Netgear RAXE500 is an early entry Wireless 6E The router space, at least on paper, looks like a wireless network powerhouse. It also looks good and is easy to set up—at least in terms of hardware—without connecting an antenna. But as we will see in the test, it struggles a lot on congested networks. Although the price is very high, Netgear will still charge additional fees for ongoing security support.
But before we dive into the details of routers, let’s take a quick look at the cutting-edge Wi-Fi entry: Although Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) still seems to be new, Wi-Fi 6E is the latest generation standard that meets our needs. Wireless data requirements. The names of these standards are certainly confusing, partly because Wi-Fi 6E is also designated as 802.11ax. However, 6E has a potentially faster speed at the 5 GHz frequency. However, the biggest change is a brand new frequency-6 GHz-which should be less crowded, at least until all your neighbors also upgrade their equipment. But don’t expect any of your existing technologies to benefit from 6E. You will not be able to take advantage of these improvements until the device is upgraded to Wi-Fi 6E.Check out our features to learn more The difference between Wi-Fi 6 and 6E.
The design of Netgear RAXE500
The body of the Netgear RAXE500 is made of solid black plastic and is easy to deploy because there is no screw-in antenna on the body. The hardware setup is as simple as spreading two wings-this design undoubtedly saves time and effort. The overall beauty is between the Imperial TIE fighter jet and the ocean manta ray. If you are worried that the number will affect performance, there are a total of 8 antennas hidden inside the wing.
The size of the router is not the largest we have seen, but it is by no means small. Netgear RAXE500 measures 11.7 x 3.07 x 8.3 inches (298 x 78 x 211 mm) and weighs 3.2 pounds (1.45 kg). It feels full, but not too bulky.
The back of the router includes four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, a WAN Gigabit Ethernet port, and a 2.5G Multi-Gig port. Netgear RAXE500 also supports link aggregation of gigabit ports to achieve faster speeds. In order to add network-accessible storage, there is also a pair of USB 3.0 ports.
Netgear RAXE500 specifications
Under its plastic casing, RAXE500 houses a 1.8 GHz quad-core processor, 512MB NAND flash memory and 1GB DDR3 SDRAM. With its powerful hardware and support for Wi-Fi 6E, the router has some impressive speed specifications. We are talking about 2.4 GHz to 1.2 Gbps, 5 GHz to 4.8 Gbps, and 6 GHz to 4.8 Mbps, with a total theoretical bandwidth of 10.8 Gbps. This makes it a tri-band router with three different frequencies.
Netgear’s RAXE500 also includes some lesser-known latest wireless technologies, such as support for 1024-QAM (25% better data efficiency and faster speed than 256-QAM routers), additional DFS channels to reduce interference, and support for WPA3 , And 4X4 MU-MIMO.
Netgear RAXE500 settings
The setup of this router can of course be smoother. We chose the browser, but there are also options for installing and using smartphone apps.
Things started well because the router notified us of the initial settings of the firmware update and started downloading it. After waiting a few minutes on the setup screen, we were told that the upgrade was complete. However, when we return to the router software, the firmware is actually the same version number as when we started. We had to trigger it manually and wait for the upgrade process again. If you are a novice, or just don’t pay close attention, this is really easy to miss. For routers in this price category, we expect better. This feeling we will come back soon.
RAXE500 is indeed secure, but we are disappointed with the extra charge for it, despite the claim that it is “built-in” into the router. After the 30-day trial period, the annual fee is $69.99. The software can work at the network level through a router to scan all traffic and ensure its safety. However, some competitors, especially high-end devices, can provide security at no additional cost. In other words, paying users not only get Bitdefender Security, but also Bitdefender VPN, so if you have to pay for VPN anyway, the price is quite fair.
Netgear RAXE500 performance
|Near 2.4 GHz||2.4 GHz far||Near 5 GHz||5 GHz away|
|Phone test (download/upload)||168/36.7||172/36.7||341/36.8||325/35.6|
We conducted a series of routine tests on RAXE500, starting with looking at throughput. The test was done using an Asus gaming laptop equipped with an Intel WiFi 6 AX201 card. Unfortunately, it does not support WiFi 6E, so we cannot test the performance on the 6 GHz frequency. The 2.4 GHz speed stabilized at 210.3 Mbps in the near-end test and dropped to 160.1 Mbps in the far-end test. The 5 GHz test is even more impressive, with the short-distance test being 1398.5 Mbps, and the long-distance test dropping to 951.8 Mbps.
