On the hunt for the NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review? Well that’s exactly what we bring to you here!
We went out and got the router, spent some days with it testing and trying its claims and only then stand here in front of you helping you get a transparent NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review from a neutral point of view.
NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter Review
- Firmware: DD-WRT
- Two Wireless frequency bands: 2.4/ 5Ghz
- 2 USB Ports: 2.0 & 3.0
- 3 External antennas.
- Security: WPA-PSK [TKIP] WPA2-PSK [AES] WPA-PSK [TKIP} + WPA2-PSK [AES] WPA/WPA2 Enterprise
- Processor: Dual Core, 1 Ghz.
- RAM: 256MB
- Flash Memory: 128MB
- 5 Ethernet Ports: 1 WAN, 4LAN.
- TurboQAM technology.
- Beamforming +
1. Exterior Built
Let’s be honest, the NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter is pretty heavy, 1.6 pounds to be exact. Also it measures 1.97″H x 11.22″ W x 7.26″ D, So it demands for a lot of space to be stationed at your homes as well. Secondly, the AC adapter too is more of a loner and hence needs an entire socket to itself, that’s just how big the Adapter is. So my verdict for its built for this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review is the size of both the router and the adapter could certainly be reduced.
2. User Interface
I’ll keep it short, as far as the user-interface of the software goes, I’d say it’s no harder than using social media, or any other everyday tool. 1 All the options and features are listed on the left-sidebar, and their respective information is shown on the right. Simply clicking on any of them explains what the feature is and how to use it. So, for this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review I’d say the user-interface isn’t something you’ll be confused with.
3. 2 Wireless Frequency Bands
The two most common bands that we’ve seen with most routers we’ve reviewed make their presence available with the NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter as well, namely 2.4GHz and the 5Ghz. As you might be well aware, the 2.4Ghz offers for a wider range but has to deal with added interface, the reason being nearly every other device on WiFi uses the same 2.4 frequency and hence is slower (as compared to 5GHz). While the 5GHz band is considerably faster, as it doesn’t encounter as much interference. Although every coin has two sides, and hence the range for the 5Ghz is considerably shorter as compared to the 2.4Ghz. (Detailed review in the next section).
4. Range & Speed
Considering how the bands influence the range and speed, here’s my experience with both the aspects. I found that on the 2.4GHz band, the maximum range I could pull the router to was 140ft, while on the 5Ghz band it was much shorter (as expected). As far as the speed goes, my personal experience on the 2.4 GHz didn’t call for a lot of appreciation as it’s not as fast as I expected (because I expected a lot due to the TurboQAM tech) , and offered just around 115Mbps But then on the 5Ghz band the speed impressed me with around 190Mbps, so I believe if you’re someone who doesn’t have a mansion and can work near and around the router, and need really fast strength and speed, that’s where the router will be your bestfriend. (You’ll see why in the next section!)
5. 802.11ac Technology and Beamforming +
The 802.11ac performance recorded for this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review really did blow me away, infact if we hadn’t reviewed the Asus AC-5300 I’d have claimed this is the best router with this technology. It still is the fastest router from Netgear, and can clearly be charted among the top ones in the industry when it comes to 802.11ac technology. To top it all up, it’s coupled with Beamforming+ technology, the superpower of being able to technically see through obstacles. Earlier, routers simply used to scatter their signals, with the Beamforming+ technology, they can see-through obstacles and drop the signals only where your devices are, hence resulting in a far more concentrated signal. This is another reason why the 5GHz band won us over, because 802.11ac is available only on that specific frequency and thus offers better performance, although note that Beamforming+ is made available for both the frequency bands so the 2.4Ghz isn’t a total downer either.
6. 3 External Antennas
Even though a lot of routers do not believe in external antennas anymore, the Netgear R7000 does, and comes bundled up with 3 external antennas. Although it’s no where near the 8 (4X4) external antennas that the Asus AC-5300 offers, it still does help amplify the signals and if it “exists”, it definitely deserve a mention in this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review doesn’t it?
