If you don’t need all the bells and whistles that come with the most recent devices (typically AC1750 ), then the Netgear AC1200 R6220 dual-band wireless router is an excellent option. It’s true that the R6220 is designed with people in small apartments and a modest number of connected devices in mind, but does that still hold true today? Without even realizing it, the number of devices in our homes that rely on a stable wireless connection grows each year as yet another ‘common’ device’smartens up’ and can be connected to the WiFi network.
While it’s true that the requirements of a home network have increased, few WiFi adapters support the most recent technologies; consequently, the R6220 should still provide adequate wireless performance (and, if the number of clients is large, you could always look into the Nighthawk series).
Entry-level routers don’t have a lot of competition, and it’s great to see either brand-new devices (like the pcWRT and the TP-Link Archer C1200) or products that have stood the test of time (like the Netgear AC1200 R6220), so let’s take a closer look to see if it still has what it takes to meet modern needs.
You won’t find the dynamic, angular design of the Nighthawk series in the Netgear AC1200 R6220 (it’s from the Smart WiFi family), instead, you’ll find a more conservative router with a smaller rectangular plastic body on top covered by a black glossy finish (that easily retains fingerprints) and with two antennas pointing from the back (much like the Asus RT-ACRH13 and RT-ACRH17, the antennas can’t be
Numerous triangular cutouts adorn the top, sides, and bottom of the R6220 (some of which serve merely to improve the router’s aesthetics while others are essential to maintaining a safe operating temperature). Since the R6200 can only be placed vertically, its successor, the Netgear R6220, was designed to be a drop-in replacement. The R6220 is essentially an R6200 with its stand removed and two antennas attached to one side, making it an AC1200 model.
The Netgear R6220 feels sturdy, and there is no flex when pushing from the top surface, unlike the designs of some other manufacturers’ budget models.
Considering its dimensions (9.43 x 7.14 x 1.59), the router’s weight of 0.84 pounds is surprisingly light. However, the manufacturer has included four small silicone pads on the bottom to prevent the device from moving around. Due to its increased height and numerous ventilation holes, the Netgear AC1200 R6220 should be able to keep temperatures as low as possible (even though the chipset is not really that efficient as its modern alternatives). During my testing, I noticed a slight warming near the label on the bottom, but the router did not overheat.
If you’re short on counter space, don’t worry; Netgear has included a couple of holes on the R6220’s underside so you can easily mount it to the wall. This device may not be brand new, but its minimalist design and small antennas should still allow it to be placed pretty much anywhere in the house.
The top is a plain glossy surface, broken up only by the Netgear logo and a row of LED indicators that display the system and network’s current status: From left to right, we have the Power LED (a blinking green light indicates that the router is trying to upgrade its software or restore factory defaults), the Internet LED, an LED that serves as an indicator for both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands (if this LED is blinking, the router is receiving or transmitting data packets), the four LAN port LEDs, the USB port LED (a blinking green light indicates that an external drive has been plugged in and is attempting to establish a connection), and the
The WPS button, the WiFi On/Off button, a USB 2.0 port (yes, the old standard, but that’s to be expected), four RJ45 Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, a small recessed Reset button (press and hold the button for at least 7 seconds to return the router to the factory default settings), a Power On/Off switch, and the DC In Power port are all located on the back, in between the two antennas.
The R6220 is powered by a MediaTek MT7621ST system-on-chip (SoC) running at 880 MHz with 128 MB of RAM (Nanya NT5CB64M16FP-DH) and 128 MB of flash storage (Macronix MXIC T140705 MX30LF1G08AA-TI). It also has two HN4821CG 10/100/1000 Base-T LAN Transformer Modules installed inside the chassis. In addition, the MediaTek MT7603EN 1422-BMAL WiFi chip (22:2, 802.11b/g/n) is used for the 2.4GHz wireless band, while the MediaTek MT7612EN 1411-BMAL WiFi chip (802.11ac an 22:2) is used for the 5GHz wireless band.
Theoretical throughput for the 5GHz band on the Netgear R6220 is 867 Mbps, and for the 2.4GHz band it is 300 Mbps (totaling 1,167 Mbps, rounded up to 1,200 Mbps) thanks to the router’s AC1200-class certification.
