User Rating: Excellent
Ease of Installation:
Ease of Use:
Menu Placement of Advanced Options
Issues using USB Hubs
The Bottom Line: Highly stable, loads of options, and inexpensively priced; this router gave a Cisco fanboy faith in Netgear tech.
Do you remember the old days of listening to computers garble at one another? Y’know, when you start that 56k modem and pray that you can finish your work before too late? Now, the internet is faster than ever, and it’s not enough to just have a fast internet connection, but your home network needs to be fast as well. That’s why I needed a new router. The Netgear N600 replaced my old LinkSys WRT54G. Since then, I’ve noticed a world of difference.
Recommend this product?
First, the setup was annoying. Once you plug everything into this router, it requires you to register it with Netgear. Urgh. But, that was the most pain I encountered. After that, I just had to set up my SSID’s and I was good to go. The interface for setting up the modem is pretty simple and yet as complex as you need it to be. I like this because the Basic setup groups items in a way that would make sense to the average user. For those with IT jobs, the Advanced section really lets you pound out the specifics of your network.
Because most of my network is hardwired, I made great use of the 4 Ethernet ports. The network boasts up to 300Mbps. This seems to work well as I can’t afford bottlenecks when working or gaming.
The wireless was a little surprising of a setup. This is a dual band router which supports a B/G/N and an A/N network. To set these up, you need to assign an SSID for each. That’s 2 SSID’s so far. No big deal, just a little surprising. After I had this setup, I realized I didn’t have any A/N wireless devices. Since there was no way to disable the A/N band, I just applied a rediculous network key.
Furthering my trip down this rabbit hole, I found the option for a “Guest” network. This side allows you to have guests on your network and seclude them from your computers and files. I like this option for when I work on other’s computers. I certainly do not want an infected computer on my home network with access to my other devices. Enhancing the wireless security from there, the Network Seclusion option denies devices from communicating to one another on the wireless network. This allows me to troubleshoot multiple infected computers without worry that they may further infect one another or any healthy computers on my guest network. I rather enjoy that you can turn the Guest Network on and off, but wish you could do the same for the A/N band on the home network.
Before I continue, I just want to point out that the total number of wireless networks you can have running is 4. That is 2 home (1 B/G/N & 1 A/N) plus 2 guest (1 B/G/N & 1 A/N). It shocked me at first to find this out, but makes perfect sense. Especially since I have information shared on my home network that I don’t want my friend’s having access to.
Below the Ethernet ports is a USB port for storage devices. I connected my old SeaGate 500GB drive to this. After assigning it a network name, I can now access my drive from any device connected to the home (not guest) network. This feature was nice, since I store all of my music on my laptop and occasionally have to reformat it due to Vista.
The N600 is also smart enough to recognize printers on the network. I enjoy this, as being able to print from anywhere without having to have a designated print server is very convenient. Sadly, my Lexmark x2500 does not have network support. As a result, this is a feature I cannot use.
The upgrade from the older LinkSys to the Netgear N600 was vastly noticeable. My network went from frequent disconnects while updating Playstation 3 (PS3) games to seamless connectivity. While my older router required a weekly to daily reboot to handle my traffic, this router does it all without touching it. I haven’t had to reboot this router in over a month. The most notable difference in connectivity was that my PS3 would log in immediately instead of taking 3-4 minutes after startup. This router is seriously stable.
Another major upgrade from the old to the new was range. I currently live in an apartment and park two spaces from the window where I have the router. The older router only allowed me to get 1 bar in my car, while this Netgear router gives at least 3. Furthering the range, my Samsung Gravity Smart (phone) can connect to my Wi-Fi from in my garage (triple the distance from my parking spot). The range is more than I expected, especially since I can go to the other side of the apartment and still get signal (which means it penetrates walls fairly well).
While using this router, I haven’t had many issues. First, some of the Advanced settings in the router are in places that don’t make complete sense. For instance, “USB Settings” falls under advanced setup rather than USB Storage. I am sure that it made sense to the engineers who put it there, but the extra click made to find it is mildly annoying. I would also recommend using a powered USB Hub if you want to attach more than one USB storage device to this router. My previous attempts with an unpowered hub caused computers to have issues detecting the drives.
While previously a Cisco fanboy, this Netgear router has established my faith in their technology. I recommend the Netgear N600 for the average home network. At a price of $80, this router gives you the best of the elite at an affordable price.
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Amount Paid (US$): 80
Driver Availability: Other