Nighthawk AX8 (AX6000 / RAX80) concerns and observations from a former Nighthawk AC1900/R7000 owner.
I recently upgraded my older Nighthawk R7000 (AC1900) to a new Nighthawk RAX80 (AX6000). Overall I'm generally happy with the performance, stability, and slightly increased range since the transition. What follows is not a comprehensive review, but I do have a growing list of concerns and observations, some of which seem like a step backwards from previous models of the Nighthawk routers. Hopefully Netgear is listening, will fix the potential bugs and update the freature list in future firmware releases.
BTW - Yes... I have the latest firmware installed (v188.8.131.52_1.0.24 as of the date of this post)
- I can't believe I have to ask this but, where is HTTPS Netgear? Does this router not use PKI to encrypt login and communication with the browser-based admin console? It does not respond to https://<ip_address>, https://www.routerlogin.net, or any common derivation of https://<ip_address>:<port>. Even after enabling "Remote Management" and accepting the default port of 8443 (which IMPLIES it's using an alternate port for HTTPS), it STILL only responds to login requests on HTTP://... Please tell me what I'm missing here Netgear?
- Previously I utilized the Premium version of Circle running directly on the R7000 to manage the majority of our Parental Controls. I'm rather disappointed that Circle is no longer a built-in feature on the current AX series routers. Maybe that will change as the AX series software matures. Given the significant hardware upgrade between the R7000 and the RAX80, it seems rather hasty to simply omit Circle from the AX series software without a suitable replacement. PS - I'm not married to Circle... I will happily accept a suitable replacement.
- As another "broad layer of protection", I have OpenDNS configured (although clearly not trying to be the same thing, and far from having feature parity with Circle). As a workaround, I configured the "Block Services" feature to kill Internet access to Service Type ALL (TCP/UDP port 1-65535) for a range of IPs assigned to my kids devices on a nightly schedule. It's hard to imagine how this could possibly be buggy or unreliable, yet it does not ALWAYS block ALL ports for the devices in that IP range during the specified schedule. Various devices will randomly maintain sporadic Internet access throughout the schedule. I did not have this instability issue with Block Sites/Services/Internet Access on the R7000 before I started using Circle on the R7000 last year. Now I do not have a functioning version of either on the RAX80.
- I have roughly 80 addressable devices on my LAN. Most are small IoT/home automation devices that barely generate any traffic at all. To avoid dealing with the headache of potential/accidental duplicate IPs, or the need to manually connect to devices to change their IP or network config, I have ~70 DHCP reservations defined. This greatly eases the setup and ongoing management of all these devices. While the RAX80 does not appear to have the same limitation on the number of DHCP reservations that the R7000 did, it is not without its bugs. The most annoying one is that I have 2 devices with DHCP reservations defined that still pull an IP from the non-reserved pool range every time they reboot. I have confirmed the MAC address is correct (as I have copied it directly from the RAX80 "Attached Devices" page). I have tried to force these devices to pull a different IP by creating temp/fake reservations for the IPs they currently have and power-cycling them. Instead of grabbing the IP reserved for their MAC, they simply grab the next sequential IP in the non-reserved pool range. This seems to suggest it is indeed a bug in the RAX80 software as they are grabbing new IPs, just not the ones the RAX80 should be handing them. I considered that maybe it was an issue with the devices (although it didn't happen with the R7000), but I quickly ruled that out as one of the device is 1 of 2 identical model/firmware Nest Thermostats that we have in the house. The second Nest Thermostat happily accepts the DHCP reserved IP configured in the RAX80.
- The UI of the "ADVANCED Home" page of the RAX80 is unnecessarily large forcing the user to scroll to see all the available information. This page is intended to be a quick/heads-up dashboard, giving the admin a one-stop, holistic overview of the most important configuration items. Forcing the admin to scroll defeats the entire purpose. Furthermore, it drives the admin away from this page, as it's just as quick to simply drill down to the specific configuration page containing the information you're looking for. Condense this page by getting rid of all that slack space in the table cells, thereby allowing admins to see everything on the dashboard without scrolling.
Re: Nighthawk AX8 (AX6000 / RAX80) concerns and observations from a former Nighthawk AC1900/R7000 ow
https? Welcome to 1991 (wanted to write Orwell's 1984, but the www was not up back then) when http was born.
Ref. the advanced page - while on the classic Nightawk Genie Wen UI the Basic was in a 3x2 layout, the Advanced is still 2x3 ... requiring scrolling of course, too. Appears it was made for a mobile phone display one might guess. Or they have notebooks and computers with portrait mode displays.
The Netgear consumer division will never learn.