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Wireless Reviews

Inside

I am not going to open up the R8000 until testing has been completed. But I pretty much know what's inside from the briefing I got during a recent visit to Broadcom. The block diagram below is from MU-MIMO vs. XStream: The Coming Battle For Wi-Fi Airtime, which has the details of the multi-processor architecture shown.

Broadcom XStream Architecture

Broadcom XStream Architecture

Since there are only six antennas, three are dual-band and three are 5 GHz only for the second 5 GHz radio. NETGEAR told me the R8000 is using the new FCC rules for 5G Band-I. So Tx power has been maximized "as much as possible within FCC limits" (30 dBm total).

Updated 10/20/15

Since the FCC short-term confidentiality period passed I was able to pull some photos from the FCC file.

R8000 board top

R8000 board top

More photos in the gallery, with commentary.

The photos were good enough to identify some components I only guessed at before. So I updated Table 1.

NETGEAR R8000 NETGEAR R7000 Linksys WRT1900AC ASUS RT-AC68U
CPU Broadcom BCM4709A Broadcom BCM4709A Marvell MV78230 Armada XP @ 1.2 GHz (ARMv7) Broadcom BCM4708A
Switch in BCM4709A in BCM4709A Marvell 88E6172 in BCM4708A
RAM 256 MB 256 MB 256 MB 256 MB
Flash 128 MB 128 MB 128 MB 128 MB
2.4 GHz Radio - Broadcom BCM43602
- Skyworks SKY85309-11 2 GHz Front end (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x3)
Marvell 88W8864
- Skyworks SE2623L 2.4 GHz Power Amp (x4)
- Broadcom BCM4360
- Unidentified 2.4 GHz Power Amp marked 397 649e 230(x3)
5 GHz radio 1 - Broadcom BCM43602
- Skyworks SKY85712-11 5 GHz Front end (x3)
- Broadcom BCM4360
- Skyworks SE5003L1 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
Marvell 88W8864
- Skyworks SKY85402 5 GHz Power Amp (x4)
- Broadcom BCM4360
- SiGE 5023L 5 GHz Power Amp (x3)
5 GHz radio 2 - Broadcom BCM43602
- Skyworks SKY85710-11 5 GHz Front end (x3)
N/A N/A N/A
PCIe PLX Technology PEX8603 3-lane, 3-port PCIe switch N/A N/A N/A
Table 1: Component summary

Features

The R8000's feature set is the same Genie-based feature set NETGEAR has supported for some time. The detailed feature coverage in the WNDR3800 review still pretty much applies across NETGEAR's current routers. Here is the Home page "dashboard".

R8000 Home Page

R8000 Home Page

Here's a rundown of the R8000 / Genie feature set:

Routing / Firewall

  • Static and Dynamic IP, PPPoE and PPTP, L2TP and Bridge WAN connections (IPv4)
  • IPv6 WAN : 6to4 tunnel, Passthrough, Fixed, DHCP, PPPoE, Auto Detect, Auto Config
  • MTU Adjust on all connection types
  • Secure / Open NAS select
  • Application Layer Gateway (ALG) enable/disable for SIP
  • IGMP Proxy (default disabled)
  • WAN Port ping response control (default disable)
  • Port Scan / DoS Protection (default enabled)
  • WAN MAC address clone
  • WAN IP release / renew
  • DHCP Server with MAC reservation
  • NAT enable / disable
  • RIP 1, 2B, 2M in and out
  • Static Routes
  • Single & port range forwarding with separate source and destination ports
  • Triggered port range forwarding.
  • DMZ Host
  • UPnP enable/disable with portmap table
  • DDNS support for Dyndns (www.dyndns.org), NETGEAR, NO-IP.com
  • OpenVPN support

Administration

  • Attached devices (wired, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz Radio 1, 5 GHz Radio 2)
  • Internet Traffic Meter with volume and connection time controls, counter reset and limit warning
  • Router reboot
  • Configuration backup / restore
  • Previous firmware restore
  • LED control (in addition to hardware on/off switch)
  • Emailed block site access alert and scheduled logs
  • Browser logging with clear and email controls

QoS

  • WMM enable/disable only

Access / Parental Control

  • OpenDNS Live Parental controls
  • MAC based access control
  • Schedulable domain / keyword blocking
  • Service blocking for single and port range to single or IP range

USB features

  • ReadyShare Vault SMB storage sharing
  • Network USB Print server
  • Media server with iTunes and TiVo support
  • FTP server
  • Share access control by user
  • HTTPs remote storage access
  • Approved device list

Missing

  • HTTPS management
  • IPv6 firewall controls
  • Manual or automatic QoS or bandwidth control

Navigation is reasonably quick, but reboots for some adjustment saves can take awhile. I wish NETGEAR would let you control the login timeout, although for most users this probably isn't a big deal.

A major addition to the feature list is OpenVPN support. Since ASUS offered it on their top-of-line routers, router geeks have been demanding it from other vendors. The lack of OpenVPN has been a sticking point for some folks eyeing the Linksys WRT1900AC. But it looks like NETGEAR has taken that objection off the table for the R8000.

On the downside, it's surprising that NETGEAR has not included some sort of bandwidth control / traffic shaping / QoS features. The lone controls found on the QoS Setup page are only WMM disables, which you should leave alone since they are needed to achieve any of the high 802.11n or ac link rates.

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