With what seems like the new generation of wireless router being released into the market every couple of months, this time it is the turn of Netgear who have brought to market a product that they believe is set to lead the market and we have tried and tested it for you so that we can give you a comprehensive insight with our Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Gaming and Streaming Switch review.
Like you we are keen to ensure that we have the best router that the market has to offer, so the prospect of lag-free gaming and seamless streaming seemed way to good to be able to overlook and since Netgear have claimed to have delivered with the Nighthawk S8000 gaming and streaming switch, we couldn’t wait to get our hands on it.
Okay so the ‘elephant in the room’ we face…
Now any avid gamer will know that there truly is no substitute for a wired connection but unfortunately there are so many routers out there that simply aren’t really created for wired networking, evident when you take a look at the number of ports available to you and become quickly disappointed to see 5 or less as often we would have just that many needed for console gaming, let alone PCs.
While the number of ports can be an issue in terms of usability for those with extensive setups, the other main problem seems to come from the fact that so many routers out there freely use load balancing which is automated by the router itself, which can at times produce a level of connectivity that simply can’t deliver the sort of experience we need to be able to get the best from gaming or streaming.
So we were keen to see whether the new Netgear Nighthawk S8000 would really be able to combat both of the problems we see regularly, let’s take a look at it in more detail and find out…
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Switch Overview
Those of you that are reading our review that have been hunting for the best gaming and streaming router will already know that the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 is part of a Nighthawk series created by Netgear for gamers and streamers alike.
This is simply the latest generation in a long line of routers that have been designed and focused towards those of us that have high requirements to allow us to be able to get the best possible gaming or streaming connectivity, but with a clear progression over their previous models we were optimistic that once again Netgear would have stepped up even a little further towards the ultimate gaming router.
Holding our breath in the hope that we would be able to finally lay claim to a router being able to handle the connectivity and bandwidth requirements we need to get that optimum gaming/streaming we crave perfect, not to just an acceptable level.
Let’s see if it really is the answer we have all hoped for…
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 First Impressions (Looks and Appearance)
Over the years we have been witness to a growth of focus towards making routers look much more appealing in terms of their design and the Nighthawk S8000 is certainly not going to disappoint those that are wanting something that is going to make a the ‘boxed’ appearance a thing of the past.
Created in a modern, sleek and sharp looking hexagon design that sees all corners coming to a point in the centre of the top of the device, complete with a sci-fi style blue light that makes it look like something that has been created in the year 3000, the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 truly is jaw dropping when it comes to appearance.
With the sloped design spanning from low at the front up to a higher point at the back of the router, a look behind that highest point reveals an array of seven LAN ports and a single WAN port, each of which boasts their own blue light.
While looks can be everything for some, one of the most impressive parts of the Nighthawk S8000 for us was the materials used to make it, ditching those year 2000 plastics and instead making it from premium Zinc-Alloy, a real touch of class from a brand that are keen to showcase that they are top of the gaming and streaming router market in our opinion.
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Performance Review
We know that looking great is not what is about to make you think about parting with your hard-earned cash to get your hands on the latest generation of the Nighthawk gaming routers family, you want to know about the performance so don’t panic, we hear you.
In order to give you the best insight into the performance that the Nighthawk S8000 can offer you, we just want to quickly touch on the basics so that you know everything that you need to know while we were drawing our conclusions, we’ll be quick we promise…
How do routers, hubs and switch work?
There are three types of devices that can be connected to a wired network; a router, a hub or a switch however the only one that is vital is a router as this is what will assign each of your connections with an IP address after making contact with what is referred to as a DHCP server.
Once these IP addresses have been assigned, the router is then tasked with the job of taking any information that is passed through it and analysing it to determine what needs to happen with it, whether that be sending it to a computer on the same network or pushing it out to another location via the internet.
While you won’t see the work that the router is doing, it came be a timely process handling all of the data that you will be putting through it and although it only takes a matter of milliseconds, that delay can be the difference between a great connection or a good one.
