When I recently purchased a new laptop I wanted a wireless router that would still give me good range even when I'm outside or upstairs. The DG834N is a funny little design. When I had friends round they thought it was a Nintendo Wii because it looks so much like one and they wouldn't believe me that it was a router.
The quality of the router itself is really top notch. It feels very sturdy and the white gloss finish is smooth to touch although it does attract dust and finger prints easy. When it's on it makes no sound at all, unless you are downloading something of importance or several laptops are connected at once then you can get several of the lights flickering at once which makes a buzzing sound, like you've got a bee in the house.
If you are on the internet a lot I have found after a few hours use the router can get very hot to touch and a few times has shown what is like a red button of death when the power on button turns red and all the other lights go out making it unusable. If you ever get this just unplug the router from the mains for a few minutes then re plug it back in and it should go back to normal although a problem nonetheless and other than this is has been an reliable router so far.
It is incredibly easy to use router. I just plugged it in and ran the initial setup and got a connection nearly straight away. The router is controlled from your laptop by going onto a net gear website that you can control the router from there. This is laid out and easy to understand and I have used it several times to change my settings or run any updates that need running.
The Net gear does have a variety of features and the one that stands out the most is probably that you get a modem, router, firewall, 4-port switch and wireless access point all in the one tiny white box which is great for saving space and peace of mind that you don't need to go buy any extras. I've used it outside in the garden and upstairs even in the loft and I still get a excellent signal. Sometimes I've lost I.P. and it can take a while to get another one, although again I don't know if this is to do with my router or my internet provider, probably the latter so nothing to worry if you are thinking of buying this router.
I paid over £100 when I bought it and I think you can get it for about half that now so it makes it even more worth while investing in this fantastic little router which I've had hardly any complaints with.
I purchased this modem to upgrade from the one supplied by the Internet service provider and I was not disappointed. The DG834N was one of the first modems capable of the N (draft) speed. To take full advantage of this you should invest in a wireless N adapter for your other devices. However, even if you do not buy a N adapter you will still notice an increase in sharing over a network. I noticed that the sharing media with my PS3 was much quicker with videos buffering almost instantly.
The modem is quite minimal in design. The aerial is concealed within the casing itself. The status lights on the front are simple and give the unit a clean look. There are four ethernet ports at the back which are easy to access. I didn't have any trouble with having to reset the modem and I left it running pretty much constantly. Installation and changing the settings on the modem is really simple. I managed to pick the modem up in a bundle with the N adapter at a pretty reasonable price but you will have to shop around.
Picking a router is pretty difficult these days.
There are an awful lot of routers out there and it is very, very difficult to choose the right one for you. The obvious things to consider are
* Ease of use/Ease of set up
* After sales support
The more technical would also consider the functionality offered.
The DG834N ticks the right boxes in each of these areas.
Out of the box the router looks rather sleek. It's a white box roughly the same size of a hardback book. Some yellowish flashing lights at the front inform you whether the router is switched on, whether it's connected to the internet, and whether it is transmitting a wireless signal. It also has no external aerials which I'll come back to in a moment.
The router comes with the standard 4 Ethernet ports and supports both ADSL and ADSL2+ and as far as I can tell is one of only a handful that support ADSL2+.
Setting it up is extremely easy. It comes as most routers do, with a set up CD which takes you through the process of installing some software onto your PC. I went through the motions and installed the software and found there was nothing of particular interest to me so I uninstalled it all.
Instead of going through the set up wizard, you can also connect to it directly in order to set it up manually. This is the option I chose. I connected my laptop to the router using the supplied Ethernet cable, stuck in the IP address in my web browser and I was instantly presented with the web interface.
Here you have to log in using the standard admin user name and password and are expected to change that to something other than the default. Setting up the parameters required for my broadband supplier was easy and within a few minutes I was connected to the internet. My broadband supplier is BE Unlimited and they do not require a username or password. Obviously for those suppliers that do, you would need to enter that in the web interface.
Once the basics were set up I was able to remove my Ethernet cable and place the router behind a hallway cupboard. Netgear supply the router with a small stand and insist that it is always kept upright. This is I presume to allow adequate ventilation.
