Looking more like a monolith box that is housing a collector's edition of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the D6300 is the kind of gadget buyers would be proud to hang on the wall alongside their abstract art collections. Those of you who read CNET Australia's R6300 review last year will probably recognise the D6300's striking design as they look identical. However, the new brute on the block now includes an integrated ADSL2+ modem, delivering the cutting edge 802.11ac routing of its predecessor without the need for a messy external ADSL2+ modem. The illusion of size is enhanced by the fact that it stands upright rather than flat on your desk, and matching the hefty size is a heavyweight price tag. Thankfully, Netgear has crammed plenty of tech inside to justify the damage to your wallet.
Specs at a glance
|Wireless protocols||802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) & 802.11a/n/ac (5GHz)|
|Highest wireless security||WPA2|
|Ethernet ports||4 + WAN|
|USB print sharing/storage||2x for storage, printer|
|Accessories||ADSL filter, Ethernet cable, power supply, driver disk|
While the front of the D6300 looks like polished black stone, devoid of a single feature, the rear is where all the work gets done. A not so pretty feature is the hulking power supply, which shames most laptop power bricks. Four gigabit Ethernet ports plus WAN provide plenty of connectivity for wired networks, and one of these can be used to connect to a fibre or cable modem. Unfortunately, there's no mention in the specs about fibre-to-the-node connectivity, and it'd be a shame to buy such an expensive router only to find that it'll be obsolete in a couple of years if a Liberal NBN is installed.
Twin USB 2.0 ports deliver the ability to share your printer while simultaneously plugging in an external hard drive, effectively adding Network Attached Storage to the network. An ADSL2+ connection plugs into the included ADSL2+ line filter, and the modem inside is provided by Broadcomm.
Testing the modem on a standard Internode ADSL2+ connection, we hit the same 18Mbps download speed seen with every other quality modem, suggesting that it is the maximum speed the line can handle.
UI and Features
Heading into the router's configuration screens via Chrome, it becomes immediately apparent just how helpful Netgear's interface designers are. Every screen and option includes a comprehensive help menu, holding the hand of the user and talking them through every detail. While the wording in the help text can be a little lacking when it comes to more advanced features, we have to commend Netgear for providing so much assistance to network noobs.
Combined with the powerful, yet easy to use wizards that step the user through the process of setting up ADSL2+ and wireless networks, this is the kind of networking product that won't give you recurring nightmares about G.dmt.bisplus standards at 3am. It's a case of plug it in and play, unlike some of the more technical routers on the market. Power users will appreciate the advanced menu, which exposes most of the crucial settings with far less fluff.
Interface is simple, clear and informative.
(Screenshot by Bennett Ring/CNET Australia)
Don't mistake the ease of use means a lack of features, as the D6300 packs a potent technological punch. On top of the usual 802.11 b/g/n support, the dual band radios inside also deliver 802.11 a/n/ac support.
It's worth pointing out that 802.11 ac still hasn't been formalised, so the D6300 is using a draft version of the specification. However, based on similar experiences with early 802.11n devices, it's highly unlikely that the D6300 will suddenly turn into an expensive brick when 802.11ac is ratified.