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115 of 115 people found the following review helpful
on September 12, 2010
I purchased this unit for use on an AT&T-based DSL connection that was switched over to DSL Extreme. It has proven to be a capable modem/router and I am basically happy with it. I have read some 1-star reviews that sound to me like the person wasn't entirely familiar with how these units are supposed to work, how they should be set up, or what would be a reasonable expectation of a wireless connection to a household DSL service. So here are some points I have learned over the years:

1. DSL is always an imperfect way to move lots of digital data, but it can be reasonably good if your location meets several stringent criteria, and it is usually well-priced in big cities. That means that speeds vary throughout the day, and packets can get dropped at times. You are just using regular old long twisted-pair copper wires, not great shielded cable with high grade amplifiers along its length; many DSL services are quite good these days though, despite all of the difficulties. Your personal experience will vary with location.

2. Wireless connections to DSL services are also imperfect, since the power of the radio involved on both ends is supposed to be rather low, and the antennas are usually small. The manufacturers must build well-priced systems that average people can buy, the computer manufacturers must fit all of that same capability into a small space and often run it only on battery power, and the FCC requires all of these digital data radios to be of low power so that we can all have them and not be running over each other. Those are real challenges to meet.

3. Ratings for products tend to be very polarized, in that you will see lots of high ratings and lots of low ratings, and usually only few in the middle. People are not being dishonest at all, but "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" so to speak. The reviewer of any product is a real person, not an idealized one, and they may not be up on all the latest stuff, they may not really know what they are doing with a particular product, they may not have lots of money to spend on things some of us can buy almost without thinking, and they may not be motivated to write any review unless they absolutely loved a product or absolutely hated it. You usually cannot get truly unbiased product information from reading reviews, so take all of them with a grain of salt, including mine. If you need a good internet connection and don't want to get into cable and the massive up-sell for endless expensive television services, the expense and trouble of satellite (which is usually of very limited availability and still a slow connection), and you don't need the blazing speeds of high-end ($$$) fiber-optics or similarly graded lines, then you will need DSL, you will need a modem, and you will probably end up needing a wireless server to communicate data to and from all of your mobile devices, so here we are...

Do I "absolutely love" this modem/router unit? No, not really. But it seems to be a generally very good one with all of the features most people would need. Setting it up was relatively easy, though I did end up doing it manually after being a little unsatisfied with the setup wizard's procedures. I do kind of know what I am doing with these, so I was not intimidated, but I can see how a novice might be completely frustrated and end up giving up in a rage. Like anything technical, this unit can be set up with lots of subtle differences from a default setting (whatever that is) and one must be patient enough to actually follow through with everything and get it right. Do not expect it to be magic, or automatic; it isn't quite that. You will need to decide on how you want it set up with respect to security options and such, and you will then need to get that information into the unit via either the setup wizard (not my favorite way) or by plugging in by wire first and getting directly into the settings system of the router through a browser (my preference.) You can run wireless after finished with the initial setup. If you don't quite get it right the first time, just do it again and make more careful choices the next time. You'll eventually get it right, even if you are just learning to set these devices up; it really isn't hard. Note that getting into the settings through a browser requires one to enter the URL for the unit, which for mine is, and you type that right into the address bar of the browser once your computer is connected to the router and recognizing it at the network connection. It isn't important to actually have an internet connection for this, as you really aren't online while doing it. Also, the Netgear website says that different products of theirs have different access URLs, so the number code listed here might not actually be what your own unit needs, but exactly what you need should be indicated somewhere on a tag on the unit or at the website of its maker.

Some reviewers have mentioned flashing any new firmware available as soon as you can, and while that is generally a good thing to do, this unit now is mature enough that the existing firmware is good and stable. You can wait on firmware updates if you buy one now. Older ones might require updated firmware though.

Don't worry if you don't yet have an N-band wireless adapter with any devices you currently own, but might get such down the road. This unit is advertised as an N-band wireless router but it still supports G, B, and A bands as well. It even has indicator lights for the different frequency bands running. Basically you get everything you need for all wireless protocols and security/encryption methods that are in standard use today (WEP, WPA, WPA2, different encryption types, etc.)

