I have a lot of wireless devices in my household and I am always looking for better range and features from a Wireless Router. I decided to give the Netgear WNDR4300-100NAS Wireless Router a try.
This router works well, has excellent coverage, has an excellent user interface, uses SAMBA to share either storage or a printer which has native support on Windows machines and on Apple computers, supports Kindle Fire and Apple devices (IPAD, ITOUCH) with a SAMBA app. This unit has the same security hole that every other router I have tried has in that it allows you to log into the device via the wireless using just http instead of https which means that you are broadcasting your user id and password unencrypted over the air. To avoid this sign in only using one of the hard wire router ports.
Here are the things that I wanted it to be able to do:
1. Support Apple products including IPAD2, IPAD3, and the I-Touch.
2. Support multiple Microsoft Operating Systems to include: Vista Pro, Windows 7 Pro, Windows 7 Home, Windows 8, and Windows Home Server.
3. Support multiple manufacturers of Internet Enabled TVs
4. Support multiple manufacturers of Internet Enabled Blue Ray.
5. Support multiple manufacturers of Internet Enabled Audio Receivers.
6. Provide full coverage to a two story home of 3300 square feet, and attached three car garage, and coverage to all areas of the 1/3 acre property that the house sits on.
I was also looking for a router that could provide the highest level of protection to include the latest security levels on RF with protection turned on as default, the ability to turn off SSID (turning off broadcast ID makes it that much harder for someone to break into the system) and good security on Router Configuration control.
One of the things you need to understand about dual band routers is that the 2.4 Ghz band will pass easily through walls and other obsticals while the 5 Ghz band will not. This means that you will generally have the best coverage with the 2.4 band and the worst coverage with the 5 Ghz band. My testing showed this premise to be absolutely correct. The 5 Ghz band does fine with one or two walls, but quickly deteriorates after that. Thus the coverage in the yard was almost exclusively the 2.4 Ghz band as was most of the garage.
I should also mention here that I tried turning this router several ways and found that the radiation pattern of the signal was generally the same no matter how I turned it! This is an important note which means that you can turn it whichever way works for you for best aesthetics. I found that the stand that it comes with enables the easiest placement in my environment.
Here are my results:
First and probably the most important to a lot of folks, this system is very easy to configure! In fact, if pressed, you could just connect cables, power up the unit and run with it! Wireless is preconfigured for security and the unique password for the unit is contained on the strip with the SSID and Network Key on the internal package of paperwork.
The user interface is straight forward and easy to navigate. You have an enormous amount of flexibility with the configuration of this unit. I was easily able to accomplish my requirement of turning off SSID. This unit also includes a sign-out feature for the administrator and will actually disconnect if you forget and wander off to another website. Using the back button will NOT allow you to connect until you have completed the sign in process again. The only negative I can find is that the unit allows you to connect to the Admin functions via the wireless and does not use HTTPS for encryption. This means that someone could read your password information if they were watching the network.
Here are my testing results:
For the Apple products, this router supported them with the following caveots: 1. The Apple Touches do not support the 5 Ghz band so that frequency of the router was useless to them. Both of the Ipad models though supported and used both bands. Due to the construction of the Ipads and of the Ipods, reception was not as good in either distance or in quality as any of the other equipment. This has nothing to do with the router and everything to do with the design of the Apple equipment.
For the Microsoft products, I had the best range on both bands with the four different laptops that I tested. I was able to reach over 200 feet from the router with the 2.4 Ghz band and just under 100 feet with the 5 Ghz band.
All three of my Internet enabled Televisions which were located in different areas of the house, floors, and in the garage, were able to connect to the 2.4 Ghz band without issue. Only two of the televisions were able to maintain a consistent connection with the 5Ghz band. The third television was the farthest from the router and had the most number of walls and floors between it and the router (four walls and one floor). I had the router located on the second floor, in the middle of the house, against the front wall of the house.
All of the Internet enabled radio receivers were able to connect without issue using either band.
