Top positive review
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Finally, the speed and range for HD needs! (R6300v2)
on May 31, 2012
I no longer own the router. I am currently using R8000 which suits my needs.
Recently purchased a few latest AC routers specifically Asus RT-AC68U, Linksys EA6900, Dlink DIR-868L, Netgear R7000 and ended up going back to R6300V2. None offered more range or performance of R6300V2 despite having external antennas. While most of these new high end routers had some additional features, some of them had really unstable firmware, especially RT-AC68U & EA6900. Netgear R7000 is probably the best of the bunch and I would've kept it if I didn't have R6300V2 already. It doesn't really bring more range or performance either and it barely has any new features especially for average user, but at least Netgear has more interest in keeping it up to date with frequent firmware updates.
Bought R6300v2 to see if there is any difference. V2 now comes with dual core processor 800Mhz, 256MB of RAM and USB 3.0, it is also twice as small and comes with smaller power supply. All nice upgrades, but did it translate into better performance? In short, yes. For regular users, they may not notice the difference, but if you have gazillion of gadgets that use WiFi especially HD streaming you will be pleased that it offers better performance. I don't have any hard numbers to back this up, but overall this upgrade is totally worth it for my busy wifi network.
My R6300 is now over a year old and it actually performs better then it did when it was initially released thanks to several firmware updates. I've tried latest AC offerings from Dlink & Asus and they just didn't offer as good range and reliability as R6300. Netgear might release a replacement soon, but for now this is still the best overall AC router despite what reviews say on smallnetbuilder website.
I've been using this router for over half a year now and it hasn't skipped the beat. Performance has been top notch and it can handle 15 wireless clients with a few HD IP Cameras. It's been running uninterrupted for the past 3 month. Sure there are other new AC routers that came out since then, which I haven't tested, but this has been a wonderful router so far and I am not looking for another replacement at the moment. Not surprising that the price is exactly what I paid 6 month ago, which means the router is actually holds its value for being one of the best out there.
My past 3 year history of routers include Netgear WDR3700, Cisco E4200 and most recently two Asus RT-N56u using wireless bridge, but I was never impressed with the speed of wireless and 5Ghz band coverage. This was about time for my next upgrade, so I bought 3 routers RT-N66U, Amped Wireless R20000G & Netgear R6300 and I kept the latter and here is why:
- Range/Speed/Performance in 5 Ghz band: Excellent! While not a huge leap forward it does perform much better than any of the previous and competing routers I've tried using this band. This was a major selling point for me. It is actually able to provide excellent download speeds in the opposite corner of the 1500 sq/feet townhome that none of the other routers could handle. Also with Mac Mini 2010 Broadcom wifi, I was able to achieve up to 22 MB/sec download speed from NAS at about 15 feet with latest firmware. Previously with RT-N56 it topped at 10 MB/sec at the same location. That's double the speed! I can't wait to try this out with AC clients!
- Range/Speed/Performance in 2.4 Ghz band: The range is excellent. It covers my entire home, but so did my previous router, so it's difficult to judge the improvement here. However, there is noticeable performance boost. Among several wireless devices using this band I have 4 HD (1080p - 720p) IP cameras and previous Asus router had trouble with handling all of them with good frame rate where with R6300 I am finally able to stream all of them at once. Also, your performance will depend on the client. Previously I was using 2010 HP Envy 14 w/ Intel 6200 which was showing download speed at 4-6 MB/sec, 2012 HP Envy 17 w/ Intel 6300 showing much better results at 6-8 MB/Sec at the same location. While Mac Mini 2010 w/ Broadcom WiFi shows speeds less then 1MB sec. Basically, older clients may have some performance issues.
- Setup: It wasn't complicated all and looks fairly straight forward for non-technical people as well.
- Plenty of features for basic and advanced users: Guest network, Wireless bridge etc... all there
I CAN DEAL WITH IT:
- Size: This router is about twice the size of any of the previous routers I've owned
- Guest Network: Yes, it's available, but it's very basic. I've seen Asus RT-N66U guest network control which lets you specify the time limit or expiration.
- Administration panel locks after about a minute of inactivity and you are prompted to enter your username & password again (very annoying when you trying to troubleshoot things!)
- Parental features. I don't like the fact that you need to install tool on your pc, there is no web administration on management in the web ui.
- First router that I see without WEP setting.
- Some of the older clients (specifically HP Envy 14 w/ Intel 6200 card) had connection issues with sleep/restart. I've upgraded my laptop since then and have not had this issue anymore
- Mine appears to be defective where the activity lights at the bottom are not lighting up, except Netgear logo. (UPDATE 7/10 I've gotten a new one without this issue)
UPDATE 10/13: This is probably going to be my last update since I really don't have anything else to add other then this has been a wonderful router ever since I upgraded to 18.104.22.168_1.0.28 version. I've been running without reboots for a month now and no problems with performance whatsoever.
UPDATE 9/6: 3 month later and still loving this router. If you live in a large home and have wireless coverage issues with 5 Ghz band you should definitely give this one a try. Overall it's been rock stable for me with only one nagging issue related to 5Ghz band (see my previous update). Netgear support got a hold of me and I've been helping them to troubleshoot the issue by sending router logs. They provided a beta update for me that fixed the issue which they will be releasing in September.
UPDATE 7/10: Month later the router still performs very well. I am hoping for new firmware soon to improves performance and compatibility with older devices. Still have issues with Envy 14, Mac Mini 2010 and also HTC Sensation phone. They all exhibit different issues. First one takes a long time to connect, second one has very low speed on 2 Ghz band and last one occasionally unable to connect. There was also one hiccup. I was running uninterrupted for 2 weeks straight using latest firmware and 5Gh signal degraded from Excellent to Poor and 4 to 2 bars at the same location. I've rebooted the router and everything went back to normal.
UPDATE 6/13: 2 weeks now with the router. Sold my two Asus N56U that I used as a wireless bridge and that were once highly rated at SNB. I honestly do not know why SNB posted terrible results with R6300, they must have defective unit but that's still not the case for me. I am perfectly satisfied with R6300 and it delivers excellent performance/range throughout the house without the need of any bridges or extenders which I once had to use. I do have defective unit where I don't get any activity lights, so I might exchange it at some point. Did I mention, this is an awesome router?
UPDATE 6/7: Netgear released new firmware which enables Guest network that caused so much noise and negative reviews in the initial release, the were no other fixes listed, but upon my own checking I noticed they added "Performance boost" option in the Advanced > Wireless settings. I performed my usual download test which showed a slight increase in download speed on 5Ghz band, but it's hard to say if it was related to the firmware or not.
UPDATE 6/4: SmallNetBuilder released preliminary test results that compare performance R6300 with a few other N routers that show that it doesn't perform as good as expected in some cases. Also mentioned my results in the process when compared to N56U. I only had R6300 for a few days now, but my experience for the most part has been positive even with a rough firmware. Also, I usually base my router purchases by SNB reviews, but in this case I am having different results, so I'll stick with R6300 for now.