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7 Reasons to Avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Router Today

Avoid NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500

7 Reasons to Avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Router Today

Key Points

  • The NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 was one of the top-performing routers at the time of its release.
  • The router has limited control for fine-tuning wireless network settings.
  • Online protection and parental controls require a subscription.
  • The router is expensive for its age and lacks a 10Gbps port.
  • The internal fan can be buggy and the 6GHz band has a short range.

What are the top reasons to avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 router? There is no shortage of high-performance wireless routers on the market today. These come in a variety of different price points, and all have their strong suits. The RAXE500 from NETGEAR was one of the top-performing routers at the time of its release.

However, the last few years have only helped to highlight some of the more glaring design choices with the router as a whole. Today’s review will take a closer look at the RAXE500 to see why you might want to avoid this for your next wireless purchase.

What Is the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Router?

The 12-Stream Wi-Fi 6E router from NETGEAR, or the Nighthawk RAXE500 is the first Wi-Fi 6E device from the manufacturer. Instead of the dual bands operating at 5GHz seen on its predecessor, the RAXE500 has a 6GHz band. The overall throughput for this router is something to behold, especially if you have the internet connection to support it.

At the time of its release, you could argue this was the fastest router on the market. However, there were few devices on its 2019 debut that could actually support the newest Wi-Fi standard at that point in time. With Wi-Fi 7 soon to enter open availability, the RAXE500 still has plenty of use for years to come.

SpecsNETGEAR RAXE500
Wi-Fi StandardWi-Fi 6E
Wi-Fi Range3500 square feet
Wireless Bands Available2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz
Ethernet PortsFive in total, with four 1-gigabit ports and a single 2.5-gigabit port
Security MeasuresNETGEAR Armor and Smart Parental Control are available as a monthly subscription
Wireless Security ProtocolWPA-3
Encryption128-bit AES with a PSK
USB PortsTwo USB 3.0 ports

Reasons to Avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Router

Find out exactly why you should avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Router and look at our alternatives instead.

Limited Wi-Fi Settings

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500
You have very limited settings on the NETGEAR RAXE500 for your wireless network.

One of the best reasons to avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 is its limited control. This router is an absolute breeze to set up. You’ll just need your smartphone to handle things. However, when it comes down to fine-tuning your wireless network, it leaves something to be desired.

Most wireless routers use something called QoS or quality of service to share bandwidth. This router is certainly capable of doing so, but actually adjusting the settings isn’t doable. You’ll instead have to hope that the manufacturer’s suggested settings are usable in your household. Given the support for 60 concurrent devices, this could lead to a potential issue.

Online Protection Needs a Subscription

Most wireless routers come with security measures. We’re not talking about the likes of WPA3, but more malware and intrusion protection. NETGEAR Armor is readily available, but it will cost you extra. Purchases of the RAXE500 get you a year of NETGEAR Armor protection, after that, you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription.

Now, this might not be a dealbreaker for some users. However, less savvy users will find this to be one of the biggest reasons to avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500. Some users simply don’t have the knowledge base to implement good online security for themselves. Placing that level of security behind a paywall is common, but some basic measures should be in place for free.

The High Price

Despite being almost five years old, the NETGEAR RAXE500 still fetches a premium. You’re looking at a suggested retail price of $499.99 for an older router. Now, Wi-Fi 6E is still highly relevant and should be more than sufficient for most users in terms of raw speed. However, wouldn’t you rather just buy a Wi-Fi 7 router at that point?

There are currently a few different options for Wi-Fi 7 routers on the market, so you aren’t exactly without choices. The NETGEAR RAXE500 was a premium router at the time of its release, but advances in tech have left it in a position where it simply isn’t the powerhouse it used to be.

There Isn’t a 10Gbps Port

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500
You’ll only find a 2.5-gigabit ethernet port as the maximum speed for hard-wired connections on the RAXE500.

You would think given the immense power of this router that you’d have all sorts of connections on the back of the unit. That is true, to an extent, but the fastest ethernet port only goes to 2.5 gigabits, which is considerably slower than the 10Gbps throughput of the router. If you’re planning on plugging up a computer or console for better latency, it’s going to be disappointing.

This seems a very curious design choice by NETGEAR as a whole. As such, the lack of parity in the connections is just one of many reasons to avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500. There are routers on the market in the last four years that come with higher throughput on the ethernet ports.

No Built-In Parental Controls

If you have children in your household, you understand the importance of parental controls. One of the best reasons to avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 is a lack of built-in parental controls. You can get parental controls from the same subscription that provides NETGEAR Armor.

However, if you’re looking to curtail your youngster’s browsing habits, you’ll have to resort to third-party software. Given the limited shelf-life of most consumer wireless routers, this seems more or less like a choice motivated by greed since the controls are effectively provided as SaaS.

The Internal Fan Can Be Buggy

The NETGEAR RAXE500 is a high-powered router. It is essentially a purpose-built miniature computer running NETGEAR’s router firmware. As such, it gets hot and needs cooling. The RAXE500 does have an internal fan, but its efficacy is spotty at best. You certainly don’t want to have thermal throttling on something as essential as internet access in your home.

One of the best reasons to avoid the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 simply comes down the buggy internal fan. Multiple users have reported the router shutting off due to thermal overload, or the fan simply not kicking on when hitting a heavier workload.

6GHz Band Has Short Range

The final of the major reasons to avoid a NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 simply comes down to its lack of overall range for the higher throughput wireless bands. The router itself covers up to 3500 square feet of overall network availability. On paper, this is fantastic, but the reality is something entirely different.