The router allows you to set up port forwarding and comes with a few predefined services. The ones I required were not shown in that list so I had to set mine up myself which is pretty straightforward if you know what ports the various services that you set up require.
Security comes in the form of a built in firewall and WPA/WPA2 encryption. For a belts and braces approach, you can also restrict which devices can connect to the router by including their MAC addresses in an Access List. This is useful to prevent computers outside your network from accessing your router. For me this is particularly important because one of the old devices that I have only supports WEP encryption so I have to have encryption disabled to allow it to connect. Of course this means that potentially anyone could connect to my router so the Access List means my router can only be got at by devices that I allow.
This router is a wireless 'N' router using MIMO smart antennae technology which means that it uses multiple antennas in order to achieve the high speeds and range. The 6 antennae are integrated within the casing which means no ugly protrusions on the outside . It conforms to the draft 'N' standard. I guess there is a small risk that it could be obsolete by the time the standard has been ratified by all the parties concerned however it is unlikely that this would happen. When I visited the Netgear website I found a firmware update and it's more than likely that any future changes to the 'N' standard would be reflected in further firmware updates.
Applying the firmware update was as simple as it could be. You simply download the file from the Netgear website (www.netgear.com) and access it from within the routers web interface. It takes a few moments to apply the update and then it automatically reboots itself.
In order to reach the speeds and range that this router is capable of (270Mbs) you need to purchase Netgears compatible USB adaptor. This doesn't mean that the router will not work with any other device. It merely means that the maximum speeds and ranges will not be attainable by them. As it happens none of my devices have the Netgear USB adaptor so my speeds are restricted to the 54Mbs which is sufficient for my needs.
My experience of routers has been limited. This is my 4th router and only the second one that I've ever purchased. The other 2 came free with my broadband supplier. I replaced my old router (supplied free by BE Unlimited) because it simply couldn't handle the number of devices I had and would reset about once every day. In contrast, the DG834N has never reset once in the 3 months that I've had it. It is very stable even when I have many devices connected to it. As a test I connected the following all at the same time: Xbox, PSP, Wireless Printer, WAC Music Server, 2x WACS Music Clients, laptop, desktop and all of them connected for days in some cases and hours in the case of the PSP and Xbox. It managed to handle all 9 devices without any problems
The router costs around £100. Its difficult to pin an exact price on it because it varies. I actually got mine for £75 from Comet on Boxing Day 2008, but the price has gone up since then.
The router comes complete with everything you will need to get online. The box contains the router, a stand, all necessary cables , a micro-filter and comes with Netgear's standard 2 year warranty and I would not hesitate to recommend this
I bought this this to replace a Belkin router that completely broke. The Belkin router was ok, but nowhere near as good at the Netgear DG834N.
It comes in a nice, heavy big box and the router itself has a sort of nice, white apple style to it. It should fit in, in most homes, but if it doesn't then it is easy to hide away.
The setup is simple, you just plug it in and it should detect your internet connection so you just have to enter a username and password.
The control panel is easy to use so you can do things such as set up port forwarding or LAN IPs easily.
The range and speed of the wireless is phenomenal. The signal gets through my thick granite walls easily and the speeds are great for moving files between PCs in the network.
I would recommend this router to anyone, it is easy to use, fast and looks great.
I started off with a basic Belkin router which I had for a few years but suddenly after a few years it just stopped working. I tried for many hours to reserrect it but failed miserably. Then i looked around for new routers and found the Belkin N1 router which promised so many great features such as 300mbps but after having it for a day i realised it had a poor signal and wouldn't even reach my room from the room with the router in. I managed to get it working but only after fiddling with it for hours and moving it, and still I was recieving much worse connection than i was with my previous router. Luckily I managed to return it to Amazon and was on the lookout for a new router. I went into a proffesional computer store and they reccomended this to me and for that i am very grateful. It is a great router, easy to set-up, good basic features, quick speed, quiet and many ports in the back. A must buy for anybody looking for a quick router. Although it will struggle to reach it's advertised 300Mbps.