Feb 22, 2008 (Updated Feb 23, 2008)
Review by suemccartin
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:dual band N
Cons:drops connections, must stay line of site for full speed transfers
The Bottom Line: Infant product released too soon wait for netgear to fix the firmware/software whatever they need to do
This is currently netgear's only offering for a access card for their new dual band N router/access point. Dual band N is the new N 2.0 standard that uses 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz radios. I personally think netgear dropped the ball by releasing this thing with their new star router, this thing is just not ready for prime time at all.
What's in the box:
You get the usb gadget, a plastic holder and a nice long metallic usb cable so you can get the unit up high to get better signal. They give you some sticky velcro for mounting the little plastic holder too. You of course also get a setup disk.
Just as with any usb toy, run the disk in the box and then plug the dongle into a usb port. The unit has a nice long cable so you can place it high and a little plastic holder that allows you to velcro the holder someplace high for better signal.
My experiences with this thing:
It drops connections constantly. As long as you don't put any walls between yourself and the router you get plenty of signal, as soon as you go into another room you lose the signal and the transfer speed, it goes down to a pitiful nothing. If I had to guess I'd say the thing is not handling reflections and interference well, if at all.
I fought with this thing for over a week trying different settings in the router and in the dongle software, just could not get steady, reliable connections or speed. Connection speed was generally around 6 mbps in the room in the back of the house where I have my media machine and an xbox 360 in the same room. My old belkin vision (that I had to send off for repair) was getting over 100 mbps using 2.4 ghz mimo since this is using 5 ghz radios it should be that high or better but it never gets there. In fairness I think netgear has a lot of work to do on the firmware for the WND3300 router as well as for this unit, people doing extensive testing are saying the 5 ghz radio range is just not where it belongs. This unit could also connect to the G network but the results were not much better than the better N network that it should be able to use.
I packed it back in the box and returned it, just not worth 99 bucks at least not at this moment it isn't. I try to avoid usb dongles as much as I can just because the antennas are never very good on them, pci cards and pcmcia cards are much more reliable if you ask me. As of this moment the best choice of access card for dual band N is the Linksys 600 gaming adapter, that thing also has problems but once you get it fought into submission it gets good reception (even through walls) and has the advantage of working for both my xbox 360 and my media media (I have it hooked into a cheap netgear pro 5 port 10/100 switch so it serves both machines at once if needed).