I’ve always taken the security protocols offered by a router to be a primary decisive factor when buying or reviewing it. And the protocols not only effect your security, but the speed as well, so let’s see what’s on the table here. The security protocols offered by the NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter are:
- WPA-PSK [TKIP]
- WPA2-PSK [AES]
- WPA-PSK [TKIP} + WPA2-PSK [AES]
- WPA/WPA2 Enterprise
a. WPA-PSK [TKIP]
WPA (Wireless Protected Access) came after WEP and even though it’s not as secure or stable as WPA-2, it’ll make do for most networks. TKIP was introduced along with WAP when WEP became obsolete and extremely vulnerable, but both WPA and TKIP aren’t as secure as they used to be now so I wouldn’t use them if I’ve got other available options. As for speed, these are ancient algorithms and protocols and hence are bound to slow your speed down, the only reason they’re made available is in case your device is as old as these and doesn’t support modern encryption protocols.
b. WPA2-PSK (AES)
It’s one of the most secure connection protocols, considering WPA-2 is the most stable protocol currently and isn’t vulnerable to any known security issues. Bundled up with the AES encryption, which is one of the most secure encryption algorithms right now and is even trusted by the U.S government. The only weakness it shows is to brute-force attack, but that’s something you can prevent by just using a really long, complicated and hard password.
c. WPA-PSK [TKIP} + WPA2-PSK [AES]
It’s a typically called the mixed mode encryption, it can be used when you have devices which aren’t exactly updated and are really ancient but you also need the security that comes with the WPA 2 and AES encryption. Although it’s not as secure as singularly using the latter, because a good enough hacker might still get into your connection by exploiting the weaker pair of the two. Bottomline, all I can say for this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review is that it doesn’t offer a lot of options, but the ones offered are enough.
8. Dynamic QoS
2 One of the best additions to this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT router is its QoS. And in my personal experience, it does justify what it markets. The primary use I found of the QoS was prioritising tasks, for e.g. I can prioritise upstream while gaming, and downstream while downloading or watching videos. This can be done by enabling the “Wi-Fi Multimedia Media” option on the router settings, and this prioritises all the “media” related tasks such as audio, video etc. The good thing about the whole feature is that it comes in pre-built with configurations, and we can simply select options such as “Gaming: Low” “Video: High” so that makes things easy. And, in case you’ve been with routers and understand ports and protocols, they even let you set your own custom rules so that’s another sweet addition.
9. Advanced yet Easy Parental Controls
Even though I don’t have kids yet, I must say the controls there could be a real stressor for my kids if I had any. As for controls, it basically let us specify usage time for each device, or user. Lets us turn on or off the connection, set time limits for specific websites or turn-off time. So in a nutshell, if you’re a parent, this provides you with good enough monarchy (in a good sense) over your kids’ internet access.
10. 1GHz Processor 128 MB Flash Memory and 256 MB RAM
Considering this is a NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review its evident that it’ll be pre-flashed with DD-WRT, which is why the processor’s power is of significance here. In my personal opinion, the router could use slightly more processing power but obviously, Netgear doesn’t know of our intentions and custom firmware use, but either way 1Ghz is more than enough to install or run DD-WRT with ease. And as almost all of us dedicate it to gaming or video-streaming, those are high-resource consumption tasks, but the router seems to handle them well. It’s powered with 128 MB flash memory, and 256 MB Ram, which is slightly lower as compared to the 1.4GHz processor and 512 MB RAM that the Asus 5300 is powered with, but considering the price-range and performance offered, I’m not totally disappointed.
11. TurboQAM Technology
TurboQAM tech makes it possible for the 2.4GHz frequency spatial streams to deliver 200Mbps rather than their usual 150Mbps. When this is multiplied by 3 (number of data streams) the total speed hits 600Mbps. It basically uses QAM-256 instead of QAM-64, in addition to VHT modulation coupled with Coding scheme to increase the speed.
12. Guest Network
Another feature, not so exclusive but still worth a mention in this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review is its guest network feature. It’s a simple feature which allows a guest at your home to access your wireless network with a different set of passwords instead of your primary password. Basically like a guest account on a windows computer. The NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter lets you add guest networks for both the bands i.e. 2.4Ghz and the 5GHz.
