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Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 (D7000) vs Superhub 2: Could Netgear solve my broadband woes?

Gaming is a big thing in my household, it’s my job for one, so not only do I spend a lot of time online gaming and live streaming, but a lot of my time is also spent playing games for review. Then there is the rest of my family, which consists of my wife and my three children, all of whom love gaming, as well as anything else that swallows up every bit of internet bandwidth in the house. It’s because of this reason that we pay for the top broadband package we can get from Virgin, which consists of an unlimited use up to 200mb fibre optic service and I have to say, the rather shoddy and free Superhub 2, which seems to struggle with all of the devices trying to access it at once, especially if you are planning to access anything data related upstairs.

Given that I am quite tech savvy, when there is a problem with someone’s device or internet coverage, generally it’s me that has to take time to solve the issue, something that becomes quite tiring when things should just, well…work. Having tried numerous solutions, such as wired and wireless range extenders and changing wi-fi channels, the issues and coverage in our home failed to significantly improve, so I decided to try a different tack, step forward Netgear’s Nighthawk AC1900 (D7000) VDSL/ASDL modem router, which I’d been promised would solve both the issues with range and help significantly with the demand of a large household on Virgin’s poor Superhub 2.

Setting up the Netgear Nighthawk was so simple. First off I set it up as per the instructions, screwing the three antennas into the back. If you are a Virgin customer like me, then you’ll need to plug a ethernet cable from the internet port on the Nighthawk to the modem mode port on the Superhub 2. Plug the Netgear into the wall and turn it on. Finally you’ll need to access the admin panel for the Superhub via your browser and switch it to modem mode.

Once the Superhub 2 has reset you will then be able to connect to the Netgear. Following this a simple to follow menu will appear, allowing you to set up your internet connection, update the firmware and even change any passwords you would like. There are also options for guest networks, parental controls and all manner of other options that you would expect from a premium product. In fact the router itself even hosts two 3.0 USB ports, four extra ethernet ports for your devices and it even has an ASDL port, for those using internet from the likes of BT, Sky, TalkTalk etc. 

This isn’t a review of the technical aspects of the router, as obviously my skills and knowledge lie firmly in reviewing games rather than reviewing technology, so I’d rather concentrate on how well the Netgear Nighthawk worked for me and my family. Therefore I have based my thoughts on both performance, speed and on how much I was moaned at during the weekend because the internet had stopped working. In this respect you can see the screens I captured of the speeds from both the virgin Superhub 2 and the Netgear Nighthawk below.

As you can see, the network speeds are significantly improved when using the Nighthawk AC1900 vs the Virgin Superhub 2. In fact, given that I have a fair sized two floor home with an added bedroom extension, I even ran into the problems with the Superhub 2 when trying to connect to the PS4 upstairs, with the console telling me that “the signal might be too weak” and when I eventually did connect, speeds usually tested under 1MPS, which is obviously not good enough when my connection is supposed to be up to 200MPS. Thankfully I have had no such problems with the Netgear Nighthawk, with the PlayStation upstairs always coming in with speeds over 16 MPS on the same heavy use evening and the iPad speedtest showing over 116MPS when taken upstairs. 

Things did improve for the Superhub 2 downstairs, all the same though, when using the Nighthawk the speeds were still significantly better. Perhaps the most impressive part for me was when I first tested the Nighthawk on my work iMac via speedtest.net and it showed download speeds of over 200MPS via WiFi, something which I have never seen happen before.

While speed tests often fluctuate, there is always a significant difference for the better when it comes to the Nighthawk and what’s more, the connection has never cut for anyone in the household during an entire weekend of streaming, playing online games and watching Netflix or playing games on our tablets, mobiles etc. Something which does not ring true for the Virgin Superhub 2, which cannot seem to go through a day without cutting out or as with the PS4 upstairs, not connecting at all.

Whether streaming, watching movies or playing online games, the Nighthawk has made a massive difference to performance of Virgin’s Broadband for me and my family. Streams are clear and of high quality, even over wi-fi and this has been especially noticeable upstairs. I suppose it should be expected that the Superhub 2 router given to me by Virgin for free was never going to provide the type of performance that I require on a day to day basis, however the Netgear Nighthawk really puts it to shame and essentially shows that, for me at least, the Superhubs 2’s only useful function is its modem mode, which is what’s required to get your Netgear Nighthawk up and running. For me, the Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 is a winner and while it may cost a little more, it’s well worth it, especially when it stops everyone whining about the internet not working.

Edited On 08 Feb, 2016

( 3 )
Anonymous user's avatar
JAMES 9 months ago
Do you find your SuperHub 2's GUI to be very slow? Like it is communicating with Virgin's network when bringing up the pages? I have the SH3, and it is much slower than my old Fibre/ADSL routers. I was thinking, like you, to getting a different router with more functionality and putting the SH3 into Modem Only mode. Also, are you also like me where you get OpenNAT on one gaming system and StrictNAT on the other, as you can only set one DMZ and Port Forwarding doesn't sort the issue out either?
Joe Anderson (Editor)'s avatar
Joe Anderson (Editor) 9 months ago
Yeah the PS4 seems to have open and Xb1 strict. Not sure if the Netgear solves that, I didn't notice tbh. Using the Netgear with Superhub in modem mode makes a huge difference for me though, it is brilliant. We only had a loan of this Netgear, but I will be buying one now for sure.
Danny_936's avatar
Danny_936 9 months ago
For anyone wanting to do a legit speedtest on their PS4, go to the web browser on the PS4 then go the testmy.net and run a combined test, you'll get much better resutls then sonys built in speedtest as sonys servers are shite.

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