In order to overcome the lack of WiFi 6E card on the laptop, we used Samsung’s flagship product for further testing Galaxy S21 exceeds 5g. This is performed using the SpeedTest application, which can be measured on the upload and download ends of the speed equation. Although it confirmed the fast throughput of this router, we easily reached the maximum in upload and download at the 5 GHz frequency, because our Internet connection is officially 300/35 connection, usually slightly over-provisioned To ensure bandwidth. This explains that we got 341 Mbps download and 36.8 Mbps upload speed using 6E on the test phone.
|Test configuration||service quality||FRAPS average||minute||Maximum||8k dropped frames||Pingplotter spike||Delay (Overwatch)|
|Ethernet||Do not||142.83||119||184||not applicable||0||68|
|Ethernet + 10 8k videos||Do not||21.88||0||83||42.20%||16||288|
|5 gigahertz||Do not||121.15||101||158||not applicable||0||183|
|5 GHz + 10 8k videos||Do not||13.28||0||44||37.20%||2||243|
|2.4GHz||Do not||112.55||106||118||not applicable||0||187|
|2.4 GHz + 10 8k videos||Do not||31.68||0||110||39.20%||12||123|
Network congestion tests show that RAX500 can really benefit from the implementation of strong Quality of Service (QoS), which allows routers to prioritize traffic to smooth gameplay and allow smooth video playback.
When this router is in a non-congested environment, for example, when connected via Ethernet without background video, our game Overwatch A substantial 142.83 FPS was achieved without Pingplotter spikes (which means dropout).We still have 68 milliseconds of game delay Overwatch.
However, coupled with congestion, in our example, ten 8K YouTube videos saturated our Optimum Online cable connection, and the game’s FPS dropped sharply to 21.88 FPS, and even dropped to 0 FPS during the game—it basically became A frozen game. Confirming the congestion, during our short game session, the PingPlotter peak reached a very high 16 and the frame loss rate of 8K video was as high as 37.2%.
A similar situation was created every time for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz radio frequencies, with a minimum FPS of zero and a high frame loss rate for 8K video.
We ended up experiencing an impressive raw throughput, but the congestion test showed a significant drop in performance. Of course, we want to know if there is a problem with this particular router (whether it is hardware or firmware). But after we got in touch with the second version of Netgear RAXE500, the situation has not really improved.
We set it up again, including updating to the latest firmware version, and passing another round of testing and verification. Due to the lack of QoS, we replicated the results again. The game got stuck in both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz network congestion tests, this time with more than 50% frame loss on 8K video. Ouch.
We expect RAXE500 to have better performance, and that is before we consider the price. Although continuing issues related to Covid-19 have indeed raised the prices of many products, RAXE500’s suggested retail price of US$599 and market price of US$529 make it stable at the high end of the high-end consumer router category. Early adopters often pay exorbitant fees for bragging privileges.But in this case, you will pay twice the price of a rugged mid-range router, mainly to be able to tell your friends and relatives that you have A sort of 6 GHz wireless network.
Even if this is important to you, remember that even Wi-Fi 6 devices will not connect on the 6 GHz frequency unless they specifically support Wi-Fi 6E. Currently, such devices are rare, mainly including recent high-end mobile phones. Therefore, you may not use 6E networks too much, because most of your devices will still stay on the 5 GHz band. To make matters worse, for such an expensive router, RAXE500 lacks some of the functions that we think are quite basic in high-end routers, such as QoS for better flow control and security without additional annual fees.
In general, Netgear RAXE500 is a cutting-edge product, and I feel that it needs more work. Maybe it was introduced to the market in a hurry, but it just lacks the high-end performance that a router of this level should provide. For now, this is a glimpse of the promise of next-generation Wi-Fi 6E wireless technology with high throughput scores, but when we tested performance in a crowded environment, this promise proved to be hollow. According to our results, we do not recommend buying this router, but we can’t wait to see how the next wave of WiFi 6E routers will perform. The company has overcome these 6E tribulations.