Netgear’s stellar reputation in home networking now extends to a specialised gaming router – the XR 500

It makes perfect sense for a company like Netgear, that has an excellent reputation for delivering quality products in the field of home networking, to pool its expertise and create a router specifically for gamers. That’s precisely what they’ve done with the Nighthawk XR 500. Aesthetically, this is a bit of kit you’ll want to display for all to see rather than hide behind the entertainment unit or under a desk; it looks like it could make the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs.

As with all Netgear products, set up is an absolute breeze and totally luddite friendly. Under the hood, the XR 500 has a dual core 1.7GHz CPU and can achieve speeds of up to 2.6Gbps. It has two USB ports on the side of the unit and 4 LAN ports and a broadband port at the rear; the four powerful antennas ensure that, unless you live in Buckingham Palace, you’ll get solid coverage from anywhere in the house.

What sets the XR 500 apart though is the implementation DumaOS operating system; a result of a partnership between Netduma and Netgear. Through the completely customisable dashboard, users have the option to apportion bandwidth how they see fit – in real time. In other words, you can manually prioritise bandwidth to your gaming rigs and consoles to cut lag, and leave everyone else on the network with non-gaming devices to pick over the bones.

Better still is the geo-filter function. In order to minimise the ping in a game, it is possible to set a radius in the dashboard to connect to a local server. Any servers outside of the radius are effectively blocked, giving players an advantage by limiting the lag in their game. And it works well, delivering a reliable performance on the two games we tested on it: Call of Duty: WWII and League of Legends.

The XR 500 is a good, dependable router, but the real drawcard here is the DumaOS software, which will appeal to gamers. For prioritising your gaming devices on the network and optimising your online gaming experience, the Nighthawk XR 500 is the perfect solution.

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