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A friend recommended me to purchase a Netgear branded router as my old one didn't have enough power to spread through my house. I chose the WNR3500 based on price and performance. Netgear advertises this particular model as a 'RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router'. This basically means one top of the range and most powerful routers out there. I have had it for over a year now and at the time 300mbps was fairly common. It has served me well but hasn't done anything spectacular.
I purchased this from Amazon in 2010 for around £90 which seemed to be around mid to high ranged at the time. I was not reluctant to spend as my house contains six bedrooms and almost everyone owned a laptop. Therefore I wanted a powerul router to suffice everyone's needs. In my opinion it's slightly overpriced but as a do not use the gigabit ethernet port, this is understandable for I do not use the router to the maximum of its capabilities.
Coming from a person who is confident with electronics, the setup is a breeze for pretty much anyone. Using either the CD or manual method, setup takes 10-15 minutes even if you have no experience at all. The box includes :
WNR3500 RangeMax Premium Wireless-N Gigabit Router
Power cable and adaptor.
Warranty/support information card
The CD will bring up a program and make you enter the wireless settings with the security as well. It will show you exactly what goes where so everything is trouble free. I was surfing the web within 15 minutes and I'm sure most of the general public can as well.
The router itself:
It is made out of black, shiny plastic and does not attract dust much so is easy to maintain. However it is quite light and feels a bit cheap, falling over on many occasions. There are blinking lights on the side making it look more contemporary as well. It contains 4 ethernet ports at the back for 1GB surfing speeds but to be honest I have never used it so cannot comment on that feature. It also contains a WPS button which is basically known as Push 'N' Connect using Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS). This means when you want to connect to it you press the button on the front and it will send out signals allowing you to connect, after a few minutes it will stop sending out signals. It's supposed to increase security but I found it tiresome having to press the button as I am not sat next to the router so disabled the feature and use the WPA-tkip security instead which is sufficient.
My experience :
Generally, the router has done it's job and everyone has had speedy internet connection. I am with Virgin Media and have 10mb internet. From day to day the router has fulfilled this and I regularly get 10mb which is the main reason I bought it for. However the range is somewhat disappointing. Upon buying it and researching the router I would hope it covered the whole house and even the garden. But after about 15 metres the signal drops and the bars decrease, sometimes decreasing speed as well. This may be due to interference but can make surfing the web quite bewildering sometimes.
I also use this for playing online games on the PS3 and Wii , so far it has been superb surpassing my previously weak router. Although it has increased range I was expecting more. As well as online gaming, I use it with an iPod touch, Blackberry, downloading music from iTunes and watching HD videos from Youtube. This leads me to say I am a heavy user of the internet and the product has performed admirably.
The Netgear RangeMax Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500 was a definite upgrade from wireless G. I would recommend it even though it doesn't astound me. The excellent speed and signal strength close by coupled with effortless installation, outweight the slightly disappointing range.
I got this router free with my Virgin Media broadband connection and have to say I am glad I didnt pay for it.
The wireless N mode works at full speed and allows me to download wirelessly to my Mac's at the maximum speed of my 50Mb BB connection.
However the wireless coverage is quite poor and just going upstairs shows a weaker signal on my iPhone than my old Linksys wireless G router.
The router looks nice in the pictures but actaully its a very cheap looking shiny black plastic box - the attachable stand is also cheap and flimsy.
It offers the usual connectivity of 4 ethernet ports to connect additional devices and these work well. Although as the unit is quite light its badly affected by stiff ethernet cables particularly if you have it upright. So it can be difficult to keep it upright - its best to remove the stand and keep it flat.
Overall its a distinctly average router - there are better out there so I would avoid it.