Lag-free gaming? NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming Router unboxing

Lag-free gaming? NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming Router unboxing


You’ve got a gaming PC – but is your router equally matched? The Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 Pro Gaming Router comes pre-loaded with DumaOS – a fully-fledged software suite to genuinely improve your gaming performance with Geo-Filters and Ping Heatmaps.

Wi-Fi 6 capabilities

The NETGEAR Nighthawk is fully Wi-Fi 6 capable, ensuring the highest possible speeds. Wi-Fi 6 is frankly overkill for a single incoming connection. Loading up a basic speed test barely saturates the true capabilities of Wi-Fi 6.

It shines when relentlessly hit with multiple simultaneous connections. With ever-increasing bandwidth requirements from multiple auto-updating smart devices, sizable software patches and high-quality streams, you’ll need all the speed you can get.

With network infrastructure rapidly expanding and multi-gigabit internet connections coming online, only a powerful router like the NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro will fully realise the speeds.

Gaming design

The red and black accenting and angular edges are definitely gaming-orientated, without going too overboard with RGB underglow and light-up logos.

The design language of the NETGEAR line-up of Nighthawk routers strongly evokes a certain sci-fi franchise – but the elaborate wraparound wings and jet-black finish aren’t for show.

Flipping over the router, there’s ample ventilation for the tri-core 1.5GHz processor to keep cool while effectively managing conjected network and powering DumaOS.

There’s subtly integrated indicator LEDS for internet status, 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi bands, network-attached storage and individual ethernet ports.


In the box, you’ll find a power adapter with region specific connectors. Also included is a flat-styled ethernet cable. The thinner profile makes cable management easier, keeping your set-up clean and clutter-free. Finally, there are four individually labelled antennas for the respective screw-in connectors on the router for optimal signal.


While routers don’t have expansive I/O like laptops or gaming PCs, their selective port selection is crucial. The Netgear Nighthawk flawlessly covers gaming-grade needs, with some surprise bonuses:

• On-off switch
• Power in
• Internet in
• Four gigabit ethernet ports
• USB 3.0 for network-attached storage

Providing power and data, this USB ports transforms an external drive using USB to a shared-storages location all devices on the network can access. This is great for storing media files like family photos or TV shows.

Set-up process

Set-up is expertly streamlined, with a quick-start guide pointing you in the direction of the accompanying smart phone application. It seamlessly guides you through the step-by-step process.

It’ll prompt creation of username and password credentials for ‘root access’. Don’t worry, these are separated from the default credential required for internet log-in. Root access lets us configure the router’s settings.

To access DumaOS, type: into a browser. Essentially, this is your router’s default IP address. 1.1 represents devices – .1 being the router itself since it’s the very first connected network device.

This is a universally recognised address for routers. Try it out for yourself – even a bog-standard router thrown in by your internet service provider should have some bare-essential configurating settings.

However, the fully-fledged DumaOS is the key selling point of this router.


A wired connection is strongly favoured for gaming, but it’s not always a viable option. To ensure a potentially unstable wireless connection is as good as it can possibly be, DumaOS is your one-stop shop for fine-tuning your experience.

It’s level of granularity is genuinely impressive. Loading up DumaOS, you’re immediately introduced to a lively dashboard loaded with real-time graphs, statistics and statuses.

Monitor bandwidth used per second and the router’s CPU usage, broken down core-by-core to accurately identify and diagnose troublesome processes.

The entire dashboard is designed to be highly configurable. You can add and subtract individual components from the dashboard to show only the most relevant information to you.


Configurable on a map screen, force particular game servers using geo-filters. Based on your current location, expand and shrink a defined region, restricting servers outside the border. This puts an end to games frustratingly match-making you to servers thousands of miles away.

Geo-filters aren’t globally defined across the network, they’re thankfully set-up on a device-by-device basis. Select your device and game you want to geo-filter, and DumaOS will automatically recommend optimal settings.

If you’d rather manually input parameters, use sliders to precisely dial-in to the kilometre. As you change settings, the map screen dynamically updates in real-time, showing the geo-filter’s range.

This concepts also works in reverse. Located in the UK, but want to team-up with your friend on the east coast of the USA? Expand the geo-filter to barely include their location, without subjecting yourself to the entirety of the states.

Ping assist helps restricts the geo-location using additional ping data, rather than relying solely on location. Depending on your tolerances, you can set minimum and maximum requirements for ping.

Ping Heatmap

Unsure which server to play on? The ping heatmap smartly identifies all available game servers in the world with a single click and lists them from best to worse.

Conventional wisdom would assume the best servers are the ones closest to you. From our UK-based testing, we we were shocked to discover a French server had a lower ping than an Irish server.

This kind of information is invaluable information to gamers. To capitalise on these findings, head back to the geo-filter to only include these servers!

Gaming features

To really push Wi-Fi 6 to its limits, DumaOS comes pre-loaded with a benchmark to realistically simulate a demanding workload. This should thoroughly test your internet’s true capabilities.

Ensuring the best possible gaming experience, bandwidth allocation automatically prioritises easily identifiable gaming devices connected to the network, like consoles. You can also manually allocate bandwidth per individual devices or applications.

This is extremely beneficial to gamers trying to play online and download files simultaneously. Rather than letting the download run uncapped and making online gaming an insufferable mess riddled with violent ping spikes, you could allocate bandwidth half-and-half to the gaming application and download application for an evenly balanced experience.

Finally, there’s a traffic controller for blocking device or application traffic on a set schedule. Settling down for another intense gaming session and worried about an always-online device auto-updating causing lag? Limits its traffic during your session so it doesn’t rudely interrupt at the most inopportune moment.

You may feel you’re getting ‘fast enough’ speeds from your ISP-provided router – but a router upgrade offers more than an incremental bump in speed test results. Exclusive features like DumaOS clearly demonstrate their ability to enhance your gaming experience.

Check it out, over at Ebuyer: NETGEAR Nighthawk Pro Gaming Wi-Fi 6 Router