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Netgear WPN824 Router review:

Netgear WPN824 Router

The router's browser-based configuration tool includes all the basics; it is host to a number of advanced networking options, including Dynamic DNS support, which helps you set up your own Web site; DMZ assignments, useful for playing games or teleconferencing over the Internet; and URL blocking and logging, which is nice if you want to keep tabs on sites accessed from your network. Security features include an integrated firewall and MAC address filtering, as well as WEP and WPA encryption.

CNET Labs maximum throughput tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

CNET Labs maximum throughput tests with mixed 802.11b/g and MIMO clients
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

CNET Labs long-range tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

CNET Labs ran the Netgear RangeMax router through its paces, and what they found was generally positive. Running just slightly ahead of Belkin's Pre-N router, Netgear's RangeMax broadened the ranks for the fastest routers we've seen to date when transferring data at close range. The RangeMax router also performed very well in CNET Labs' range tests, delivering 36.4Mbps at 200 feet, tying with Belkin's Pre-N unit. The Labs' mixed-mode tests unearthed the router's main performance weakness: when legacy 802.11b adapters join the network, the RangeMax router takes a performance hit, falling to a maximum throughput of just 23.3Mbps.

Netgear's RangeMax router comes with a perfunctory one-year warranty, which pales in comparison to the lifetime coverage you get with Belkin's Pre-N router. Toll-free phone support is available 24/7, but it's available for only 90 days from the date of purchase. Netgear recently gave its support Web site a much-needed makeover, but the site is still more difficult to use and offers fewer resources than other sites, such as those hosted by Linksys and D-Link. A detailed FAQ and user forum for the RangeMax router would be welcome additions. The router's lengthy 174-page reference manual in PDF offers plenty of useful information but lacks important basics, such as warranty specifics and contact information.

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