Netgear D6300 review
A seriously fast router and packed with features, but tarnished by a high price
The Netgear R6300 was the first 802.11ac router we tested, and we were impressed with its performance. The Netgear D6300 adds ADSL to the mix (so it can be used with both BT and, with the appropriate modem, Virgin connections), and we've now tested the router with its own-brand 802.11ac USB adapter. When we first tested the R6300, we had to use a pair of the routers in bridge mode.
The D6300's maximum nominal throughput over its 802.11ac 5GHz link is 1,300Mbits/sec, dropping to 300Mbits/sec over 2.4GHz. Yet, with the £60 Netgear A6200 USB adapter plugged into a free port on our test laptop, we saw an average speed at close range of 25.1MB/sec. That's good, but not as fast as we had expected.
In fact, with the 802.11ac USB adapter it was a touch slower than the results we saw with our test laptop's integrated 802.11n Intel WiFi Link 5300 adapter, which peaked at 35MB/sec and averaged at an impressive 26.6MB/sec with this router.
If we examine the results more closely, we can see where the problem lies. The speed actually peaks at 31.2MB/sec, which is around the same speed at which we'd expect a USB 2 external disk drive to run. It's no coincidence that the Netgear A6200 USB adapter is a USB 2 device, too.
If you already have a fast 3x3 Intel adapter, then, there isn't any advantage to buying the D6300 for its 802.11ac capabilities. If you don't, £220 is still an awful lot of cash to fork out.
The D6300 shouldn't be discounted, though. Over 5GHz, it produced the fastest speeds in our long-range test of any router in the Labs, and it was nippy over 2.4GHz at long range as well. At close range over 2.4GHz, however, it refused to channel bond, resulting in an average speed of only 9MB/sec.
Even without channel-bonded results, the D6300 is the fastest all-round router we've seen, especially if you take into account its fast USB storage transfer rates (we measured it at an average of 17.8MB/sec over a wired connection). It's also packed with more useful features than most. However, its failure to deliver 2.4GHz channel bonding and a high price deprives it of an award.
|Price ex VAT||£156|
|Price inc VAT||£187|
|Features & Design||6|
|Value for Money||4|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
|Gigabit LAN ports||4|
|10/100 LAN ports||0|
|MAC address cloning||yes|
|Wireless bridge (WDS)||yes|
|WPA Enterprise support||yes|
|WPS (wireless protected setup)||yes|
|MAC address filtering||yes|
|Port forwarding/virtual server||yes|
|Web content filtering||yes|
|Dimensions||255 x 67 x 197mm (WDH)|