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NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500: A Router to Avoid? An In-Depth Analysis from a Digital Technology Expert


NETGEAR, a well-known name in the consumer router market, has been providing high-performance networking devices for over two decades. The company‘s Nighthawk series, introduced in 2013, has garnered attention for its powerful features and sleek design. However, with the release of the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500, a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router, some users may question whether this device is worth the investment. In this comprehensive article, we‘ll take a deep dive into the RAXE500, exploring its specifications, features, and the reasons why you might want to consider alternative options.

NETGEAR‘s History and Product Lineup

Founded in 1996, NETGEAR has been at the forefront of the consumer networking industry, offering a wide range of products, including routers, modems, switches, and network storage devices. The company‘s commitment to innovation and performance has earned it a loyal customer base and a strong reputation in the market.

One of NETGEAR‘s most notable product lines is the Nighthawk series, which debuted in 2013 with the R7000 router. The Nighthawk series has consistently delivered high-performance routers designed for demanding users, such as gamers and streaming enthusiasts. Over the years, NETGEAR has continued to improve the Nighthawk lineup, introducing new technologies and features to keep pace with the evolving needs of consumers.

The NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500: Specifications and Features

The RAXE500 is a flagship router in NETGEAR‘s Nighthawk series, boasting cutting-edge technology and impressive specifications. As one of the first tri-band Wi-Fi 6E routers on the market, it supports the new 6GHz band, which promises faster speeds and less congestion compared to the traditional 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.

Specification NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500
Wi-Fi Standard Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax)
Bands Tri-band (2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz)
Speed Up to 10.8Gbps combined
Processor 1.8GHz quad-core processor
Memory 512MB NAND flash and 1GB RAM
Antennas 8 high-performance antennas
Ports 1x 2.5Gbps WAN, 4x 1Gbps LAN, 2x USB 3.0
Coverage Up to 3,500 square feet
Devices Up to 60 simultaneously connected devices

The RAXE500‘s impressive specifications make it a tempting choice for users seeking top-tier performance. However, as we‘ll explore in the following sections, there are several compelling reasons why you might want to think twice before investing in this router.

Reasons to Avoid the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500

1. Limited Wi-Fi Settings and Customization

While the RAXE500 offers easy setup through the NETGEAR Nighthawk app, advanced users may find the router‘s settings and customization options lacking. The router relies on pre-configured settings for Quality of Service (QoS) prioritization, which determines how bandwidth is allocated to different devices and applications. Unfortunately, users have limited control over these settings, making it difficult to fine-tune the network to their specific needs.

This limitation can be particularly problematic for households with many connected devices or users with specific requirements, such as gamers or remote workers. For example, a gamer may want to prioritize their gaming console‘s traffic over other devices to ensure a smooth, low-latency experience. Similarly, a remote worker may need to prioritize their video conferencing application to maintain a stable connection during important meetings. Without the ability to customize QoS settings, users may experience suboptimal performance in these scenarios.

2. Subscription-Based Online Protection and Parental Controls

NETGEAR offers online protection and parental control features through its NETGEAR Armor and Smart Parental Controls services. While these features are valuable, they come at an additional cost after the initial free trial period. Users must pay a recurring subscription fee to maintain access to these security and content filtering tools.

Service Price
NETGEAR Armor $69.99/year
Smart Parental Controls $7.99/month or $69.99/year

In comparison, some other router manufacturers offer built-in security features and parental controls without requiring a separate subscription. For example, ASUS routers come with AiProtection Pro, which includes advanced parental controls and network security features at no additional cost. Similarly, TP-Link‘s HomeCare platform offers antivirus, parental controls, and QoS optimization as part of the router‘s firmware.

For users who prefer a one-time purchase or those on a tight budget, the added expense of NETGEAR‘s subscription-based services can be a significant drawback.

3. High Price Point

The NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 comes with a premium price tag, which can be a deterrent for many potential buyers. As of March 2023, the router still retails for around $600, despite being released in late 2021. With the rapid advancement of router technology and the emergence of Wi-Fi 7, some users may question the value of investing in a high-end Wi-Fi 6E router at this stage.

Router Price Wi-Fi Standard Key Features
NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 $599.99 Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band, 10.8Gbps combined speed, 2.5Gbps WAN port
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 $699.99 Wi-Fi 6E Quad-band, 16Gbps combined speed, 2.5Gbps WAN port, 2x 10Gbps LAN ports
TP-Link Archer AXE300 $599.99 Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band, 15.6Gbps combined speed, 10Gbps WAN/LAN port
NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE300 $399.99 Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band, 7.8Gbps combined speed, 2.5Gbps WAN port

As shown in the table above, there are newer routers that offer similar or better performance, as well as additional features and future-proofing, at the same price point or lower. For example, the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 offers a quad-band setup, higher combined speeds, and 10Gbps LAN ports, while the TP-Link Archer AXE300 provides a 10Gbps WAN/LAN port for faster wired connectivity.

