Netgear N600 (DGNDG3700) dual-band wireless router
Netgear N600 (DGNDG3700) review: A feature-packed networking solution for home or small business users
- Reliable performance
- Stacks of features
- Two USB ports
- Slightly slow Wi-Fi speed
- LEDs can be annoying
With a built-in ADSL2+ modem, dual-band wireless networking, Gigabit Ethernet, as well as hard drive sharing features, the Netgear N600 is almost a perfect networking device for home and small business users.
Price$ 299.00 (AUD)
Netgear's N600 dual-band wireless ADSL2+ modem/router (otherwise known as the DGND3700) offers more than just a way to get online — it's an advanced home networking solution. It's perfect for distributing a high-speed Internet connection, sharing files, streaming media, online gaming and, most impressively, it can turn an ordinary USB hard drive into a makeshift NAS (network attached storage) device.
The Netgear N600 has a built-in ADSL2+ modem, which produced excellent speeds in our tests. Using the PC World Broadband Speed Test with our iiNet ADSL2+ connection, the modem achieved a download rate of 16.2 megabits per second (Mbps), while the upload rate was 0.96Mbps. It was a consistent performer, too, and we didn't experience any drop-outs or slow-downs throughout our extensive test period.
The Netgear N600 is a reasonably easy modem to set up — if you're at all familiar with Netgear routers, you will know what to do — the Web interface on this model is the same as pretty much every other Netgear modem/router we've seen. You can simply go through the 'Setup Wizard' and let the router auto-detect your ADSL2+ settings, or you can choose to configure the modem manually. The auto-detect method worked for us.
You can connect computers to the Netgear N600 by using the Gigabit Ethernet switch on its rear, or by setting up its wireless access point. We did both: we connected our main file server via Gigabit Ethernet and then connected numerous laptops using the 802.11n access point. It supports simultaneous dual-band operation, which is perfect for segregating network traffic according to what it will be used for. We were able to use one network (2.4GHz) for typical Internet usage and file transfers between computers, and the other network (5GHz) for streaming media. Other scenarios might have the 2.4GHz network dedicated to gaming and the 5GHz network dedicated to file transfers. Either way, having two wireless bands to play with allows a home network to be very versatile.
Setting up both wireless networks is easy as the settings for both networks are on the same page. All you have to do is simply enter the SSID and passphrase for each network and you are set. You also have the ability to configure up to four profiles for each wireless network as well as easily set up guest networks so that users can access the Internet but not your local network.
In our speed tests from 2m away and 10m away, the The Netgear N600 produced good results for the most part. Using the 2.4GHz network, we achieved transfer rates of 9.62 megabytes per second (MBps) from 2m away and 6.75MBps from 10m away. Using the 5GHz network, the N600 recorded 8.09MBps from 2m away and 7.9MBps from 10m away. The close-up results are a little slower than expected, but the 10m results are solid and they compare well against other recent dual-band routers we've seen, such as the FRITZ!Box.
Overall, its performance in our set wireless tests and in our real-world scenarios, in which we streamed high-definition files over the wireless networks, was good. However, we did notice a slow-down in performance when transferring data on both networks simultaneously. From 2m away, the 2.4GHz network produced a rate of 5.39MBps while the 5GHz network was being used to send data to a media streamer. That's a performance difference over 3MBps compared to when the 2.4GHz network was used exclusively. As for distance, the Netgear's 5GHz network produced a usable signal up to 38m away in our tests, but this will vary depending on your own environment.
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