Last updated: 11/22/2015
Our Netgear AC1750 router rating:
Netgear AC1750 at a glance
This router – the first router that I can really call my own – beats the pants off any combo router/modem device I used to rent! There’s no discernible signal degradation over WiFi, no deadzones, I never get disconnected while gaming, and heck, it’s even better-looking than my previous routers.
Why I didn’t just rent another router
For years, I just accepted whatever combo router/model device my ISP would rent to me for about $10 a month and called it good. In my Frontier FIOS house, this meant I had a large dead zone in the kitchen and dining room (which I tried to fight with range extenders, but they all fell short in various ways). In my previous Comcast Xfinity apartment, this meant frequent disconnects while playing Wii U and PS4 games in the living room and slow uploads from the bedroom furthest from the router.
BUT THOSE DAYS ARE GONE NOW!
In my current Wave G apartment, I was given the choice of renting a router or supplying my own. I decided it was time to buy a performance router and see if any of my usual grievances went away. There was a lot to pick from, but I chose the Netgear AC1750 because of it’s price point and 4.5 star rating on Amazon – and oh wow, it is ever awesome.
- Excellent range: I get signal down the hallway and even pretty outside my apartment – the range on this thing is huge
- Instant guest network: a completely separate network (with or without a password of its own) for guests so they aren’t on “my” network, for that added bit of peace of mind and privacy
- Beamforming technology “locks on” to every connected device to focus signal strength in the direction of the device, even as I roam around carrying the device
- Simultaneous dual band: two side-by-side networks for speed and less interference (one is 2.4GHz, the other is 5GHz)
- Prioritizes certain types of network traffic to reduce occurrences of video buffering, gaming disconnects
- Price point is pretty sweet: if your broadband provider charges for router rental (or a combination router/modem), this router will likely pay for itself in about a year
- You can disable almost all of the on-unit LED lights!!
- 802.11 AC: AC is the latest wireless standard and 3x faster than wireless N (your older wireless stuff is still supported)
- Built-in ReadySHARE makes it easy to share a USB printer and/or a USB external hard drive over your network
- Well-organized admin control panel looks modern and even has an easy-to-remember url (routerlogin.net)
- Higher upfront cost than taking whatever your ISP will rent you, at least for a while (I’ll break even in about 15 months)
- It’s a bit bigger than your typical router (or router/modem combo) at 11.2″ wide
- Few real cons, this router is a beast
Netgear AC1750 Review
Unboxing and setup took about 5 minutes and was completely effortless on my part, aside from plugging things in and finding space for the router.
I use my NETGEAR AC1750 with Wave G (formerly known as Condo Internet), so I don’t actually have a modem in my apartment – just an Ethernet port in the wall to plug my router into. If you already have a combo router/modem device from your ISP, you can disable the router features on your combo device and use your combo device as a modem.
Look and feel
It looks cool (in my opinion, anyway) and its design allows for wall mounting. It’s a bit large at 11.22″ at its widest.
The best feature here, though, is the feature that lets you turn off all the LED lights across the front. I sleep in the same room as my router and I want those lights OFF! (Actually, I just want them off no matter where the router is placed in my home. I hate seeing the little flickering lights out of the corner of my eye no matter where I am.)
I used to cover my router with a bag to cover the lights, which I didn’t like doing because most routers tend to get very warm when covered. The ability to turn lights off is just a win all around.
A router’s WiFi range depends on a lot of things, including interference from other devices nearby or on the same network and the construction materials that exist between your router and your device.
In my current 480 sq. ft. studio apartment, it’s easy to say that this thing has excellent range – but I haven’t forgotten the dead zones I used to struggle with in my 2200 sq. ft. home or my U-shaped 1100 sq. ft. apartment.
I can go several hundred feet from my window outside and up two floors in my building before I see my WiFi signal drop off. I’m on my network as in the parking garage under my unit, where presumably there is a bulk of concrete between me and the router.
Mostly what I care about is not losing signal as I move about my apartment, which my previous apartments/routers had trouble with. With this router, I can go all the way into the bathroom (with the kitchen and all its walls/appliances between the router and me) and not lose any signal strength.
Most routers just emit signal in all directions. Netgear’s “Beamforming” technology locks on to connected devices and focuses signal in their direction, even as the device moves around. The result: a faster, more stable connection. Netgear’s own 4 minute video below explains it nicely:
Netgear Genie app
Here’s an unexpected plus: Netgear offers an iOS and Android app called “Netgear Genie” so you can manage your network through your phone. As I increasingly use my phone for more things (and my computer for fewer things) this app is a nice bonus.
The app (which is free) is well laid-out and has all the menus I’d expect to find by logging into my router through my desktop. My only gripes here are minor: the graphics are dated and the app is somewhat slow to populate its data, but these things are forgivable in light of the convenience of having all this stuff on my phone.
Two networks in parallel
This router emits two “parallel” WiFi networks: one is 2.4GHz (which is better at range) and one is 5GHz (which is better at speed).
Generally speaking, the 5GHz band experiences less noise, faster speeds, and fewer disconnects, but the tradeoff is a shorter wireless range. The 2.4GHz band is often described as crowded because many devices, like wireless keyboards/mice, cordless phones, and microwaves operate on that band. The 2.4GHz band is still (usually) better at wireless range, though.
For many environments, the best choice is to put all devices on the 5GHz network and enjoy. However, in doing this research I found that for some people in some environments, performance can actually be worse on 5GHz (for a variety of reasons). This is why I think it’s good to have a router that offers both, so that if one band doesn’t work out you can switch to the other band.
In my own home, I put my phone on the 2.4GHz network so that I can roam around with little fear of losing signal. My gaming systems, though, are on the 5GHz band because they sit right next to the router and wireless performance is important to their use.
More articles on the 2.4GHz/5GHz topic:
- Here’s why you should use 5GHz WiFi instead of 2.4GHz (pocketnow.com)
- Differences between 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless (tp-link.com)
Netgear AC1750 vs. Netgear Nighthawk AC1900
Somewhat confusingly, Netgear offers two pretty similar router models: the AC1750 and the AC1900, also called the “Nighthawk”.
I debated the Netgear AC1750 vs. the similar-looking and cooler-named Netgear “Nighthawk” AC1900 before I ultimately just went with the 1750 because the additional $50 in price (at the time) only netted two real differences over the 1750:
- Nighthawk has a slightly faster processor (1GHz vs. 800 MHz)
- Nighthawk has a slightly faster max WiFi speed (1900Mbps vs. 1750Mbps).
That’s really all that is different (besides the cooler name). Those things didn’t really sway me into paying an additional $50, but the price on the Nighthawk fluctuates, so if you see it at a price you like you might as well grab it and enjoy the slightly faster processor and WiFi speeds.
The bottom line
It’s a fantastic router, hands down. I would recommend this router to anyone who has been frustrated by slow wireless speeds or dead zones in their house. I wish I had one of these a few years ago when I lived in a larger house. Setup was painless and the thing seems designed to handle the demands of multiple devices trying to simultaneously stream video and play online games.
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