Features and Performance
Although the Netgear AC1200 R6220 is an entry-level router and lacks some of the more popular features that could improve wireless performance (such as the MU-MIMO technology, 80 MHz, or an additional radio band), it does support the WiFi BeamForming technology on the 5GHz band (802.11ac), which will concentrate the signal on the connected client. The R6220 is a dual-band router, allowing clients to connect to either of the two networks; however, it does not appear to employ any band steering technology, which would prevent the overcrowding of either network.
Despite the fact that Netgear has its own WiFi system called the Netgear Orbi that uses a form of mesh network, the AC1200 R6220 is not likely to work as a node within a mesh network (even if Netgear wanted to, the MediaTek SoC would have to be changed in order to reliably ensure that the R6220 could interconnect to other Netgear routers).
I used a desktop computer with an Asus PCE-AC88 WiFi adapter (the client) and a powerful laptop (the server) to test the wired performance of the Netgear AC1200 R6220, with the help of CAT6 Ethernet cables: the router delivered an average of 890 Mbps (TCP) and 867 Mbps (UDP) from the client to the server, and 823.5 Mbps (TCP) and 823 Mbps (UDP) from the server to the After that, I connected the client device to the 5GHz network to test the wireless performance. From the client to the server, I measured an average of 497 Mbps at 5 feet, but only an average of 385 Mbps at 15 feet, and the router delivered around 262 Mbps at 30 feet. At a distance of 5 feet from the router, I was able to achieve an average of 345 Mbps when transmitting data from the server to the client; at 15 feet, I was able to achieve an average of 334 Mbps; and at 30 feet, I was able to achieve an average of 137 Mbps.
Next, I linked both machines to the 2.4GHz network and recorded speeds of about 80.6 Mbps from client to server (at 5 feet), 96.5 Mbps at 15 feet, and 73.3 Mbps on average (measuring from 15 to 30 feet). I measured an average throughput of 78.9 Mbps from the server to the client, with a slight increase to 79.3 Mbps at 15 feet and around 55.9 Mbps at 30 feet. Given that the Netgear R6220 has a USB 2.0 port, I copied a 2.5 GB multimedia folder using a Samsung T5 SSD drive (256 GB) and got writing speeds of 22.1 MBps and reading speeds of 30.4 Mbps (which may not seem like much, but are quite decent for a USB 2.0 port).
As I’ve seen with the Nighthawk R7000P, you can set up a Netgear Nighthawk router either the conventional way (via the web interface) or with the Nighthawk app. Since the Smart WiFi series can also be configured via app, I downloaded the Nighthawk app and launched it to start the Setup Wizard. The Nighthawk app failed to identify the router for some reason, so I used the Sign In button next to the WiFi SSID to install it (since the Nighthawk app was no longer an option, the router can still be managed and monitored using the Genie app, which is available for both iOS and Android). The first thing I did was let the Netgear genie UI figure out what kind of Internet connection I have at home, enter the ISP username and password (since it was PPPoE), set up the Admin Account Settings (a new password), and then wait for the Wizard to check for the latest firmware. In the end, you’ll be able to access the Netgear Genie app from either your local machine or remotely. The whole process doesn’t take more than 5 minutes.
The mobile interface is divided into two primary sections: the bottom displays the SSID and password for each network, as well as any connected clients; and the top contains a menu with the most frequently used options. You can customize your network’s name (SSID), password (password), security type (WPA2, WPA), and channel (channel) in the WiFi settings, and you can set up two different Guest Networks in the Guest WiFi settings. Finally, the Network Map provides a visual representation of your network, listing all connected devices (tap on the name to view detailed info about the client), and enabling the Access Control (which adds the ability to restrict access to specific networks or individual devices). Next, there are OpenDNS-powered parental controls, a traffic monitor that displays both the total and the average amount of data transferred, a media player that displays both client Sources and any speakers connected to the network, and a file-sharing utility called ReadySHARE.
Turbo Transfer (helpful for sending and receiving files within the local network), Remote Access, and the options to Reboot the router and Register the Product are also noteworthy. When you access the web-based interface (192.168.1.1 is the default IP address), you’ll see the same familiar layout with Basic and Advanced tabs. The Home tab (with its six mini-windows displaying various network and router stats) is part of the Basics, as is the option to establish or modify the Internet connection and the Wireless settings (for either of the two bands), see all the Attached Devices (and enable the Access Control, a feature that can block the Internet access for specific devices), and the Parental Control (unlike the app, the browser actually redirected me to the Circle with Disney page – sigh).
