The Netgear R6300 was one of the first 802.11ac routers available to buy in the UK. It stands as the company’s flagship 'ultimate performance' home router, and offers most of the features you’d expect from a comprehensive home hub. It’s a dual-band 11ac router with four-port gigabit switch and gigabit WAN port. Read more wireless router reviews.

The R6300 is also the largest router we’ve ever tested, standing over 8in tall and stretching even wider sideways to 10 inches. Unlike some routers that are as at home on their sides, the Netgear R6300 is designed only for standing upright on its integral flat foot. See also: Group test: what's the best wireless router?

On the right side is a handy Wi-Fi on/off switch, and a button for Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), for automated pairing to devices. See also: Group test: what's the best modem router?

On the front the NETGEAR name shines in the centre and we couldn’t find any way to switch off the company’s always-on advertising.

Two USB ports are available, one on the side, one behind, and like most router manufacturers, Netgear has scrimped by providing the slower USB 2.0 version.

Netgear R6300 front and side

Again, like others, Netgear has moved to a more user-friendly graphical look for its admin interface, which it calls Netgear Genie. From here you can readily find the setup wizard to first configure the router, and the various settings for QoS, port filtering, port forwarding, security and other optional administration tasks.

There’s also a good iPhone app, and a proper full-size iPad version too, that allows useful feedback on router status as well as some configuration options.

We tested the performance in 5GHz 802.11ac mode at short ranges of 3m as well as over a 10m span.

At 3m, the R6300 could average data transfers of around 466Mbps. It's obviously well below the advertised ‘speeds of up to 1300 Mbps’, but it's in line with other 11ac routers available at the moment.

Tested at the 10m range, the Netgear R6300 lost a little speed. We saw an average of 362Mbps. Used in 5GHz 11n mode, the Netgear allowed strong connections to be made, and was a good performer compared with its 11ac rivals.

Original review from Andrew Harrison on next page.

Buffalo Technology was the first to launch an 802.11ac wireless router in the UK. But Netgear was very close behind with its Netgear R6300. Read more wireless router reviews.

The Netgear R6300 now stands as the company’s new flagship 'ultimate performance' home router, and offers most of the features you’d expect from a comprehensive home hub.

It has essentially the same functionality as the Buffalo AirStation 1750 – it’s a dual-band 11ac router with four-port gigabit switch and gigabit WAN port.

Netgear R6300: Features

The Netgear R6300 is also the largest router we’ve ever tested, standing over 8in tall and stretching even wider sideways to 10 inches. Unlike some routers that are as at home on their sides, the Netgear R6300 is designed only for standing upright on its integral flat foot. 

The finish is all shiny black plastic, smooth and obsidian glass-like to the front, and perforated with hundreds of small triangles across the back and the bevelled sides. Routers can run a little warm so these holes should allow plenty of useful ventilation.

That triangle theme continues with two buttons on the right side: a handy Wi-Fi on/off switch, and a button for Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), for automated pairing to devices.

Viewed from the side, you can see how the Netgear R6300 is angled backward slightly in a rakish manner. And from the front, the router resembles a small black TV or monitor, with the NETGEAR name shining in the centre in bright white lights like a TV broadcaster’s logo. We found the effect quite disconcerting, and couldn’t find any way to switch off the company’s always-on advertising. 

Netgear R6300 front and side, with all the angular style of a stealth bomber

Two USB ports are available, one on the side, one behind, and like Buffalo, Netgear has scrimped by only issuing the slower USB 2.0 version.

Inside, the Netgear is based on very similar components as the Buffalo, centering on a Broadcom BCM4360 wireless chipset for the 5GHz band. 

Netgear R6300: Software

Netgear has a more consumer-focused graphical look for its admin interface, which it calls Netgear Genie. From here you can readily find the setup wizard to first configure the router, and the various settings for QoS, port filtering, port forwarding, security and other optional administration tasks. 

There’s also a good iPhone app, and a proper full-size iPad version too, that allows useful feedback on router status as well as some configuration options.

The full web browser interface does not offer the same low-level tweaks as the Buffalo AirStation, but focuses on the adjustments that most people would need. Put another way, you’re less likely to render the device not working by mishandling the settings.

Netgear R6300: Peformance

We tested the performance in 5GHz 802.11ac mode at short ranges of 1m, and less, as well as over a 9m span through two thin plaster walls. 

Netgear does not offer a dedicated wireless bridge model like Buffalo; instead we used a second Netgear R6300 router as the receiving client, and configured it from its admin interface for wireless bridge mode.

That’s not as straightforward as it sounds, as the required setting is buried deep within one of the Advanced settings pages, hidden behind a radio button labelled ‘Use other operating mode’. 

At 1m distant, the Netgear R6300 could average data transfers of around 400 Mbps. Best, if impractical, results were found when that span was reduced to 0.4m, which hit a maximum of 480 Mbps. That just exceeds the best-case results we recorded from Buffalo’s AirStation 1750 of 462 Mbps, but are obviously still well below the advertised ‘speeds of up to 1300 Mbps’.

Tested at the 9m range, the Netgear R6300 lost little of its close-range speed. We saw speeds averaging 391 Mbps, with one measurement even returning 411 Mbps.

Used in 5GHz 11n mode with a MacBook Pro Retina, the Netgear allowed strong connections to be made, with OS X indicating a steady and consistent Transmit Rate of 450, and real-world performance of around 300 Mbps.

Verdict:

The Netgear R6300 is a well-featured home wireless router with good performance in 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n modes. In 802.11ac mode it was marginally faster than the similar Buffalo AirStation 1750, although anyone expecting close to gigabit speed will still be disappointed. At around £200, it’s considerably more expensive than the £120 Buffalo although it’s a little more user friendly and is more stable in operaion.

Netgear R6300: Specs

  • Dual-band 11ac wireless router
  • 802.11b/g/n/ac
  • concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios
  • 1x gigabit WAN port
  • 4x gigabit LAN ports
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi off and WPS buttons
  • WEP/WPA/WPA2
  • TCP/IP, RIP-1, RIP-2, DHCP, PPPoE, PPTP, Bigpond, Dynamic DNS, UPnP, and SMB
  • 12V DC power adaptor
  • 205 x 255 x 77mm
  • 654g
  • Dual-band 11ac wireless router
  • 802.11b/g/n/ac
  • concurrent 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios
  • 1x gigabit WAN port
  • 4x gigabit LAN ports
  • 2x USB 2.0
  • Wi-Fi off and WPS buttons
  • WEP/WPA/WPA2
  • TCP/IP, RIP-1, RIP-2, DHCP, PPPoE, PPTP, Bigpond, Dynamic DNS, UPnP, and SMB
  • 12V DC power adaptor
  • 205 x 255 x 77mm
  • 654g

OUR VERDICT

The R6300 is a well-featured home wireless router with good performance in 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11n modes. In 802.11ac mode it was decent, although anyone expecting close to gigabit speed will still be disappointed. At around £200, it’s more expensive than some of its rivals.

Find the best price