After I got this unit all set to my likes and the computers talking to it, I powered it down and turned it back on again, and all has worked well since. The DSL connection seemed to run slightly faster through this unit than the old one, but that is hard to judge fairly due to point #1 above. The one-touch setup function only works with wireless adapters that are designed to support that method of communicating their setup information, and it even says this on the Netgear box, so you may not be able to use that feature. It sounds wonderful, but not everything can do it, so don't freak out if you have to open a settings panel in your wireless adapter software and type in the network name and a password. It's no big deal, friends, really.

A few people have complained that "it looks like a spaceship" or something to that effect, since it has blue LEDs that indicate which of eight (!) different antennas (more antennas = generally better reception!) are in use at the moment (and they change constantly.) I think this feature is a little over-showy and gimmicky, but it's there. I didn't complain that my old car's dome light bugged me... I just used the manufacturer's switch to turn it off! Some people must have not read a word of the instructions, because this unit has a switch activated by pressing the translucent dome for half a second or so and it will turn those LEDs off if you don't want to see them! It's AMAZING how many people today won't read anything!! (Has America forgotten how to read?) It kind of makes me understand where low-ranked reviews come from.

I think this unit is a good gamble if you are in the market for a better-than-average modem/router combo unit with good features. If you are techno-phobic, this probably isn't for you. If you are the type who expects the world for two dollars, then this isn't for you either. It is not a magic box, but it works well as a DSL modem & router suitable for being the central hub of a complete home data network. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention (undoubtedly because I don't actually use this feature myself... see what I said about "unbiased" reviews!) that this unit also has a USB port for hooking up an external hard drive. You can have a drive set up in your system so that you can have additional network-enabled storage right through your home wireless pathway. Probably not a deal-maker or breaker for most people, but it can be nice for those who will use it.

Update: It has now been about five months since purchased and installed, and this modem/router unit is still working flawlessly. In all that time, it has never fallen into a state that required a hard reboot to sort out, but it has been reset a few times due to other diagnostic needs. This unit is (so far) shaping up to be the best one I have ever had.

Second update: It has now been nearly exactly one year, and the router did start acting a little funny (gradually), like websites seemed to not be coming through as reliably or quickly as they had before. I recalled that Netgear does periodically update the firmware offerings for this unit, as it is a sophisticated embedded Linux box, basically, so I went to check their website for updated firmware. Yes, they have released firmware recently, so I got into the settings system of the router and went to the maintenance category to run a firmware upgrade. It worked perfectly, and the unit seemed to run quite a bit better after that. In fact, it's running better than ever. I'm happy with this router/modem, but I must emphasize to everyone that you should be sure to flash the latest firmware when you get yours up and running, and if you seem to have problems, upgrade firmware before you get all freaked out and angry. It's really a very good system.

Third update: It has now been two full years that I have had this unit, and it is still running like a champ. I have used both the N and G bands simultaneously on different machines in the same house, I have opened the guest wireless channel for visitors several times, and I have given my network password to close friends who come over and use my unit to support their phones and tablets and they have been able to do so from within their cars clear out at the curbside. I have had much better service from this unit than from any other. I have flashed the latest firmware to the unit, and there have been two firmware releases in the time I have owned it. There have been a few problems with the phone company's wiring and some slowdowns due to that, but all were the company's fault and were ultimately resolved. This Netgear unit has never been a problem. Overall, I don't think you could go wrong with this router/modem.
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42 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on November 11, 2009
Verified Purchase
I replaced a 2wire wireless router/DSL modem with this. It installed just fine on ATT DSL service. It works great and both wireless g and n speeds seem good. N signal strength is better than g, presumably with it using the 5Ghz band. I use two macbook pros on the n network and a Wii and ipod touch on the g network. The latest firmware update enables the USB storage port to connect an external USB harddrive. There were a few features missing that I was used to with the 2wire router such as port remapping (forward an external port x to internal port y) and local DNS lookups for devices connected on the local network. These are minor features that generally aren't present on consumer routers so this is not a big deal.
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100 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2009
Yes it does work as advertised with all the bells, whistles and dazzling lights, but some other wireless DSL routers have similar functionality and are priced for a little less.

After my old 2-wire DSL router died, I decided to buy this as a replacement. I couldn't wait for shipping. So I bought this DSL router from a local store. I've also been disappointed by other reviews on the internet for this DGND3300-100NAS. So I'm writing this review.

I mainly got this DSL router because of the energy star logo on the box. It lives in the temperature extremes of my garage, and some of the other DSL routers ran a little too hot. It works with my AT&T DSL. I've only been using it for the past day, and I have not had any connectivity issues. I'll update this review if the stability changes.

