The Netgear Nighthawk RAXE500 is an impressive look with a design we already know from previous powerful Nighthawk routers from that series. Small visual embellishments were a hit, but there was still something to worry about about performance. Productivity with more clients lags behind and the RAXE500 also fails to deliver the WiFi range that the device should be capable of. Power consumption at rest is fine for a powerful router, but it consumes a lot under load. The price of the RAXE500 is quite steep, especially since the same device is cheaper to get a different look. This fact, along with performance issues in our testing, makes this router not recommended.
If you’ve been following my series of reviews of Wi-Fi 6E-supported Wi-Fi routers over the past few weeks, you’ll know that devices that support this new Wi-Fi standard are very expensive. Last week, we looked at the only cheapest Wi-Fi 6E router in the TP-Link lineup: the Archer AX-75. With this you get 6GHz band support on a relatively low budget. However, with this router, you won’t get the most out of this new frequency range, even in ideal conditions. This device is limited in its throughput because it is only equipped with 1 Gb/s ports. The ASUS ROG Rapture AXE16000 we previously reviewed was on the other end of the spectrum, with its dual 10Gb/s ports, dual-wall RGB mirror work, eight ruggedly designed antennas, and two 5GHz chipsets.
Today we’re taking a look at Netgear’s flagship Wi-Fi 6E: the Nighthawk RAXE500. With this router, Netgear is a bit less aggressive than ASUS, except for the price, because it doesn’t lie. At around €550 at the time of writing, the RAXE500 isn’t much cheaper than the AXE16000, which currently costs more than €566. The RAXE500 is a (true) tri-band router with a fairly large number of Ethernet ports (six), including a 2.5Gb/s connection, a dual USB3 port, and a design that flies under the radar. Surely this should be a spot on the radar for people looking for a very powerful 6GHz router without all the frills the competition has to offer? To measure is to know, so in this article we take a look at the RAXE500 inside and out, then let the indoor fan roar in our Wi-Fi test setup.
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