The NETGEAR N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router Premium Edition offers high performance wireless Internet access for demanding applications, such as streaming HD video and multiplayer gaming. It supports a wide range of new features and applications such as ReadySHARE Cloud, ReadySHARE Printer, Clear Channel Selector and much more. Simultaneous Dual band technology runs both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands at the same time, avoiding interference, ensuring top speeds and the greatest range, while Gigabit offers ultra-fast wired connections.
Provided By: Netgear
Besides Netgear’s traditional blue, the box of the WNDR3800 is painted red, which indicates the premium positioning of the device in the company’s product line-up. You can check out the exterior design, specifications and capabilities of the WNDRT3800 on its box, including such parameters as its processor clock rate and memory amount.
There is nothing unusual inside the box. Besides the router, it contains a stand, a power adapter, a Gigabit Ethernet cable, some documents, and a CD with electronic documentation.
Netgear has long switched to using built-in antennas in its home-oriented products. Therefore the WNDR3800 is rather compact for the high-performance hardware it has inside. The bottom of the case is dark matte plastic but the top is black and glossy. The panel with LED indicators is dark red. The router can be placed flat down on its rubber feet or upright using the included stand. It can also be wall-mounted.
The indicators are all on the front panel of the case and report the status of the router’s wired ports, wireless interfaces, internet connection and USB. They do not blink much because they do not reflect the activity of the ports, i.e. the data-transfer process. You can see two buttons here: one for quickly turning off Wi-Fi and another for establishing a wireless connection using WPS technology.
The router can be reset with the hidden button on its bottom. Here, you can also find the name of your Wi-Fi network and its password, the latter being individual for each device. This feature helps you have a secure wireless network right after turning the router on for the first time or resetting it. All of the router’s connectors are expectedly on the back panel: a power connector with a switch, four LAN ports, one WAN port and one USB 2.0 connector.
The WNDR3800 is ventilated through the few vent holes in its case. It doesn’t get very hot at work, though. If it were not for the glossy surface, we’d say this exterior design is both practical and user-friendly.
The WNDR3800 is based on an Atheros chipset that consists of a 680MHz AR7161 processor and wireless controllers AR9220 and AR9223. The amount of system memory is an impressive 128 megabytes; the firmware is stored in a 16MB flash memory chip. The USB 2.0 interface is implemented through the main processor’s controller while the Gigabit Ethernet switch is based on a Realtek RTL8366 chip. The router can work in 2T2R mode in two frequency bands concurrently (2.4 and 5 MHz), which is reflected in its specs as “N600”: up to 300 Mbps in each frequency band.
The 2.4GHz antennas are located on the PCB while the 5GHz ones are designed as micro-cards attached to the top panel of the case. The manufacturer even installed connectors for external antennas although we don’t think they might be necessary. A console connector can also be found on the PCB. The processor and switch chips are cooled with heat-spreaders.
The interface is very easy to use and is quick as well. Rather than typing the IP address, you can also access the interface by using “routerlogin.net” in your browser. The interface is well laid out and simple to navigate through. All the sub-menus are placed on the left, giving you the choice of simple or advanced options.
To test the transfer speeds of the router, I setup three different zones and copied a 200 MB (sequential and random) file from one notebook/Desktop to another. The notebook was hard wired to the router, while the other, the Dell Studio, was wireless. I also used a wireless HTPC. The good thing about the Dell is that it supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, so we could test the speeds on both.
The performance is actually pretty solid, especially under the 5GHZ band. In Zone 2, the notebook was placed about 15ft away from the router with a wall right in the middle, it still managed good speeds. Zone 3 consisted of four walls in between the router and the notebook, which is where we see the speeds taking a substantial hit. With this kind of bandwidth available, I was easily able to stream 1080p movies from the hard drive in all the Zones quite well. It’s also important to note that if your laptop or any other device supports 5GHz, It’s strongly recommend using that, as the difference in speed is quite significant.
There is plenty to like about the Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Premium Edition (WNDR3800) router, and in addition to all the features mentioned above, it also can use open router software like OpenWRT,DD-WRT and Tomato which opens a whole new realm of possibility . It also includes a traffic meter that you can set up to either disconnect the Internet connection when you reach your data limits, or to warn you by changing the behavior of the Internet status LED on the front panel. I like this router a lot and think it’s a good choice for the home, or even for a small office environment.
The Netgear WNDR3800 receive the Xtreme Tech Junkie’s Xtreme award!