Netgear Nighthawk R7800 X4S 4×4 Dual Band Smart WiFi AC2600 DD-WRT Router Review

Recently, Netgear released the AC2600 router known as the Nighthawk X4S R7800, which is a better and updated version of the Nighthawk X4. Overall, the XS4 has a better performance than X4. It comes with the cutting-edge MU-MIMO technology and supports the 160 MHz channel bandwidth.

X4S, is without a doubt, is a future-proof device. Although it has a few downsides such as the plagued interface, the XS4 has an affordable price and provides good value to your money when it comes to the stylish design, powerful hardware, and high-speed wireless performance.


Specifications

Size: 11.2 x 7.2 x 1.9 inches

Antennas: 4 upgradable

Wi-Fi Spec: 5 GHz 802.11ac dual-band

Ports: 2x USB 3.0

Peak Performance: 1733 Mbps on 5 GHz

Range: 2500 sqft.

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Networking

The Nighthawk XS4 is an improved version of its predecessor X4. It does not have tri-band technology. Instead, it has implemented the MU-MIMO technology. We tested the device on two PCs with wireless adapters.

We measured the speed of the router at different locations inside a large home. For 802.11ac standard, on the 40 MHz channel, we used the 5 GHz radio band. At 5 feet, the average speed of the device was 515 Mbps. At 15 feet, the speed we measured was 477 Mbps. Also, at 100 feet, we measured an average speed of 225 Mbps.

Next, we tested the router on the 2.4 GHz radio band on the 20 MHz channel. At 5 feet, the speed we measured was 150 Mbps on average. The peak speed, however, was 157 Mbps. At 15 feet, the speed went down to 138 Mbps. Also, at 100 feet, it was 108 Mbps.

Besides, the Netgear X4S is a 4 x4 router and that’s why we tested it on the 5 GHz radio frequency band. This time, at 5 feet, we measure the speed of 944 Mbps and at 100 feet, the speed dramatically went down to 331 Mbps.

The X4S enables the user to connect 3 external storage devices simultaneously. We tested the read and write performance of the router. We took a 3 GB folder that contains different files, we measured the speed of 43.7 Mbps for writing the folder. Likewise, the speed for reading was 78.1 Mbps. Overall, this is good storage performance.

Design

The X4S has the same case as its predecessor. It looks like a Lockheed F-117 stealth plane. The design is stylish and attractive. It has a black matte finish and does not retain fingerprints. It has 4 upgradable antennas, which feel solid and sturdy. The X4S has a large footprint and measures 11.2 x 7.2 x 1.9 inches. The weight of the router is 1.85 pounds.

Towards the front edge on top of the router, you will see an array of LED lights. The LEDs are similar as they were on the nighthawk X4. They show the power status, internet, the 5 GHz and the 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi, first and second USB 3.0 ports, eSATA port, 4 LAN Ethernet ports, and the last two LED lights are for the button to turn the WI-FI ON or OFF and to start the WPS pairing.

On the backside of the Nighthawk X4S, you will see the ON-OFF switch, a Reset Button, 4 Ethernet 10/100/1000 Gigabit LAN ports, and 1 Ethernet 10/100/1000 Gigabit Internet port. There is also a power connector as well as the Power ON-OFF button.

Inside the recessed zone on the left side of the router’s case, you will see 2 USB 3.0 ports. On the right side, you will find an eSATA port, which is only found on the WRT1900ACS router by Linksys.

While checking the design of the router, we saw these ports on the right side. As always, we wanted the Company to put these ports on the rear panel of the router. The reason is that we don’t like a lot of cables or cords sprouting from all around the router’s case. Moreover, inside the package, you will see the router, an Ethernet cable, and the power adapter.

Hardware

The Netgear Nighthawk X4S is powered by a Qualcomm dual-core Atheros IPQ8065 CPU with a clock speed of 1.7 GHz. The CPU is backed by 512 MB of RAM and 128 MB of flash memory. The 2.4 GHz WI-FI performance is delivered by the Qualcomm Atheros QCA9984 chipset with 4 x 4:4 coupled with the Skyworks SE2623L power amplifier.

Further, the 5 GHz radio frequency band or WI-FI performance is covered by the powerful Qualcomm QCA9984 Atheros process with 4 x 4:4 chipset coupled with an RFMD RFPAA5542 power amplifier. Theoretically, the maximum speed on the 2.4 GHz radio frequency band is 800 Mbps due to the 256 QAM support.

Also, the router has a maximum theoretical wireless speed of 1733 Mbps on the 5 GHz radio frequency band. When it comes to the 802.11ac, the speeds sums up to 2,531 Mbps. This is why the router is categorized in the AC2600 standard.

Installation

The Netgear Nighthawk X4S comes with the pre-configured wireless network – i.e. you can find the SSID and password info on the label, which is glued on the bottom side of the X4S router. You can plug the router into a power outlet and then connect it to the internet source. That’s it, you are good to go.

If you want to make changes or configure the router, you can do it easily. You just need to open your web browser and type in the address bar https://www.routerlogin.net to start the installation and setup wizard.

 The wizard detects the type of connection automatically. However, you can manually configure the connection. Do this by going to the basic feature and then clicking on the internet. Furthermore, you make changes or modify the router’s settings using the Netgear Genie Interface. Overall, the installation is easy and this we think is a plus point about the X4S router.


What We Liked

  • MU-MIMO Technology
  • 4X4 Router
  • Great Storage Performance
  • Excellent Wi-Fi Performance
  • 160 MHz Bandwidth Mode Support

What We didn’t Like

  • Confusing Interface
  • Sometimes slow on 2.4 GHz

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Ted Webster
Ted is an expert in the field of computers, electronics, and the latest technology.Have a question, need some help, or want to give your opinion? Drop us a comment below!