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This router has been the mainstay of my home wireless network for quite some time, or at least has been a very important part of it. There is a good reason for this. You will no doubt find out, as I have, that the NETGEAR WG602 is a reasonably priced product which provides more-than-reasonable reliability, durability and service!
Let's take a look and see what we get in the box.
- 54 Mbps Wireless Access Point WG602
- Power adapter
- Ethernet cable
- Resource CD
- User's guide
-Warranty/Support information card
The wireless router itself (in my case) is a brilliant white colour, with small little feet around the edges of the router to allow airflow when placed on a surface, and a plastic 'rim' around all sides of the router save for the back.
This transparent plastic rim houses status lights on the front of the router, namely a power light, RJ45 activity indicator and wireless activity indicator. These activity lights fit in quite nicely with the simplistic rear of the device, upon which you will find a jack for the AC adaptor, RJ45 jack and small reset button, to return all wireless router settings to factory default. It will be noted that there are no other LAN ports on the reverse of the device, meaning that PC's etc can only be wirelessly connected. This may perturb some who prefer a 'hard-wired' connection for reasons of speed or signal stability.
Also on the back is the socket for a detachable antenna, fitted by default with an antenna several inches long. This can be rotated to best suit signal strength, a useful option in cases where physically removing the router is difficult. On the base of the router you will handily find two 'indentations' that will allow the device to be wall mounted if you so choose, a feature I have never had caused to use myself, but I'm sure will prove to be useful for those with limited desktop space.
The build quality of the device is relatively sturdy but distinctly 'plastic'. This feel certainly follows through to the aerial, which has a definite 'cheap' feel to it. The device is incredibly light which some may consider to be a bonus - others may feel this signifies that there is nothing 'inside'! I can assure you that there are components inside which are of a typically high NETGEAR QUALITY, and allow the device to perform as outlined below.
- 40-bit (also called 64-bit), 128-bit WEP encryption
Looking solely at security, the NETGEAR WG602 can handle the newer WPA authentication system and also provides compatibility for WEP encryption, which may be a desirable option in certain circumstances. For the most part however, WPA is the way to go, providing a much more secure wireless network for all users. This is standard offerings for a wireless router and generally security features will not result in any gasps of awe.
- Backward compatible with existing IEEE 802.11b device
- Smart Wizard for easy installation
- SSID Broadcast enable/disable
- Supports bridging and repeater mode
- Firmware upgradable via a web browser
Being compatible with both b and g standards this router allows backward compatibility with older wireless cards, and I can confirm that the performance is adequate (as adequate as it can be, seeing as the b is limited to speeds of 11 Mbit/s). Using g standard wireless cards however, this router will cruise along nicely at its optimum 54 Mbit/s. This router does not support the n standard, but we have to put things into perspective here: unless you are transmitting vast amounts of data between PC's etc., it is highly unlikely that the average user will be able to find an ISP able to provide anything much higher than 20 or 24Mbit/s. If you're lucky you may get upto 50Mbit/s with certain providers in certain areas, but this is still slower than the maximum data transmission rate of the router. The point being - this router will be more than adequate for anyone with a standard broadband connection. As far as I'm concerned, hiding your SSID is standard fayre for a router and is a facility I use very often. Regardless of whether my router is password protected (and it is), because of my location I can see through analysis that people still consistently try to connect to my router. I am not necessarily technical enough to know whether these constant connection requests impede performance in any way, but I'm much happier knowing that my router is out of sight, and therefore 'out of mind'.
Other features such as firmware updating and bridging, which is essentially daisy-chaining a number of routers together to extend the range of the network, can be accessed from the NETGEAR setup menu. I find the menu itself to be less than helpful, but then I have yet to come across a menu on a router which is. The interface seems 'clunky', and after making changes the router will often hang, and you're not sure if you've gone and done something it didn't like and therefore wasted the time you spent changing your SSID to something hilarious and getting your wireless printer 'to fall in love' with the router. I criticize the printer, not the router, for the difficulty in setup, but the key point is the interface is far from user friendly and there have been occasions when I've pressed the 'reset' button at the back out of pure frustration, and then spent ages reconfiguring the device.
On a positive note, I have very rarely had this device crash or stop working for no apparent reason. It manages to keep itself relatively cool, and I certainly would treat it nicely: it is trying to beam wireless around your home/office, potentially 24/7, and piling papers or books on top, or cramming it in a drawer is not going to help matters. That will not help the signal either. In an ideal world you'd get 100m range from the device. Add in walls, floors, anything that the signal may come into contact with, and the signal from the small (but I hesitate to say, relatively common size) aerial will degrade rapidly. It certainly provides a very average signal strength, but one which will be more than adequate for the average user.
I realise in this review that I have used the words 'average', 'adequate', 'common' ad nauseam. I realise why: these are the words most in tune with this router. For standard usage, you will not come across any problems and I am convinced you will be happy for your purchase. If you're looking for a marvel in 21st century wireless technology then you're going to be sorely disappointed. It's horses for courses here, ad just make sure you're running in the right race when you splash the cash on the NETGEAR WG602.
I had this router for well over two years and in that time it worked brilliantly.
It is easy to set up, you just plug it in then use your web browser to go to the control panel, not installation or software is needed.
You can manage the many settings inside the control panel. You can change all the huge amount of features such as security, encryption, two firewalls and many more features.
You can easily use this router for home servers using port forwarding and it is really easily to accomplish simple tasks using the managment interface.
