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 of a gaming router first, though, so we’re on the same page.
Asus RT-AX82U vs Netgear XR1000: Similarities
From its look, 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 routers 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 standard one Gigabit WAN port and four Gigabit LAN ports.
Asus RT-AX82U vs Netgear XR1000: Hardware specifications
|Netgear XR1000 Nighthawk |
Wi-Fi 6 Pro Gaming Router
|Asus RT-AX82U Dual-Band |
Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router
|Wi-Fi Technology||Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX5400||Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) AX5400|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||2×2 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 574 Mbps||2×2 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 574 Mbps|
|5GHz Wi-Fi Specs||4X4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 4804 Mbps||4X4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 4804 Mbps|
|Channel Support||20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz, 160 MHz||20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz, 160 MHz|
|Gigabit Network Port||4x LAN, 1x WAN||4x LAN, 1x WAN|
|Link Aggregation||No||Yes (LAN 1 and LAN 2)|
|Dual-WAN||No||Yes (WAN + LAN4 or USB)|
|Built-in Online Protection||Yes |
|USB||1 x USB-A USB 3.0 |
(Storage or Printer)
|1 x USB-A USB 3.0 |
(Storage, Printer, or Celluar)
|Mobile App||Netgear Nighthawk||Asus Router|
|QoS||Yes (Excellent)||Yes (Excellent)|
|Processing Power||1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|1.5 GHz tri-core CPU, |
256 MB Flash, 512 MB RAM
|Dimensions||11.61 x 7.87 x 2.51 in |
(295 x 200 x 64 mm)
|9.52 x 6.45 x 3.93 inc |
(242 x 164 x 100 mm)
|Weight||1.32 lb (600 g)||1.63 lbs (740 g)|
|Antennas||Four (Detachable)||Four (Non-detachable)|
|Game Features||Game-oriented DumaOS 3.0||Front Gaming Lights, |
Mobile Game Mode,
Game Port (LAN1)
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 routers with the same web interface and a matching 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 dedicates 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 app, 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.
On the other two, the routers do different things. The Asus manages latency via unique settings and port-forwarding automatically applied to a specific game. The Netgear can 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 just like any other router with four detachable antennas.
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 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 and ratings
Initially, the two seem to have almost identical performances. In fact, in tests with a single 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client, their numbers were virtually 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. Likely that was due to firmware that’s not yet optimized.
Asus RT-AX82U vs Netgear XR1000: Ratings
Asus RT-AX82U's Rating
Beautiful design with tons of helpful networking, game-related features, and settings
Robust web UI, well-designed mobile app
No support for WTFast Gamer VPN
No multi-gig network port
Network storage performance (when hosting a portable drive) could use some improvement
Netgear Nighthawk XR1000's Rating
Sophisticated game-centric firmware
Fast Wi-Fi speeds and reliable performance
Robust web UI, beautiful hardware design
Useful mobile app, wall-mountable
Expensive but underpowered – items of the web interface can take a long time to fully load
Limited Wi-Fi settings, sluggish user interface
Mobile app can't manage any gaming features
No multi-gig port, Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation
Online protection and VPN require subscriptions
Buggy — firmware needs some serious updates; no mesh option
Which to get
Looking at 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 a 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.