Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro MR6550 review

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro (MR6550) review: internet on the go


Travel frequently and need reliable access to internet away from home? A mobile router like the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro (MR6550) could have a place in your travels.

There is no question that Australians are travellers. We travel locally, we travel overseas and some travel for work. Could you imagine travelling now without the internet? Your smartphone provides that, right? Well, it might not be the best tool for the job in some instances. Having a standalone mobile router has multiple benefits, especially when sharing internet connectivity among multiple devices.

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro (MR6550) review

What is a mobile router?

Nighthawk M6 pro
Image: Netgear.

A mobile router is like a portable Wi-Fi hotspot you can take anywhere. It’s a small device connecting to the internet through a cellular network like your smartphone. Once connected, it creates a Wi-Fi network to which you can connect your devices, like your phone, tablet, or laptop.

So, a mobile router can be handy if you travel, camp, or are just out and about and need internet access for multiple devices. It lets you stay connected to the internet without relying on public Wi-Fi or using your phone’s data plan. It’s like having your own personal Wi-Fi wherever you go!

How can I reduce internet costs when travelling?

When you are at home and possibly at work, you will most likely utilise an NBN broadband Wi-Fi connection for your smartphone and any other devices you have. However, as soon as you travel, you must 100% rely on your mobile phone.

When you choose a plan, you should only pay for what you need daily. This can be worked out by reviewing your usage with your existing mobile vendor.

When you travel, rather than switching on your phone’s hotspot, which will drain the battery quickly, a mobile router can be a more economical and convenient solution for all your devices, as the Wi-Fi network is on by default.

When you travel, your data requirements will increase as you may stream movies and social feeds without your home Wi-Fi.

International travel

Global roaming is expensive and often limited in your data allowance. By purchasing a local SIM in the country you are visiting and then using it with your mobile router, you can access cheaper data. Wi-Fi calling, when connected to the M6, will allow you to make and receive calls from Australia even though technically, without the M6, this would be via expensive international roaming.

Domestic Travel

I like using 12-month expiry SIMs purchased with a set amount of data. These sims are an economical way to buy mobile broadband. If you use up all the data, you renew the plan or select a different one that suits your needs better. The value is what you pay per GB of data.

I use a Boost Mobile plan, as any unused data can be rolled over after 12 months, and they use 100% of the Telstra network. Besides Telstra and Boost, no other mobile vendor offers the same coverage in Australia. Thus, you are more likely to be able to use it when travelling within Australia.

For a trip that lasts less than a month, look out for supermarket specials where SIMs are sold for less than half price, providing you with a cheap chunk of mobile data for your holiday.

Business use

When visiting a customer or perhaps staffing a display booth or pop-up store, having internet available for EFTPOS machines, presentations, etc, is vital, and a mobile router makes the process simple. No fumbling around with hotspots. Just power up, and you’re online. Having your own private Wi-Fi network also means increased security from not having to use a public Wi-Fi network.

What are the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro features?

The Nighthawk M6 Pro (MR6550) is a 5G mmWave mobile Wi-Fi 6E router that can be used in over 125 countries.

The basic features include a 2.8-inch touchscreen with full control over settings, a 10-hour battery and a 2.5 Gigabit Ethernet connection so a PC, printer or shared drive can be connected.

GadgetGuy has previously reviewed the MR6500, which is identical in design and shares most of the same features. I recommend you read this previous review first. At $1,149 RRP, the MR6550 is more expensive than the MR6500, which costs $840 outright through Telstra.

Internally, the processor is the same. The main difference is that the MR6550 supports Wi-Fi 6E and is unlocked, so it will work on any carrier in Australia (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone) and in more than 125 countries worldwide.

M6 Pro ethernet
Image: Netgear.

