Netgear N750 (WNDR4000) Router Review

This time last year we took a look at the WNDR3400 wireless-N router from Netgear, giving it good overall marks. This time around we’re taking a look at Netgear’s new Gigabit sporting model, the WNDR4000. Besides an overall increase in speed, what’s different? Not too much. Is it still a good router? Definitely.

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Product At-a-Glance

Pros
  • Gigabit Ethernet paired with wireless speeds of up to 450 Mbps
  • Dual-band running at both 2.4GHz and 5GHz
  • Lots of features, including security enhancements and QoS filtering
Cons
  • Poor control panel interface
  • Somewhat pricey at $140 on Amazon
Summary

The WNDR4000 from Netgear is a good choice for anyone looking for a solid, fast, and capable multimedia router. It’s packed full of features, is easy to setup, and will provide bandwidth capable of any multimedia streaming you need to do.

This time last year we took a look at the WNDR3400 wireless-N router from Netgear, giving it good overall marks. This time around we’re taking a look at Netgear’s new Gigabit sporting model, the WNDR4000. Besides an overall increase in speed, what’s different? Not too much. Is it still a good router? Definitely.

With Cisco not having released a router trumping the WRT54G yet, it’s about time for other router manufacturers to step up to the plate. Netgear has been one of the big hitters alongside D-Link, producing plenty of solid offerings for home users. The WNDR4000 is no exception.

The construction of the WNDR4000 is what is expected of a router aimed at home use. Moving away from the ostentatious, illuminated, usage-indicating ring on the top of the router in favor of more typical indicator lights is welcoming. Now it’s a more serious looking device, complete with a plastic stand to allow for vertical mounting of the router.

All of this is a good start, and the upgrade from 100M Fast Ethernet to full Gigabit is another step in the right direction. Pair that with the dual-band wireless that supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks simultaneously, and you have a strong feature list working for you. This means that on a wired connection, you can get up to 1000 Mbps theoretically, and on wireless, up to 450 Mbps.

For the dual-band settings, you can run the 2.4 GHz band at 54 Mbps, 145 Mbps, or 300 Mbps; this must be set to the speed of your slowest device that you’re going to be connecting to the network. For the 5 GHz network, you can select from 54, 217, or the full 450 Mbps. Keep in mind that not all wireless cards have support for 5 GHz networks, so you might be limited to the 2.4 GHz band. As a note, Apple’s MacBook and MacBook Pro have support for 5 GHz networks, so if you’re using that to connect, you’ll be good to go.

In testing, we topped out on a wired connection at just below 800 Mbps (transferring between two wired computers). On 2.4 GHz wireless set at 300 Mbps, we managed a steady 170 Mbps. Finally, on 5 GHz set at 450 Mbps, we managed around 250 Mbps, which is very respectable. Bear in mind that these tests were conducted at normally operating distances (ie: 1 floor above the router), so they reflect more real-world circumstances.

In our range-testing, we found it to be consistent with other models. We received strong signal with 2 floors separating the router, and even a few hundred feet away with minimal obstacles.

Now that you have the facts about the raw speed and range of the router, let’s dig a little deeper into the feature-set. As with other Netgear models, you get a ReadySHARE USB port, meaning you can connect a hard drive or flash drive to the router’s USB port, and have its contents immediately shared to the rest of the network (and potentially the Internet) over Samba and it’s own built-in web server. It’s easy to set up and very practical to use if you need shared network storage for your family.

You also get the ability to create multiple wireless guest networks (both 2.4 and 5 GHz), complete with restricted access to the local network. So when your not-so-computer-savvy friend comes over to mooch WiFi, you can give him your guest network credentials without worrying about him transferring a virus to your machines.

You also get more typical features like parental controls, which allow router-level blocking of sites on a keyword basis (and can even schedule when the restrictions are in place). Similarly, you get Quality of Service (QoS) filtering, making sure that your streaming videos take priority over your BitTorrent downloads.

My overall experience with the WNDR4000 was a good one. The feature set is by no means lacking. One downfall that Netgear hasn’t fully rectified yet is its lacking control panel. Many users have grown to love Linksys/Cisco’s control panel due to its ease of use and reliability. Sadly, the same can’t be said for Netgear’s. Sometimes you will get 404 errors for no clear reason, sometimes applying settings takes far too long, and sometimes checking for updates from Netgear is a painstakingly long process. All of this makes for an unpleasant experience while configuring your router, but if you’re not the type to be bothered with constantly tweaking settings, I wouldn’t worry too much about it.

All things considered, the WNDR4000 is a good choice for anyone looking for a solid, fast, and capable multimedia router. It’s packed full of features, is easy to setup, and will provide bandwidth capable of any multimedia streaming you need to do. The Netgear WNDR4000 is available from Amazon.com for $139.99.

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