A hub or switch (like the Nighthawk S8000 we are looking at) can be used in conjunction with a router and while both of their jobs are in theory the same, a switch is the quickest and most intelligent way to be able to do the work that is done.
With that now understood, allow us to tell you about what we saw while using the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 gaming switch throughout our testing.
After connecting the switch to the router, we placed the network under a variety of different stress tests, including increasing the number of connections that were made to the switch as well as varying levels of data being used across a range of computers and high bandwidth devices.
Throughout the testing, the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 gaming and streaming switch consistently allowed for a reduced ping time, which in relation helps to speed up the connection that you have with the internet, even with a high-end router in place.
While shaving milliseconds off the ping time may not seem to be a huge achievement to those that have a basic understanding, those of you that have looked into the best gaming routers previously will know full well that with the ability to even knock of time from the leading router on the market right now, it is a significant achievement.
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 QoS Options
Okay so while we would like to accredit the fact that the Nighthawk S8000 is thus far the most powerful gaming switch we have used to date, we need to point out that to get the very best out of the switch you are going to want to take a look at the Quality of Service (QoS) panel via the user interface and app.
Here you will find a wealth of information about how the switch is performing on the network and gives you a number of options that you can alter in order to get a more personal setup if you don’t simply want to use the ‘out of the box’ settings.
One thing to consider here is that if you couple the Nighthawk S8000 switch with a Netgear gaming router then a number of the options will expand in terms of the control that you have, whereas if coupled with a non-complimenting router, those options would be more limited.
That said, for many out there the improvement that even the ‘out of the box’ settings would present to your gaming or streaming experience would be very noticeable.
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Negatives
We always like to have at least something in here as nothing is ever going to be the answer to every problem and so we had to come up with something here for the Nighthawk S8000 switch, even though it is by far the best gaming switch that we have had the pleasure of using to date.
The only things that we could come up with after almost two days of thinking about it were:
- It is not a standalone product, so it would be an additional cost to the price of a high-end gaming router, however the difference it would make to your gaming or streaming would be worth the cost addition if within your budget.
- Some of the Quality of Service (QoS) settings are only available if you have a Netgear branded router attached to the switch, however with the best gaming router we have found in testing being Netgear branded too, we thought that this was only an issue for those that were looking to improve connectivity after buying a different branded router.
- The configuration settings within the QoS interface are not really the sort of thing that someone with a basic knowledge would want to alter, so this could be improved for less informed users however if you have a good knowledge of the subject, you should be set up and reaping the benefits in minutes.
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 and Nighthawk X10 A7200 Wireless Router
If you are looking for the perfect partnership for a better gaming or streaming experience, you may well want to consider combining the Nighthawk S8000 switch with the winner of our ‘Best Gaming Router 2017’ testing, the Netgear Nighthawk X10.
While the router itself was very impressive in testing and surpassed the performance of others that we tried during the testing period that allowed up to crown our champion, we did notice that the wired performance left a little more for Netgear to work on.
Combining the Nighthawk S8000 with their leading router certainly fills that void that we said would be the difference between making the router a should by and a must buy, so create the perfect partnership and thank us after you experience the best gaming sessions you have ever enjoyed.
Nighthawk S8000 Notable Features and Points of Interest
If you have reached this far into our Netgear Nighthawk S8000 gaming and streaming switch review, the chances are you will have had your mind blown with insight and information, so allow us to give you a couple of the take away points in a quick summary:
- Made from ‘cool-touch’ premium Zinc-Alloy
- Perfect for multi-user online / VR gaming and 4K HD Streaming
- Low latency for better gaming and streaming
- 3 levels of network traffic prioritisation
- IGMP snooping support for multicast operation
- Seven LAN Ports & single WAN port
- One click optimisation for gaming and streaming
- Plug and play straight out of the box
Netgear Nighthawk S8000 Gaming and Streaming Switch Best Price
We know that getting the latest generation of anything related to your computer can be costly, so we have taken the research and price checking out of the whole process and can show you the best price for the Netgear Nighthawk S8000 gaming and streaming switch we could find online.
The price may change and that is why we have set the system to check once a day, so make sure to grab it at the price you like before it changes!