Here in the UK, we’ve been in lockdown for 3+ months. This was a necessary step to slow the spread rate of COVID-19 which has devastated the global community. For the most part, people have abided by the lockdown and this small act of compliance has literally helped to save lives. Gamers have perhaps had it easier than most dealing with this lockdown thanks to online games allowing friends to come together.
That being said, one irksome issue I and many others have experienced lately is the reduced internet speeds and increased online lag due to the increase in internet usage with everybody being at home. Even before the lockdown, I would occasionally struggle with these issues but the lockdown certainly exacerbated them to a point where simple online gaming sessions were becoming troublesome.
I was therefore exceedingly grateful when Netgear provided us here at ThisGenGaming the opportunity to review their XR700 Nighthawk Pro Gaming Router. At home, we have many devices running concurrently on our network which often interfered with the connection and priority my PS4 could get.
I previously had some minor experience in tinkering with my own Sky broadband router but only after using the XR700 did I realise how limited those settings were on the bog standard router. Recently, I have been playing a lot of Call of Duty: Warzone and it was here where I noticed most drastically how poor my connection was, despite all my efforts to tinker with the Sky router.
When it came to setting up the XR700, the process was surprisingly simple and I was up and running with the new router within 30 minutes. Right out of the box, you’re getting AD7200 Quad Stream Wave2 Wi-Fi, a powerful 1.7-GHz Quad Core Processor, 7-Gigabit Ethernet Ports, a 10-Gigabit SFP+ Port all of which has an immediate impact on making your gaming network stronger and better. However, the hardware advantages are only the tip of the iceberg with this router.
Not only does the XR700 look mightily impressive on the outside, the software it’s packing is similarly impressive. Hardware-wise, the XR700 packs top quality technology to allow the router to harness your connection in the most powerful and efficient way possible. However, it’s the software features that will allow you to fully realise the potential of your network and its gaming capabilities.
Most simply, the first thing you can do is prioritise gaming devices and allocate bandwidth by device to eliminate lag. The XR700 allows you to control the maximum upload and download speeds per device on the network to minimise sudden lag spikes while gaming. I prioritised my PS4 first and foremost and noticed some moderate improvements due to this one simple change.
When you delve into the DumaOS interface you’ll find the bulk of gaming settings. First of all, the Geo-filtering feature allows you to get the best connection for your game by blocking servers and players far away from your location.
Quality of Service (QoS) provides three powerful features that work together to prevent lag when your bandwidth is being used. QoS helps improve your router’s Internet traffic management capabilities through better application and device identification, bandwidth allocation, and traffic prioritization techniques. Dynamic QoS resolves traffic congestion when the Internet bandwidth is limited and different demands compete for bandwidth.
With multiple devices in the home, bandwidth allocation can become a problem. However, with the XR700 you can see who is using how much of your bandwidth and make adjustments. You can dial back, enhance, or even block any device on your home network, even those bandwidth vampires like streaming devices and voice operated home products. This is especially useful when devices are hogging bandwidth and making your gaming experience suffer as a result.
Even using this router quite far away from my gaming devices, it projected a fast, strong signal throughout my household. Everything from ping to lag to consistency, my online gaming experience improved drastically. As a quality-of-life improvement as a gamer, it was most welcome.
As aforementioned, the XR700 packs a lot of powerful advanced features but fear not if you’re a rookie like me, the help guides are more than helpful in learning your way around the XR700. You don’t need to be a networking genius to figure it out and even the base improvements are significant. For hardcore, dedicated gamers who rely on a fast, strong, stable internet connection, you cannot go wrong with the XR700, albeit this impressive performance comes at a fairly high cost.
*A review unit of the XR700 was kindly provided by Netgear for the purpose of this review. You can go to the XR700 product page on Netgear’s website where you can find all the retailers selling the XR700 by clicking here.*