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Networking

Hardware

Netgear WNDR3300 review

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From white to black, Netgear's signature colour-scheme has abruptly changed with this year's model. The Netgear WNDR3300 is a striking, good-looking router, and its attractive appearance is in part due to absence of external antennae.

The Netgear WNDR3300 has a slightly lopsided specification. On the plus side it's a dual-radio device, operating in both the 2.4GHz and 5.GHz bands. It's not a ‘true' dual-band device, however, since the 2.4GHz radio is dedicated to 802.11b and g connections, and the 5GHz side to a and n. You really need dual-band draft-n network cards to take advantage of this.

On the downside, the router's network ports are fast ethernet and not gigabit. Neither are we too keen on the Netgear WNDR3300's garish, rotating array of eight flashing blue LEDs under a little dome. Luckily, this feature is easy to turn off.

Setup is simplicity itself and the web-based user interface is very clear and simple to follow - something Netgear is rightly renowned for. The Netgear WNDR3300's feature list is well-specified and includes Quality of Service to give priority to certain kinds of traffic, such as VoIP calls. The Netgear also has a wireless repeating function and can automatically check for firmware updates, which is useful for draft-n since revisions are still being made.

For all that, however, its draft-n wireless performance is a letdown. According to Iperf, the Netgear WNDR3300 achieved a throughput of only 38 megabits per second (Mbps), which is barely adequate.



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