Wi-Fi 6E is a newer Wi-Fi standard than Wi-Fi 6, and at a distance of five metres from the router, it will transfer data at an increased speed of 1.5 times. Wi-Fi 6 only supports 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, while Wi-Fi 6E adds the faster 6GHz band accessible by compatible devices. You will also benefit from reduced latency and can better handle situations with many Wi-Fi networks in the same range.

The actual speed of the internet connection will be governed by the speed available from the cell tower you are connected to, which will be the weakest link. The benefit you will see from the faster Wi-Fi will be if you need to send files between multiple devices connected to the router. For example, transferring video footage from your smartphone to a PC wirelessly.

Netgear is known for its excellence in Wi-Fi routers, and its mobile routers are no exception. They are among the best in the business, using the latest mobile phone technologies to maximise mobile data.

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro (MR6550) specifications

Wi-FiWi-Fi 6E
Bands  2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz
Speed2900Mbps (5GHz / 6GHz)
700Mbps (2.4GHz)
Supported networks3G, 4G, 5G and 5G mmWave
PortsOne USB Type-C
One 2.5Gbps Ethernet
Two TS9 RF ports
Dimensions2.2 x 10.5 x 10.5 cm
256 grams
Price (RRP)From $1,149
WarrantyTwo years

Using the Nighthawk M6 Pro

I put the MR6550 through its paces using a Boost Mobile SIM connected to the Telstra network. Like the MR6500 review, I connected an external hi-gain antenna to the unit to understand its abilities for remote travellers.

The internet speed that this mobile router will work at is determined by so many things. Netgear quotes up to 8Gbps, which, compared to the standard 50 Mbps NBN speed, is 160 times faster. The reality will be much slower.

At my home in Sydney, 800m from a 5G tower, I tested the unit on a Boost Mobile SIM at 242 Mbps download and 10.4 Mbps upload. This is interesting as Boost Mobile is supposed to cap your speed at 150Mbps on its 12-month plans. Its $70 28-day plan offers uncapped speeds, while a $55 recharge has a 250Mbps cap, with all cheaper plans capped at 150Mbps. For perspective, you would need less than 25Mbps to stream a 4K video.

M6 Pro speed test

Many factors will affect your speeds, including obstacles, distance, interference, congestion, cell base station bandwidth, etc. Further to this are the possible 32 devices connecting to the M6. How many do you have connected, and what is each device trying to do? For example, three devices trying to stream video will use more bandwidth.

If you are a traveller, the M6 supports attaching a two-channel antenna. The M6 itself has six antennas internally. More channels can mean more internet speed. Compared to using a CEL-FI Roam R41 repeater in a remote area, the M6 connected to a directional antenna produced more than three times faster speeds. It was also six times faster than a smartphone alone.

DeviceDownload speedUpload speed
Oppo Find X23.16 Mbps0.2 Mbps
Oppo Find X2 connected to R416.1 Mbps1.4 Mbps
Netgear M6 Pro with external dual channel RFI high gain directional Antenna19.6 Mbps10.5 Mbps

An RV driver will also benefit from removing the battery and powering the unit from a USB-C socket, automatically increasing the Wi-Fi power and doubling the Wi-Fi range from the router.

Who is the Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro (MR6550) for?

The Nighthawk M6 Pro MR6550 is ideal for people on the move. Its small size and long battery life will get you through a working day. It makes perfect sense for an office to keep a M6 to share with staff if it is necessary to work away from the office.

Those travelling overseas reduce their call and data charges by using a local SIM but keep receiving calls from Australia with Wi-Fi calling. Australian travellers also benefit from its seamless sharing of Wi-Fi across multiple devices and essentially buying data as needed.

Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro MR6550
The Netgear Nighthawk M6 Pro (MR6550) adds Wi-Fi 6E connectivity and lets you conveniently access high-speed internet in over 125 countries.
Value for money
Ease of use
Supports most carriers globally
Battery-powered and portable
Latest mobile and Wi-Fi technologies providing lightning internet speed
Price premium for the unlocked model