I never really had wireless connectivity problems with my old router, but the new wireless router now stays at 100% signal strength through out my house. My other router would sometimes go down to 90% at the farthest edge of the house. I set this router to "Up to 130 Mbps at 2.4 GHz. Neighbor friendly mode".

If you are familiar with configuring home routers through a web interface, this won't be much different. It's fairly easy to set up.

Compared to my attached 8 port gigabit switch and my 6 megabit DSL, the 802.11n standard isn't very interesting when compared to 802.11g. Downloading from the internet is limited to my purchased 6 megabit DSL, and wirelessly transferring files to my network attached storage is limited to the 100 Mbps limit of the integrated 4 port router. Though now my router supports 802.11n in case I ever get such a device that requires it. I'm glad it has the more secure WPA2-PSK, and there is a setting for both WPA2-PSK and WPA-PSK to be used at the same time, which is helpful for migrating the settings of your wireless devices.

It does have one minor annoyance. I'm not sure why it has so many bright blue blinking lights. It looks like a disco in my cabinet now. If your DSL modem will be in a bedroom you use for sleeping or any other room that you want to keep dark, this may be a concern for you.

One feature I missed from my 2wire DSL modem that I haven't found on the Netgear DSL modem is the Management Diagnostic Console. It's a hidden set of pages that provides error diagnostics and a pretty ASCII based bitloading graph. It was helpful to diagnose which radio frequencies were interfering with my DSL. In case you didn't know, telephone lines act like huge radio antennas, which interfere with the DSL signal. That's part of the reason why shielded coaxial cable from cable companies can have higher transfer speeds. Most people won't be fanatical enough to care about this missing diagnostic feature.

-------------- Review update December 22, 2009 --------------
It's been a few months since I reviewed this product, and I decided to go back to the latest 2wire modem from AT&T. After upgrading to the latest Netgear firmware level for this modem, I noticed the bandwidth rate became inconsistent. On several occasions the DSL Reports speed test reported that my 6Mbps DSL line (5.1 Mbps real bandwidth) went down to 3 Mbps occasionally, and on average the Netgear modem seems to be about 5-10% slower than my new 2wire modem. I'm dropping this review from 4 stars to 3 stars due to this new slowness. The sad thing is that the 2wire modem from AT&T is cheaper than this modem :-(
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
If you're looking for the convenience of a Wireless-N router and DSL modem in one box, the Netgear DGND3300 might seem like a fine choice. This device is easy to set up, is extremely user-configurable, and looks really cool sitting near your computer. Wireless range was very good, and I was able to get all my wireless devices connected to it without a problem. I was extremely (five stars) pleased with it until the tenth month of ownership, when it abruptly quit working. It still powered up, and the router functions still worked, but the internal DSL modem had completely failed.

"No problem," I thought, after confirming with another DSL modem that my internet connection was working properly, "I have a one year warranty; I'll get an RMA and send it to Netgear for repair or replacement."

Oh boy, was I mistaken. You see, Netgear's one year warranty only covers hardware, not tech support or software. When I spoke to the tech in the overseas call center, he claimed that the product was not defective, that there was a "simple communications problem" and that he could fix it -- for $69.99, the cost of six months of phone tech support. In fact, he refused to even start the troubleshooting process that is required before they will issue an RMA until I paid the $70 fee. Netgear has free e-mail support, but you cannot get an RMA through it, only via phone support. Net result is that the one year warranty is meaningless once you're past the 90 day free tech support limit unless you want to pay them a substantial amount of money.

Incidentally, I've been using modems since the Hayes Smartmodem 1200 days, and I know the difference between a "simple communication problem" and broken equipment. The modem part of this modem/router is dead. It is deceased. It is an ex-modem, and unless I can convince Netgear to send me new or refurbished one to replace it, I will no longer be purchasing Netgear products for either my home or my business. I am aware that products sometimes fail, but I will not do business with a company that deliberately misleads me about their warranties.
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60 of 68 people found the following review helpful
on October 15, 2009
Verified Purchase
Everything in a review of a device like this is really a review of the device firmware. And the firmware is still in development. Some features, like USB and file sharing, are just starting to work. If you are a Linux guru and want an advanced router, you can have some fun with this right now. If you are a less sophisticated user, it might be better to wait for a later firmware update.

As I write this, the router firmware release is V1.1.00.32_1.00.32NA. You can see if there is a later firmware release at Netgear's web site. Router version v1 on that site is for the USA, v2 is for elsewhere.

