Netgear is a familiar name to many. In addition to the MK63, Netgear has also launched the Nighthawk AX12. A futuristic WiFi 6 Router. What options does this one have? Let’s take a closer look at the Nighthawk AX12!
In this case, we start with Netgear’s video about the Nighthawk AX12.
And another small movie about the Netgear Armor capabilities.
WiFi 6 (802.11ax) Tri-Band WiFi (AX11000)
2,4 GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40 MHz, tot 1,2 Gbps
5 GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40/80/160 MHz, up to 4,8 Gbps
5 GHz AX: 4×4 (Tx/Rx) 1024 QAM 20/40/80/160 MHz, up to 4,8 Gbps
Compatible with 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WiFi
WiFi coverage for very large homes
Eight (8) hidden antennas are pre-optimized for the best WiFi performance
Gigabit WiFi connection for devices supporting 160MHz bandwidth
Beamforming+—increases the speed, reliability, and range of WiFi connections at 2.4 and 5 GHz
Number of Ethernet ports
Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports + one (1) 2.5 G/1 Gbps multi-Gig port (configurable)
LAN 4 x GbE (2x port aggregation LAN) + 2.5 G/1 Gbps multi-Gig port (configurable)
WAN: 1 GbE or 2.5 G/1 Gbps multi-Gig port (configurable)
Multi-gig Ability to aggregate two Gigabit LAN ports and two (configurable) Gigabit WAN ports simultaneously
Number of USB ports
Two (2) USB 3.0 ports
The powerful 64-bit 1.8-GHz Quad-Core processor provides smooth 4K/8K UHD streaming and gaming — ideal for Gigabit Internet speeds
1.2 + 4.8 + 4.8 Gbps with 12-stream connectivity**
Ability to aggregate two Gigabit LAN ports and two Gigabit WAN ports (configurable) for maximum internet speeds
1024-QAM offers 25% more data efficiency and faster speeds than a 256-QAM router
USB 3.0 port up to 10x faster than USB 2.0
Multi-Gig 2.5G Ethernet port with 2.5x wired speed of a standard Gigabit Ethernet port for LAN or Internet connectivity
OFDMA gives you more WiFi for more devices by enabling efficient data transfers simultaneously. §
MU-MIMO ‡ with 8 streams allows up to four (4) 2×2 devices to simultaneously stream content using 2 5GHz bands
ReadySHARE® USB access — wirelessly access and share USB hard drives via two (2) USB ports
Ease of use
Smart Connect intelligently selects the fastest WiFi band for each device connection. One WiFi name for the whole house
Nighthawk app for easy router setup and more, including remote management of the network when you are away from home
WiFi 6 supports all current WiFi devices and is backward compatible with WiFi 5 and older devices
Control the NETGEAR network with simple voice commands with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
NETGEAR ArmorTM – Advanced cyber threat protection for your home and your connected devices
Manage content and time online, on any device, with Circle ® Parental Controls
Secure home network access and internet connection from VPN-enabled mobile devices on PC, Mac, and iOS and Android devices with the OpenVPN Connect app
Separate and secure network for guests
Automatic firmware updates and the latest security patches are delivered to the router
WPA3 support, the latest and advanced WiFi security protocol
This product is covered by a NETGEAR 1-year limited hardware warranty.
It is time to unpack the Netgear Nighthawk AX12.
Still funny to see, at the bottom right it says: “Quad-core 1.8 GHz Processor”. How times are changing that there is a (and yes it’s been a while, I know) quad-core processor in your router.
Well, once the spaceship has been unpacked, it’s time to check things out.
Included with the Nighthawk AX12 is an adapter, with two different plugs, and a UTP cable. Of course, the manual is also included.
One thing I do find a bit special is that only one network cable is included. It is nice that you can connect your router to your modem. Congratulations, you now have internet… But then? Conclusion: make sure you have some cables lying around!
By the way, it’s not a very small adapter either… 😀
Netgear also targets the gamer with the Nighthawk series. The shape of the Nighthawk can come straight out of a Star Wars movie. I like it.
The fact that the router is also completely black also has something to do with it.
The sides can be set up. Both have four cables running through the ‘antennas’. By putting the sides upright and sliding them down, they sit neatly in place.
This mechanism also ensures that the antennas/sides do not just fall inwards. So now there is also no way to fold it back in without lifting it.
Isn’t that nice, we have the router’s rear panel and the options/connection options. The cool thing about the router is that it has a 2.5GbE network connection. In addition, the link aggregation allows 2x 1GbE to be linked together for faster data throughput.
The LED lights are located just above the UTP ports. These can be turned off with a switch.
Let’s face it, the router costs just under €400. Let’s face it, the router costs just under €400. For that amount of money, it should have a more reasonable design than the standard Nighthawk R700.
A nice addition to the AX12/RAX200 is that it has an option at the bottom to hang the router to a wall. Something the MK63 does not have.
