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Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Router WNDR3300 review: Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Router WNDR3300

Review Sections

Performance
Our testing tables just keep on getting longer as router manufacturers offer up more modes. As we can't imagine anyone spending the extra cash on the WNDR3300 and not wanting to run some kind of wireless N set-up with it, we tested the two top speed modes — 270Mbps (5GHz) and 54Mbps (2.4GHz) dual-band mode and 270Mbps (2.4GHz only).

Signal Strength: 5GHz 270Mbps

Distance from routerNetgear WNDR3300Netgear WNHDEB111Linksys WAG160NBillion BiPAC 7300NConceptronic 300MbpsLinksys WRT160N
5m85%84%70%75%92%80%
15m (minor walls)45%50%53%59%62%62%
15m (multiple walls)44%55%48%54%60%50%

Throughput: 5GHz 270Mbps

Distance from routerNetgear WNDR3300Netgear WNHDEB111Linksys WAG160NBillion BiPAC 7300NConceptronic 300MbpsLinksys WRT160N
2m, no barriers11.8Mbps18.4Mbps19.8Mbps21Mbps15Mbps4.88Mbps
20m, multiple walls9.81Mbps16.7Mbps15.2Mbps13.3Mbps7.7Mbps10.12Mbps

In theory, 5GHz should offer us the best possible transfer rates, but in our tests the WNDR3300 didn't exactly shine when it came to signal strength. As always, our figures are representative of our test environment (a standard Sydney suburban home), but it's still not a bright sign. And to put it mildly, the WNDR3300's 5GHz performance under these conditions was comparatively woeful.

Signal Strength: 2.4GHz 270Mbps

Distance from routerNetgear WNDR3300Netgear WNHDEB111Linksys WAG160NBillion BiPAC 7300NConceptronic 300MbpsLinksys WRT160N
5m79%84%70%75%92%80%
15m (minor walls)49%50%53%59%62%62%
15m (multiple walls)51%55%48%54%60%50%

Throughput: 2.4GHz 270Mbps

Distance from routerNetgear WNDR3300Netgear WNHDEB111Linksys WAG160NBillion BiPAC 7300NConceptronic 300MbpsLinksys WRT160N
2m, no barriers26.2Mbps18.4Mbps19.8Mbps21Mbps15Mbps4.88Mbps
20m, multiple walls20.4Mbps16.7Mbps15.2Mbps13.3Mbps7.7Mbps10.12Mbps

Vendors haven't been slow to promote the speed virtues of 802.11n over 2.4GHz, despite the potential for interference, but in the WNDR3300's case, Netgear might just have a point. The WNDR3300 essentially redeemed itself in 2.4GHz mode, as it outperformed every other 2.4GHz network we've tested with, and even some of the modes of the 5GHz WNHDEB111. Still, with the potential for 2.4GHz interference to crop up on a regular basis, we're wary about promoting the WNDR3300 on this basis.

The lure of dual-band wireless is a strong one — at the very least, it lets you run two concurrent networks in place, and, say, stream video smoothly with one while performing file transfers with another. The WNDR3300 doesn't offer full speed Wireless N on both of its networks, and it performed exceptionally poorly in the "faster" 5GHz range, making it a dual-band router with very little upside, unless you like flashing disco lights.

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