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Netgear DGND3700 N600 review

Netgear DGND3700 N600

Verdict

Jam-packed with features, ports and sockets, and combines that with the fast wireless performance<br>

Review Date: 28 Jan 2012

Reviewed By: Jonathan Bray

Price when reviewed: £100 (£120 inc VAT)

Buy it now for: £80
(see more store prices)

Overall Rating
5 stars out of 6

Features & Design
5 stars out of 6

Value for Money
4 stars out of 6

Performance
6 stars out of 6

PCPRO Recommended

From the marketing material you may think that Netgear’s latest speed demon is a new category of router. The name – N600 – seems to imply it’s capable of 600Mbits/sec transfer speeds.

Alas, that isn’t the case: Netgear has simply added the maximum throughput figures of the router’s 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios together to manufacture an impressive-looking marketing line.

It’s a cheap trick, but it clearly isn’t an attempt to cover up any kind of weakness. In fact, in testing, the N600 put in among the fastest all-round wireless performances we've seen.

From 2.5m away in the same room we measured an average transfer speed of 15.9MB/sec over 2.4GHz, peaking at 18.5MB/sec when transmitting large files to the router. Only the single-band 450Mbits/sec-rated Buffalo WZR-HP-G450H is faster in this test.

Over 5GHz from the same distance it was even quicker, returning an average rate of 17.5MB/sec and peaking at 21.8MB/sec. However, it’s the N600’s performance at long range that really seals the deal.

At a distance of 40m with two walls in the way, the N600 returned a rate of 4.6MB/sec over 2.4GHz and 2.9MB/sec over 5GHz.

That’s quite a lot of data to take in, but one thing is abundantly clear: this is one seriously speedy router, combining close-range rapidity with long-distance reliability like no other router we've seen.

One weakness is NAS performance. With a portable USB 3 hard disk plugged into one of the N600’s twin USB sockets, it recorded a sluggish average transfer rate of 3.5MB/sec.

This is a shame, since it’s packed with features elsewhere. Its twin 2.4GHz and 5GHz wireless networks can be run concurrently, there are four Gigabit ports on the rear and it boasts both cable and ADSL connections. (Please note: since this review first ran in PC Pro magazine it has become apparent that the router does not work reliably with older ADSL 1 type connections. Despite a recent firmware update from Netgear, it still doesn't.)

There's also the option to create multiple SSIDs and hotel-style guest networks on each band, each with its own set of security protocols. And although the web-based administration pages are difficult to find your way around, they are replete with options. We particularly like the Traffic Meter section, which allows limits and warnings to be set up based on monthly data usage.

The router also checks for firmware updates automatically, every time you log in – a feature we think should be standard across all routers. There’s also DLNA media-streaming support, and a handy Wi-Fi on/off button.

All of which makes the N600 a wireless router of rare pedigeree. We can't recommend it for anyone on an older ADSL 1 connection, which is disappointing, however those with ADSL2/2+ or cable connections who want optimum wireless performance should look no further.

Author: Jonathan Bray

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User comments

Soooooo Disappointed!

On the back of this review (as I truly am a fan of PC Pro mag and the A-Listed reviews), I went out and ordered one from Amazon UK. It arrived the next day and I booked the afternoon off work in order to configure and test it to the max.

That's where the disappointment began.

Although the setup and config as always on Netgear routers was very easy, the wi-fi performance was just shockingly poor. My office is literally next door to my kitchen, which is separated by glass blocks; no blockwork or plasterboarding, only glass. Sitting next to the router in my office I had a solid 300 mbit connection on my MacBook Pro. When I walked next door to the kitchen, quite literally 2 metres away on the other side of the glass blocks, this dropped to less than 50 mbit.

When I went to the other end of the kitchen which is about 5 metres, I struggled to get 5 mbit.

Believe me when I say I tried everything to rectify - including 2 hours on the phone to Netgear support. I know what most will be thinking; interference from something in the kitchen, which normally would be my first thought, but I have 2 ADSL connections into the office, and the ageing Netgear DGN1000 router pumps out a very healthy 145 mbits. Side by side in the same positions, the DGND3700 supplied 5 - 20 mbits whereas the DGN1000 gave 54 - 72 mbits.

So, I convinced Netgear that the unit was faulty and I returned it to Amazon and received a replcement.

