Netgear DGND3700 N600 review
Jam-packed with features, ports and sockets, and combines that with the fast wireless performance
From the marketing material you may think that Netgear’s latest speed demon is a new category of router. The name – N600 – seems to imply it’s capable of 600Mbits/sec transfer speeds.
Alas, that isn’t the case: Netgear has simply added the maximum throughput figures of the router’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios together to manufacture an impressive-looking marketing line.
It’s a cheap trick, but it clearly isn’t an attempt to cover up any kind of weakness. In fact, in testing, the N600 put in among the fastest all-round wireless performances we've seen.
From 2.5m away in the same room we measured an average transfer speed of 15.9MB/sec over 2.4GHz, peaking at 18.5MB/sec when transmitting large files to the router. Only the single-band 450Mbits/sec-rated Buffalo WZR-HP-G450H is faster in this test.
Over 5GHz from the same distance it was even quicker, returning an average rate of 17.5MB/sec and peaking at 21.8MB/sec. However, it’s the N600’s performance at long range that really seals the deal.
At a distance of 40m with two walls in the way, the N600 returned a rate of 4.6MB/sec over 2.4GHz and 2.9MB/sec over 5GHz.
That’s quite a lot of data to take in, but one thing is abundantly clear: this is one seriously speedy router, combining close-range rapidity with long-distance reliability like no other router we've seen.
One weakness is NAS performance. With a portable USB 3 hard disk plugged into one of the N600’s twin USB sockets, it recorded a sluggish average transfer rate of 3.5MB/sec.
This is a shame, since it’s packed with features elsewhere. Its twin 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks can be run concurrently, there are four Gigabit ports on the rear and it boasts both cable and ADSL connections. (Please note: since this review first ran in PC Pro magazine it has become apparent that the router does not work reliably with older ADSL 1 type connections. Despite a recent firmware update from Netgear, it still doesn't.)
There's also the option to create multiple SSIDs and hotel-style guest networks on each band, each with its own set of security protocols. And although the web-based administration pages are difficult to find your way around, they are replete with options. We particularly like the Traffic Meter section, which allows limits and warnings to be set up based on monthly data usage.
The router also checks for firmware updates automatically, every time you log in – a feature we think should be standard across all routers. There’s also DLNA media-streaming support, and a handy Wi-Fi on/off button.
All of which makes the N600 a wireless router of rare pedigeree. We can't recommend it for anyone on an older ADSL 1 connection, which is disappointing, however those with ADSL2/2+ or cable connections who want optimum wireless performance should look no further.
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Gigabit LAN ports||4|
|10/100 LAN ports||0|
|MAC address cloning||no|
|Wireless bridge (WDS)||yes|
|WPA Enterprise support||no|
|WPS (wireless protected setup)||yes|
|MAC address filtering||yes|
|Port forwarding/virtual server||yes|
|Web content filtering||no|
|Dimensions||76 x 160 x 233mm (WDH)|