This firmware release did not come in the box. I had to upgrade the firmware - actually, the device offered to upgrade itself when I visited its set-up web page after I'd gotten it working with my DSL connection.

The USB port had a black label glued over it, saying that it would work only with an upcoming firmware release. I peeled that off.

I am 11000 wire feet from the telephone office, which limits the speed I can get using DSL. This modem synced to my ATT ADSL at a rate higher than my my Zoom Telephonics XV6. 3008 KBPS at 6 dB s/n, vs. about 2600 at 6 dB for the Zoom, which was significantly more flaky at that rate. Actually, the command-line ADSL utility says it is synced at a "max" download rate a bit higher, and a "max" upload rate almost double - it could be that ATT is rate-limiting me, and I never reached their bandwidth cap while using the Zoom.

The "Guest" interface configuration for wifi wouldn't work in this firmware version. This is supposed to allow you to provide an open wifi network that doesn't have access to your internal LAN, while also providing a private wifi network for your use that has full LAN access. The USB storage device function wouldn't work because the "create a folder" button was grayed out. Linux gurus will be able to work around this bug, I discuss how later in this review.

The box runs warm. You might get longer life by mounting the unit so that it has airflow on all sides.

Netgear's release notes for this release are:

New Features & Bug Fixes

* USB support has been added. This feature can be accessed by clicking on the Basic and Advanced settings under USB Storage, with additional USB Settings available under the Advanced menu. For more details please see the ReadyShare document posted with this firmware release. You may remove the label over the USB port on the back of the unit to access the USB port.
* The Reference Manual has been updated and can be accessed by clicking on the Documentation link in the router management interface.
* A new Setup CD, version 1.2, has been released which adds Win 7 compatibility and fixes some default settings issues. The revised CD can be found at this link: [...]
* Fixed a problem where the WiFi speed limit didn't seem to work with WN511B: Up to 130Mbps was reported as a higher speed by the client.
* Fixed a problem where some invalid IP addresses were allowed by router for Remote Management.
* Fixed a problem where Port scan attacks were not logged.

If you run setup.cgi?todo=debug from the router's web interface, it will enable you to telnet into the router's busybox shell. If you know Linux, you can then make the router do all of the things that the web interface isn't ready to do, and more. For example, I mounted USB storage devices that, due to some bug, the web interface wouldn't handle. I suspect that some very complex routing is possible from the command line.

The fact that this is a Linux router is interesting because of the potential for alternative firmware such as that provided by groups like DGTeam and DD-WRT. They enhance the features beyond those provided with the factory firmware, and continue to support the devices with new firmware after the manufacturer has lost interest in its old products. DGTeam does not provide firmware for this model, but DD-WRT supports a different model which is essentially this unit but without ADSL. With the software from both groups it should be possible to cobble together a working alternative firmware for this model. I am the original author of the "busybox" Open Source toolkit used in the router, so I might be able to do that. I bought a second, used unit for development.

The router is based on Broadcomm ICs. Broadcomm is known for not releasing Open Source drivers for some of its hardware, although many of their chips have been reverse-engineered and now do have Open Source drivers. We're probably stuck with the proprietary driver for the ADSL modem chip unless someone does a whole lot of work, but I think the wifi chips and ethernet bridge now have open drivers.

Once you get into the command-line environment, there's a whole lot of functionality that is not exposed to the less sophisticated user. You can also figure out what the hidden web screens are. There's one to configure IPV6 at ipv6.htm, and one to diagnose ADSL at adsl_test.htm . There is a command-line program to tweak the ADSL parameters and read out ADSL statistics. It's not documented, but you can figure it out, and probably the most important information is:

adslctl configure --mod {option} (where option is a, d, l, t, 2, p or e)

* d sets the modem mode to G.DMT - adsl1
* l sets the modem mode to G.lite - adsl1
* t sets the modem mode to T1.413 - adsl1
* 2 sets the modem mode to ADSL2
* p sets the modem mode to ADSL2+

Here is a list of commands available from the shell prompt:

