead of the 2.4 GHz. The AC1750 again delivered a decent performance, meriting a 5 out of 10 for its performance.
In the short distance tests, the AC1750 delivered a slightly subpar showing in the obstructed version, averaging 184 Mbits/s. However, it did very well in the line of sight test, delivering one of the best scores of the group, as shown below.
It did a little worse in both of the medium distance tests, averaging 196 Mbit/s in the line of sight test — slightly below average — and 181 Mbit/s in the obstructed test — about average. The AC1750 finished out with a less than stellar performance in the long distance tests with a below average 17 Mbit/s.
Our final rating metric, Range, takes credit for the residual 15% of the total score. The AC1750 did exceptionally well, receiving one of the top scores of the entire group with a 7 out of 10.
We attempted to play a 5-minute YouTube video in 720p on a test computer at set distances away from the router and noted at what point the video began to experience interruptions. The test computer played the video successfully a whopping 214' away from the AC1750 — the furthest we have seen so far!
The AC1750 is a great value, just narrowly edged out of winning the Best Buy Award. While it's not the best if you are on a super tight budget, it's a great option when you are searching for an upgrade pick but still shopping on a budget.
Finishing with the same score as our Best Buy Award winner, the NETGEAR Nighthawk, the AC1750 is a great value router with exceptional range. It's worth considering if you are shopping on a budget and willing to pay a little more to upgrade performance, especially if you value range over features.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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