Coming from a Netgear WNDR4500v2, I hoped to accomplish the following 2 goals by purchasing the Nighthawk R7000 router:
1.) Extend wireless range
2.) Improve speed of USB storage attached to the router
Bottom line in short, both goals were accomplished with this purchase. Overall, I'm happy with the investment I have made. For what I am using the router for, I would be considered a power user.
I researched many routers before pulling the trigger on this sale. This router has been given great reviews, often best in class, for a long period of time now. My decision was set when I discovered a no brainer sale price on bestbuy.com. I have to give kudos to Best Buy for beating every online price I researched at the time, by a fair margin. Thank you, Best Buy!
The router arrived with the latest firmware already installed as of December 2016. I normally would enable both QOS and the provided DNS service, but some research indicated that disabling extra functions on the router would improve the USB storage performance. So far this has proven true. By disabling those extras, I have gotten higher transfer rates with both reads and writes with readyshare shares on my MacBook Pro. The shares even connect faster. I have the router on default firmware, with mostly default settings. I have restricted extra functionality to only enabling USB sharing, ReadyCloud sharing, and DLNA sharing. I have a Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB drive plugged into the USB3 port on the router. I still wish it could be faster, but I won't complain... any improvement over USB speeds with my old router are welcome. I estimate they are twice as fast. I have a Public share for software installs and media, and a private share for documents. This configuration is serving as much needed storage to compliment the measly 500G drive on my MacBook Pro. I have ReadyCloud enabled so I can access my files from outside the home, and it does serve this purpose reasonably well.
Also of note that may help others... I have a ton of media files, and I am selectively moving ones that I don't want to show up in DLNA to hidden directories starting with a (.). For me this includes tutorial videos, iTunes backups, and and many thousands of pro audio samples that overload DLNA media searching. The DLNA on this router can only handle so many files in so many directories. I want only certain songs and certain movie backups to be streamed via DLNA. Hiding media not needed for DLNA streaming has been my workaround. Also keep in mind that even if you have multiple shares, DLNA will attempt to discover all media files on the entire drive. This means I have to put media files on my private share in hidden folders too. I really wish I didn't have to do this, and just limit the DLNA media searching to a certain directory.
As for wifi ranges, they have definitely improved substantially with this router. So far, I have only connected my devices on the 5G bands, and I still have decent signal 2 floors up through concrete walls. This is very good... I would only connect to the lower bands with my old router. I have the router hidden in a shelf below the television in my entertainment center on the first floor of a 3 story home. I have the antennae set up in a basic "W" configuration, which has served me well.
I have had the router for a couple of weeks now, and have needed to have it reestablish its internet address once. My current setup is as follows:
Vizio Smart TV, Roku 3, and Samsung BluRay connected through ethernet
3 Laptop computers (Mac and Windows), 4 Smartphones (Apple and Android), and a single Android tablet on the wifi network.
Overall, everything has been smooth sailing for internet access and file operations. The single incident I encountered was rectified by simply hitting the "Apply" button in the Basic Internet tab of the router settings. Maybe that will help someone else if they ever lose connection, since a router reboot didn't do the trick for me in that particular case.
I believe the Nighthawk R7000 router is an excellent value for the money in the current market, with a proven track record. It should be given top considerations if you don't want to spend the extra hundreds of dollars on the newer faster router models available. I can foresee this model still being available for some time, until the newer technologies can come down to the same price point.