Wireless N router with network storage feature
The Rangemax DGN3500 is a wireless router designed for ADSL broadband users.
It’s a compact device that can either stand flat or, with the aid of the two included supports, on its side.
A series of lights on the front panel keep you informed as to the router’s status. At the rear are four network ports for fast wired connections along with a socket for the phone line and a power switch. Thanks to the USB port, it’s also possible to quickly set up network storage that all your computers can access – all you need to do is attach a USB hard disk or USB memory key and it will be shared across the network.
Three wireless antennas are located within the main case – this keeps things neat and tidy, but also means you can’t point them in the direction of your computers to improve coverage.
Those familiar with Netgear routers will find the installation and setup a breeze. Newcomers are aided by an installation wizard, and all settings are accompanied by brief but helpful explanations as to what they do.
It uses the latest 802.11n wireless technology and Netgear quotes a maximum wireless transfer rate of 300Mbits/sec, although as usual this is a theoretical figure and the 50-60Mbits/sec we achieved during testing is more realistic. What it does mean, however, is that you should have no problem streaming video from a PC to a wireless media streaming device, for example. The wired network sockets are also of the fastest ‘gigabit’ type.
All the usual security features are present, such as a built-in firewall along with the usual wireless security standards.
The majority of wireless routers, including the DGN3500, use the 2.4GHz wireless frequency. However, since only three routers in close proximity can share the 2.4GHz frequency, speeds can be adversely affected if more than two of your neighbours have a wireless network.
Some routers, such as the D-Link DIR-855 and Netgear’s DGND3300, have two wireless radios – known as dual-band routers, these can operate on the 2.4GHz frequency as well as the far-less-cluttered 5GHz, thereby greatly reducing the chances of slower speeds caused by interference.
The Rangemax DGN3500 is another solid router from Netgear, but considering wireless congestion is commonplace these days it’s disappointing it’s not dual-band.
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Good features and easy to use, but at this price we’d expect it to be dual-band Good points Good wireless speeds; easy to install; USB network storage; fast wired connections Bad points Not dual-band; internal antennas mean you can’t direct the wireless signal
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