Netgear Nighthawk MK63

Network

Netgear Nighthawk MK63

Pros

  • The Nighthawk app works fine
  • Reasonable plug-and-play system
  • Additional security is to be created with Netgear Armor – which also looks for vulnerabilities
  • Decent coverage

Cons

  • No possibility to hang the boxes ‘easily’
  • The plastic from the MK60 router/satellites attracts dust
Netgear Nighthawk MK63 Review

Introduction

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!

Specifications

In this case, we start with Netgear’s video about the MK63.

The specifications are as follows:

WiFi Coverage:
~300m2

Uplink & Downlink OFDMA§
Improved capacity and efficiency

Simultaneous Dual-band
WiFi 6 AX1800 (1200 + 600Mbps)

Explicit Beamforming
2.4GHz & 5GHz bands

MU-MIMO capable
for simultaneous data streaming

Powerful Qual-Code 1.5GHz processor

Ports
One (1) WAN 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet port &
One (1) LAN 10/100/1000Mbps Gigabit Ethernet port

Memory
128MB Flash and 256MB RAM

Security
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.

Unpacking

It is time to unpack the set!

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

Of course, Netgear supplies the necessary manuals, adapters, and one network cable with the MK63.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

In any case, the router requires two cables (adapter and network cable), and the rest can do with one cable (adapter).

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

The router and satellites all look the same. You can see the difference at the back.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

Software

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!

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

Through the app, you can scan the QR code found on the satellite (sticker).

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

Some things are explained via the menu, about connecting the cable to the network and placing the satellites.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

After scanning the QR code, the app will ask if you want to connect to the router.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

Just log in and the app proceeds with the installation of the MK63.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK 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!

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63
NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

When new firmware is available, it can be installed within minutes. In any case, it is quite fast.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

Just rebooting takes you to the Nighthawk app, which has a fair number of options.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63
NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63
NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63
NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

Through WiFi Settings and Guest WiFi, the WiFi settings can be adjusted.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63
NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63 NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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).

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

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.

NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK MK63

Conclusion

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.

Let’s start a discussion

Want to discuss with us: click here for Reddit and here for Discord.

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