Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 review – how to do setup?

Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 review
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Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 is loaded with advanced technology. Designed with a dual core 1GHz processor, 3 amplified antennas, Beamforming+, MU-MIMO, Dynamic QoS, Smart Connect, Amazon Alexa Voice Controls, and more. It has plug in computers, game consoles, streaming players, and other nearby wired devices with 4 x 1 gigabit ethernet ports. More in Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 review.

Pros & cons

PROS

  • Good close-range throughput in testing.
  • Easy to install.
  • Robust malware and parental-control options.
  • Supports MU-MIMO data streaming.

CONS

  • Premium anti-malware and parental controls require subscriptions.
  • Middling long-range throughput.
  • Merely average file-transfer performance.

Price

The Netgear Nighthawk AC2300 Smart Wi-Fi Router R7000P ($199.99) is the first router to offer Netgear Armor, a cloud-based cybersecurity solution powered by Bitdefender. A caveat, though: Netgear Armor requires a paid subscription, as does the Circle With Disney Premium plan. The R7000P delivered solid scores on our close-range throughput tests, but its long-range performance was not as impressive. Our Editors’ Choice for midrange routers, the Asus RT-AC86U ($169.99 at Amazon) , is a better all-around performer.

Compare Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 vs R8000 vs R8000P

R7000PR8000R8000P
WiFi SpeedAC2300 (Up to 2300 Mbps)AC3200 (Up to 3200Mbps)AC4000 (Up to 4000Mbps)
WiFi CoverageUp to 2000 sq ftUp to 3500 sq ftUp to 3500 sq ft
Recommended # of DevicesUp to 35Up to 50Up to 55
Wired Ethernet Ports4 x 1G4 x 1G4 x 1G, Supports 2G Port Aggregation
USB ports – For Shared Storage/Printer1 x 3.0, 1 x 2.01 x 3.0, 1 x 2.01 x 3.0, 1 x 2.0
Parental Controls (schedule device access, etc)Circle AppCircle AppCircle App
Network SecurityWPA2, DoS, Double FirewallWPA2, DoS, Double FirewallWPA2, DoS, Double Firewall
NETGEAR Armor Cyber-threat Protection (anti-virus, unlimited devices, and more)30 day free trial, then 69.99/year
Advanced TechnologyDual Band, MU-MIMO, Beamforming+, Smart ConnectTri-Band, Beamforming+, Smart ConnectTri-Band, MU-MIMO, Beamforming+, Smart Connect
Additional FeaturesPersonal Cloud Storage, VPN, Guest WiFi Secure Access, Amazon Alexa Voice ControlPersonal Cloud Storage, VPN, Guest WiFi Secure Access, Amazon Alexa Voice ControlPersonal Cloud Storage, VPN, Guest WiFi Secure Access, Amazon Alexa Voice Control

Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 review

Design

The router is still very large, especially by today’s standards, measuring 11.22 x 7.26 x 1.97 inches (while a Google WiFi unit is only 4.1 x 2.7 inches) and, from the rear area, there are three omni-directional antennas, shaped like fins, which can be removed and upgraded. The Nighthawk R7000P looks identical to the R7000, so you can expect the same angular plastic case covered by a dark grey matte finish, with its lateral parts slightly inclined towards the base, exposing two sets of ventilation grills.

Ports

It has three removable, adjustable antennas. The rear panel holds four gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a USB 2.0 port, a reset button, and a power button. A USB 3.0 port resides on the front edge of the router, just below the panoply of LED indicators for power, LAN (four of them), WAN, and 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi. They are joined by a Wi-Fi on/off button and a WPS button.

LED Indicator

Getting back to the top surface, you’ll notice the reliable array of LED indicators that have the role of showing the status of the router and of the network: from the left, there’s the Power LED (solid white indicates that the router is ready to be configured, while flashing white shows that the firmware is corrupted; the LED will blink amber either when the firmware is being upgraded or when the router returns to the factory default settings), the Internet LED (flashing white indicates that the WAN port is receiving and sending traffic), one LED for the 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 have LED lights underneath them, one responsible for turning the WiFi On or Off and the other for initiating the WPS pairing. 

Memory & Storage

Under the hood are a 1GHz dual-core CPU, 128MB of flash memory, and 256MB of RAM. The R7000P is a 3×3 AC2300 router that can reach maximum theoretical throughput speeds of 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1,625Mbps on the 5GHz band using 1024 QAM. It supports all the latest 802.11ac technologies, including MU-MIMO, which transmits data simultaneously instead of sequentially, and beamforming, which sends data in a directed signal at a client rather than over a broader spectrum.

Hardware

Inside the case, the Netgear Nighthawk R7000P is noticeably different than the R7000, but it still uses the Broadcom platform, being equipped with a dual-core Broadcom BCM4708C0 chipset clocked at 1GHz (which is not really that different than 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.

Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 review
Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 review

WiFi range and speed

From the server to the client, using either adapter, I got pretty much the same results: at 5 feet, I measured an average of 286 Mbps, while at 15 feet, the speed went slightly down to 267 and, at 30 feet, I measured an average of 222 Mbps.

I connected both clients to the 5GHz network and, from the client to the server, at 5 feet, I managed to measure an average of 861 Mbps, while at 15 feet, I measured around 805 Mbps and at 30 feet, the speed went down to 654 Mbps. This type of performance is possible because of the perfect compatibility with the PCe-AC88, so I decided to also test the router using the PCE-AC68 adapter and these are the result: at 5 feet, I measured an average of 753 Mbps (still a great throughput), but the real difference came at 15 feet, where I saw a decrease to 597 Mbps and at 30 feet, where the speed averaged at 348 Mbps.

On the next step, I decided to switch to the 2.4GHz network and, still using the PCE-AC88, from the client to the server, I measured an average of 176 Mbps, while at 15 feet, I measured an average of 158 Mbps; at 30 feet, the speed actually went slightly up to an average of 164 Mbps.

Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 setup

NETGEAR Up is now the preferred method to setup Nighthawk routers. This app is available for iOS and Android, I am using it on iOS with an iPhone 7 Plus.

Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 review

The app guides you through the setup with a series of menus. The first seen above aids in connecting cables.

This next step continues to connecting to the default wireless network for the router.

We move on to searching and finding the router.

Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 review

The app then checks for firmware updates, and if there are any, it will update your router to the latest version.

After we have the latest firmware, we move on to setting up our network SSID. This can be anything you want.

Last in setup, the router will configure with the settings you specified.

Once you are in the app, you will see the detected router at the top with the 2.4 and 5GHz networks listed with their passwords. Down below we have a device list that shows what is connected.

Along with the app, you still have the WebGUI available with all the standard features.

Parental control

In the Parental Controls menu, you can choose to use Circle With Disney controls or the standard OpenDNS parental controls that offer website filtering for each device. Ready SHARE settings let you set up cloud sharing for connected storage devices and configure printer-sharing settings, and the Netgear Armor settings is where you go to enable Armor, check out your Vulnerability Assessment, and see how many threats have been blocked. 

Subscription plan

The ongoing-payment aspect of this service is a sticking point, though: While the router comes with a free 90-day trial, once it’s over, you’ll have to pay an annual fee of $69.99 to remain protected.

The R7000P also comes with Circle With Disney parental controls. The free Basic plan lets you filter content by age and category, pause the internet, and view a history of which sites have been visited. The Premium plan will cost you $4.99 per month; it offers everything in the Basic plan but also lets you see how much time your kids are spending online, set time limits, and create OffTime and BedTime hours when internet access is not available.

Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 performance review

We test MU-MIMO performance using three identical Acer Aspire R13 laptops equipped with Qualcomm’s QCA61x4A MU-MIMO circuitry. The R7000P garnered 166Mbps on the close-proximity MU-MIMO test, beating the TP-Link Archer C2300 by just 9Mbps and trailing the D-Link DIR-822 by a whisker. The Asus RT-AC86U led with 178Mbps. At 30 feet, the R7000P scored 65Mbps, once again beating the TP-Link Archer C2300 but not the D-Link DIR822. The Asus RT-AC86U left the others in the dust with an impressive showing of 150Mbps.

The R7000P turned in impressive scores on our close-range throughput performance tests. Its score of 103Mbps on the 2.4GHz close-proximity (same room) trial was just 1Mbps slower than the Asus RT-AC86U and slightly faster than the TP-Link Archer C2300 and the D-Link DIR-822. However, at a distance of 30 feet, the R7000P’s score of 47Mbps was only half as fast as the Asus RT-AC86U (86Mbps) and 10Mbps slower than the D-Link DIR-822. The TP Link Archer C2300 trailed the pack with 42Mbps.

Nighthawk R7000P Smart WiFi Router AC2300 customer review

Stability, Speed, Security, and a Subscription

I purchased this router while it was on sale to replace a failing carrier supplied router. It responds better (latency); has much better speeds and range in 5G (we usually get over 400 mbps up/down and good signal throughout an entire 2600 sq ft home); and, stability is much better as well, as I’ve only been kicked from the wifi once since the purchase a month ago, compared to multiple times a day (a nearby military airbase gives off plenty of electromagnetic radiation that interferes, nearly all my neighbors complain of getting kicked constantly).

The only drawback I have with this router is that its firewall and monitoring features require the purchase of an annual subscription. The cost varies a bit with deals, but can still cost up to $5 a month. Add the parental control software and you can pay up to $10 a month. It’s not a bad deal, but there are routers out there that provide similar services for free. At least for now, anyway.

By Offseason at Best Buy

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