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Netgear RangeMax Next Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router DG834N review: Netgear RangeMax Next Wireless ADSL2+ Modem Router DG834N

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Installation was relatively straightforward, as the supplied software led us quite successfully through the entire process. This was unlike its stablemate, the WNR854T, which simply quit two-thirds of the way through -- leaving us to fill out the security options via the Smart Wizard configurator.

As it happens, Netgear's Web-based Smart Wizard is logically set out with a menu along the left hand side and it can get as complex or as detailed as you like. Thankfully for first-timers most of the options -- including security -- are covered during set-up, so most people won't need to use it unless they change ISPs or need to alter their security options. There is also a helpful info bar on the RHS which explains most of the terms used, though it's not context sensitive.

As an ADSL modem, the DG834N is quite good. We used the router over a period of several months on an Internode test account, and though the exchange we used was only rated at 1.5Mb/s we never had a problem with the connection. Throughputs from local sites were consistently at 155 to 160 kB/s -- which is about the maximum you can expect with this connection type. If you live close to an exchange rated at ADSL2+ speeds we'd expect you would achieve close to the maximum of 24 Mb/s with this equipment.

We set the modem up for WPA2 Personal security, and used the IXUS's Q Check application to test the wireless throughput of the router. The speeds were down on other routers we've tested recently, with scores topping out at around 21 Mb/s, but we found that even at a distance of 30 metres this number didn't change too much. We look forward to the draft 2.0 update of this device as we found that applying a version of it to its brother -- the WNR854T -- not only increased the throughput by 30 percent but increased the strength of the signal as well.

Netgear DG834N

Netgear WNR854T (draft 2.0) Next to router
21.48 Mbps 40.48 Mbps 10m
21.13 Mbps 21.91 Mbps 30m
19.74Mbps 17.11 Mbps

At AU$400, this is an expensive router -- especially when you consider that the street price on ADSL modems with 802.11g is around AU$120. If you already have an ADSL2+ router there is no need to upgrade to this model, but you could consider the faster WNR854T instead.

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