Netgear WNDR4500 N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router review: Netgear WNDR4500 N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router

The router also allows users to stream digital content stored on the hard drive to DNLA-compliant network media players, such as the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. This feature automatically scans the attached external hard drive for digital content, making it available to devices within the network. The router can also automatically scan for new content when new files are added or repeatedly over a period time. We tried this out and it worked as intended.

The coolest features of the WNDR4500 are its Network Map, which shows an illustration of connected clients, and the Traffic Meter, which 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 limited quota and don't want to go over. Unfortunately, the Traffic Meter doesn't offer bandwidth control for specific computers, so you can't use it to restrict one individual from downloading too much.

For security, the router supports all existing wireless-encryption methods including WEP, WPA, and WPA2. It also comes with Wi-Fi Protected Setup so you can 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, which is the new version of the Internet protocol that replaces IPv4 because it's running out of addressing space.

Performance
The WNDR4500 N900 router offered mixed performance in our testing. On one hand, its 5GHz band's performance is superb, with great range and high data rate. On the other hand, the 2.4GHz band was really slow, but it still offers great range.

On the 5GHz band, when used with 450Mbps clients, the router averaged 152.8Mbps in close-range (15-feet) tests and 106.6Mbps in the long-range (100-feet) tests. These are among the highest numbers we've seen. When tested with regular 300Mbps clients, the router also did very well.

On the 2.4GHz band, even when tested with 450Mbps clients, the router registered only 45.3Mbps and 31.1Mbps for close- and long-range tests, respectively. These scores were significantly lower than even regular 300Mbps Wireless-N routers.

The WNDR4500 N900 router does, however, offer incredibly long range for both bands, more than 300 feet in our testing, the longest we've seen. Note that the router works best around 200 feet or shorter, and if you want to stream HD content, we'd recommend having the clients no farther than 150 feet from it.

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

Similar to all routers with built-in support for network storage via its USB ports, the N900's data rate for the connected USB external drive, via Gigabit Ethernet, averaged around 65Mbps. This, while faster than some others, isn't fast enough to be considered a viable network storage solution and is only good enough for light document sharing. If you want to do lots of data sharing or media streaming to multiple clients, it's recommended that you get a dedicated NAS server.

CNET Labs' NAS performance test (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Read  
Write  
Apple Time Capsule
114.2 
81.2 
Netgear WNDR4500
65.6 
63.2 
Cisco Linksys E4200
64 
60.8 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.2 
57.1 
Netgear WNDR4000
57.6 
51.8 
Cisco Linksys E3200
36.2 
32.2 
Netgear WNDR3700
40 
17.8 

CNET Labs' 2.4GHz Wireless-N performance scores (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Netgear WNDR4000
23.9 
67.8 
Cisco Linksys E4200
46.9 
61.4 
D-Link DIR-825
38.8 
61.3 
Cisco Linksys E3200
40.4 
57.44 
Asus RT-N56U
34.4 
57.2 
Netgear WNDR3700
29.44 
55.44 
Trendnet TEW-692GR
31.1 
52.1 
Belkin N750 DB
26.6 
50 
Netgear WNDR4500 (with 450Mbps clients)
31.1 
45.3 
Cisco Linksys E3000
32.8 
43.5 
Linksys E2500
10.7 
36.5 
Linksys WRT610n
28.8 
35.76 
Netgear WNDR4500
12.5 
28.6 

CNET Labs' 5GHz Wireless-N performance scores (in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Range  
Throughput  
Netgear WNDR4500 (with 450Mbps clients)
106.6 
152.8 
Cisco Linksys E4200
79.1 
100.48 
Asus RT-N56U
76.2 
112.6 
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 

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

Conclusions
We liked the Netgear WNDR4500 N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit router for its superb range, stability, and great data rates on the 5GHz band. The router let us down a bit with slow performance on the 2.4GHz band, however. Hopefully this will improve via firmware updates. In its current state, the N900 will still make a very good router for homes and small offices, especially those where most wireless clients support the 5GHz band.

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Netgear WNDR4500 N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router

Part Number: CNETWNDR4500
MSRP: $179.99 Low Price: $74.99 See all prices

Quick Specifications See All

  • Remote Management Protocol HTTP
  • Data Transfer Rate 450 Mbps
  • Connectivity Technology wired
  • Weight 1.1 lbs