All of the Internet enabled Blue Ray Players were able to utilize the 2.4 Ghz band and the 5 Ghz band whil only the unit located in the garage next to the Television in the garage could only connect via the 2.4 Ghz band.
By setting up all of my portable units to utilize either of the two bands and to be able to automatically connect, I was able to wander around my yard and maintain a connection with everything except the I-Touches. The I-Touches were able to reach out to 90 percent of the yard, but dropped off at the extreme end of the property.
Being able to connect to the USB and whatever device you put on it (Thumb Drive, Hard Drive, Printer) requires that the wireless device you are uing support SAMBA. All Macs and all Microsoft Operating Systems support this function. What does not support this function directly are the Apple Touch, the Apple IPAD, and the Kindle Fire. The good news is that you can download a free app onto each of those devices which then allows them to connect to the local resource on your network. This is a great way to share documents and pictures!
Home Server was quite happy to connect to any device that it will support using either band. The requirement is that you either plug the server into one of the 5 ports on the back of the router or that the server you are using has wireless capability.
The guest network is a very nice feature and it works in such a way that you can isolate that network from your home network. You can also implement parental controls to limit what content can be accessed on either the Guest Network or on your own network.
There are more security and other features in this unit than you can shake a stick at. I tested as many of them as I possibly could and had excellent results with all features. I did not run into a single issue with any of it. To keep this from becoming a book, I will simply say WOW!
As you can probably tell from the above, setup is extremely easy and takes less than 5 minutes from starting to unbox to having the system up and running. The user interface is well laid out and is very intuitive. You can be as simple or as complicated as you want to get with the configuration.
A final comment about the bandwidth that this unit supports. You need to keep in mind that no matter how fast and how much data a router can pass, it cannot make your Internet connection any bigger or any faster! So, if your Internet connection is capable of 10 gigabits per second and your router is capable of 800 gigabits per second guess what? The fastest connection you can get is 10 gigabits per second!! This also applies to streaming video if the source of the video is the Internet (think Amazon Prime Movies, Netflicks, etc.). However, if you have a home server with videos, a game server with games, a server that does backups, you are doing file transfers between computers, etc., you will have a lot more bandwidth to be able to do concurrent things!!
I would have to say that this is the best wireless router I have ever used and I would highly recommend it!
This router is fast, easy to set-up and smartly engineered. Although this is a high-end feature-rich consumer router, out of the box, I had this running in just a few minutes. Using the simple color-coded 1-2-3 step setup process, an expert, or a novice, can have this router up and running very quickly.
Modifying the two dual band networks for different names and passwords is straight forward, and I preferred to do it manually. After logging into the firmware, the screens are divided into three panels. The left panel is the list of the feature sets, such as "wireless settings," or "guest network" settings; the middle panel has the pick list of options for the feature set; and the right panel on the screen explains, in the easiest of terms, what the features and options mean. There is little need to refer to the product manual or other help. Everything is in one place, and in the right place.
I attained maximum speeds with each of the dual bands when my laptops were in close proximity to the router. My throughput on the 5 Ghertz band using the "n" protocol was a blazing 300 Mbps. With my previous router, I was never able to achieve anything faster than 130 Mbps. As is the case with the 5 Ghertz channel, this speed drops off quickly as I moved my laptop away from the router. By 30 feet, I was down to 100 Mbps a second, but still relatively fast when compared to the legacy "g" speeds. On the 2.4 Ghertz band, using the "g" protocol, I saw very little degradation within 50 feet of the router.
I streamed a Netflix movie to an HD television flawlessly through a Toshiba laptop and an HDMI cable. There was no stutter in the picture, and the picture quality was excellent. Unlike past video streaming, I did not experience a dropped picture while waiting for the video buffer to reload.
I connected a USB disk drive to the router and shared it among three laptops without incident. I established read and read/write passwords for various file folders on the disk drive. I also made the drive available for access through the Internet, and again this process was straightforward in creating. I plan on backing up the three laptops to the USB drive on the router, as well as sharing photos and other files with family and friends by having them access the password protected IP address of my new network-based disk drive.
