Like Netgear's other Draft-N products the DG834N is a white, book-sized box designed to sit upright. This makes it relatively desk-saving with a footprint of only 172mm by 39mm -- and it's also fairly lightweight at 560g.
The Netgear's lack of external antennas is striking, and this is because, unlike other competing routers, the Netgear uses internal antennas -- just like modern laptops. However, Netgear is still a MIMO design -- as per the draft-N specification. Netgear added the salient point on its Web site that internal antennas are also protected from damage and misalignment.
If you've ever seen a router you'll know that there's not much to see, but Netgear do make more of an effort than most -- and this has been the case ever since it released the first RangeMax router a few years ago.
The Netgear offers a desktop stand, and the accompanying materials suggest you don't lie this down -- it needs to be upright for maximum efficacy.
As it says on the box, the DG834N is an ADSL2+ router, with four Ethernet ports and supports ADSL speeds of up to 24Mb/s. It comes with one ADSL filter in the box, but if you have more than one outlet you'll need to purchase third-party filters as Netgear don't sell them separately.
For added peace of mind, the Netgear features a double firewall -- involving Network Address Translation (NAT) to hide PCs and files from outside users, and a Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) firewall to deny outside requests for personal information -- plus all of the various wireless encryption options such as WPA2 - PSK.
Unlike the Apple Airport Extreme, the Netgear is unable to operate in both 5GHz and 2.4 GHz mode -- it's 2.4GHz only. This undoubtedly affects its maximum throughput -- especially in areas crowded with 2.4GHz devices like cordless phones and other routers.