Netgear is a well-known name for many, even today they are entering the WiFi 6 market with the new MK63. A mesh system to provide your entire house with internet. You can read how this works here!
In this case, we start with Netgear’s video about the MK63.
The specifications are as follows:
Uplink & Downlink OFDMA§
Improved capacity and efficiency
WiFi 6 AX1800 (1200 + 600Mbps)
2.4GHz & 5GHz bands
for simultaneous data streaming
Powerful Qual-Code 1.5GHz processor
One (1) WAN 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet port &
One (1) LAN 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet port
128MB Flash and 256MB RAM
NETGEAR Armor™ – Advanced cyber threat protection for your home and your connected devices*. Standards-based WiFi Security (802.11i, 128-bit AES encryption with PSK). Guest WiFi Network is easy to set up separate & secure Internet access for guests. WPA3-Personal provides more robust password-based authentication even when your password is not very strong. Secure Boot ensures that only trusted firmware can be used on the hardware and blocks unauthorized firmware tampering.
Push Button WPS/SYNC support.
It is time to unpack the set!
Of course, Netgear supplies the necessary manuals, adapters, and one network cable with the MK63.
In any case, the router requires two cables (adapter and network cable), and the rest can do with one cable (adapter).
The router and satellites all look the same. You can see the difference at the back.
Neat-looking devices if I do say so myself.
The top is designed to dissipate heat nicely. And it is therefore advisable to leave the top open. There will eventually be some heat.
At the bottom, there are no further connections or possibilities to hang the Nighthawks. In my opinion, this is a shortcoming.
The back end is fairly similar on all three. The only extra thing the router has is an internet connection – which connects to the router.
The Ethernet connection can be used for a switch or directly wired to a computer or the like. The satellites both also have an Ethernet connection that can be used to provide internet access to another device.
All three also have a sync button and there is also a possibility to reset the devices using a paper clip.
The LEDs on the MK63 indicate the current status of the MK63.
If all goes well, these should be blue. If this is not the case, you can read below what the causes could be.
Pulsing white: The router LED pulses white for one of the following reasons:
• You connected the power adapter to the router. Now the router is booting and attempting to sync with the satellite.
• You pressed the Sync button and the router is attempting to sync with the satellite.
• You pressed the Reset button and the router is reset to its factory default settings.
Solid blue: The router finished booting, is connected to the Internet, and is working normally. This color stays on all the time if the router is working normally.
Solid amber: The router is unable to connect to the Internet.
Pulsing amber: The router’s firmware is corrupted.
In my previous reviews, I mainly focused on Netgear Insight. In this case, let’s take a quick look at the Netgear Nighthawk app.
In this case, I used the iOS app, which worked quite well – not once I had a crash, while this happened regularly with the previous apps.
Where I wrote in my previous Netgear reviews about the lack of 2-factor authentication, this is now an option with the Nighthawk app! In my opinion, Netgear has made decent strides in terms of security.
Time to get started with the Netgear Nighthawk app!
Through the app, you can scan the QR code found on the satellite (sticker).
Some things are explained via the menu, about connecting the cable to the network and placing the satellites.
After scanning the QR code, the app will ask if you want to connect to the router.
Just log in and the app proceeds with the installation of the MK63.
The app also indicates whether the other satellites have been found. The network data can then be further personalized, with a self-chosen SSID and password.
Then the admin account can be created. In the newer versions, 2-factor authentication can also be set, of course, a warm welcome!
You can also quickly log in via the Apple TouchID or FaceID.
Security questions are always a thing. But, luckily this has now been improved with a ‘good’ 2FA.
The system reboots itself and pushes the data.
Now it’s time to search for the new SSID and then enter the correct (self-specified) password.
Next, the app checks whether new firmware is available.
When new firmware is available, it can be installed within minutes. In any case, it is quite fast.
Just rebooting takes you to the Nighthawk app, which has a fair number of options.
Let’s start with the ‘Device Manager’. This menu shows all connected ‘products’. For example, the names can be changed as desired (e.g. iPhone from Ricardo) and access to the internet can be cut off with a switch.
A SpeedTest can be started via the ‘Internet Speed’ menu. Under the tab history, you can look at the ‘log’ of previous tests.
The Network Map option illustrates how the network is divided in terms of satellites. When additional MK60s are added, they may eventually be added via a backhaul, but also via the 5GHz network.
It also shows which device is connected to which satellite/router. In addition, the icon and the name of the intended device can be changed.
Through WiFi Settings and Guest WiFi, the WiFi settings can be adjusted.
Through the app, there is also an option to set a traffic meter, which causes the router to ‘kill’ the connection after reaching the limit.
Some other things can be adjusted via the left menu (top left). Here too you can go through all the settings again (as above) – only a bit more clearly.
You can also choose whether you want to have Anywhere Access on via the app. This allows you to manage your network from outside (should this be turned on).
Now that we have gone through the app in this way, it should be clear that Netgear also wants to help the ‘normal’ user with the Nighthawk with the necessary options. If you want to further refine your system, you still have to surf to the IP address of the router via the browser. Then there are a lot of extra options to adjust.
One big disadvantage I had in my house is that I was dependent on one router. Even a Ziggo router with a range of nothing… But, I’m used to that from Ziggo by now.
For example, I regularly walked into my kitchen where I had no internet ‘again’. In fact… I live in a small apartment, where I walked out of the living room (where the Ziggo router is located) and immediately had problems with a YouTube video or FaceTime conversation. Both started buffering right away. Like walking into an underground bunker. With the MK63 that is over. Bridge the Ziggo modem and let the MK63 do all the work. Your internet really improves on that.
So I have internet throughout the house… I now walk through the house with a FaceTime call or YouTube video, without it starting to buffer. After all, it works without any problems, and that’s nice.
One disadvantage of the router and satellites is that they attract quite a bit of dust. Over time, there was quite a fair amount of dust on the housing.
If you have a router yourself and you are looking for a bridged mesh network, I can recommend this MK63 set. I bridged the MK63 with my Netgear RAX200 router so that it only transfers the data. Other than that, the MK63 does ‘nothing’. That too works well in my opinion.
Even if you want to stream series within your home from a NAS that is wired to the RAX200. Even letting several people Livestream on 4K is no problem.
I have been running the Netgear Nighthawk MK63 for quite a few months now. And I must confess that with all my ‘consumption’ – even wireless – I am quite impressed. It’s just really fast. The limit of the downloads was in most cases just the 500Mbit download speed I have, resulting in a small 55MB/s download. In this case, my download speed is a limitation. When I’m on the other side of my apartment – it drops to about 35MB/s. And I think that’s pretty neat for a mesh network with even a wireless satellite.
Nice that Netgear has added a 2FA option. For example, a ‘not too technical user’, who uses the same password for everything in the house, can also apply just a little extra security to his network. Furthermore, I like the Nighthawk app very much. It is organized clearly and abstractly. This is also ideal for a family that doesn’t want to spend too much time tuning the network and settings. Just put down and play. Kids are on the computer or console while the parents are streaming movies. That works perfectly with the MK63!
One thing is certain in my view, the Netgear Nighthawk MK63 are just very nice boxes. They are fast enough to serve a household with streaming and are also easy to operate, via the browser or the app.
Altogether, it is purely a device for people who are looking for convenience. An administrator who wants to tweak even further will not be happy in this case.
Netgear Nighthawk MK63 is in my opinion a good and fast mesh solution and therefore scores 5 out of 5 stars.