Netgear WAX630E Review: A Solid 6GHz Upgrade


The WAX630E is Netgear’s first Tri-band Wi-Fi 6E business-class access point. And it can be a viable alternative to the company’s Quad-band Orbi RBKE960 series, especially in terms of cost.

Dubbed as a “Wi-Fi 6 Release 2” device by Netgear — a naming reminiscent to the WAVE 2 in Wi-Fi 5 — the WAX630E’s full name is Insight App Managed Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band AXE7800.

The mournful name aside, the Netgear WAX630E is, in a nutshell, similar to the traditional Tri-band WAX630, with one of the 5GHz bands swapped out for a 6GHz band. But that makes all the difference.

Unlike the WAX214, a standalone locally managed access point, the WAX630E is designed to be cloud-managed via Netgear’s Insight service.

Since earlier 2021, Insight has no longer had the basic free tier. Instead, it costs $10 or $22 per year per device for the Premium or Pro tier.

But the WAX630E does have a local web interface to work as a standalone access point. This review looks at the hardware mostly as such.

If you’re looking to blanket a large property, wired with network cables, with reliable Wi-Fi in all three bands — 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and the new 6GHz –, at the suggested retail price of some $390 apiece, the WAX630E is worth the consideration.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on February 22, 2022, as a new piece and upgraded it to a full review on March 25, after thorough hands-on testing.

Netgear WAX630E vs WAX214 1
The Netgear WAX630E is a gigantic access point. Here it is next to the WAX214.

Netgear WAX630E: A gigantic design meet relatively modest 6GHz band

Taking the WAX630E out of the box, I was appalled by how huge it is. The new AP is about four times the mass of the WAX214, which is not exactly small.

While the size doesn’t bother me — I have larger hands — it can be a challenge to find a good mounting place for it. And wall/ceiling mounting is the only thing the AP is ready for, out of the box. Indeed, it doesn’t include a power adapter or a PoE injector.

This type of plain packaging is relatively standard in business APs. I’ve run into the same issue all previous business access points I’ve, the latest being the Zyxel WAX630S, and by now, I’m used to that practice.

The idea is that you use these APs with an existing PoE switch. If you don’t have one, you will need to pay extra for the powering accessory.

The Netgear WAX630E supports 802.3bt PoE (PoE++) but will also work with the older 802.3at (PoE+) standard. In this case, its 5GHz band will operate at 50%. Considering it has a 2.5Gbps PoE port, you’ll need an injector that can handle that speed.

I tested it with one.

The lop-sided Wi-Fi bands

The new AP is the first from Netgear and one of the first, if not the first, on the market, with the new Tri-band configuration. Featuring Wi-Fi 6E, it incorporates three existing bands, including 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz.

But compared to previous 6GHz-ready broadcasters, including Netgear’s Orbi RBKE960 and RAXE500, it does have a bit of a downward twist, especially considering its massive size.

The WAX630E was the first 6E broadcaster that used the 2×2 configuration for the 6GHz band to cap at 2400Mbps. To make the matter more strange, its 5GHz band features 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 to deliver twice the speed, up to 4800Mbps via 160MHz bandwidth.

The thing is, the new 6GHz is a clean band for Wi-Fi and is, therefore, where you can count on the consistent use of the 160MHz channel width. On the 5GHz, the 160MHz is always hit or miss due to DFS and cramped airspace.

Extra on Wi-Fi bandwidth: 5GHz vs 6GHz

The 5GHz or 6GHz Wi-Fi band can handle 160MHz bandwidth to deliver their top performances, currently at 4800Mbps for both.

The 5GHz has just two 160MHz channels, and both must use Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) portions of the spectrum. Since RADAR has the first dibs on DFS channels, a broadcaster’s 5GHz Wi-Fi band might periodically exhibit disconnections.

On the other hand, the 6GHz band has seven 160MHz channels of its own — none use DFS. As a result, while 160MHz on the 5GHz band is a luxury, it’s a norm on the 6GHz.

So with the WAX630E, it seems Netgear has invested in the wrong bands, and chances are the WAX630E will deliver the same real-world bandwidth on its 5GHz and 6GHz bands.

But these lop-sided Wi-Fi bands might be a new trend in Wi-Fi 6E broadcasters. The recently announced eero Pro 6E also uses this configuration.

With that, let’s check out the WAX63E’s detailed photos and its specs versus others in Netgear’s WAX6xx family of PoE access points.

Netgear WAX630E: Detail photos

Netgear WAX630E Wi Fi 6E Access Point 10
Out of the box, the Netgear WAX630E includes mounting accessories and nothing else.

Netgear WAX630E Wi Fi 6E Access Point 1
While taking the traditional shape of a business access point, the Netgear WAX630E is really big.

Netgear WAX630E Wi Fi 6E Access Point 9
Proportionally to its width and height, the WAX630E is also very thick.
Netgear WAX630E Wi Fi 6E Access Point 14
Here’s the underside of the Netgear WAX630E Wi-Fi 6E Access Point.

