Tech Reviews

Netgear Nighthawk DST Review: The AC1900 router with DST adapter

Over the last year, Netgear’s Nighthawk series has quickly become one of our favorite router systems. In the past we’ve tested out the Nighthawk AC1900 Combo modem, the Nighthawk X6 and the NetGear X4 series and this week we wanted to test out the new Nighthawk AC1900 Router with the DST Adapter.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term DST, it’s short for “Dead Spot Terminator” and if you find that you have week-spots throughout your home with your current setup, then this is the router designed specifically for you. The new combo offers some impressive hardware with many of the terrific features that we’ve enjoyed in previous models. This specific setup also offers a special promotion from Best Buy’s Geek Squad that will keep your internet up and running should you ever need it. Inside the new Nighthawk DST home networking bundle you’ll find the Nighthawk DST AC1900 Router and the DST Adapter, both of which are designed to tackle even the trickiest of home wi-fi setups.

This combo-offer is a Best Buy exclusive and with that exclusivity you get 1 year of free Geek Squad set up & support when you purchase the router online or in-store. The router itself is powered by a dual-core 1GHz processor with Netgear’s advanced upstream and downstream QoS (Quality of Service) system built in. That’s a feature that simply prioritizes streaming content. So if you’re watching a video or playing an online game, that traffic will supersede any general browsing or background data transfers. It greatly reduces lag and buffering times in busy households and it’s a feature that you should look for when shopping around, more so if you live in a multi-device household.

The AC1900 offers gigabit Wi-Fi, which should be more than enough for any household in any location at this point. We have up to 300Mbps speeds here in NYC and during our testing we never had an issue with our traffic going through the new AC1900 setup. That includes multiple ethernet-connected devices and almost a dozen wifi-connected devices. In fact, the router can handle up to 1900Mbps according to Netgear, which is far more data than the majority of US customers have at this point at any given moment. Wi-fi devices have the option to connect through the 2.4GHz band or the 5GHz band and if you ran into issues in the past connecting your devices to a stable 5GHz network in your home, the included DST adapter is a great solution. The AC1900 offers three detachable antennas, Netgear states that these antennas utilize “Beamforming” that focus the signal to offer a more stable, stronger connection to your devices but it’s the DST adapter that really adds the extra coverage in this scenario.

By utilizing the DST adapter in places where your internet service is usually weaker than you need it to be, you can extend the AC1900’s coverage to where you need it most. The adapter and the router are made to connect to each other, so no troublesome pairing or overcomplicated process to extend your range, just plug it in and get to setting up your router. The DST only requires an electrical outlet and it will create a secondary network for you to connect to with your devices. At $299 the combo isn’t the cheapest option on the market but it’s certainly one of the most reliable and the easiest to setup and maintain.

Netgear DST Review 2015

Stepping away from the wi-fi specs for a moment, the AC1900 offers four ethernet ports. This allows you to connect whichever four dedicated devices that you rather have wired to the router itself, say a gaming PC or a media streaming device like the Amazon Fire. Here’s an incredible bonus with the combo, the DST also has an ethernet adapter port, so you can have a more-stable ethernet connection to the DST device as well. The router also features a USB 2.0 and 3.0 port, so if you want to connect storage devices or printers to your network you will be able to do that as well. Speaking of storage, the USB ReadyCloud option allows you to create your own personal cloud storage in just seconds, thanks to the premium software found in Netgear Genie.

We’ve spoken a lot about Netgear Genie in the past and it’s still the best router-software on the market. Not only can you adjust settings, security measures, check on the status of your internet connection and manage devices, it’s also available on PC, MAC, iOS and Android. There is a ton of useful information, specs, configurations and details on your internet connection to be found on the software and the UI is incredibly simple to use. If for some reason you still have an issue, don’t forget that you will have 1 year of free Geek Squad support as well. That service includes 24/7 phone and web support should you need it, up to one-year after purchasing the combo-pack.

If you have had connectivity issues in the past, then the NETGEAR Nighthawk R7300 DST system comes highly recommended. It’s one of the few systems specifically designed to make extending your home-network range as easy and as reliable as possible. Add the fact that NETGEAR’s genie app is one of the best in the business and our days of roaming around the house cursing the internet may finally be coming to a close.

You can find more information on the Netgear DST combo, pricing and compatibility information on the official BestBuy website.