Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next Wireless-N Router Gigabit Edition review: Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next Wireless-N Router Gigabit Edition

With the latest firmware update (version 1.4.23NA)--included in the box and also available at Netgear's site--that makes it compatible with Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n draft 2.0 standard, the WNR854T turned in some impressive results on CNET Labs' benchmarks. On our close range throughput test, it scored as much as 85.5 Mbps, among the best we've seen. (Though it's still nowhere close to the theoretical max 300Mbps of the .11n specification, we've yet to test a router that's come even close to that figure.) On our mixed mode test, where the router was set up to work with multiple devices of different wireless standards, the score was reduced but still an impressive 67.5 Mbps. On our long-range test, at 200 feet, the router was able to sustain a 26.87Mbps, which is on par with competing routers form Asus, D-Link, and SMC. During our testing process, the Netgear worked smoothly, and we didn't experience any reset during heavy load as we did with the D-Link DGL-4500 router.

The Netgear WNR854T's range failed to impress, though that has something to do with the lofty expectations we held given its RangeMax name. Its range turned out to be only average, no better and no worse than other high-end Draft N routers, including the DGL-4500. Generally speaking, we look for a range of 300 feet for Draft N routers, and in anecdotal testing, the Netgear router started to drop its signal at around 270 feet. It's necessary to note a wireless router's range depends a lot on its environment, and our test environment is not exactly range-friendly.

Netgear backs the RangeMax WRN854T with a standard one-year warranty. The support pages on Netgear's site are somewhat elusive (you have to scroll all the way down to find the Support link) but nonetheless offers lots of support information from troubleshooting and a knowledge base to firmware/driver/manual downloads.

Maximum throughput tests (at 15 feet, in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput max  

Maximum throughput tests with mixed 802.11b/g and draft N clients (at 15 feet, in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Mixed  

Long-range throughput tests (measured indoors at 200 feet, in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput at 200 feet  

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    Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next Wireless-N Router Gigabit Edition

    Part Number: WNR854T Released: Dec 12, 2006
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    Quick Specifications See All

    • Release date Dec 12, 2006
    • Weight 1.2 lbs
    • Remote Management Protocol HTTP
    • Data Transfer Rate 300 Mbps
    • Connectivity Technology wireless