Netgear WAX630E Wi Fi 6E Access Point 6
The Netgear WAX630E has a 2.5Gbps PoE ort and a regular Gigabit LAN port.

Netgear WAX630E Wi Fi 6E Access Point 3
Just by itself, the Netgear WAX630E doesn’t look that big.

Wi Fi 6 Access Points 1
But it’s gigantic compared to other Wi-Fi 6 access points I’ve reviewed, including the EnGenius ECW230, ZyXel WAX630S, EnGenius EWS850AP outdoor, and Netgear WAX214.

Netgear WAX630E vs WAX630 vs other Insight WAPs: Hardware specifications

Model WAX630E WAX630 WAX620 WAX610
Name Insight App Managed Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band AXE7800
Tri-band Wireless Access Point
Insight App Managed
Wi-Fi 6 AX6000
Tri-band Wireless Access Point
Insight App Managed
Wi-Fi 6 AX3600
Dual-band Wireless Access Point
Insight App Managed 
WiFi 6 AX1800
Dual-band Wireless
 Access Point
Wi-Fi Standards Tri-band AXE7800 Tri-band AX6000 Dual-band AX3600 Dual-band AX1800
1st Band
2.4GHz
(channel width)
2×2 AX
Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
4×4 AX
Up to 1200Mbps
(20/40MHz)
4×4 AX
Up to 1200Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2×2 AX
Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2nd Band
5GHz
(channel width)
4×4 AX
Up to 4800Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
5GHz-1
(Lower channels)
2×2 AX
Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80+80MHz)
4×4 AX
Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
2×2 AX
Up to 1200Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
3rd Band
(channel width)
6GHz
2×2 AXE
Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
5GHz-2
(Upper channels)
2×2 AX
Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
None None
Backward Compatibility 802.11ac/n/g/a/b 802.11ac/n/g/a/b 802.11ac/n/g/a/b 802.11ac/n/g/a/b
Power over Ethernet 
(PoE)
802.3bt or
802.3at
(50% 5GHz performance)
802.3bt or
802.3at
(50% 5GHz-1 performance)
802.11at or 
802.3af 
(60% peformance)
802.11at or 
802.3af 
(60% peformance)
Power Consumption 27.64W 30.1W 25.5W 15.3W
Network Port 1x 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig PoE,
1x Gigabit
1x 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig PoE,
1x Gigabit
1x 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig PoE 1x 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig PoE
Security WPA, WPA2, WPA3 WPA, WPA2, WPA3 WPA, WPA2, WPA3 WPA, WPA2, WPA3
Local Managed Yes Yes Yes Yes
Cloud-Managed Netgear Insight
Premium or Pro
Netgear Insight
Premium or Pro
Netgear Insight
Premium or Pro
Netgear Insight
Premium or Pro
Mobile App NETGEAR Insight App NETGEAR Insight App NETGEAR Insight App NETGEAR Insight App
Mode Access Point,
Bridge,
Repeater Mode
Access Point,
Bridge,
Repeater Mode
Access Point,
Bridge,
Repeater Mode
Access Point,
Bridge,
Repeater Mode
Dimensions 
(W x D x H)
10.49 x 10.56 x 2.18 in
(266.6 x 268.3 x 55.5 mm)
10.49 x 10.56 x 2.18 in
(266.61 x 268.29 x 55.5 mm)
8.09 x 8.09 x 1.35 in
(205.7 x 205.7 x 34.3 mm)
6.33 x 6.33 x 1.30 in 
(160.9 x 160.9 x 33.25 mm) 
Weight 2.31 lb (1050 g) 2.10 lb (956 g) 1.72 lb (783 g) 0.90 lb (412 g)
LED Power and Cloud,
LAN speed,
2.4GHz status,
5.0GHz status,
6.0GHz status
Power and Cloud,
LAN speed,
2.4GHz status,
5.0GHz-1 status,
5.0GHz-2 status
Power and Cloud,
LAN speed,
2.4GHz status,
5.0GHz status
Power and Cloud,
LAN speed,
2.4GHz status,
5.0GHz status
US Retail Cost
(at launch)
$349.99
$369.99
(with power adapter)
$329.99
$339.99
(with power adapter)
$229.99 $179.99
Warranty 5-year 5-year 5-year 5-year
Netgear’s business PoE access points’ hardware specifications
WAX630E vs WAX630 vs WAX620 vs. WAX610

Netgear WAX630E: A fimiliar Insight-managed WAP

Despite the Wi-Fi 6E novelty, the WAX630E remains similar to the rest of the WAPs within Netgear’s Wi-Fi 6 Insight Managed family.

That said, if you have worked with a Netgear AP before, you’ll find it right at home with the WAX630E. And similarly, after this AP, you’ll be able to handle any of the other APs mentioned above.

The no-more-free Insight service

As an Insight-managed device, the WAX630E is designed to work with Netgear’s Insight.