The Setup Wizard and the WPS Wizard can be found here, along with the ADVANCED Home (which provides more statistics than the Basic Home). There’s also USB Storage, Security (with Access Control and Block Sites and Block Services filters), Administration (with Logs and Backup Settings), and Setup (where you can configure the Internet, Wireless, Guest Network, WAN (with MTU Size, NAT Filtering, and VPN Passthrough – IPSec, PPTP, and L2TP) and LAN (with QoS (with WMM, the ability to set a maximum uplink bandwidth, to create QoS rules and set Q
You need a lot of patience because the web-based interface is sluggish, the router is sluggish when opening new windows, it is sluggish when reconnecting to the Internet after being unplugged, and it takes a while to apply settings and restart. What I did like about the program was that it was being actively developed and updated even in 2019 (the most recent update was released in February).
The Netgear R6220 is equipped with all the necessary security features. It employs the tried-and-true SPA2 security protocol, and comes with the usual NAT and SPI firewalls that can foil DoS assaults with ease.
Users can also use the router’s security system to look for other Wi-Fi signals in the area that could slow it down. For households on a metered data plan, the Traffic Meter feature will be available to reduce unnecessary data consumption. The Netgear R6220 also excels in another department: parental controls.
The ability to restrict access to inappropriate material and websites is invaluable in households where children have access to the internet. The settings are straightforward, and you can limit access to specific websites to whatever extent you see fit. One drawback is that you need an OpenDNS account in order to use the parental control feature. Certainly not fatal, but it does mean that the router’s full potential must be explored by the user.
Should You Buy the NetGear AC1200 (R6230)?
Originally, we could have lived with theR6230 NetGearEven with greater range, it still wouldn’t have won any prizes. There are many other routers we prefer over this one, including some that are cheaper.
What Other WiFi Routers Should You Consider?
The Device: NetGear AC1200 (R6230)is not prohibitively expensive, but there are superior routers available for home and business use. In particular, the price-to-performance ratio of the NetGear Nighthawk AC1750 (R6700v2) is exceptional. While this alternative does cost nearly twice as much as the ASUS RT-AC88U Wireless-AC3100, we feel it is well worth it because it can compete with products at the very top of the market.
How Many Devices Can Netgear AC1200 Support?
Routers in the AC1200 range typically provide throughputs of 300 Mbps (on the 2.4 GHz band) and 900 Mbps (5 GHz). Accordingly, the Netgear AC1200 router is suggested for households with up to 20 devices.
When you go above that, performance starts to suffer severely. When everyone in the house is online at once, network traffic won’t be a problem thanks to your Netgear AC1200 router.
Does Netgear AC1200 Work with Comcast?
Routers from Netgear’s AC1200 series are advertised as being compatible with a wide variety of ISPs, including but not limited to Comcast, Spectrum, Xfinity, Cox, and many more. Since Netgear is among the most widely used router manufacturers, it is likely that their products are compatible with the vast majority of modern ISPs.
How Do I Setup My Netgear Nighthawk R6220?
A professional’s assistance is usually unnecessary when setting up a Netgear router. The R6220, like most other Netgear routers, features a plug-and-play design that makes setup a breeze. After powering on your router and plugging in your device, you’ll need to access the admin dashboard via a web browser.
After that, following the Installation Wizard’s prompts is as easy as 1-2-3. In no more than five minutes, this can be finished. After the installation is complete, you will be prompted to print the router’s configuration information. Both the Netgear Genie and ReadyShare software packages will be available for you to install on your computer. Both programs are highly useful and can greatly simplify managing your home network, so we advise installing them both. We recommend purchasing from authorized Netgear retailers due to the one-year warranty offered on all Netgear routers.
The Netgear AC1200 R6220 is an entry-level wireless router, but it performs admirably, especially if you need to connect multiple devices to the 5GHz network (and I’ve noticed that more and more devices are moving away from the older 802.11n standard). Sure, it doesn’t have all those flashy features that boost WiFi speed, but as I said in the introduction, it’ll do for a modest apartment or house. However, there is one major drawback: the web-based user interface. It has all the features you could want in a router and more (especially for the price), but it is painfully slow and requires an eternity to apply any changes you make. However, if that doesn’t bother you and you’re looking for a cheap wireless router, the Netgear R6220 is a great option.