Life in the Channel: Netgear’s Max Wu

The Nighthawk Pro Gaming Product Line Manager discusses why it’s important that gamers are aware of the many benefits of gaming routers, and NETGEAR’s plans for taking advantage of the next-gen Wi-Fi 6 standard.

Tell us about your career in the industry and your current role at NETGEAR.

I have been in the retail networking industry for over ten years. I previously worked for multiple name brand networking companies in the past, and my current role is as the product line manager of Nighthawk Pro Gaming (NPG) at NETGEAR.

What is your team focused on at the moment?

We are spending a lot of time trying to understand users better, through surveys, reviews and direct feedback, and we are focusing on using this data to deliver brand-new software features to enhance the gamers experience.

Our team has discovered that many gamers are not aware of the benefits of gaming routers, so we are focusing on the ecosystem partnership with different gaming brands to create more educational content and brand awareness together for the NPG product line.

For example, there is a misconception that plugging directly into your modem or gateway will always give you the best connection. While wired connections are generally recommended due to the reduction of environmental EM interference, we recommend you plug into the back of your XR router, and keep the router connected to your modem.

The router has an advanced software package you can’t get anywhere else on the market, called DumaOS. Tied into the powerful hardware of the router, this combination of hardware and software gives you the ability to prioritise your gaming traffic with more precision than previously available to gamers, thanks to its comprehensive and easy-to-use software interface. You can get up to an 84% reduction of ping, which is incredible news for gamers, especially for online play.

NETGEAR recently released the Nighthawk Pro Gaming Mesh Wi-Fi system. Can you tell us about the system’s benefits for gamers?

Gateways and wireless routers are often placed out of the way in a corner of the living room or the hallway, which usually isn’t in close proximity to a games console or PC.

Very few homes in the UK have ethernet cabling installed so the vast majority of gaming is done over a wireless connection. Longer distances will lead to increased latency and slower download speeds, made worse when additional devices are being used at the same time and competing for bandwidth.

With XRM570 comprising a package that contains both the powerful Nighthawk Pro Gaming XR500 router, which has a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, and EX7700 mesh extender, the user will get the best possible wireless performance even over long distances. It’s also very easy to set up a wireless mesh with XRM570, as the two devices come pre paired out of the box.

Unlike many competing routers, the DumaOS software installed on the XR500 router offers a comprehensive set of network management tools that gives gamers full control over their network, which as mentioned above, are easy to use thanks to a clear and concise interface.

One example is the advanced quality-of-service (QoS) system that makes it simple to set up prioritisation rules on your network so no single device can consume all the available bandwidth over a shared internet connection, which would otherwise add latency in online games.

We’ve also added a geo-filtering feature to reduce latency, which ensures connections to games servers that are located geographically closer. There’s a built-in VPN too for added privacy, and we’ve expanded the number of available channels in the 5GHz spectrum.

How important in the gaming sector to NETGEAR?

Gaming is definitely a big category at NETGEAR, we have formed a separate team to focus solely on the gaming product line, and we will be continuing to invest and focus on delivering the best-in-class gaming hardware and software in the future.

When we launched in January of 2018, we had just two great products, the XR500 router and SX-10 switch. Now, we have a router for wherever you are in your gaming journey, from just starting out to outfitting an esports pro team house. We have expanded to create a mesh system for gamers that gives you the best experience anywhere in your home.

As gaming is more dependent on online connections and cloud computing, we are here to provide the hardware and software that eliminates the headaches of lag and latency issues and not just keeps you in the game, but gives you an advantage.

What’s next for NETGEAR’s gaming-focused portfolio?

We have plans to take further advantage of the next- generation Wi-Fi 6 standard, and are working hard to continue delivering improved gaming features and new software.

We will of course also continue to listen to our customers carefully and deliver our next NPG product with the right features spec that will improve and enhance real-world gaming experiences.

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