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)
There are plenty of features packed in to the Netgear N600, least of which is the ReadySHARE feature, which can turn a humble USB drive into a makeshift NAS device. There are two USB ports on the unit, one at the front and one at the rear, and as soon as you plug in a hard drive, it becomes accessible via computers on your local network. Data can be read and written to disks, but you can go through the router's Web interface to change its settings and control access to the drive. By default, read and write permissions are given to everybody.
The contents of an attached drive can also be set up for access via any Web browser on the Internet, and the Web interface even gives you the URL and port number that you have to use. The router also supports DynamicDNS (DynDNS).
Attached drives can be accessed easily through media streamers and TVs that support DLNA, which means you shouldn't have much trouble watching downloaded video content on your big-screen TV. The N600 showed up as a DLNA/UPnP device in Windows 7, and also through our A.C Ryan media streamer. Enabling UPnP also means that many popular applications, such as uTorrent, can add port exceptions to the router automatically, so you won't have to forward those ports yourself. Manually forwarding ports in the N600 isn't hard though, and it can be done easily from the Content Filtering section of the Web interface.
Parents might appreciate many of the Netgear N600's content filtering options, which include keyword and URL blocking. If you run a static IP network, then you can enable filtering for the rest of your network while excluding your own computer. Content can be blocked based on ports and services, too.
Other features of the N600 include a VPN wizard, QoS policies, wireless repeating, and it even has useful logging. It can show you how many devices are currently connected to the router, as well as their IP address. It's not as comprehensive as the logging that the FRITZ!Box offers — the FRITZ!Box also lets you know who was connected and then disconnected, and it gives you the name of each device. The N600 also has a traffic meter that can keep track of downloads and uploads, but it doesn't give you the option of putting in peak and off-peak quotas. Once the quota is close to being reached (you can select how close in megabytes), it will display a warning message. If the quota is reached, it gives you the option of disconnecting the Internet and turning the Internet LED on the front from green to amber.
Overall, we found the Netgear N600 to be a very good dual-band router, even though some of our wireless tests returned slightly slow performance. The fact remains, it was stable and reliable during our lengthy test period and we enjoyed using it. We especially like its ReadySHARE feature, which allows you to easily turn a standard USB drive into a network-accessible drive.
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Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.
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