Product Type: Netgear in Wireless LAN
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NetGear DG834N Wireless Router
Netgear Rangemax Next ADSL2+ Modem Wireless Router DG834N
Member Name: soundsexciting
Netgear Rangemax Next ADSL2+ Modem Wireless Router DG834N
Advantages: Great stable router with great range and speed
Disadvantages: None found yet
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
Summary: Great stable router with great range and speed
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