[ iptables radvd adslctl kill rc
ash killall atm_monitor klogd reboot atmarp lash restore_config.cgi atmarpd led_app ripd atmctl lld2 rm bcmupnp ln rmmod bftpd login robocfg br2684ctl ls route brctl lsmod rt2684d busybox lsof scfgmgr bwping md5sum setup.cgi cat mini_httpd setupwizard.cgi chmod miniupnpd sh cmd_agent_ap mkdir sleep conf mknod smbd cp mknod_sd smbmnt
crond mlabel smbmount dd more smbpasswd df mount smbstatus dhcp6s mount.ntfs-fuse smtpc dmesg multi_pb_app syslogd dnrd mv tc dsldiagd naptd test eapd nas touch echo nbtscan true ez-ipupdate netgear_ntp udhcpc false nmbd udhcpd fdisk ntfslabel umount find ntfsmount upgrade_flash.cgi free nvram utelnetd ftpget passwd vconfig grep ping wget ifconfig pot wizard igmp potcounter wlctl import_ca.cgi pppd wps_ap init pppoe wps_det insmod pppoe-relay wps_enr ip pptp wps_monitor ip6tables ps zebra

All in all, it looks like this line of devices has potential. Indeed, it looks a lot more exciting than the "Open Source Router" line that Netgear promotes, and has no fewer proprietary issues than that line. With the reverse engineering that's happened so far, it looks like the only spoiler is the Broadcomm proprietary modem driver, and I guess I'll cross my fingers and hope someone with a lot more signal-processing competence than me spends some time fixing that.

Bruce Perens (bruce at perens dot com)
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2010
We have been extremely disappointed with this product and with Netgear.

We bought it in December and it started having problems after one month. We were in contact with Netgear customer service on several occasions (over 15 times), but ultimately in month 3 of owning the router, it completely stopped working. Netgear kept blaming the problem on our internet provider (AT&T), so we bought two other router/modems. Both of these worked really well, but still the DGND3300 would not work. It took an entire month of battling with Netgear to receive an RMA number from them so that we could exchange the product. (After one month, it could no longer be returned to the store where we bought it.)

During this battle, keep in mind that Netgear did everything possible not to exchange the product. They told us it all had to be done by email, but they stopped responding once we proved that the product was defective. As a result, the case was automatically closed due to inactivity. When we called customer service, no one answered the phone, the voicemail was full, and no hours were given for when someone is in the customer service office. (We called at various times of the day.) One time out of five attempts I reached customer service only to have them say that tech support is in charge of RMAs (returns), while tech support says customer service is in charge of returns.

One month after receiving the replacement product (for which the customer is responsible for shipping), it stopped working again. Unfortunately, the software warranty is only good for 90 days after purchasing the ORIGINAL product, not after receiving the actual product that you have on hand. They say that they are absolutely unable to provide refunds; they can only do replacements.

Why would I ever want another Netgear product? Their supposed "best" product breaks within one month, and the customer service is a joke.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 26, 2010
I bought this modem to replace an old Wireless G LinkSys and to replace my old Westell 6100 DSL modem from Verizon. The strong points of this modem are the fact that it transmits at both the G and N standards (my old laptop detects two different wireless sources from the modem, both G and N), and that it includes both a wireless router and a DSL modem. It also includes a USB port to plug an external hard disk into. I put a 1TB drive on it and was able to share the drive with all the PCs on my network...a really nice feature. Unfortunately, I had a terrible time setting it up. After it failed to connect with my Verizon DSL, I called Netgear and talked with their technician, who was overseas but spoke passable English. He walked me through the diagnostics but couldn't figure out the cause of the issue. He referred me to Verizon tech support. Although the literature that came with the modem said that it was compatible with Verizon DSL, the Verizon tech refused to help, since it was not their modem. They told me that it would not work with Verizon DSL (which I later proved to be incorrect) and recommended I return the unit and rent another DSL router from Verizon Sadly, after being handed off by both Netgear and Verizon's tech support people, I was on my own and was ready to return the unit.

Fortunately, after a few hours of online research, I finally discovered that Verizon in most of the US, uses the MAC address of the DSL modem for authentication and requires special ADSL multiplexing settings (VPI=0, VCI=35). As such, I had to clone the MAC address from my old Westell modem and change the ADSL setting, but it finally worked (after 5 hours of labor). There is no formal info about this requirement in any documentation from either company. One other caveat I should note is that you won't be able to take advantage of the Wireless N speed increase unless you have a NIC card that supports Wireless N. Beware, not all NIC cards that claim to support Wireless N can actually do so. My new HP laptop with Windows 7 has an Intel WiFi Link 1000bgn NIC card that is claimed to "support" Wireless N. However, it cannot detect the N wireless network and only supports 2.4 Ghz, not 5 Ghz. As such, it is not truly Wireless N compatible. Consequently, if you purchase an N compatible NIC card to take advantage of the increased speed, be sure that it can handle the new 5 Ghz bandwidth. In the final analysis, I like this Netgear modem/router and would recommend it. However, I am left with a bad taste in my mouth from the setup and compatibility caveats.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2009
Verified Purchase
I liked the idea of having a combination one device instead of a separate modem & router to eliminate a couple of extra wires, and I liked the idea that it might be faster and have less interference on the 2.4 ghz band. Okay on the first, but otherwise no improvement over my old wireless-G network. If you already have a wireless-G setup, then don't bother with this.

