Netgear WNR854T review

Price when reviewed

In contrast to Buffalo’s boy-racer looks, Netgear’s WNR854T could easily be inconspicuous in any room of the house. The lack of external antennae is partly to thank, but the upright design, neutral colours and glossy finish all contribute.

Netgear WNR854T review

Around the back is a four-port Gigabit switch, while inside you’ll find port forwarding and triggering, dynamic DNS, intrusion detection, static routing, remote management and a content filtering section. The latter allows you to block URLs and/or services on an IP or schedule basis, and can email you when someone attempts to access a blocked site.

There are a couple of niggles, though. One is the WNR854T’s tendency to require a reboot after settings are changed, when other routers simply apply the changes instantly. There’s also the striking absence of quality of service, which means you can’t prioritise VoIP or gaming traffic over basic file transfers, and no WDS support for wireless bridging.

Fortunately, with the latest firmware upgrade the WNR854T is compliant with the 802.11n draft 2.0 specification and also offers a good turn of speed. With the WN511T, we saw 44.2Mb/sec at a distance of 15m – faster than when we placed the test laptop 1m from the router. Throughput at 25m wasn’t great at 3.4Mb/sec, especially when we saw nearly twice this speed using a standard Centrino Wi-Fi adapter at the same distance.

Overall, the Netgear is decent value thanks to its relatively low price, impressive wireless throughput at medium distance and Gigabit switch. But the lack of features, most notably QoS, mean we can’t recommend it.

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