NetGear WNDR3800 N600 Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router - Premium Edition review: NetGear WNDR3800 N600 Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router - Premium Edition

Another cool feature of the N600 is the OpenDNS-based Parental Controls, first introduced with the WNR2000. To use this, you first need to install the Netgear Live Parental Controls software, for which the Netgear Genie application and the Web interface both provide a download link. The software guides you through a few steps of setting up a free online account with OpenDNS and setting the overall Web filter level to high, moderate, low, minimum, or none, where high means most traffic will be blocked and none means nothing will be blocked. From there, you no longer need the software. From anywhere in the world, you can now go to the Parental Controls Center site, log in with the account you just created, and further customize the Web filtering feature of the router. For parents who are on the go a lot, this is a nice feature that makes sure they have control over the Internet access of those at home.

Like the N900, the N600 comes with a traffic meter that allows you to control the router's Internet connection. For example, you can set the router to disconnect from the Internet if a certain amount of data has been downloaded (or uploaded, or both) over a certain period of time. This is useful when you have a quota and don't want to go over. Unfortunately, the traffic meter applies the bandwidth control to the whole network rather than to individual computers, which means you can't use it to restrict one individual from downloading too much.

For security, the router supports all existing wireless-encryption methods: WEP, WPA, and WPA2. It also comes with Wi-Fi Protected Setup, a feature that enables 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 router also supports IPv6, the new version of the Internet protocol that replaces IPv4, which is running out of addressing space.

Performance
The Netgear WNDR3800 N600 router offered very good performance in our testing on both bands.

On the 5GHz band, it averaged 89.6Mbps in close-range (15 feet) throughput tests and 74.7Mbps in long-range (100 feet) tests. These numbers put it among the top performers on our charts. Similarly, on the 2.4GHz band, the router scored 66.3Mbps for close range and 40.6Mbps for long range, being the second fastest on both counts.

The router also offered a very long range in our test faculty, up to around 290 feet away. To get the best performance, however, we recommend using it within a range of 170 feet or less.

Like other routers with built-in network storage features, the N600's data rates with a connected USB external drive didn't impress us much. When tested via Gigabit Ethernet, the router offered just about 34Mbps for writing and some 89Mbps for reading. This isn't fast enough to make it a viable network storage option; it's better suited for light document sharing or streaming of music or photos. If you want to do a lot of data sharing or HD media streaming to multiple clients, you should get a dedicated NAS server.

The router also passed our 48-hour stress test, during which it didn't disconnect once. Note, however, that the stress test was conducted within a range of just around 15 feet. As the range gets longer, the stability of the signal might be reduced.

2.4GHz Wireless-N performance (in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Cisco Linksys E4200
46.9 
61.4 
Netgear WNDR3800
40.6 
66.3 
Cisco Linksys E3200
40.4 
57.44 
D-Link DIR-825
38.8 
61.3 
Asus RT-N56U
34.4 
57.2 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.8 
43.5 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
31.1 
52.1 
Netgear WNDR3700
29.44 
55.44 
Linksys WRT610n
28.8 
35.76 
Belkin N750 DB
26.6 
50 
Netgear WNDR4000
23.9 
67.8 
Netgear WNDR4500
12.5 
28.6 
Linksys E2500
10.7 
36.5 

5GHz Wireless-N performance (in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Cisco Linksys E4200
79.1 
100.48 
Asus RT-N56U
76.2 
112.6 
Netgear WNDR3800
74.7 
89.6 
Belkin N750 DB
74.64 
92.32 
Linksys E2500
70.2 
77.2 
Netgear WNDR4000
63.9 
89 
Linksys WRT610n
54.8 
64.8 
Cisco Linksys E3200
53.8 
95.3 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
49 
71.9 
Cisco Linksys E3000
48.8 
65.4 
Netgear WNDR4500
41 
109.4 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
60 
D-Link DIR-825
36.48 
80.96 

NAS performance (in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 
Netgear WNDR3800
88.9 
34 
Netgear WNDR4500
65.6 
63.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200
64 
60.8 
Netgear WNDR4000
57.6 
51.8 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
17.8 
Cisco Linksys E3200
36.2 
32.2 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.2 
57.1 

Service and support
Netgear backs the WNDR4500 N900 with a limited lifetime warranty. The router also comes with 90-day free and toll-free technical support. Netgear's site offers lots of support information: troubleshooting, a knowledge base, firmware, drivers, and manual downloads.

Conclusion
The Netgear WNDR3800 N600 Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router - Premium Edition is an excellent router for anyone who wants a fast and robust wireless solution for a home or home office.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

NetGear WNDR3800 N600 Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router - Premium Edition

Part Number: WNDR3800

MSRP: $180.00

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Weight 1.1 lbs
  • Remote Management Protocol HTTP
  • Data Transfer Rate 600 Mbps
  • Connectivity Technology wired
About The Author

CNET editor Dong Ngo has been involved with technology since 2000, starting with testing gadgets and writing code for CNET Labs' benchmarks. He now manages CNET San Francisco Labs, reviews networking and storage products, and also writes about other topics from online security to new gadgets and how technology impacts the life of people around the world.