This is the Netgear XR500 Gaming Router – a router designed for the gaming household.
Being a gaming-level router it has several features which I think will definitely be appealing.
Included is a gaming dashboard, giving you real-time information about network usage, Geo-filter, Gaming VPN client support and the ability to allocate bandwidth to certain devices to help you prioritise.
Inside this monster of a router is a dual-core 1.7GHz processor and supports 802.11ac WiFi.
Inside the box, the first thing we see is the router itself which is massive, bigger than I was expecting. We’ll come to that in a moment. Then we have a quick-start guide and some stickers, a CD and power-supplies for the UK and Europe, four antennas and an ethernet cable.
So let’s take a closer look at this router. As I said earlier, this thing is huge, but what is a comfort is the number of vents to help keep it cool. Certainly in the few days I’ve been using it there is no sign of excessive heating.
In total there are 5 gigabit ethernet ports (4 for LAN, 1 for WAN) and 2 USB-3 Ports and yes, you can connect a hard drive to share over the network.
To set this up, first you’ll need to connect it to your modem via ethernet and follow the instructions in the quick-guide. The instructions given to you are clear and although they look brief, that’s fine because this thing is super easy to set up.
Connect a device to the router either through ethernet or WiFi and login to the setup address. It takes a couple of minutes to set itself up and you can customise a few things along the way.
Then, when you’re done, you arrive at the dashboard. A quick start guide talks you through the different sections, although it’s all fairly intuitive.
The dashboard gives you an overview of the status of your network and what current usage is in realtime. If you want to limit the distance to game servers or other players, then the Geo-Filter section is easy to set up.
Next we have the Quality of Service section. This will list all the devices currently active on the network and allow you to allocate bandwidth – this is done as a percentage. Simply drag a device to increase its allocation.
The Device Manager let’s you see all the devices connected to the network on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. You can view IP addresses and block specific devices if you need to.
Network Monitor gives you a more detailed breakdown of usage, including how much each device is currently using. All of this is updated in real-time.
System Information includes some details about the routers activity, including CPU and RAM usage.
And finally, settings… Well, that’s self-explanatory really.
So that’s an overview of the product. What do I actually think?
Well, I have to say I’m really impressed. I’d describe myself as a casual gamer, but I can certainly see value in all of these features. This router would be great in larger households with family members all after a chunk of the bandwidth. The network management features are so easy to use.
Having used this for several days, I would describe this as very consistent. Network speeds across devices have always been good and I’m super impressed at the range achieved with the antenna. It’s now reaching areas of my home that were very inconsistent with my old router. There’s been a noticeable difference on speed with my PS4, especially now I can allocate it more bandwidth.
If you’re a gamer or have games consoles in your home, than I would definitely recommend this router. It’s easy enough to get going for beginners, but has plenty of features for the advanced gamer too.
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