Netgear R6100 Wi-Fi Router Review – 802.11AC Wireless For Under $100Fri, Dec 20, 2013 - 7:47 AM
Netgear R6100 – Features and Setup
The Netgear R6100 AC1200 Dual Band WiFi Router Fast Ethernet with USB 2.0 comes packaged with a Ethernet cable, power adapter, and an quick install guide. The R6100 is more compact than the previous models – about half the size of Netgear’s flagship router the R6300. In fact, when we first opened the box, I was thinking, “where is the rest of the router?” As you can see in our pictures, the size is much smaller than its bigger brother, the R6300.
Besides having a smaller footprint, the physical design of the R6100 is the same as the R6300 except for the vertical placement, internal antenna, and no wall mount option. The network ports are located on the routers back inside a groove making them slight harder to access especially for those with fat fingers. Also in the groove there is the one USB 2.0 port, a reset hole, and a power on and off button. On the side of the R6100 router there is a WiFi on and off button as well as a WPS button. On the front there are three LEDindicator lights which represent power, internet, and WiFi.
Netgear ships the R6100 with a slightly modified (and upgraded) version of their Netgear GENIE software than we have seen in the past. The look and feel of the firmware is a bit different than what we have experienced with R6300. It is certainly more pleasant to the eye with most all of the same functionality of the version that is currently running in the flagship router.
As with all of their routers, Netgear makes it pretty easy to set up the R6100. The user just needs to plug the router into a power outlet and connect the router’s WAN port to an Internet source using the included network cable. The Ethernet cable even has labels on them that say specifically which end of it should go in to the router and which one should go into the modem.
The Netgear R6100 router is set up to have two encrypted WiFi networks out of the box: one on the 2.4 GHz and also on the 5GHz frequency band which shares the same name and passkey. The name and passkey information is printed on a label on the bottom of the router and will get the user up and running if they choose to use default settings.
We took the time to play around and optimize our router for testing. We were easily able to rename our wireless networks, change the wireless channel, change the type of security settings the router used, etc. We did all of this (and more) by accessing the Netgear Genie interface. The process is exactly like any other router we have looked at and will be no problem for anyone who can turn on a computer. Working with the R6100 will be very familiar to those who have had experience with Netgear or any other router manufacturer. Netgear’s menus are almost exact duplicates of their flagship R6300, but moreover, the menu selection and layout is logical and complete. One of the things that we have enjoyed over the years is the way Netgear presents the vast number of options for their routers. We are pleased that this trend is continuing with their sub-$100 AC router.
The Netgear Genie interface can be accessed from a mobile app available for both Android and iOS or via a web browser. The mobile app only gives the user a limited amount of settings, but the web browser would be the user’s better option seeing how they get more options.
The Netgear R6100 isn’t quite in the “Ultimate Performance” category but it still has all the features of its more expensive sibling, the R6300, including Live Parental controls and the same Ready Share features. The Netgear R6100 Wi-Fi router offers many advance features including: Netgear Genie, MyMedia, AirPrint, Guest Networking and more.
Netgear Genie is a free app for the PC, Mac, as well as iOS and Android smartphones and tablets that enable you to control, monitor, repair and manage your home network easily through a simple, dashboard. Users can actually download the utility at http://www.netgear.com/genie or from the Google Play or App Store.
Netgear ships the R6100 router with the same features as their flagship router. Below is a description of the major features that you will find in the Netgear R6100 User Interface.
- With Netgear’s MyMedia, users can play their music anywhere. MyMedia provides users with the ability to find photos, video or music files anywhere on the network and play them on any DLNA media player.
- Print from your iPad is supported for AirPrint that enables you to print to any USB or networked printer directly from an Apple iPad or iPhone.
- Guest network access: The guest network provides Internet access but prevents other people from seeing and accessing your household’s computers, printers, storage devices and other home network devices.
- Netgear EZ Mobile Connect: This is an easy way to enable a “guest” smartphone or tablet to connect to your home Wi-Fi network, simply by scanning the QR code from the genie WiFi screen without typing in security keys or SSIDs.
- Netgear ReadySHARE USB Access: You can wirelessly access and share USB hard drives via the USB port.
- Media Server-DLNA: The router is DLNA-ready and can stream to any DLNA-compatible device in your house, including the latest smart TVs, Blu-ray players, media players, game consoles, handheld devices, tablets and more.
- Netgear Live Parental Controls: This is a centralized, flexible, and reliable parental control solution for all the devices on the network, including Macs, PCs, smartphones and tablets, for a safe online environment for children and teenagers. No subscription is required.
- Automatic WiFi Security: The router comes with wireless security turned on out-of-the-box, complete with a pre-configured network name and password, protecting home WiFi networks by default.
- Easy installation: There’s no CD required, so you can set up the router with smartphones, tablets, ultrabooks and even a MacBook Air.
Netgear allows the user to upgrade their firmware with a touch of a button. one of the first things that we did was check to see if there were any updates to the firmware that was shipped with the router. Four this review, we used the latest firmware version 188.8.131.52 which you can also get directly from Netgear if you have any problems connecting your router to the internet.
Now that we have completed our tour of the user interface, let’s see how well the R6100 router performs.
Let’s now take a look at the wireless speed and performance.