Netgear WNDR3700 RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router (Premium Edition) review:

Netgear WNDR3700 RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router (Premium Edition)

Like most RangeMax routers, the WNDR3700 also has a very intuitive and responsive Web interface, which makes managing the router pretty easy to do. The router also has many other features found in most RangeMax routers, such as content filtering (this lets you block certain Web sites or services), port forwarding, quality of service, and universal plug and play.

For security, the router supports all existing wireless-encryption methods including WEP, WPA, and WPA2. It also comes with Wi-Fi protected setup features that allow you to add a new client to the network at the press of a button, instead of having to type in the encryption key manually.

The Netgear WNDR3700 RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router offered mixed performance in our testing. We tested the router in dual-band mode, and also tested it the way we test other NAS servers.

The router's wireless performance was generally good, though we wished its 5Ghz performance was better, especially the range, which was about 250 feet. The router's 2.4Ghz band's range, however, was very good in our tests. We were able to hold a stable connection in this band from up to 300 feet away. It's important to note that our test environment is a typical office building and is not necessarily optimized for wireless range.

On CNET Labs' max throughput test, where the router is 15 feet from the client, the WND3700's 5Ghz performance was slightly disappointing. It was the slowest of the 5Ghz routers we tested with a score of 60Mbps, compared with the 64.8Mbps score that the Linksys WRT610N achieved, and the 66.48Mbps score from the Apple Airport Extreme. Note that this is the real-world sustained throughput. At this speed the WNDR3700 could finish transmitting 500MB of data in about 66 seconds. In our range test, where we set the router 100 feet away from the client, in 5Ghz, the router moved up on the charts, scoring 40Mbps. This was faster than the 36.48Mbps achieved by the D-Link DIR 825.

In 2.4Ghz frequency tests, the WNDR3700 did much better. It scored 54.8Mbps in max throughput and 38.6Mbps in range. In our mixed-mode test, where the router was configured to work with both Wireless-N and legacy Wireless-G and Wireless-B clients, the WNDR3700 registered 41.8Mbps. All of its 2.4Ghz numbers are within the top three of the fastest Wireless routers.

Overall we wish the WNDR3700's 5Ghz performance was better; however, even at its current performance level, it's still one of the fastest routers on the market.

2.4Ghz Wireless-N performance score
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Mixed mode  
D-Link DIR-825
Belkin N+ Wireless Router
Netgear WNDR3700
Apple Airport Extreme Base Station
Linksys WRT610N
Apple Time Capsule

5Ghz Wireless-N performance score
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Apple Time Capsule
Linksys WRT610N
D-Link DIR-825
Netgear WNDR3700

It's a completely different story when it comes to the WNDR3700's network storage performance. We tested the router the way we test NAS servers, and its scores were slow, even compared with those of routers with similar features. The WNDR3700 scored 17.8Mbps in our write test and 40.9Mbps in our read test. The D-Link DIR-685, our previous slowest NAS router, was faster at 46.6Mbps and 76.5Mbps for the write and read test, respectively.

CNET Labs NAS Performance Scores (bia wired Gigabit Ethernet connection)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

The NAS function of the router was tested using its wired Gigabit connection to make sure it was not the wireless connection that was the bottleneck of the throughput. With this kind of performance, the WNDR3700 is suited for light and basic network storage tasks, where only one or two users access the drive at the same time. If you want to use the storage for more concurrent users and transfer a lot of data, you will need a dedicated NAS server.

Service and support
Netgear ships the Netgear WNDR3700 RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router with a one-year warranty; this is standard for routers these days. The support pages on Netgear's site are somewhat elusive (you have to click on many layers of links to get to where you want) but nonetheless offers lots of support information, including troubleshooting, a knowledge base, firmware, drivers, and manual downloads.

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