13. 2 USB Ports: 2.0 & 3.0
The 2.0 port is located at the back, while the 3.0 flaunts itself on the front of the router. 3 I tested the two USB ports while prepping for this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review and my verdict is it’s one of the strongest suits of the router. Primarily because the connection or detection time is literally less than 5 seconds, and then I attached a 1TB HDD to the router which was easily detected as well (not all routers can detect storage devices of higher capacity). The HDD was instantly available on all devices on the network, so it can be used as a file-sharing option as well. Or it can also be turned into a FTP server for those files to be shared over the internet, although I found advanced security and privacy options which let me control the files and limit access. Apart from that, I copied a file from the device over the network and it provided me with a speed of 12MBps, considering the file was pretty large, I’d say the speed is what I expected.
14. Other Features
When coupled with a 3.0 storage device, it can be turned into a “over the air” storage device and accessed/ read or written from all the compatible devices on the network. The speed measurements were as follows:
- 40MBps writing something on the drive.
- 43 MBps reading.
And both the speeds are more than satisfactory, in fact, better when compared to some of Asus’ routers.
15. Pre-Flashed with DD-WRT
DD-WRT is pre-flashed in the router from Flashrouter, and they even configure it for your NordVPN account in case you provide them the user details while purchasing the router. So that makes it a complete “use out of the box” solution. And frankly, if you read our guide on the Difference between Tomato and DD-WRT you’d understand it’s not so easy installing DD-WRT on your own. So, it’s another bonus in itself that can be added to this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review. So let’s sum up this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review folks.
Here are the features we believe are the best aspects of this router:
- Good speed. (on the 5GHz band).
- Satisfactory range
- TurboQAM technology.
- Dynamic QoS
- Good security protocols.
- Satisfactory Processor/RAM and storage.
Also, it offers some third-party solutions which make it slightly more tempting:
- ReadyShare Vault: Schedule backups for any connected device.
- iOS Kwilt App: Share/search/index pictures using the iOS app.
Although not everything is gold and shiny about this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review so here’s what we feel could be improved:
- No teamed ports: The Ethernet pots can’t be teamed up for increased speed.
- No Mu-Mimo: This technology basically helps us connect to multiple devices, at the same time, at maximum speed.
Both the features are something I personally like but are missing in the Netgear R7000.
Is Lack of MU-MIMO really an Issue?
MU-MIMO is personally important for me, and I believe for you as well if you connect to multiple devices simultaneously. But is MU-MIMO really something you need, or would it really effect your Internet usage? We’ll see.
The full form of MU-MIMO is Multiple User- Multiple Input, Multiple Output. It simply is the feature which creates spatial streams for each device connected to the router.
In simpler words, the total available bandwidth is broken down into equal parts, and each part is delivered individually to each device simultaneously. Without MU-MIMO, the bandwidth delivery isn’t simultaneous, and devices need to wait to get their share of bandwidth.
But is it really a con for the router? Well that would depend on your usage of it. MU-MIMO is only beneficial primarily for “downloads”. So if you’re a gamer, streamer or someone who watches a lot of 4K videos, yes it’ll affect you.
But if you’re a business mostly “Uploading” data, your devices won’t really be affected by the presence, or absence of MU-MIMO.
Additionally, MU-MIMO delivers bandwidth in a more focused, concentrated manner to devices. But even then, devices close to each other still have to share the same stream of bandwidth. Which means if you’re getting the router for an office, or a more concentrated space the lack of MU-MIMO isn’t really an issue.
Let’s wrap this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review up. What’s my take on the NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter? The naked router in itself is pretty feature-rich. The speed is satisfactory (although not the best), and even though I’d have liked a 1.4Ghz processor better, for this price I’d happily take up Netgear on its offer. Couple all the features with the fact that it’s pre-flashed with DD-WRT and NordVPN (optional), I’d say if you’re looking for a fast router, especially for Gaming and Video-streaming and don’t wish to spend a fortune, the NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter is totally the choice to go for.
Do let me know your take on this NordVPN Netgear R7000 DD-WRT FlashRouter review and the features as well.