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I bought my 'Netgear WPN824' more than 2-years ago as I was in need of a router that not only allowed multiple inputs of ethernet cable, but also allowed for wireless connection from my laptop in any room of the house. There are many systems abround that have this capability, so what attracted me to the Netgear range?
It was actually the reading up of reviews on the product which finally convinced me into purchasing my Netgear hub. Despite how far the technology has advanced in recent years, wireless systems are still inherently new and vastly improvable - so it really does matter which brand you go for as some work better than others. When I read up on the Netgear range I was met with nothing but positive opinion and strong facts. Here are some of the things I eventually found to be true about the product:
- The exterior is hard wearing and durable. I know this because my router has been stuffed under a table in the hall with all of the families shoes (a frequent corner of kicking feet and general disregard for technology) - it has never cracked or broken.
- With high wireless transmitting speeds, you can hardly tell the difference between wired and wireless internet connections - this i've tested with two computers side by side, and the wire connected machine only won by a few milli-seconds.
- With the capability of transmitting with computers wirelessly in area of 500,000 square feet, no building is too big for this device to conquer.
- The RangeMax series also has on-board technology which is able to move around obsticles which might hinder its performance wirelessly in the home.
- The ability to set passwords and walls against intrusion within the product greatly reduces any chances of intrusion from nearby hackers attempting to gain illegal access.
Were there any negative sides to the product?
- I don't know whether people would consider this a negative point or not, but I paid £90.00 for my Netgear router and this to me seems like an extreme amount for something so small and widely available.
- The blue neon light which shows on the top of the router is constently on (though it can be set at reduced brightness or disabled) and all this does it use more power. However it does make the product look incredibly snazzy.
All in all I believe that the positives out-weighing the negatives is all you need as evidence that this is a 10/10 product. If you want a system that combines wireless capabilities with a solid wired interface (of multiple ethernet ports) then the Netgear RangeMax range is for you - even at that price.
I had known for some time that I needed to get a wireless connection at home. I have two PC's and a laptop. One downstairs for work (the laptop I take out when needed), and an upstairs machine which has become my youngest sons machine for homework (occasionally) and games (mainly).
I am okay with computers and would rate myself as average or above when it comes to knowledge, fault finding,etc. However never having set up a wireless network I went into PC World and asked their advice, bad move number one, they sold me the wrong package, which I had to go back and exchange for this package. The staff in PC World generally know less about computers and the products on sale than I do, they seem to be 'programmed' to try and sell you warranties (that are not needed) and not to be helpful in any way at all, but I'll save this rant for if I decide to do a PC World review.
By the way, a good tip, check on PC World's internet site before you buy anything, this router was £69.99 on their website, £89.99 in store, I expressed surprise and dismay at this and they agreed to let me buy at the net price, kerching!! £20 reduction straight away. You can buy this from £59 today on Amazon by the way (30.4.08).
In the box there is:
Router itself, this looks pretty modern and sleek, white with lots of clear plastic sorround, a really annoying blue light (I will come onto this later)
The power adapter (plug)
Setup guide and installation CDs
Warranty card (2 year)
Voucher for 50 free emusic tunes (trial)
I have read other reviews that say you get the USB receiver, I never, I had to buy that seperately, and it will be reviewed seperately.
The Specifications (taken from the box packaging and information) are as follows:
Standards: IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, 2.4 GHz
Dimensions: 223 x 153 x 31 mm
Weight: 1.2 lbs or 0.5 kg
Available bandwidth: 108 Mbps
7 internal smart antennas
Whatever all that means, and you need on your PC:
Broadband (cable, DSL) internet connection and modem with Ethernet connectivity (so Virgin, Telewest, NTL), Windows 98, Me, NT, 2000, XP, Mac OS, Netware, UNIX or Linux
Internet Explorer 5.0 or Netscape 4.7 or higher.
If you don't know if you have any of this, do not buy, get some expert advice.
I tried to get the PC World Tech assistance only to be told the only slots they had (that were good for me) were some weeks away. Luckily I know a few people in the business who will do stuff quite cheaply for me, I would advise getting some help as the setup is easy, but the configuring accounts etc. is not. I ended up actually doing the setting up, with a friend, 'watching over' me, and I only really needed help from him when configuring passwords.
