Netgear Australia RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router (WNR3500)
Slow wireless performance.
- Gigabit Ethernet switch
- Poor 802.11n performance, doesn't play nicely with some non-Netgear branded 802.11n adapters, doesn't even work well with a Netgear-branded network adapter!
The WNR3500 produced disappointing results in all of our wireless tests. There are better products available if you want fast wireless speed as well as a Gigabit Ethernet switch. It's also expensive!
Price$ 349.00 (AUD)
It's hard to be enthused by Netgear's WNR3500 wireless router, which underperformed in all of our wireless tests. The upside is that it has a Gigabit Ethernet switch built in, so its wired performance is a class above most routers. However, this also makes it an expensive piece of kit.
Physically, the WNR3500 is a large upright unit with internal antennas. It has eight of them and blue lights seemingly scurry from the front of the unit to the back in order to indicate which of antennas are being used. In the dead of night these lights are annoying, but they can be switched off.
We had no problems setting up the router with our ADSL connection, as it detected our PPPoE interface automatically and prompted us for our login details, but that was the smoothest part of our experience. The unit's Web interface is laid out in typical Netgear style, so there is nothing new to get used to, but it's a very slow interface. Almost every change in setting requires a restart, which means that if all you want to do is change the wireless channel, the router will restart. This can be very inconvenient and makes the unit frustrating to set up as it also affects the wired network.
The unit's wireless access point runs at a frequency of 2.4GHz and supports speeds up to 300 megabits per second (Mbps) using 802.11n, but it didn't play nice with other vendors' wireless cards. For example, if you want to use an existing 802.11n Linksys adapter in your PC or notebook, it will only run at 54Mbps. However, modern notebooks with 802.11n adapters (such as those based on the Centrino 2 platform) won't have a problem connecting to the router in 802.11n mode. We recommend using Netgear-branded 802.11n adapters with this unit.
Even so, we used a Netgear WNDA3100 adapter for our tests (it costs $149), but we still couldn't reach top speed when connected to the router. The connection was initially made at 300Mbps, but promptly dipped to 216Mbps. Our Centrino 2-based laptops topped out at 145Mbps. Despite these connection speeds, the radio signal was reported as being excellent, and this was from a distance of 10m. This resembles our experience with Netgear's RangeMax Duo Wireless N Router (WNDR3300), which also supplied slow connection speeds.
The average transfer rate of the router in 802.11n mode was a miserable 1.8 megabytes per second (MBps), which is 1.15MBps slower than the RangeMax Duo Wireless N Router (WNDR3300). This speed was recorded with the WNDA3100 USB adapter plugged into our test laptop. Changing wireless channels and modes didn't speed things up. Funnily enough, conducting the same transfer while also streaming data to an 802.11g-based Netgear Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000, garnered the same speed.
This slow performance, coupled with the high price of the unit, represents poor value for money, so you're better off looking elsewhere if you want a Gigabit router with an 802.11n-based wireless access point. The Linksys WRT310N is a better option at a lower price point.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 2 Huawei Nova Plus smartphone review
- 3 Apple iPhone 7 Plus review: including Portrait Mode
- 4 Google Daydream View VR full, in-depth review
- 5 Google Pixel XL full, in-depth smartphone review: Phones just got smarter
Latest News Articles
- Plume's 'routerless' mesh network blankets your home in Wi-Fi with an army of tiny pods
- Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200 Smart WiFi Router goes all the way to 11
- Can Wi-Fi and LTE-U live together? The tests are ready
- New wireless tech from MIT promises password-free Wi-Fi
- Facebook to begin testing its Internet drone this year
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- Time to ditch Foxtel and the iQ3: How to replace Foxtel packages with cheaper alternatives
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- FTITCM EngineerNSW
- CCProject SchedulerQLD
- CCProject Manager - Location Management Program - TelcoVIC
- CCWeb Architect - Ruby, Python, Java, Open sourceNSW
- CCLead DevOps Architect l AWS- Cloud- Linux- Puppet Ansible- JIRA-DatadogNSW
- CCSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- TPPrincipal Business Analyst - DAFFQLD
- FTApplication Developer - FileNetWA
- FTFull Stack Web Developer - UI/UX - .NET or JAVANSW
- FTLevel 3 Support ConsultantNSW
- CCTest Specialist - NetworkVIC
- FTBusiness Development ManagerVIC
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- CCInfrastructure Technical Team LeadQLD
- FTLead/ Senior .Net DeveloperVIC
- FTTechnical Account ManagerNSW
- FTManager - Field ServicesVIC
- FTTechnology Testing Co-ordinatorVIC
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- CCBusiness AnalystNSW
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- TPICT Project CoordinatorQLD
- CCSystem EngineerSA
- FTiOS DeveloperNSW