The Nighthawk R6700 is undoubtedly fast, and well worth considering if you’re looking for a router with the fastest possible performance in its class, without spending too much.
PROS: Strong NAS storage performance. Good range. Nice design. Great 802.11ac speeds.
CONS: Software would be better.
The Netgear R6700 Nighthawk AC1750 is a dual-band 802.11ac router promising faster speeds than we’ve seen so far from triple-stream routers. Technically, the Nighthawk utilizes AC1750 protocol, giving you dual-band wireless speeds of 1,750Mbps on both bands. The 2.4Ghz frequency band (450Mbps) handles non-intensive tasks like internet browsing, while the 5HGz frequency band (1,300Mbs) is reserved for more intensive tasks like streaming or gaming.
It uses Beamforming technology which is responsible for improved wireless range and enhanced signal focus, resulting in faster connections to mobile devices. Combined with a powerful 1GHz dual-core processor, a USB 3.0 port for fast HDD access, and three detachable antennas, the Netgear R6700 is a seriously powerful piece of home networking kit.
The Nighthawk R6700 is identical to the original Nighthawk model, with the same housing design and color profile. Just like its bigger brother the Nighthawk R7000, the R6700 is sturdy and has a wide base with rubber feet that keep it from any surface. All of Netgear’s routers can be wall-mounted, so you don’t have to worry if you have limited space on your desk.
Netgear uses the same external and internal hardware on both the R6700 and the popular Nighthawk R7000 AC1900. The only difference between the two is that the R7000 comes with twin USB ports (one USB 3.0, one USB 2.0) whereas, the R6700 only comes with a single USB 3.0 port. Also notable is that the R6700 uses longer and ticker antennas with Beamforming+ to boost the signal range, extend signal coverage and minimize dead spot for large homes.
The antennas on the R6700 are adjustable and removable, which is better compared to the R6400’s antennas that are only adjustable but non-replaceable. While the latter keeps the cost low, it becomes expensive in case one of the antennas breaks and needs to be replaced.
As before, there is a clique of LEDs on the front panel, 12 in total, to relay the router’s status information to the user. Most of the time, a large number of lights feels like an overkill, especially with so many lights blinking on and off, but they can be switched off, especially if you want the Nighthawk to sit quietly in a corner.
Inside, the 1GHz processor is the same as what you have in most routers in the Nighthawk Series, except for the Netgear Nighthawk X4 which uses a 1.4GHz processor. The router still uses 256MB RAM and 128MB flash, as its predecessors. Additionally, Netgear’s Genie App provides an easy way to manage and monitor the router without having to use your computer. It lets you share and stream music, and even set up parental controls on the go. However, the Genie App doesn’t work when connected to guest networks or when connected via a wireless extender or repeater.
The Netgear 6700 delivers excellent storage performance. Tested via the USB 3.0 connection, the router performed well on FAT32 and NTFS formats, better than most routers in the same category. For instance, it returned impressive speeds on NTFS formats – 59.1 MB/s Read and 38.5 Write; and almost the same scores for FAT 32 files –59.8 Read and 36.9 Write. Compared, the TP-Link Archer C8 returned almost-the same scores on the same set of files: NTFS formats – 25.3 MB/s Read and 16.8 Write; FAT 32 –37.2 Read and 23.9 Write. Still, the R6700 beats its closest rivals with little effort.
The next test ought to focus on the 5Ghz throughput speed from the router to a laptop equipped with an Intel AC-7265 (2×2 802.11ac) Wi-Fi adapter. Surprisingly, Netgear’s Nighthawk R6700 performed better than most dual-band routers (some even cost more) at 10 and 25 feet away.
At a distance of 10 feet away, the R6700 delivered the highest throughput (524MB/s), better than the TP-Link Archer C8 (479MB/s), which came in second. The same performance was replicated at 25 feet away, with the R6700 managing to outperform its rivals at both distances.
Overall, the Nighthawk R6700 is capable of delivering class-leading wireless speeds over 802.11ac protocol and is a perfect example of the great improvements made over previous generations. It is affordable, and the performance range is way better. However, while the 802.11ac was the go-tech almost a year ago, it has now matured with fair improvements in performance. That means there are now routers in the market, that cost almost the same, but offer better features.
The Bottom Line
The Nighthawk R6700 is undoubtedly fast, and well worth considering if you’re looking for a router with the fastest possible performance in its class, without spending too much. So far, I won’t hesitate recommending it over any other router on the market since it delivers stable speeds over long distances, while remaining cheaper and useful than routers supporting quad-channel 802.11ac like the NETGEAR R7800 Nighthawk X4S.
While the R7800 X4S, is fast, it isn’t a huge leap over the dual-band R6700. And, that works to the Nighthawk R6700’s biggest advantage of being a router, with a feature set that, right now, everybody can make use of, and doesn’t add considerably to the price.
Although the software could be better, it’s still useful and the USB 3.0 performance is excellent. All these adds to the feeling that the Nighthawk R6700 is worth a tentative recommendation as a router of choice for large homes.