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R7000 vs. R6900 (CostCo)... Differences and availability of 3rd party FW

Discussion in 'NETGEAR AC Wireless' started by smitbret, Feb 17, 2016.

  1. smitbret

    smitbret Occasional Visitor

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    I have been looking for a router that can run AsusWRT-Merlin firmware that is not an Asus RT-AC68x.

    Reason, I had a T-Mobile CellSpot that I flashed to stock and loved that I could set the router as the Master Browser on my network. It made file-sharing among my Windows machines so much smoother. Anyway, I liked the RT-AC68U but I hate the upright form factor.

    I recently discovered that the R7000 could be flashed to XWRT Vortex firmware and that has kept my eye open for a deal. Found the NetGear AC1900 Nighthawk at Costco for $159.00. I jumped all over it and didn't notice until I got home that it said "R6900" on the box. WTF? Anyway, I took a quick shot at flashing the firmware using:
    http://www.linksysinfo.org/index.php?threads/asuswrt-merlin-on-netgear-r7000.71108/

    It didn't work.

    Before I take this back to CostCo, is it even possible to get XWRT onto this router? Are there any other significant differences between the R7000 and the R6900 other than 1 less USB port?


    Is XWRT really a stable firmware with the Nighthawk routers? What kind of troubles have people had with it?
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2016
  2. netwrks

    netwrks Senior Member

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    That's a special to Costco. Netgear only put out 2 fw releases for that device. Kinda like an R7000, but not.
     
  3. avtella

    avtella Very Senior Member

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    Its probably pretty much the same but with less updates. I remember some older Netgear routers made for Costco/Sams could be flashed to the original firmware by editing the firmware's device check or whatever it was called.

    Never used XWRT myself but have heard its pretty stable from others who have. I want to use it but my R7000 acts as a base station for my Arlo cams, so I'm stuck with stock
     
  4. netwrks

    netwrks Senior Member

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    I run Xvortex on 2 R7000's, but in AP mode. Various versions of firmware, with various issues. I wonder if the CFE looks like a 7000.. It's easy to convert to Xvortex and fall back to stock FW, if required.. No idea what your 6900 will do though. Best to post on the forum and ask if anyone is running the firmware on a 6900..
     
  5. sfx2000

    sfx2000 Part of the Furniture

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    CostCo has very generous return policies if you've bricked it... R6900 != R7000 - simply put
     
  6. NETGEAR Guy

    NETGEAR Guy Senior Member

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    R6900 is essentially the Costco version of R7000 and has one less USB port.

    R7000: Has 1 USB 3.0 & 1 USB 2.0

    R6900: Has 1 USB 3.0
     
  7. smitbret

    smitbret Occasional Visitor

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    Haven't bricked it, yet.

    I may just return it and try a Linksys EA6900 for the same money then I can keep a clear conscience if attempting to flash it to an R7000 had some bad results.
     
  8. smitbret

    smitbret Occasional Visitor

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    OK, follow up question. I am very newbish when it comes to alt firmware. I can't seem to find a comprehensive list of routers that can run Tomato. My impression is that if the R7000 and R6900 share the same Broadcom chipset and relatively little differs between the two then I should be able to flash Tomato onto the R6900? Is this something worth trying or am I just an idiot for considering it?
     
  9. avtella

    avtella Very Senior Member

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    In some older Netgear Costco/Sams WNDR3700 routers there was a firmware check that needed to be edited to allow stock model firmware installation.

    Ill try to find the link as its been 3+ years but it may or may not not be worth the effort....
     
  10. smitbret

    smitbret Occasional Visitor

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    So I would need to flash the firmware to an R7000, first? I tried that and it wouldn't take it.
     
  11. avtella

    avtella Very Senior Member

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    I would think so because if I am not mistaken you still need an initial transition firmware to get from stock to DD-WRT then you flash the DD-WRT main firmware, at least it was like that for my WNDR3700v2 and WNDR3800. I don't know if the R6900 would accept the transition firmware with its current firmware.
     
  12. smitbret

    smitbret Occasional Visitor

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    Nah, that's pretty consistent with what I have experienced in messing around with it so far. Looks like it's going back.

    Thanks for the assist.
     
  13. husky55

    husky55 Occasional Visitor

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    I do not see the R6900 either at the Costco Milford, CT store or online for $159. Costco online listed it as $179 after a $20 discount. So the retail R7000 is a much better choice and deal at about $180.
     
  14. hawaiianhula86

    hawaiianhula86 New Around Here

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    I just purchased the 6900 knowing that it wasn't the 7000, thinking the model number of the NetGear AC1900 was a "costco-specific" model number (kind of how Lowe's and Home Depot do it). I just installed it but wanted to get a concensus from the group. Should I return it and pay 30 more for the 7000? I mostly stream video and my last router just wasn't cutting it.
     
  15. avtella

    avtella Very Senior Member

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    Its practically the same except with one USB port, the firmware has a check so you can't use the regular R7000 firmware without modification. So unless you want to figure out how to do that just get the R7000 and return this one. There was a blog somewhere that showed how to edit the firmware for the Costco version of the WNDR3700 but I can no longer find it.
     
  16. RogerSC

    RogerSC Part of the Furniture

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    Probably a board id problem, at the very least. However, even if you work around the board id being different than that of the R7000, there's no guarantee that the firmware will work right. XVortex only tests on an R7000, so that's what I'd get if I wanted to be sure that the firmware would work correctly on my router.

    By the way, XVortex is working really well on my R7000 at the moment. Been up 12 days now, almost a record for my not having a reason to try another firmware version (maybe on another router) or reboot the router that I'm currently using. Stable and fast, and the wireless coverage is impressive.
     
  17. hawaiianhula86

    hawaiianhula86 New Around Here

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    So I've gathered I'm not as savvy with networking details as you are so I appreciate the help! I guess I'm trying to decide if the 7000 delivers better streaming performance compared to the 6900. If they're the same on the aspect I'll keep the 6900 since I've already opened it... But if the 7000 performs better I'm all for purchasing the better one. Thoughts on this?

    Thanks again for you help! :)

     
  18. avtella

    avtella Very Senior Member

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    Its one and the same, performance should not differ. However Costco versions usually get very limited firmware updates and bug fixes. If you have no issues then no need to worry, except for maybe lack of security patches.
     
  19. TonyH

    TonyH Very Senior Member

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    Some times what Costco sells is fishy. I looked at a Dell laptop one time which should have free standing graphics card.
    But this one has an embedded one sharing memory. Big difference. That was why it was less expensive. I seldom
    buy things from Costco even tho I have a membership. How could R6900 and R7000 be one and same?
     
  20. avtella

    avtella Very Senior Member

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    Usually its the same, even the header for the 2nd USB is most likely still there on the board. The reason its cheaper is, less support. As in fewer firmware updates and possibly less options in the GUI.

    Kind of like Quadro/FireGL vs GeForce/Radeon in the early days.