Exactly the same. I have just spent another hour onto Netgear Support jumping through hoops.

The worst thing is that the feature set of this router are fantastic at the price, and if you sit on top of it then the wireless is great. However, if you wander more than 5 metres, be prepared for a very steep drop in performance.

Disappointed isn't a strong enough word.

By markasmith33 on 25 Apr 2012

Netgear have always been shocking

.... while i havn't bought this product and i can promiss you i never will, i have bought the WN311Ba few years ago a windows 7 compatible product with no windows 7 compatible drivers lol, i never did get it working.
My Netgear DG843PN router refuses to assign ip addresses to devices using powerline adapters, but also is choosey about wifi cards it will and will not connect to. Netgears response try turning it on and off like its normal or something

By insanebe on 2 May 2012

Netgear have always been shocking

.... while i havn't bought this product and i can promiss you i never will, i have bought the WN311Ba few years ago a windows 7 compatible product with no windows 7 compatible drivers lol, i never did get it working.
My Netgear DG843PN router refuses to assign ip addresses to devices using powerline adapters, but also is choosey about wifi cards it will and will not connect to. Netgears response try turning it on and off like its normal or something

By insanebe on 2 May 2012

they have always been shocking

.... just don't go there netgear is a name to avoid

By insanebe on 2 May 2012

bob

really awful product

By insanebe on 2 May 2012

Different router...?

I bought this router from Amazon based on this review, and I can only assume that Jonathan tested a different model from the one I got, despite the same name on the box. Even when set up in clear line of sight (no obstacles) between laptop/router/compatible Netgear N150 USB receiver plugged into my WD TV Live Hub, I got a maximum of 800KB. My old O2 Wireless Box IV gives me over 2MB - well over twice the rate of this supposed super-router. No matter what I tried, even switching off the 5Ghz radio (not much point in having a dual-band router, then...), lowering the throughput in the hope of achieving stability, it stayed below 800KB.
I might think that it was me lacking knowledge, but these results are way beyond acceptable - I shouldn't have to jump through technical hoops to make a very expensive router work with compatible gear.
I had a Netgear DG834 which was great - this one has severely dented my confidence in Netgear.
Avoid.

By dahawthorne on 25 Jun 2012

Why no response?

I am a subscriber and was thinking of buying this but have seen bad reviews in other places as well. Why no response from PC Pro? I believe there's a V. 2 out now. Did the reviewer get an early model?
Geoff

By gjmiles1 on 22 Nov 2012

Mike

What a rubbish router. The radio performance is DC. I have since stopped buying PCPRO as one of the reasons is review validity. I bought this based on the review. Which I hadnt. I have to use 2 radio extenders in my housre to get coverage.

By oldgit on 13 Feb 2013

not perfect

Been looking to replace my 9 year old Belkin. Read the review, was put off by the NAS lack of speed then read these comments. I'll spend my money on some other IT kit then!

By beecee on 18 Apr 2013

Its rubbish!

I had an old Billion 7600n that using 2.4 managed to link at between 150 and 210. This useless Netgear using 5G managed a normal 40 to 80 and 2.4 30 to 40.
Its total rubbish!

By john_33 on 3 Jun 2013

Intrigued by lack of response from PC Pro!

I am looking for a new wireless router for a friend and was just typing out the email recommending this one when I scrolled to the bottom of the page!

All the seriously bad reviews by people who have got their hands on this imply there was something badly wrong with PC Pro's testing (I am trying not to be cynical here!) but it is still on the A-List for how long?!

Very odd and makes you wonder how much you can trust any of the A-List or reviews here.....

By noelkelly on 21 Jun 2013

Look elsewhere.

Version 2 bought to replace a standard ISP-supplied wireless router, I believed the hype - that it would extend the wireless range and increase speed across the wireless network. I never really got to the point of testing these claims on a good connection because - after the first couple of hours' use it refused to establish one.
Constant drop outs were confirmed by my ISP and the download speed fell from a near-respectable 3.8 Mbs to a downright laughable (if you haven't shelled out close on £100) 0.3Mbs.
Returned to the vendor (another story). Reinstated ISP-supplied router and drop-outs eliminated/speed restored to previous level).

By davidj2014 on 13 Aug 2014

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