In total, you can establish four networks on this router. One for each of the dual bands, and two more as guest networks for each of the dual bands as well. The guest networks are nice as they can completely isolate guests from accessing sensitive information on other PCs or devices on the network. (Or you can open up the guest networks to everything on the network.)
Some other features worth noting are the automatic checking for firmware updates every time you log into the router; the "traffic meter" that shows daily, weekly and monthly internet usage that can be configured to throttle it; and the ability to backup personalized firmware settings in case of an emergency restore. With regard to the latter, it would be nice to also get a saved PDF file of what the settings are for each of the backed-up firmware configurations.
The Netgear WNDR3700 replaced two Linksys routers that I had connected together to essentially create a "dual band" environment. One was an older "g" unit, while the other was a newer "n" router. Together they got the job done in a mixed environment of video and Internet surfing. But the WNDR3700 takes routing to a newer level, with faster processors driving the dual bands to faster speeds and better range; and a big feature set that is easy to use, understand and configure.
SIX-MONTH UPDATE - This router has been powered up constantly for six months now, and it continues to run flawlessly. During this time, two firmware updates have been automatically flagged and applied without incident.
I use many of the key features of this router across the three laptops that are connected wirelessly to the dual bands. Video streaming from Netflix and other Internet sites continues to work smoothly.
Being able to connect a USB disk drive to the router has become a heavily-used feature. The router-based disk drive is the central location for backing up the data from the three laptops. I can backup these laptops locally, or from anywhere using the Internet. When traveling with a camera and a laptop, I am able to easily backup digital pictures to the router's USB disk drive. It is another way to save and protect files when away.
This router is my third, and best to date.
on April 25, 2014
I am an IT in California. I must have installed about 50 of these in the last two years. They're all still in service and I have not had any problems reported, complaints, or need to replace. The wired Ethernet ports reliably pass well in excess of 900Mbps. In the same room with the WNDR4500, you can expect between 50Mbps and 200Mbps depending on how good your wireless receiver is. iMac receivers, for example, are excellent.
Transmit power of the WNDR4500 is excellent; the best, in fact. Power is proportional to transmission speed; the farther away you are from a wireless transmitter, the slower your Internet will become. So power of transmission is of paramount importance. You can reliably measure power using software like inSSIDer; don't go by number of bars. I prefer the WNDR4500's 2.4GHz transmitter (to the 5GHz 802.11ac transmitter) because signal power is about 12dB higher. Having two transmitted signals in a household just confuses clients and creates two separate independent networks; which is bad when you want all the computers and accessories in a house to talk to each other. So, I generally turn off the 5GHz transmitter in the Netgear Genie.
WNDR4500 is NOT a beamformer; and that is a good thing, in my opinion. The latest generation of Routers tout "beamforming". This is a good idea, theoretically, only if a transmitter knows (can localize) where the receiver actually is (your computer or cellphone). But I don't believe it is possible to localize a receiver well because a typical house provides too many reflections, barriers, and receivers to a transmitter. So if a Router makes a mistake in localization (points its beam in the wrong direction), then that means someone in your household is going to get a lousy low power signal.
The worst thing that I can say about the WNDR4500 is that it needs a power cycle when it loses sync. But that happens rarely (once every six months). Power cycling can be required, for example, after electrical brownout or if an upstream modem got reset. If you protect this unit by a Belkin Pivot surge protector, as you should protect all your household electronics, manual power cycles become unnecessary after a brownout. Many complaints on Amazon about the WNDR4500 could have been prevented by a Belkin Pivot. There is no federal enforcement of what may be called a "surge protector". I recommend Belkin Pivot because it works: it can absorb 4000 Watts of electrical surge.
