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A Late Review from a Long Term User
on August 20, 2015
I came back here looking for the hardware model in getting tech support on something else and saw a lot of problem reviews. I have been running this router since March, 2010 and thought I should share my experiences with it.
First, connections have been generally quite reliable. I have connected desktop computers and printers by both CAT5 and WiFi. I have also connected a variety of smartphones, tablets, laptops game consoles and my smart TV without difficulty. OS connections have included Windows versions from XP through Win 10, iOS, Android, OSX, Nintendo's Wii/Wii U OS and whatever drives my 50" Panasonic plasma TV.
The router is located in my basement office/man-cave and the 2.4 GHz connection still reaches nearly to the street. That means through the floor, a couple of interior walls and a brick exterior wall. The 5 GHz connection is, of course, more range restricted. While it will make it through the floor and walls within the house, it is damped enough that I generally get better throughput with the 2.4 GHz connection. I typically keep the 5 GHz reserved for equipment in the basement where I can take best advantage of the speed.
As far as throughput? Ok, it's "rated" at 300/300 Mbs, but the reality is those numbers are typical bogus for ANY router. It just gives you a benchmark to compare products. Don't expect anything close in the real world where physics intervenes unless you are in line of sight at just the right distance, temperature and humidity. Depending on current conditions, my wife's laptop, with a floor and a couple of walls in between will still pull 95-100 Mbs. Prevailing conditions can push her over 100 or as low as 54, but both are unusual. My desktop, when I use wireless instead of CAT5, it will pull 150 Mbs on the 5 GHz channel, minimum. On CAT5, it screams.
As I said, though, numbers don't mean so much in real world. It's actual performance is what matters. It has had HD video streaming on the TV, heavy internet browsing with frequent WiFi printing, multiple smartphones (one running YouTube) while I was on Facetime with my tablet recording a podcast on the desktop (which was also running YouTube for clips). And lately, I've had my son adding in running CoD on the Wii U's gamepad to the mix (i.e. while watch a streamed movie and using YouTube on his iPad for a level walkthrough), often on top of some of the above. I can't complain about the performance at all.
I will note that I do have to reboot it every several months, however I do know already that the problem is almost always the cable modem rather than the router. I have found, though, that I typically get better results when I reboot both together. Some IT guys do this regularly as routine maintenance, however, I only do it when I see a persistent performance compromise. As I said, though, it is almost always related to the cable modem and most typically after Charter has an outage or service interruption. The web-based control panel does seem a bit sluggish, but it does what perform acceptably for its intended use. That's not something you should have to get into very often, if at all.
I haven't had any experience with the Genie apps or the Readyshare software, though I'm in the process up doing a variety of home computing upgrades and will likely add these features over the next couple of weeks. If I do so, I will update this review.
Overall, I've been quite satisfied with this router and will strongly consider Netgear again.