It is easy to upgrade to the newest firmware, which is advisable. Since the newest versions are more secure and generally better.
Only in the end did this reliable router break down during a thunderstorm, but it went with my computer, printer and other stuff (so it wasn't the router's fault).
Overall this is really great value for money, even for limited computer users.
Netgear itself has a very good name for providers in computer networks and security products. A friend of mine who is highly qualified in I.T. has been using Netgear routers for a very long time even the wired ones before wireless came out.
The user interface is easy to navigate and configure settings. I'm a more advanced computer user and can configure all these settings myself but a more novice user may need a little help with it to get it secure as possible.
The security settings on this router are very good and more than adequate for a home user. Basically I have been able to apply the following settings:
a) WEP encryption of channels
b) Wireless access isolation so only computers belonging to my household can access my router
c) Doesn't allow access to the configuration screens of the router from a wirelessly connected PC but this option can be unset. Setting this option allows extra security so that the only way to go in and configure security settings even unencrypt channels is via a PC connected directly through an ethernet cable (the old fashioned and more secure way).
d) Content filtering so that certain keywords passing through the router will be blocked and the pages will not be accessed.
I have recently obtained security analysis software to test my connection for any vulnerabilities and am pleased to say that the results came back that my connection was stealthed and there were no open ports. The router has its own built in firewall anyway and I don't use any software firewalls.
Overall this is a great router and I will continue to choose Netgear as my choice of wireless hardware.
The Netgear WG602 wireless-lan modem is a must have for all those who regularly have two computers or laptops online. Easy to set-up, and easy to use, it works through walls, through floors, and even from as far away as 25 metres. When I got this modem, I was surprised at its capability, it allowed as many as 20 laptops on at once, and the connection was actually at a normal speed, despite all laptops being online at once, and the connection being 56k. I had no problems with the apparatus, but the only problem was that as my second laptop did not have integrated WLAN, I had to spend a bit more money to get a WLAN card. The good thing was though, that the WLAN cards aren't to expensive, and give you the advantage that you can surf the net at WLAN access points too, just like any other integrated WLAN laptop, of course with payment.
The one I found best was Netgear WG311 WLAN card, which also works well because it has been made especially for the Netgear WG602 WLAN modem.
As well as this, the Netgear WG602 also lets you easily network files, allowing access from many other laptops, given permission of course. And, you can network hardware, such as printers and scanners, provided one was connected to the network via a laptop, and installed. Overall, I'd recommend this modem to anybody networking online.
What can I say - they kicked me out of the office. So, having the pleasure of being a "tele-worker" I thought I can get some new toys - and charge the company for them....cool! With my kids around the place, I wanted to be free to work around the house (wherever they aren't!!) so I thought wireless LAN (as you do). Eyes sparkling with the prospect of new toys I surfed around and found a good deal from BroadBandBuyer.com - £111 for a Wireless Access Point (WAP) plus laptop card delivered. Read some reviews on-line (from the US) and things seemed positive....and did I mention it was relatively cheap?? That's probably why I relate to it so well.... About 36 hours later, lots of boxes arrived. After nearly losing some of my less important digits, I looked down into the box - and found a small and sexy looking thing (Hmm, sounds familiar for some reason?) Having been taught the acronym RTFM, I did and two minutes later got the Access Point up and running. Another 5 minutes to install the software on the laptop and I was wireless. I then spent about half an hour running around the place seeing how the transmission speed held up. How did it hold up I hear you ask - Excellently is the answer to that. I can sit on the upstairs en-suite toilet (I did say sit) and surf with a full 54 Mbps connection. I even get 48 Mbps surfing at the cooker - never got that connection speed on an Ariston before!! I set up the encryption using the 128 bit pass phrase - then had to reinstall Windows 2000 on the laptop and lost the pass phrase and couldn't remember it. Things like that happen when you hit 35.....Luckily, with another PC on the system, I could access the configuration page and reset the pass phrase key again (Dohh!) Netgear say the WAP is easy to configure - it is. Everything done through a web page, accessed through any PC on the network. The transmission range is good considering the small unobtrusive size of the
WAP - about six inches high by about three quarters of an inch wide and about 4 inches deep with a small stubby aerial - but like I said, its what you can do with it... Had absolutely no problems with the kit at all. A lot easier than running LAN cables over the place and the price of the PCI & Laptop cards are dropping all the time. Thoroughly recommend it..nothing quite like sitting in conservatory, with a cordless phone, picking up emails and sitting in on teleconferences. Commuting, offices? Not with a little Netgear WAP! PS - You don't want to know where I'm writing this - now wash your mouse!
The packaging for this 54g wireless router boasts that it's a doddle to set up, and they're not wrong. The instructions are excellent. From opening the box to using my new wireless network (including setting up my laptop with a Netgear WG511 54g PCMCIA card) took about 15 minutes and was right first time. Even the instructions for protecting the wireless network with high-level WEP encryption were logical and clear. In use the WG602 has been perfect, and looks smart too. It's much smaller than I thought it would be. It doesn't generate much heat and there are no cooling fans, so it's silent. The aerial is easily positioned in any direction and the whole thing can be wall-mounted. I have no way of comparing the WG602's wireless performance with other 54g products, so I have no idea whether signal quality, transmission speed or reliability are exceptional or poor. It's been fine for me and I can now surf the web, and sometimes work, in the garden with no trailing wires. I bought the router in a bundle with the matching Netgear WG511 54g PCMCIA card for £117 from a mail order Internet retailer in June 2003.