Earlier this year we reviewed the Nighthawk X6 Smart WiFi router and it was an amazing device that still stands as one of the best options on the market. This month Netgear released the Nighthawk AC1900 Wi-Fi Cable Modem-Router and since it offers a two-in-one option, we really wanted to put it to the test. The 2-in-1 is a great option for most homes, offering everything you need for a secure and reliable internet connection, all in one easy to hook-up device. So we did a little prep-work before jumping into our Nighthawk AC1900 review to judge the cost.
Here in NYC our ISP modem rental-fees can rage anywhere from $8 up to $12 a month depending on your provider. If you go with a separate router and modem option from your ISP, they could charge you an equipment rental for both devices. This can end up costing you a lot of money over the long-run.
Since no one we know really plans on getting rid of internet anytime soon, cutting these fees as quickly as possible is key to saving money. On average rental fees range from $96 a year if you’re lucky and they can stretch to around $144 a year for just the modem if your ISP really wants to stick it to you. That price can be more if you are renting your router as well.
The Nighthawk 2-in-1 retails for about $280, so in a little more than two-years it will have paid for itself and then you will be saving more money per-month than ever before. The other problem with the rental cycle is that the modem or router that your ISP is charging you for, often isn’t that great and your speeds and connections that you are paying for are suffering for it. The Nighthawk line fixes all of these issues and will save you money over time.
So with the Nighthawk AC1900 officially released, we saw this great chance for our readers to save money and we wanted to test it out to see how it performs over our data-heavy networks.
The modem/router promises a lot of great features, including speeds up to 1.9Gbps with the AC1900 WiFi and up to 960Mbps modem speeds. Odds are you don’t have gigabyte internet speeds around your area (unless Google Fiber came into your town) but you may have speeds ranging from 100Mbsp to 300Mbsp offered to you and you will need a compatible modem to take advantage of those speeds.
If you don’t have those speeds offered to you, then there’s a good chance that they are coming to you in the near future The Nighthawk network-setup will leave you with a lot of room to grow. From 100Mbps to almost 1 gigabyte, this combo will keep you in top-form. Our internet speeds top-out at 300Mbps through a wired connection but sometimes we get tests that reach up to 315Mbps and we we’re coasting along the entire time during our tests.
This particular unit was compatible with Comcast XFINITY, and before you ask if you can use anywhere else, you shouldn’t. Even if the device did work with another ISP, you wouldn’t know for how long that compatibility would holdout. This is for XFINITY users, which there are a lot of.
Inside the device is a 1.6GHz combined processor, plenty of power for the average home and should handle the average family even if everyone has a smartphone, computer and there are a gamer or two in the house. If you want XFINITY Blast/Extreme internet, you will need a modem of this caliber just to upgrade.
That’s the DOCSIS 3.0 compatible side of the bundle, this will become the new standard as internet speeds increase. Customers will need a DOCSIS 3.0 compatible modem if they want to take advantage of the fastest internet available, so it’s great that you will be covered if you pick-up this modem-router combo. Just so you know, the older version was DOCSIS 2.0 so if that’s your router, then you will eventually have to upgrade your hardware as speeds increase in your area.
Everything advertised with the setup is dead-on, the speeds are consistent and the combo-unit can take a mountain of data without any issues whatsoever. Throughout a normal-use day, we are streaming videos on an average of four devices at any given moment, from Netflix and Hulu in full HD down to standard Youtube videos. While that is going on, we are getting anywhere from 100 to 300 emails a day, all being pushed to an average of 2 devices per 6 people in the office. We might also have a person or two testing out a game at any given moment. With all of that going on, there were still no issues to report.
On the gaming side, no one even noticed. These were wired connections to Alienware computers so there was no wifi being used, but no issues were reported at all for the days we tested. We tested the speeds while everyone was working and I should say that even though our speeds top-out at the 300Mbps range (in the Delaware testing location, not NYC so we could test with Comcast) an average mid-day test would be about 160Mbps due to peak-time on Comcast’s end. Everything was perfect, no matter what we did and we would imagine an average house would be much easier on the device throughout the day than we were.
We talked a lot about Netgear’s Genie software in the past when we reviewed the Nighthawk X6 (image shown above) and it still stands as our favorite software hub. Anyone can use this software, the UI is simply amazing and is just wonderfully simplistic to use.
Whether you want to check passwords, childproof devices, enhance security or switch channels, I haven’t seen any software as user-friendly as the Netgear Genie.
The great part about the 2-in-1 combo is now the software that you use to control your devices is custom-made for both your modem and your router. You can use Negear Genie on your smartphone or your laptop through a downloaded app, letting you reset anything, change anything, or check-on anything from any screen.
I don’t want to re-hash all the same talking points on the software since it hasn’t changed much since the Nighthawk router was released, so definitely read-up on it if in our previous review if you’re new to the software.
Buying a modem-router is a great choice financially if you are paying rental fees because you haven’t bought one in the past, but it will also get you the best experience out of the internet you are already paying for. If having too many devices on at once is slowing your internet speeds, or if you are constantly dealing with shoddy connections, look into upgrading immediately.
This was easily my favorite 2-in-1 I’ve tested, not just because it was consistent but because it will allow a lot of upgrade-room for users and the Genie software makes troubleshooting or customizing a breeze.
You can get more information and second opinions on the device at authorized retailers like amazon.com