Don't use the WNDR4500 as an Access Point. There is an Access Point check box in their Genie interface. But as soon as you check it, you can't Administrate the WNDR4500 any more because the Genie loses its IP address (the IP assigned by an upstream device doesn't work to get to the Genie). Netgear should definitely fix that. If you need an Access Point, use an Airport Extreme connected to the upstream device by Ethernet cable. Yes, you can mix Apples and Netgears, but only by cable.
The best way to Administrate this device is by routerlogin.net
The default address is 192.168.1.1 (user id: admin, password: password)
The Netgear Genie will notify you when that changes to 10.0.0.1
In summary, I buy only Airport Extremes and WNDR4500s in 2014.
I continue to buy more of these Netgear units in 2016.
on September 28, 2012
UPDATE- Please note that this review was for the original WNDR4300. A hardware model revision has occurred. The WNDR4300v2 (version 2) is now shipping. This review is NOT based on the version 2 model. but the original WNDR4300.
This router is based on Qualcomm Atheros chips inside, which in my book makes it a router to put on the top of your "look at list." The router replaces the Netgear WNDR3800 N600 Premium Edition router from Netgear's 2011-2012 line up. This Netgear WNDR4300 N750 Premium Edition is for the 2012-2013 line up and offers most of what the WNDR3800 did, minus the Clear Channel Selector feature in terms of features.
The router's network processor and the 2.4GHz radio are powered by the single 560MHz Atheros AR9344 chip which offers good mid-range performance. In the initial released firmware (v22.214.171.124) however, there are some issues in 2.4GHz throughput inconsistency, even in low interference environments. This should (hopefully) be addressed in future firmware releases by Netgear.
Range/signal strength at equal distances is a little weaker than last year's WNDR3800 in 2.4GHz, but is still on par with other routers for medium-sized homes. You will want this router to be vertical in its stand for best range performance. If you have a large home, I would upgrade to the WNDR4700 from Netgear or go with this router and pick up a dual-band range extender or two.
Like with just about all Netgear routers, do not keep the 2.4GHz channel selection on AUTO as the router never picks the best setting to use. You will want to set the channel to primarily be channel 1, 6 or 11. Nothing else!... any other channel setting just overlap with others causing signal, throughput and other performance issues.
The 5GHz radio in this router is brought to us by the Atheros AR9580 chip, which with a 3x3 dual-band wireless adapter gives a link rate of up to 450Mbps. Range as with just about all 5GHz signals is weaker compared to the 2.4GHz radio signal. However, signal strength is on-par with last year's WNDR3800, but does offer better throughput speeds than the WNDR3800 did whether using a 2x2 dual-band adapter as I do in my laptop (Intel Advanced-N 6205), or a full-on 3x3 dual-band adapter.
I was looking forward to this router, but to be honest with the initial firmware, I am let down. Would I say this is a bad router? No. Would I say right now that for a mid-range router for what is on the market to having this in my top 5 consideration list? Yes. As of 9/28/12 you can still get a WNDR3800. That I would go for, just do not install the v126.96.36.199 firmware on the WNDR3800 as it has bugs relating to 2.4GHz connections. You will want to upgrade to v188.8.131.52 for now on the WNDR3800, which works great.
My score for now on the WNDR4300: 3.5/5.
on September 21, 2013
I purchased this router because my old D-Link router was causing staggering delays on our Netflix streaming and our internet surfing. I have a PS3 directly hooked up to the router, and we have cable internet from a cable modem hooked up to the router. I recently upgraded my cable modem and that helped, but it was too slow to function lately.
Next step, replace the router. This router is highly rated in tech magazines, and it's price is great considering the features it has and it's original retail price is twice as much.
Installation was a little annoying because you had to unplug and plug stuff back in a very specific order. But once I realized that the router takes an extra few minutes to completely power up, I was on my way.
