Netgear DGND3300 review

19 Mar 2010

A simultaneous dual-band ADSL router, which is a good start, but performance is poor

Netgear DGND3300
Price when reviewed: 
103(£103 inc VAT)
Buy it now for 
3

After a slow start, ADSL users now have a good selection of 802.11n hardware to choose from. But when it comes dual band routers, the selection is pretty thin. This Netgear is a prime example - it's the only concurrent dual-band ADSL router on the market.

This means it's able to maintain both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks simultaneously, allowing devices such as internet radios access at the same time as laptops on the less crowded 5GHz band.

It does this in an unusual way, however. Instead of two full-powered 802.11n radios inside, the DGND3300 has one 802.11n and one 802.11g. This means you get one fast network and one slow one. In theory, that allows the best performance at the lowest possible cost.

It's an interesting approach but not a wholly successful one. Despite the presence of eight internal aerials, we found performance to be sluggish, in both our close-range 2.4GHz and 5GHz tests, returning below par rates from router to laptop (using an Intel WiFi Link 5300 chipset) of 63Mbits/sec, and 42Mbits/sec in the reverse direction over 2.4GHz and 77Mbits/sec and 45Mbits/sec over 5GHz. Both tests were carried out using the high power radio.

Netgear DGND3300

It was better at at long range, but the results were still disappointing, returning rates of 64Mbits/sec and 33Mbits/sec over 2.4GHz, and 42Mbits/sec and 20Mbits/sec in the 5GHz band. Part of the problem is the lack of Gigabit Ethernet ports, which places a cap on maximum throughput, but even taking this into account, we're underwhelmed.

It did maintain a reliable enough signal to pass our Full HD video-streaming test in all locations without any frame drops, pauses or signal dropouts. And the feature set, apart from the lack of Gigabit, is reasonable.

Highlights include a USB port for sharing hard disks or flash drives, a tool that alerts you to firmware upgrades when you log into the web admin pages, and a guest network feature.

Despite Netgear's cost-cutting, the DGND3300 still costs a fair bit, and that dual-band support fails to translate into a real-world advantage. Future firmware upgrades may improve it, but for now you're better off with a more powerful, single-band router.

Details

Price ex VAT £88
Price inc VAT £103
Overall rating 3
Performance 3
Features & Design 5
Value for Money 3
WiFi standard 802.11n
Modem type ADSL

Wireless standards

802.11a support yes
802.11b support yes
802.11g support yes
802.11 draft-n support yes

LAN ports

Gigabit LAN ports 0
10/100 LAN ports 4

Features

MAC address cloning no
Wireless bridge (WDS) yes
Interior antennae 8
Exterior antennae 0
802.11e QoS yes
User-configurable QoS yes
UPnP support yes
Dynamic DNS yes

Security

WEP support yes
WPA support yes
WPA Enterprise support no
WPS (wireless protected setup) yes
MAC address filtering yes
DMZ support yes
VPN support yes
Port forwarding/virtual server yes
Intrusion detection yes
DoS protection yes
Web content filtering yes
Email alerts yes
Activity/event logging yes

Dimensions

Dimensions 223 x 153 x 31mm (WDH)

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