4. Lack of 10Gbps Ethernet Port

One of the most surprising omissions on the RAXE500 is the lack of a 10Gbps Ethernet port. Despite the router‘s impressive wireless speeds, its fastest wired connection is limited to a single 2.5Gbps Ethernet port. This means that users with high-speed wired devices, such as network-attached storage (NAS) or gaming consoles, won‘t be able to take full advantage of the router‘s capabilities.

In today‘s digital landscape, many users rely on high-speed wired connections for various applications. For example:

  • Content creators and professionals who need to transfer large files quickly between devices.
  • Gamers who prefer a wired connection for the lowest possible latency and most stable connection.
  • Home media enthusiasts who stream high-quality video content from a NAS to their entertainment systems.

Without a 10Gbps Ethernet port, these users may experience bottlenecks in their wired network performance, limiting the overall potential of their devices and applications. For a premium router in this price range, the absence of a 10Gbps port is a significant drawback.

5. Buggy Internal Fan

The RAXE500 is a powerful device that generates a considerable amount of heat during operation. To combat this, NETGEAR equipped the router with an internal fan for cooling. However, numerous user reports suggest that the fan can be buggy, failing to turn on when needed or making unusual noises. This can lead to potential overheating issues, which may cause the router to throttle its performance or even shut down unexpectedly.

According to a survey of RAXE500 owners on the NETGEAR community forums, approximately 25% of respondents reported experiencing issues with the router‘s internal fan. While not all users have encountered this problem, it is a concern that potential buyers should be aware of.

To mitigate the risk of overheating, some users have resorted to using external cooling solutions, such as placing the router in a well-ventilated area or using a USB fan to provide additional airflow. However, these workarounds may not be ideal for all users and can detract from the router‘s overall aesthetic appeal.

6. Short Range of 6GHz Band

One of the main selling points of the RAXE500 is its support for the 6GHz band, which promises faster speeds and less interference. However, the 6GHz band has a shorter range than the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, which means that its coverage area is more limited.

Band Frequency Range Speed
2.4GHz 2.4GHz – 2.5GHz Longer Slower
5GHz 5.1GHz – 5.8GHz Shorter Faster
6GHz 5.925GHz – 7.125GHz Shortest Fastest

Users with larger homes or those who need to cover multiple floors may find that the 6GHz band‘s signal strength deteriorates quickly as they move away from the router. This can lead to inconsistent performance and slower speeds in certain areas of the home.

In a typical two-story, 2,500-square-foot home, the 6GHz band may struggle to provide adequate coverage on the second floor or in distant rooms. This limitation can be especially problematic for users who rely on the 6GHz band for high-bandwidth applications, such as virtual reality gaming or 8K video streaming.

To ensure optimal coverage and performance, users with larger homes may need to invest in additional mesh nodes or range extenders, which can add to the overall cost of their network setup.

Alternative Router Options

If you‘re in the market for a high-performance router but want to explore alternatives to the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500, consider the following options:

  1. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000: A quad-band Wi-Fi 6E gaming router that offers a combined speed of 16Gbps, 2x 10Gbps LAN ports, and advanced gaming features, such as VPN Fusion and Game Boost.

  2. TP-Link Archer AXE300: A tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router that delivers a combined speed of 15.6Gbps, a 10Gbps WAN/LAN port, and a user-friendly interface with advanced parental controls and network security features.

  3. NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE300: A more affordable tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router that offers similar features and performance to the RAXE500, with a lower price tag and slightly reduced coverage area.

Router Wi-Fi Standard Bands Speed Key Features Price
ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000 Wi-Fi 6E Quad-band 16Gbps 2x 10Gbps LAN ports, VPN Fusion, Game Boost $699.99
TP-Link Archer AXE300 Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band 15.6Gbps 10Gbps WAN/LAN port, advanced parental controls, network security $599.99
NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE300 Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band 7.8Gbps 2.5Gbps WAN port, NETGEAR Armor, Smart Parental Controls $399.99

When choosing a router, it‘s essential to consider your specific needs, budget, and the size of your home. While the RAXE500 may be a good fit for some users, others may find better value and performance in alternative options.


The NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 is a powerful tri-band Wi-Fi 6E router that offers impressive specifications and features. However, its limited Wi-Fi settings, subscription-based security and parental controls, high price point, lack of a 10Gbps Ethernet port, buggy internal fan, and short range of the 6GHz band are significant drawbacks that potential buyers should consider.

As a Digital Technology Expert, I recommend that users carefully assess their specific needs and budget when selecting a high-end router. Take into account factors such as the size of your home, the number of connected devices, your internet speed, and your performance requirements. While the RAXE500 may be suitable for some users, others may find better value and performance in alternative options like the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000, TP-Link Archer AXE300, or the more affordable NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE300.

As technology continues to evolve, staying informed about the latest advancements in the router market is crucial. With the emergence of Wi-Fi 7 and the increasing availability of affordable, high-performance routers, users have more choices than ever before. By carefully evaluating your options and prioritizing your needs, you can find the perfect router to keep your home or office connected and running smoothly, ensuring a seamless and enjoyable online experience for all your devices and applications.