Netcomm NB620W

Netcomm's NB620W is a worthy router for anyone looking to broaden their online and local network connectivity. It can distribute an ADSL or cable connection through up to four computers connected to its 4-port router, and it will also allow you to connect wirelessly using 802.11b/g or SuperG components.

It has fairly good wireless range too: we obtained a useable wireless signal just over 20m away through multiple brick walls. Over shorter distances the unit was reliable: it transfered our 512MB test file in 3min 57sec from 1m away; while from 10m away and through a double-brick wall, the same file was transferred in 4min 48sec. We used a Dynalink 802.11g notebook adapter for testing.

While the NB620W has all the features you would expect of a quality wireless router, such as a SPI firewall (Stateful Packet Inspection - a firewall that inspects all packets entering your network), port forwarding capabilities and support for Virtual Private Networking (VPN), it also has USB ports, which can be used to connect a storage device, a printer or even a webcam.

These ports are convenient if you want to share any of these types of devices across your network as it means that the devices themselves don't have to rely on a host PC to be online for them to be accessible. For storage devices, the NB620W allows you to set up user names and permissions for all users, while the webcam can be set up to e-mail images if it's set up as a motion detector.

The setup for these devices is accomplished through the HTML interface of the router, which is fairly intuitive, but uses unnecessary mouse-over HTML effects for the menu items, which sometimes made me click on the wrong item.

The USB ports on the router are also USB 1.1, not USB 2.0, so file transfers from a storage device will chug along at 1.42MBps.

We used this router for two weeks on our local area network and had it distributing a 512MBps ADSL connection to two wired PCs and a wirelessly connected notebook during that time. We didn't experience any anomalies with the unit, and we found it quite easy to use. It does not have a removable antenna, but we did find its wireless range to be very good.

Verdict: Well featured, stable and easy to use, the NB620W is a worthy router for anyone looking to expand their network.

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