Product Type: Netgear in Wireless LAN
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Netgear WPN824 RangeMax Wireless Router
Member Name: paulhanton
Netgear WPN824 RangeMax Wireless Router
Advantages: Easy to set up, cheap.
Disadvantages: Need to have a bit of knowledge of these things.
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.
Summary: Wireless router. Netgear.
|Ease of use:|
|Variety of features:|
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