I was on the internet in a few seconds, and using the Genie app that was easily linked to, I was able to customize my SSID and password easily. I have never had an easier router set up experience, and I've set up D-Links and Cisco routers before. I didn't have to deal with tabs and menus and all kinds of settings. I was able to connect wirelessly using my Toshiba laptop, my Macbook Air, my gf was able to connect using her older model Macbook, and both of our Android phones connected without a problem. Usually this required a lot of tweaking to find out what settings would work for all platforms. Not this time. Set up was a breeze.
On the plus side, my wireless internet is faster than ever. I don't experience any loss of speed or bandwidth between wired and wireless connection. In fact, I went from 25mbps wired/ 15 wireless to almost 29mbps on both. I also upgraded the ethernet cable between the cable modem and router to a gigabit cat6 cable, which definitely helps as I notice the cable modem is sending more internet bandwidth out to the router.
Aesthetically, it's a little big. But it's sleek and modern looking, without any plastic antennae sticking out. Plus, it has USB sharing connection to network a HD or a printer!
If you are considering an upgrade and are price conscious about it but don't want to settle for another crappy router that frustrates you with a day long set up, this router is the first and probably will be the last thing you try.
on April 8, 2014
The NETGEAR WNDR-4500 N900 Gigabit Router is one of the few "sure things" in today's ever-changing and infinitely growing field of network technology.
After several months of research, and many hours pouring over documents, texts, and "white papers" available on everything from "abwatts to zettaflops", I made a list of everything I wanted, and needed, in a router for my home and business. The one router that consistently exceeded my expectations was Netgear's WNDR-4500.
I was surprised to find the price of this to be in line with routers of half the integrity. It takes less than 10 minutes to get it up and running. No lengthy setup process, no tricky procedures. Plug the router in. Plug the computer into the router with the Ethernet cable. Start Netgear's "Genie" and follow the simple and easy to understand steps to make it do what you want it to do!
The router has 2.4 and 5 GHz capabilities, and an unbelievable range due to the use of the latest in antenna array technologies (MIMO). Wired and Wireless with Super-Fast data speed. Incredible throughput. The latest security features, and is IPv6 compatible.
Don't waste your time, money, or breath. If you want the best router available to you buy the Netgear WNDR-4500 and see for yourself.
on March 25, 2014
First and foremost this is NOT capable of physically terminating a DSL connection. It can perform the authentication and terminate the PPP session. However you ABSOLUTELY do need another device to pysically terminate your DSL connection coming from the service provider, there is no RJ11 port on this router. The bright side is, that can be done with a nice cheap device that operates in what is called bridge mode.
I bought this because the piece of crap "router" that AT&T charged me for didn't have anything like routing features on it. This is a fully featured home router and will perform many high end functions that most devices of this class do NOT do. For the price this is an excellent device. It has both a 2.4 and 5 ghz wireless radios, so you can seperate devices if you have any capable of 5 ghz, which will reduce latency in a home using lots of wireless such as mine. I have 2 ipads, 2 iphones, 2 macs, and an xbox. I've got all the apple gear running on 5ghz so my xbox is alone to use the 2.4 channel with no competition.
If you've got any questions about the specifics of this device, feel free to ask. I'm completely happy with it, and it's worked flawlessly from day 1. I went from using AT&T's $100 "router" that constantly dropped the PPP session and wasn't even getting 65% of the advertised throughput with horrible wireless coverage, to using this for the same price and it does everything that the other piece of junk was supposed to do. Wireless coverage is great, I have a largish house. Router is on the first floor and my den is on the second story. It also has a GOOD NAT engine, which if you know anything about gaming or VoIP this is important. Many cheaper devices have garbage NAT engines and will try to "fix up" sessions that they think aren't working correctly. This doesn't do that. You can also disable any of the onboard fix ups that are in place to make sure traffic is getting through exactly as it reaches you.