With a quad-core, you also expect a lot of noise from the fan. I can tell you, the fan can only be heard when booting up the router. After that, I didn’t hear noise from the fan again.
The status LEDs are located above the fan.
In my previous reviews of Netgear, 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 a crash happened, while this happened regularly with the previous apps. In that respect, that is a positive point for Netgear.
Where I wrote in my previous Netgear reviews about the lack of 2-factor authentication, which is now possible 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!
You can scan the QR code on the sticker on the router/box via the app.
It searches for the router and an attempt is made to establish a connection.
In the prompt, you will be asked to connect to the router. Then the connection is made from the phone directly to the router.
Now that the app knows that it is the spaceship, it will further check and configure it.
It is time to create a network. Since I am also already using a Netgear Nighthawk MK63 (Netgear1 and Netgear2), this will be Netgear3. In addition, an admin account can be set up with which you can log in to the router (also directly via the browser).
In this case, there is no real 2-factor authentication available yet. But, by filling in these questions a little creatively, the chance is also quite small that one can simply fill in the answers.
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.
So, the update and installation are done!
Let’s start with the ‘Device Manager’. All connected ‘products’ can be viewed via this menu. The names can be changed to suit your needs (e.g. Ricardo’s iPhone) and internet access can be restricted with a switch.
The cool thing about the newer products from Netgear is that Netgear Armor (collaboration with Bitdefender) continuously scans the network for vulnerabilities. Advice is given to strengthen the WiFi password (if it is not strong enough), enable parental controls, etc.
In addition, scores and logs are kept with the security level within your network.
This allows the Nighthawk Rax200 to perform port scans using the Netgear Armor. The results can of course also be read in the Nighthawk app on your phone.
The only downside to the Netgear Armor is that it doesn’t come ‘free’ with the router (except for a temporary license). You need to purchase a separate license for this. And that is quite expensive on a router of ~400 euros. It would have been nicer to be able to use it right away for a year.
“Armor completed a vulnerability scan on Apple TV streaming device and no issues were found.”
A SpeedTest can be started via the ‘Internet Speed’ menu. Under the tab history, you can look at the ‘log’ of previous tests.
If you have Ziggo, you also know right away that your speed tests differ – it depends enormously on what your neighborhood does. The second test should be it (tested another day).
The WiFi settings can be adjusted via WiFi Settings and Guest WiFi.
Via the app, there is also a possibility to set a traffic meter, which causes the router to ‘shut down’ the connection after reaching the limit. Of course, you can also monitor your usage.
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 ensures that you can manage from outside your network (if this is enabled).
Now that we have gone through the app, it should be clear that Netgear with the Nighthawk also wants to help the ‘normal’ user with the necessary options. Should you still really want to further fine-tune your system, you still need to surf to the IP address of the router via the browser. Then there are a lot of additional options to adjust.
As a Ziggo user, I used to stick to a Ziggo modem. I had coverage until the end of the room and then YouTube and even web pages started buffering/loading. As a result, I spent more time on my 4g/5g with my phone than on my fixed internet. That is frustrating, especially if you are someone who occasionally wants to walk around while doing Facetime or the like. “hey mom….” *connecting* “awww !#%@&”
With the Netgear Nighthawk AX12, I can walk across the apartment and even (I live 5 stories up) log onto my network from the car on the street.
The Netgear Nighthawk AX12 has a hue range and enough connections to set up your network to your liking.
If you live in an apartment, the AX12 gives enough coverage (provided you place it in a somewhat logical place, of course).
The only thing I regret is the ask price for the router. If 50 to 90 euros goes off, it feels just a little more ‘justified’ in my opinion. Convenience also comes with a price, of course. And you can see that in the Netgear AX12. The router works properly and has an easy app (can even be managed via the browser for more options). Even, if you want, you can manage things remotely via the app.
I think it’s a shame that Netgear Armor is not given for a year. I would have liked to see a ~400+ router with a one-year license. To spend 40/50 euros again feels a bit ‘lame’. For that, you do have a system that has enough possibilities. Also as a file share through the USB 3.0 ports.
The Netgear AX12 is ideal for a busy household that all need one router. The router is strong enough to handle everything. The possibilities for parental control, also ensure that the network can be managed. And the Nighthawk Armor also provides security. I am very impressed with the ease and capabilities of both security and management.
The fact that the Netgear AX12 has options for a 2.5 GbE network connection and link aggregation, ensures that you can get the most out of a NAS. You don’t just have to buy an extra switch for this. A lot of Synology’s ‘nowadays’ NAS devices are getting support for 2.5GbE – which QNAP has been doing for a while. This means you are less likely to run into a 1GbE limitation. And that is a bizarre difference for file transfer. That also provides more space during streaming.
The Netgear AX12/RAX200 gets 4 out of 5 stars from me.
Let’s fly away — to another review!