With the WGU624, Netgear has livened up the look of its routers by switching from its usual gray to white. The device includes two sturdy plastic feet that snap onto its short side, letting you stand the router on its edge. Unfortunately, it doesn't include brackets for wall mounting, the inclusion of which makes it easier for you to hang the WGU624 high on a wall or ceiling to maximize range.
You configure the WGU624 via its browser-based configuration tool, which lets you manipulate important features of both its integrated 802.11a and 802.11b/g access points. Those features include establishing keys for 64-, 128-, and 152-bit WEP encryption, setting a passphrase and encryption type (AES or TKIP) for WPA, and specifying an IP address for connecting to a RADIUS server. The tool also allows you to block traffic going in and out by preventing certain MAC addresses from accessing the router, as well as forbidding the router to connect to earmarked Web sites. The supersleuth in you can check the tool's Web log to see which sites users have attempted to access through the WGU624.
The WGU624's browser-based configuration tool lets you adjust the router's NAT (Network Address Translation) and SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) capabilities, which enable you to obscure and thwart peeps into your computer's contents. You can also use the tool to configure settings for the router's handy DMZ port, which lets you set one of your computers outside the WGU624's firewall for the purposes of gaming or videoconferencing.
|Throughput in Mbps|
|Throughput in Mbps|
|Thoughput in Mbps measured indoors at 200 feet|
In addition to its hearty features, the Netgear WGU624 delivers fast performance in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Set to Super G (108Mbps) mode, the router earned a 42.1Mbps score in both 802.11a and 802.11g modes in CNET Labs' tests. Although its times are a few seconds shy of those of the Belkin Pre-N router and the D-Link DI-624, the WGU624 still performs admirably compared to most routers. In our Labs' mixed-mode, 802.11a and g trials, the WGU624 clocked an awesome 39Mbps time. Last but not least, the WGU624 proved that it can pass muster at long distances in our LabsÂ’ maximum-throughput range tests: at 200 feet, the router transferred data at a quick 35.6Mbps in 802.11g Super G mode and 29.1Mbps over its 802.11a interface. For more details on how we test networking devices, see the CNET Labs site.
The WGU624 ships with a setup guide and a documentation CD, too. Unlike many setup guides, the WGU624's guide does a decent job explaining how to hook up the router's hardware. The extensive electronic manual on the accompanying CD also offers a detailed explanation of the router's browser-based configuration tool--although the manual's fuzzy screenshots could stand some sprucing up.
ItÂ’s always disappointing when an expensive Wi-Fi router such as the WGU624 comes with a short, one-year warranty. On the plus side, Netgear provides 24/7, toll-free phone support during the warranty period. The FAQ and troubleshooting info on the companyÂ’s support Web site is nothing special, but the siteÂ’s well-organized customer forum comes in handy for seeking router advice from other users.