You’re going to be stuck with a much shorter effective range for the high-speed 6GHz band. You have slightly more flexibility with the slower 5GHz band, which still provides great speeds as a whole. However, most of that effective range is going to be covered by the 2.4GHz band, which is plenty fast compared to a decade ago. That said, the 2.4GHz band is going to be slower overall.

Alternatives to the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Router

Here are three of our favorite alternatives to the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500.

NETGEAR RAXE300

Tri-Band Wireless
NETGEAR Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6E Router (RAXE300)
$321.99
  • Gigabit speeds up to 7.8Gbps
  • New 6GHz band
  • 8-streams cover up to 2,500 square feet
  • Support for 40 devices
  • 4x 1G and 1x 2.5G Ethernet ports
  • QoS, WPS, and parental controls
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/27/2024 02:20 am GMT

One of the best options for your wireless needs is going to be the NETGEAR RAXE300. This is in the same product line as the RAXE500, with four fewer total streams as a whole. Instead of the 12 data streams seen on the RAXE500, you’re only getting 8 with the RAXE300. Otherwise, this device has comparable speed and throughput.

The biggest advantage of going with the less powerful model is the significantly reduced cost. You can find the RAXE300 for $399.99 retail with sale prices chopping this down to an average of around $300. That’s quite a difference for slightly less performance as a whole.

NETGEAR RS700S

Lightning Fast Wi-Fi 7 Speeds
NETGEAR Nighthawk Tri-Band Wi-Fi 7 Router (RS700S)
$649.99
  • Wireless speed up to 19Gbps
  • Coverage of up to 3,500 square feet
  • For use with up to 200 devices
  • 10 Gig internet port
  • 4x 1 Gig Ethernet LAN ports
  • Supports 4K/8K streaming
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/27/2024 01:11 pm GMT

If you’re paying a premium, you might as well get the best of the best. The NETGEAR RS700S is more expensive as a whole compared to the RAXE500. However, you’re getting Wi-Fi 7 compatibility rather than Wi-Fi 6E. This futureproofs your purchase for the foreseeable future, until the inevitable release of a new wireless standard.

The RS700 features the same overall square foot coverage seen with the RAXE500, but it has even greater speeds — up to 19Gbps — as a whole. If you’re a user with a high-speed connection, this is going to be the router to get for all future tech purchases you make.

ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000

Backwards Compatible with Previous Wi-Fi Protocols
ASUS ROG Rapture Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router (GT-AX11000)
$420.00
  • Tri-band 10 Gigabit
  • 1.8 GHz quad-core CPU
  • Compatible with ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi
  • 256MB flash memory and 1GB RAM
  • Triple-level game acceleration facilitates game traffic
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.
01/27/2024 01:11 pm GMT

The ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 has quite a bit in common with the RAXE500. You’ve got similar levels of connectivity as a whole. It uses the older Wi-Fi 6 standard, but you shouldn’t notice too much of a difference when using it for gaming or streaming.

Where the GT-AX11000 really shines is in its ability to utilize ASUS’s additional mesh modules. You’re already getting some fairly impressive coverage as a whole, but this extends that network saturation to all areas of your home. With enough modules, you should have the whole home covered with its high-speed bands.

Closing Thoughts

The NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 is a fine router for most purposes. However, it is lacking some crucial design elements to make it a consumer-friendly router. If you’re solely after top performance, it has already been eclipsed by upcoming Wi-Fi 7 routers. Really, it comes down to if you want a Wi-Fi 6E router with high availability.

Even then, the cheaper RAXE300 should be more than enough for any household. Of course, that might not hold true if you have hundreds of wireless devices in the home. That said, most users should be more than handled by the listed alternatives.

Best Alternatives to the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAXE500 Router

1. NETGEAR RAXE300
2. NETGEAR RS700
3. ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000
  1. NETGEAR Nighthawk Wi-Fi 6E Router (RAXE300)
    $321.99
    • Gigabit speeds up to 7.8Gbps
    • New 6GHz band
    • 8-streams cover up to 2,500 square feet
    • Support for 40 devices
    • 4x 1G and 1x 2.5G Ethernet ports
    • QoS, WPS, and parental controls
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/27/2024 02:20 am GMT
  2. NETGEAR Nighthawk Tri-Band Wi-Fi 7 Router (RS700S)
    $649.99
    • Wireless speed up to 19Gbps
    • Coverage of up to 3,500 square feet
    • For use with up to 200 devices
    • 10 Gig internet port
    • 4x 1 Gig Ethernet LAN ports
    • Supports 4K/8K streaming
    Buy Now

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/27/2024 01:11 pm GMT
  3. ASUS ROG Rapture Wi-Fi 6 Gaming Router (GT-AX11000)
    $420.00
    • Tri-band 10 Gigabit
    • 1.8 GHz quad-core CPU
    • Compatible with ASUS AiMesh Wi-Fi
    • 256MB flash memory and 1GB RAM
    • Triple-level game acceleration facilitates game traffic
    Buy on Amazon

    We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    01/27/2024 01:11 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the RAXE500 compatible with Wi-Fi 7?

No, the highest standard it supports is Wi-Fi 6E.

How hard is it to setup the RAXE500?

It is relatively easy, you have a smartphone app to guide you through the whole process.

Is Wi-Fi 6E still relevant?

It is for the foreseeable future. You’ll likely see more Wi-Fi 7 devices out in the coming years, however.

Can you use the RAXE500 for gaming?

You absolutely can use the RAXE500 for gaming purposes.

Is the RAXE500 still a good buy?

At its current price, no.

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