Despite the almost identical hardware, Asus RT-AX82U vs. Netgear XR1000 is a matchup of two entirely different approaches to gaming in Wi-Fi routers. This post will highlight their differences.
You might want to check my definition on what gaming router is first, though, so we’re on the same page.
Asus RT-AX82U vs Netgear XR1000: Similarities
From the look of it, the difference between the Asus RT-AX82U and the Netgear XR1000 is almost like that between the former and the Asus RT-AX86U. Not much that is.
After all, on the outside, the Netgear XR1000 shares some color tones and the lack of fancy game lights with the RT-AX86U. And on the inside, it uses identical hardware to the RT-AX82U.
Both are AX5400 Wi-Fi 6 router with a 4×4 5GHz band (4800Mbps) and a 2×2 2.4GHz band (570Mbps). Both support the venerable 160MHz channel width but neither has a multi-gig port. Instead, they come with the usual one Gigabit WAN port and four Gigabit LAN ports.
Asus RT-AX82U vs Netgear XR1000: Hardware specifications
Asus RT-AX82U vs Netgear XR1000: Differences
There are a lot of differences between these two, thanks to their completely different firmware.
The firmware and all that implies
The Asus runs the same firmware used in all other Asus routers. So it’s very similar to most other Asus router with the same web interface and a similar set of features and settings. Among those, you’ll find the common Dual-WAN, Link Aggregation, AiMesh, AiProtection, and so on.
The RT-AX82U even dedicate its LAN 1 port as the game port. Plug a wired device into this port and it’ll be prioritized for gaming.
The Netgear, on the other hand, is the first that uses the game-oriented DumaOS 3.0. As a result, despite having “Nighthawk” in the name, it has almost nothing in common with Netgear’s other Nighthawk routers. It has no Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation.
There’s the Armor protection feature, but that requires a $70/year subscription. To manage this feature, you’ll have to use the Nighthawk app. This apps, very disappointingly, doesn’t have access to any of the router’s gaming features. Instead, it treats the XR1000 just like any other non-gaming Nighthawk router.
The different approach to online gaming
In my opinion, for a router to be qualified as a gaming one, it needs to have at least one of the three things:
- A gaming VPN
- The ability to control latency
- A game-related QoS engine
Neither of the two has a gaming VPN. They both have VPN features — good ones in fact — but they are just regular VPNs.
For the other two, they do things differently. The Asus manages latency via special settings and port-forwarding automatically applied to a certain game. The Netgear has the ability to detect ping in real-time and force game consoles to connect to a game server or player of your choice.
Both have excellent QoS, though that of the Netgear offers more visual in terms of customization.
The Netgear XR1000 is a bit of a mundane router. It’s not ugly but looks jus tlike any other router with four detachable anteendas.
The RT-AX82U, on the other hand, comes with a non-detachable antenna and, most importantly, a huge mood lighting LED on the front that the user can program to the max. This light is quite something for those into flash blinding gear.
If you have used an Asus router before, you’ll love the RT-AX82U. It has a responsive web interface and a mobile app that you can use to manage almost anything, including its lighting and gaming features. It’s fun to use.
The XR1000 has a very rich interface, like that of a real operating system. Unforatuenly it seems DumaOS 3.0 is a bit too heavy for the router’s hardware.
As a result, on the Netgear, things take a long time to happen. You might have to wait for a few seconds, sometimes even more than 10 seconds, for stuff to materialize when you move from one section to another.
So it’s a bit of a dilemma: It’s most beneficial because it gives you real-time information, but working with it can be painful. That’s not to mention the interface was buggy during my testing. This will more than likely change via firmware updates, however.
Asus RT-AX82U vs Netgear XR1000: Performance
Initially, the two seems to have almost identical performance. In fact, in tests with a single 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients, their numbers were almost identical.
However, the Netgear was clearly behind the Asus in my extra tests where I used two Wi-Fi 6 clients and copied data from one to another. Like that was due to a firmware that’s not yet optimized.
Asus RT-AX82U vs Netgear XR1000: Ratings
Netgear XR1000 Nighthawk Pro Gaming 6-Stream Wi-Fi 6 Router$349.99
- Sophisticated game-centric firmware
- Fast Wi-Fi speeds and reliable perfornace
- Robust web UI, beautiful hardware design
- Useful mobile app, wall-mountable
- Expensive but under powered - items of web interface can take a long time to fully load
- Limited Wi-Fi settings
- Mobile app can't manage any gaming features
- No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation
- Online protection and VPN require subscriptions
- A bit buggy, mo mesh option
Asus RT-AX82U AX5400 Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router
- Excellent performance
- Beautiful design with tons of helpful networking, game-related features and settings
- Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app
- Comparatively affordable
- No support for WTFast Gamer VPN
- No multi-gig network port
- Network storage performance (when hosting a portable drive) could use some improvement
- Not wall-mountable
Which to get
Looking from the ratings and performance chart above, you probably think it’s quite clear that the Asus RT-AX82U is the better choice. And you’re right for the most part. I have no problem recommending it over the Netgear. It’s an all-around excellent router for gamers and home users alike.
However, if you’re a true gamer living in the part of the world with high latency, the Netgear Nighthawk XR1000 is the only Wi-Fi 6 router, for now, that can make a big difference. In this case, it’s the router to get. That’s despite its current somewhat unfinished status, which sure will improve via firmware updates.
Looking for other Wi-Fi solution matchups? Check them all out here.