The company has been steadily updating the firmware to the point that it’s now certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance as a draft-n 2.0 compliant device.
Setup is via a CD in the box (there’s no wizard on the device itself) and this covers WLAN, LAN, basic router security and ADSL setup. It does a good job, too, asking most of the right questions and encouraging the setup of an administrator password, which some routers do not.
Most of the time, however, you’ll be looking at the DG834N’s embedded web interface to change settings, and we found this to be one of the easier ones to use. Port forwarding is particularly straightforward, thanks to a long list of predefined “services”, and the rest of the interface is logically and sensibly laid out.
But web-filtering features are limited to simple keyword and URL blocking – the Draytek and award-winning Linksys both do a better job. And although it may look impressive with its sharp corners, upright stance and glossy white plastic, if the ultimate in performance is your goal, this isn’t the router to choose.
It was the second slowest router overall in our tests, with an overall adjusted throughput of 24.5Mb/sec – only the Draytek was slower – although it was good to see that the speed didn’t drop off when we moved to different locations around the house. In fact, upstairs and in the kitchen we recorded slightly faster speeds (31.2Mb/sec and 32.5Mb/sec respectively) than we did in the same room. In our long-distance test, the Netgear performed reliably, with its 13.3Mb/sec rate more than enough for most people’s needs.
But the problem with the Netgear is not that it’s excruciatingly slow; it’s that it’s just too expensive. At $207 it costs significantly more than our award-winning Linksys router which boasts both a wider feature set and better performance.
Striking looks but limited features, average performance and a high price put paid to the Netgear’s chances