NETGEAR Nighthawk M1 Router Review

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NETGEAR has integrated a Qualcomm MDM9x50 chipset within the Nighthawk M1, which supports LTE Cat. 16 along with bands 1, 3, 7, 8, 20, 28, 38, 40 and 41. It also allows the router to connect to 3G networks using bands 1, 2, 5 and 8. The router does not support 2G networks, but 2G is awfully slow.

Theoretically, the Nighthawk M1 can achieve up to 1 GBit/s download and 150 MBit/s upload speeds with LTE Advanced. Our test device also maintained a decent network attenuation of -75 dBm, puts the Nighthawk M1 on par with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro. By contrast, cheaper smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy J6 or the Xiaomi Redmi Go could only maintain -86 dBm and -82 dBm attenuations respectively.

NETGEAR includes details in the router’s settings that identifies the LTE band being used, among other things. Overall, our review device achieved decent network signal during our tests.

The Nighthawk M1 also supports Wi-Fi 5 and up to the IEEE 802.11 ac standard. The router supports dual-band Wi-Fi and three levels of transmission power. Dual-band mode and medium transmit power, for example, delivers a connection speed of between 130 and 234 MBit/s when we are one floor below the router. Going a further floor down causes the connection speed to drop to 13 MBit/s, which is practically unusable.

Conversely, switching to the long Wi-Fi range mode increases the connection speed to a maximum of 263 MBit/s when one floor away from the router. Better still, the connection only dropped to 58 MBit/s when positioned two stories away from the Nighthawk M1. However, this mode reduces the maximum possible connection speed from 866 MBit/s to 585 MBit/s.

The short-range Wi-Fi mode delivers a decent connection speed when one floor away from the router too. We measured an average connection speed of 364 MBit/s in this scenario on this mode, which is acceptable, although it is 502 MBit/s lower than when we are near our review unit. The range only begins to noticeably drop off once we go further than one floor away from the router.

NETGEAR has also integrated a feature called Offloading, which allows you to connect the Nighthawk M1 to an existing wired or wireless connection to reduce data usage. We found this particularly useful in hotels or when travelling abroad in countries with expensive roaming charges. In short Offloading worked wonderfully during our tests.

However, the complimentary Fast Ethernet functionality delivers comparatively slow transfer speeds. Moreover, it disables dual-band Wi-Fi, leaving only the 2.4 GHz network open.

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