Making it all work:
Firstly, remember it like this, the router is putting your internet connection signal OUT, it is like (but isn't) a radio transmitter mast, you will need another piece of kit (USB connector or receiver card) on each computer that you want to receive this signal IN to.
Surprisingly easy to set this up and get it working (glowing). Surprisingly hard to get the passwords and computers 'talking' to each other, this may be due to the incredibly complicated Virgin Media.
Step One: plug the router in to the plug socket.
Step Two: CD in, and do what it says on the screen.
Step Three. Then simply unplug the cable connector from the existing modem and plug it into the router, replacing the now empty connector on your old modem with another cable attached to the router (it really is pretty obvious), no need to unplug anything else, alter anything, just like that.
Step Four. When prompted, set a password, (useful tip) write it down at this point). Useful tip no. 2, have all your existing ISP passwords and account information to hand, you may need it. If you do not set up properly with a password not only might you be able to get a signal from other PC's in the vicinity (neighbours), but they be able to get your signal too.
Simple as that, it is now working. You will see all the lights (green) on the front, with a number, also glowing that tells you which connection you are using (there are four).
Does it work?
Yep, within ten minutes I had this up and running, and once I set up the USB connector upstairs, it all worked just fine. You do not need the PC with the router attached on all the time (common myth), but clearly you will need to keep the modem signal and router on (PC does not need to be 'on' or on standby, use a seperate plug for the router/modem it will save electricity as well as the planet). Strength of signal is fine, speed is fine.
The UFO Blue light:
I said I would come back to this. I have no idea why the makers put this circular blue, flashing light on top of the router, it is the most annoying thing I have ever seen on any computer peripheral, it reminds me of the bottom of the spaceship in 'Close encounters', only it has just the one colour, electric blue, it's big enough to be a disco light, I have taken to hiding the router behind my modem so I can't see this light. It drives me insane, and that is a shame, coz' just about everything else is good.
Good, easy to set up, reasonable price, get some help if you are unsure, you don't really need it though. Having had this now for a few months I am able to report that there have been no problems whatsoever.
Much updated review, originally posted on Ciao by myself.
I got this router last year from pc world. It included a USB wireless adapter.
I think the router represents good value, despite its high price, and it's well worth considering for those in the market for a device with excellent range and strong resistance to interference.
The basic setup routine for the Netgear RangeMax router is a simple and straightforward process that takes only a few minutes. A bundled CD includes a setup wizard that automatically loads when you insert the disc into your computer's optical drive; this then guides you through a short series of on-screen prompts. If you're an advanced user, you can bypass the wizard and connect directly to the RangeMax's browser-based configuration tool. A handy URL that's clearly listed on the printed setup guide points your computer's browser directly to the tool.
The Wi-Fi capabilities havnt let me down yet and gives a strong signal and good distance.
You can connect up to 4 PC's to the router & the main PC doesnt have to be ON in order for the other PC's to connect to internet etc. Which is ideal.
The router comes with a two-year warranty, while phone support is available on an 0870 number.
I bought this router after months of frustration with a Belkin router. Constantly switching on and off and never staying on long enough to load a web page. The worst router i have ever used i must say. I bought this Netgear router off e bay as a re conditioned one costing about £45.00 new.
This router has 10x the range of the Belkin router and gives full signal through the whole of the house. It has never once switched off or even flickered!
The blue LED lights are a great little feature, just because i like blue LED lights on electronic devices. They look very quirky.
It says it is easy to install..... i beg to differ. It is a little complicated to instal as it asks for lots of different numbers such as your IP and many other that i cant remember but with a little research on the internet and google i manages to find out how to find these numbers, its easy once you know how.
In all, and i have set up quite a few wireless connections, it took me about 45 mins but since then i have never had to touch it and it works absolutely great.
I would never go back to Belkin now.
Consider Netgear, they look great and work even better!
This is my first wireless router so I didn't know what to expect. It was incredibly easy to set up and I've had no problems since. To get the maximum coverage you need the USB adapter WPN 111 - it's much cheaper to buy this with the router than separately. However coverage is fine in my 3 bed Victorian terrace without it.