Specifically, you can use the Insight mobile app for setup and ongoing management. You can also use the cloud-based Insight web portal.

Insight is an excellent tool that used to be available with a free Basic level. Apart from allowing users to manage their access points remotely, it offers many configurations, settings, and the ability to turn multiple APs into a seamless mesh system.

The Netgear Insight Mobile app works with the WAX630E and other Insight managed APs
The Netgear Insight Mobile app works with the WAX630E and all other Insight-Managed APs.

Unfortunately, Netgear removed the Basic level in early 2021 — the WAX630E comes with one free year of Premium subscription. Since then, Insight has become somewhat of a nuisance that negs you to subscribe.

That said, if you intend to use Insight, you’ll have to pay $10 (Premium) or $22 (Pro) per device per year, and all is going to be fine and dandy — the experience is consistent across all Insight-managed devices, including the Orbi Pro. But if you don’t want to subscribe, I’d recommend not starting the free trial.

Insight does require a login account and causes the AP to be linked permanently to a Netgear server. While that’s not an issue when you manage a business network, it can be a privacy risk for a home. So, I decided to skip Insight completely for this review.

The good news is, you can use the WAX630E completely via its local web interface. In this case, you can not (easily) manage multiple units, nor can you set them up as a true mesh system. But if you only need a single unit, the local management is all you’d need.

The standard setup process, excellent local web management

With the local manager, managing the WAX630E is the same as the WAX214.

The setup process is simple.

First, mount the AP where you want to deliver the best coverage. Then connect it to the existing network via a PoE switch or Injector. You’re done with the hardware.

To configure the AP’s firmware, you need to open its web user interface via its local IP address. Since it’s a network device and not a router, you first have to figure out this address using your current router. It’s a fairly easy process, as I described in this post on IP addresses.

Negear WAX630E Initial Setup Negear WAX630E Web UI

The Netgear WAX630E’s initial setup main status pages. Note the IP address which was dynamically given out by my router.

Now, from a network computer, navigate a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, etc.) to the IP address, and the rest is self-explanatory. You’ll be asked to set up the login password and Wi-Fi information.

And that’s it. Your Wi-Fi network is now ready. Generally, there’s nothing else to do if you only care about Wi-Fi coverage. You manage your network’s advanced settings via the router.

Lots of Wi-Fi and network settings

But the WAX630E has a lot more options.

You can create up to eight SSID (network names). You can make each available in any Wi-Fi band (2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz) or all three. You can also customize their Wi-Fi settings in great detail, set up captive portals, Facebook integration, device isolation (Guest networks), etc.

Netgear WAX630E Wi Fi Settings
The Netgear WAX630E has lots of Wi-Fi-related settings.

On top of that, there are also QoS options for devices connected to the APs and even virtual private networks. You can also use the WDS (wireless distribution system) feature to set up a pseudo mesh system when using multiple units. (It works but is not a very good alternative to Insight).

But for most homes, a couple of SSIDs is probably all you’d need from the AP. By the way, each band of the AP can handle from 100 to 200 concurrent clients, way more than any home would ever need.

Netgear WAX630E: Not super-fast but still excellent performance

I tested the Netgear WAX630E for almost two weeks and generally had a great time with it. The AP was super reliable — we had no disconnection — and had excellent range.

It’s hard to determine the correct coverage, and the devices have a different range for each band, but overall, when mounted at an optimal space (ceiling or high on a wall), you can expect it to cover some 2500 ft2 (233 m2) of residential space. Of course, your mileage will vary.

Netgear WAX630E Access Point Performance
The Netgear WAX630E access point’s sustained download Wi-Fi performance with clients of different standards.

As for sustained throughput speeds, the AP was slightly disappointing. It reminded me of the Zyxel WAX630S — both have a 2.5Gbps PoE++ port. Overall, the AP’s Wi-Fi didn’t get over Gigabit in real-world usage, as you can see on the charge above.

In my anecdotal testing, though, at times, the AP did deliver Gig+ upload speed via my new 10Gbps fiberoptic Internet line. But its download speed generally stayed sub-Gigabit.

Netgear WAX630E Wi Fi 6E Access Point 2

Pros

Wi-Fi 6E support, reliable performance with excellent coverage

2.5 Gbps PoE network port, extra Gigabit port

Excellent web local interface, tons of Wi-Fi settings, and lots of AP-related features

Cons

Bulky design, no power adapter or PoE injector included

Sustained throughput speeds could be better

No free level of Insight cloud-based management

Conclusion

The Netgear Insight App Managed Wi-Fi 6E Tri-band AXE7800 WAX630E access point is an excellent choice for a place that wants to add all the current flavor of Wi-Fi to an existing router.

Specifically, if you have an ISP-provided gateway stuck in a basement run a cable to this AP mounted in the middle of the property, and you’ll get yourself an excellent Wi-Fi network.

You can pick any other local-manageable access point to get the same effect, but for now, the Netgear WAX630E is the only one that gives you Wi-Fi 6E.



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