Netgear’s Nighthawk is well known for being a serious router for the serious user, and the Nighthawk D7000 is no disappointment, designed to be an extremely high-performance ADSL/VDSL Modem Router.
Particularly the router is designed to replace the router/modem that was supplied by your broadband provider, which are often seriously lacking in features, and are generally terrible.
Priced at around £170, the Nighthawk D7000 offers a modem that features the latest VDSL2 and ADSL2+ technologies, with 802.11ac simultaneous dual-band WiFi, with speeds of up to 1.9Gbps.
It also features a 1GHz processor, to provide it with serious capabilities.
The Nighthawk D7000 is extremely good looking, despite looking exactly the same of the original Nighthawk router, with the same black, angled design, it still looks straight out of sci-fi, this design does result in it weighing 750g (along with the internals) and measuring 285x150x50mm, so it does take up quite a bit of space, however, if you prefer then you wall mount it.
On the back, you will also find a switch for turning the LEDs on or off, the reset button, power button, power port, phone line connection, an internet port for connecting to a fibre or cable modem and a total of 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports.
The only real problem we can find with this setup is that 4 Ethernet ports are quite a low amount, and they are quickly filled by any tech enthusiast like myself.
On the front, you will find a total of 13 LED lights, and yes that is overkill as it might sound, in fact, a night the router looks like it is taking off, so you definitely want to turn these off if you are going to be in the same room at night. These LEDs do have an important function, however, showing information that includes the power, cable/ fibre connection, DSL connection, 2.4GHz wireless activity and 5GHz connectivity.
Alongside those 5 you will find 2 USB indicator LEDs, 4 Ethernet port indicators, and the final two buttons, which double up as buttons for easy WiFi and WPS turning off/on.
Routers are well-known for being quite tricky to set-up, thankfully Netgear’s setup is forgivingly easy.
All you need to do is attach the three antennas to the back of the router, connect it to your power, turn it on and then plug your computer into it via WiFi, once that is done, the Netgear Genie page will auto open and from here all you need to do is follow the instructions.
Once that’s done you are then able to access the router’s main setup page via its IP, and there are a ton of features to enable.
Probably the most interesting for the average user is the integration with USB devices, which allow you to configure Time Machine via a hard drive, create a network accessible hard drive easily, or configure ReadySHARE, which allows you connect a non-WiFi-enabled printer to the router to make it wireless.
The router can also act as a ReadyDLNA media service for viewing content on DLNA UPnP compatible devices.
Within the controls, you will also find a nice amount of parental control and access control features, allowing you to setup the router to only accept devices that you approve, block various domains or keywords, and even schedule these conditions to be either on continuous or through set schedules.
One of the best ideas from Netgear is the introduction of the Netgear Genre app for Android and iOS, which allows you to access these same settings from a mobile device, allowing you to do anything from configuring wireless settings, to access files stored on a connected USB hard drive.
There’s also compatibility with QoS, with WMM QoS, allowing for prioritization of WiFi voice and video traffic, or just general traffic.
During our tests of the Nighthawk D7000 router, we used it both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz band over 802.11ac WiFi.
And we have to say that this router is extremely quick, which you would expect given the price tag and 1GHz processor inside of it.
At around 15 feet away on the 5GHz band we were able to get speeds of around 420Mbps, which is extremely fast compared to pretty much all of the routers we have used before it (although there a lot of high-grade routers that we have yet to test), when you take the range further, even up to as far as 100 feet away the speed is reduced to around 300Mbps, which is still extremely quick, but you should probably be using an extender at this kind of range anyway.
It is the general conclusion that Netgear’s Nighthawk routers are some of the best around, and we definitely agree with that, however, it is a very specialised router, so it’s only really something you should be thinking about if you want some serious advantages added to your home network, for most a standard 5GHz router would be fine.
That said it does have a ton of options that make it great for a range of purposes, with access control, parental controls, a range of other settings and features, alongside a USB 3.0 port that allows you to share a USB hard drive or printer across your network.
And with QoS, you are able to set up the router in such a way that you can deliver speeds around your home equally and to where it is needed, for example if you play a lot of gaming, you can setup the router to prioritize the connection of your games console, over something like your smart TV.
That all said there aren’t a massive amount of VDSL modem routers around, so the Netgear Nighthawk D7000 is a little special in that respect.
If it’s something you think would be advantageous to your home then you should definitely pick it up, you can do so for around £170.