I knew I was going to be installing Windows 7 from Vista, so I thought it would be smart to install this first, before I upgraded to Windows 7 to try and avoid problems. It was indeed very easy to install. However, after upgrading Windows 7, I could not connect to the internet. Several hours and a couple of aspirin later, I discovered that Netgear has a new installation CD for Windows 7 that you have to download. Once I re-installed using this new setup CD, it worked fine.

Update: I've been using this router for a while now, and on the upside, I find it almost never drops the connection. My old router used to drop all the time. On the downside, I get more interference on the 2.4 ghz band than I previously did.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on March 5, 2010
Verified Purchase
I was a bit skeptical after reading some of the reviews posted but after a lot of research and seeing both good and bad in every router/modem combination I decided to jump in and buy this one in an attempt to to solve my AT&T DSL disconnection problems. I am really glad I did now! I did not attempt to use the software disk but downloaded the software directly from the manufacturers website, plugged it in, and all was good. If you have ever set up a router before this will be really simple as setup is very basic. The only problem I had was when I set it all up it did not "see" the DSL connection. Problem easily solved by simply unplugging the phone wire from the wall, (including the DSL filter), waiting about 10 seconds, and plugging it back in again. Best investment I have made in a long time! I stream Hulu to my PS3 via Playon, iTunes tv shows to my Apple TV, and share music and videos to 3 laptops, a desktop, an iPhone, and and iPod Touch. This thing has amazing speed! No more video streaming issues or connection problems! As far as heat, I have it sitting where it gets plenty of air and keep room temperature about 72 degrees and it is just barely warm to the touch! No heat problems here! I am very happy with this product. I am running Windows 7 on all computers and all my devices (including PS3 & Wii System, are running "N". My oldest laptop is about 3 years old. You can get a lemon in anything. The production lines still run on Friday afternoon as well as Monday morning but this is definitely a winner for me! I have had it over 5 weeks now and still going strong!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 30, 2010
Verified Purchase
If you are lucky to get a working stable version of this DSL router it is great. The connection is rock solid and the preformance is good even with multiple wireless & ethernet connections and mixed wireless speeds. Unfortunately the firmware updates are buggy and customer support/warranty support is below poor. After installing the latest firmware updates within the first three months of purchase the router started losing the DSL connection. If I shut it off so the router cooled down it would connect but eventually lose it again in the next few days. Customer support runs through a fixed list of steps which includes installing the latest firmware. If Customer Support can get it back up an running they request you call them back after several days of observation. However this guidance ties into Netgear's convoluted warranty policy. You have 90 days customer support and one year of hardware coverage. The catch is to get the hardware warranty honoured you must also have customer support coverage. If your router stops working past 90 days (even if it is entirely dead according to the CS manager) they will not allow a refurbished unit exchange unless you sign-up for additional customer support coverage for 70$. For practical purposes this means you only have a 90 day warranty and customer support will try and do whatever it takes to delay any exchanges so it occurs after the 90 days. 70$ for customer support to get a refurbished product that originally cost around 100 - 140$ is absurd. After significant dicussion with a not very helpful support manager I was offered a 35$ support option for 45 minutes with the option to extend it for 45 minutes also for 35$, with no promise that they would agree to issue an exchange authorization - again a pointless option. As much for the faulty hardware and the terrible customer support/warranty policy I cannot recommend this or any Netgear product.

I was able to figure out a workaround to get the router working. I installed the original firmware that was first issued. It has been about 3 weeks and so far still a solid connection. Unfortunately that firmware does not provide support for the USB port so the promised functionality is not there but at least it works for now. Note that this is not a fix Netgear's poor customer support group suggested during and after the first 90 days - I had to figure this out by trial and error.
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