Netgear EX7300 Nighthawk X4 review: the promise of 2.2 Gb/s

High-end model, the Netgear Netgear EX7300 Nighthawk X4 Wi-Fi repeater is obviously capable of repeating both 11n and 11ac signals, up to theoretical maximum speeds of 450 Mb / s and 1733 Mb / s, respectively, or close to 2.2 Gb / s cumulative. This model brings with it the usual baggage of the American manufacturer: a simple and intuitive implementation as well as a Fast Lane mode which has always convinced us.

Presentation of Netgear EX7300 Nighthawk X4

A little bigger than the average, this repeater does not have any external antenna. Netgear thus preferred to integrate no less than 4 antennas inside the box; a matter of design according to the firm. If the integration of the antennas is always a positive point that prevents breakage in the event of an impact, this forced the manufacturer not to integrate a female electrical outlet, the company arguing that this would have given rise to an even more imposing case.

On the left side, we find the traditional buttons offered by the brand on its Wi-Fi repeaters. A first allows you to choose the operating mode – repeater or access point -, another is dedicated to WPS pairing, a still another allows to switch off or on the box while a last is provided to reset the configuration to its factory settings. A Gigabit network socket allows the device to be configured manually via a computer or to wire any network device. Using a type C (two-prong) electrical outlet, the appliance can be face-oriented up or down.

Netgear EX7300 Nighthawk X4

Image Source: amazon.com

On this high-end model, Netgear announces a theoretical throughput of 2.2 Gb / s cumulatively. The Nighthawk X4 is thus able to aggregate up to 450 Mb / s in Wi-Fi 11n and 1733 Mb / s maximum in Wi-Fi 11ac. For homes that only have 11n type devices, Netgear offers to use the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands via its Fast Lane mode. Instead of repeating two networks – one at 2.4 and the other at 5 GHz – it repeats only one Wi-Fi stream, in 802.11n. We then choose to connect the router to the repeater on a frequency of choice while the other frequency will be used to connect the devices. This method makes it possible to increase the flow rates, which we will verify a little later in this article.

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Ergonomics

The visual positioning aid, dear to the brand, is still present. Two indicator lights (small flashing arrows) make it possible to check at a glance whether the extender is located neither too far nor too close to the original router.

The configuration system is in the same vein as what Netgear has now offered since last year. The easiest – and most convenient – method is to go through WPS pairing. We start by pressing the eponymous button on the router and then on the repeater button and you’re done. The box repeats the existing Wi-Fi signal through a new network taking the _EXT suffix and having the same password as the initial network. If the router transmits on two bands, the two networks will be repeated.

Netgear has also thought about people who do not have a WPS-compatible router – Free subscribers, at random – or who are anxious to go further in the configuration. These must go through the web interface named Netgear Genie. Well designed and easy to use, this interface offers a host of features: planned access, access control, fine management of Wi-Fi parameters (SSID, password), activation of Fast Lane mode or even updating the firmware.

Note that the change to summertime is done automatically. The firmware update also goes through this interface, no automatic update system having been implemented. You have to visit the interface periodically to check if an update is available. If so, the download and installation are done automatically.

Debits

Debits 802.11ac – 5 GHz

The Wi-Fi 11ac speed on the 5 GHz band is quite high since a maximum between 260 and 280 Mb / s is reached. A higher result than that of the Netgear EX6150 which points to 200 Mb / s in the best conditions. The average of our different reading points is between 155 and 203 Mb / s. The results obtained in 11n on 2.4 GHz are also very good, with maximums around 100 Mb / s, or as much as the EX6150 in Fast Lane mode. The average is between 45 and 85 Mb / s.

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Debits – 802.11n – 2,4 GHz

We also tested Fast Lane mode by activating the 5 GHz band to communicate with the router and the 2.4 GHz band to communicate with our test Wi-Fi bridge. As always, the practical speed increases strongly to a maximum between 220 and 239 Mb / s for an average between 138 and 182 Mb / s. For Wi-Fi 11n, it is simply excellent.

Signal strength

Signal strength – 2.4 GHz

Nothing special about signal strength on the 2.4 GHz band. It is correct at close range and if one loses logically while moving away, it remains in the average.

Signal strength – 5 GHz

Same observation on the 5 GHz band, with rather good power, whether at short or long-range.

Consumption

The power consumption during data exchanges is correct (5.2 watts). It is a little worse at rest where the device does not go below 4 watts. Pity.

A mobile application to scan the network

Netgear offers to download the WiFi Analytics application (Android). It is an application allowing to know the state and the congestion of the Wi-Fi network. Several data are proposed, such as the interference of the channels or the intensity of the signal; not necessarily necessary, but it has the merit of working on all networks, and not only with those of the brand.

Strong Points of Netgear EX7300 Nighthawk X4

  • Flow rates.
  • WPS compatible.
  • Easy configuration.
  • Fast Lane mode.
  • Visual positioning aid.

Weak Points of Netgear EX7300 Nighthawk X4

  • Creation of a secondary network.
  • Theoretical flow rate announced rather misleading.
  • 2-year warranty only, for a high-end product.
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Conclusion of Netgear EX7300 Nighthawk X4

As often, Netgear delivers here a complete Wi-Fi repeater, offers an easy configuration, and a convincing service with high speeds in all cases. Its Fast Lane acceleration mode is also still interesting. The only regret is the rather sparse guarantee (2 years) for a product of this caliber.

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