This high-end wireless router by Netgear is well-designed and comes with a lot of features out of the box. I loved the ability to skip the "insert this CD rom in your computer" installation for dummies method and go straight to the web GUI to set it up. The feature I was most interested in is the USB storage sharing. This feature allows you to plug in any external USB drive, and then share it over the network. This was a convenient target for pushing automatic backups to. If our computer's hard drive catches on fire, I still have backups that I've saved on the USB drive attached to this router. Unfortunately, I ran into a bug when trying out this feature. Netgear support was helpful, however, and helped me get it working in a day.
- Feature rich, high-performance.
- Nice vertical stand included.
- USB storage feature turns your external drive into a network share.
- Comes with QoS (a must for VOIP), dynamic DNS, firewall, features.
- Easy to upgrade the firmware and it will automatically check for updates.
- Good documentation.
- Dead-simple installation and you can skip the Insert This CD-ROM install method.
- Ability to set up "guest" network with separate settings in addition to your main network.
- Traffic bandwidth monitoring is rudimentary. It is actually very good for an off-the shelf router, but I'm spoiled by my home router which runs Tomato firmware: it has pretty graphs.
- USB storage feature needs work. You can only use your router's admin password to protect your shares. Configuring settings with Google Chrome or non-firefox, non-IE browsers may silently fail (as it did for me). The workaround is to reapply settings with IE or Firefox.
All in all a very solid product. I give it 4.5 stars, as I wasted time chasing down the Chrome/Web GUI bug. I have no doubt this will become a 5-star product as Netgear pushes out new firmware updates.
on January 13, 2014
I've owned this router for a few years. Setup was a cakewalk (I did not use the included Genie app). ACL configuration and DNS reservation were straightforward once I found the right tabs. 2.4GHz performance was solid and speedy, and 5GHz was simply FAST, though with a limited range. As everything worked satisfactorily I left the stock firmware in place.
About a year into ownership, I found out that one of the LAN ports was dead. I'm not sure if it was DOA or an acquired issue as I was only using one port until I moved; I plugged a pair of gaming systems directly into the router in the new setup and found that port 2 was toast. Everything else worked great, so I just chose a different port and went about my business.
About a month ago I found that all of the LAN ports were dead, and the connection lights were showing solid green. According to the info in the user guide and on the net, this indicates a hardware failure. I attempted all of the usual troubleshooting steps, reset, firmware, etc. with no luck. Wireless and WAN still work flawlessly (for the time being).
I am strongly considering purchasing a replacement. I did not experience any of the connectivity issues detailed in other reviews, I liked the setup interface and performance, and, most importantly, I have a backup of my configuration ready to apply to a new WNDR4500. (I am not looking forward to recreating my network on another router.) However, reading a lot of these reviews has given me pause. I don't know if my previous experience was a case of getting lucky, or if it's just that those that are unhappy tend to be louder than those that are content. Comparing with similar models, there seems to be a lot of "best/worst router ever" reviews. It's tough to glean relevant bits of information when the signal to noise ratio is less than stellar.
For now I have an old AirPort base station running the show. It's on the slow side but pretty solid. The WNDR4500 definitely spoiled me. Now I just need to decide whether I roll the dice on it again. Because it worked great... until it didn't.
Let me start by telling you that I love the user friendly approach that these routers follow! Setup is as easy as 1, 2, 3! Just follow the easy setup manual to connect the router properly, open a web browser on your computer, and you're done,really! That's it, you're done! It even gives you an automatic wi-fi password! The whole setup process takes from 5 to 10 minutes tops.
I have various devices working online, including two xbox 360's, one PS3, Wii, 2 DVR's, one netbook, two iphones and one Droid 2 Global running on this thing (wired and wireless)just to see how much it could take and I had not one hick-up during testing.
One feature I love about this router is that it let's you setup a temporary signal to share with visitors or like me, neighbors, you assign the time that you want to allow them to connect to your router, from 2 hours to as many months you'd like, after the assigned time, it will block the signal. Cool, huh?
You can also plug in an external hard drive straight into the router and share it with different computers around the house within the same network. I usually use this to stream videos, music and pictures to my PS3.
This is overall a great product and I highly recommend it.