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We're starting to warm to the new generation of 802.11ac routers, since models such as this Netgear D6300 do show potential. It might not be entirely delivering at this stage, but even so average transfers around 50Mbps are halfway to Gigabit LAN speeds. What's more encouraging is that these speeds remain at middle-distances.
If you're after a future-proof all-in-one communication hub, this Netgear D6300 is the one to choose, but with a full retail price of £239.99/AU$399/US$199.99 it's incredibly pricey. The better news is even now you can pick it up for less than this in the UK, but it's still more expensive than even a decent 5GHz dual band ADSL modem router. And there's still a lack of any devices on the market to use with it.
The turn of speed in 802.11ac is starting to raise eyebrows. Of more use and even better is the 5GHz performance the Netgear D6300 puts in - it's among the fastest we've tested and at distance is only outperformed by the Netgear DGND 3700.
We also think Netgear has done a sterling job of redesigning the web-based interface. While it's not as flash as others, the feature set is excellent. It's easy to use, fast but without compromising information. The same goes for the included ports - we wouldn't expect less than the four Gigabit LANs, two USB ports and the WAN.
The physical design does nothing for us, and its size is a actually restrictive, while port positioning is rather poor because of this. Despite its 5GHz performance, at 2.4GHz the Netgear D6300 does little to impress, not going beyond a mediocre performance, which at this price isn't what we'd expect at all.
Despite our praise for the interface, it could still do with some refining in the looks department, and it's not entirely clear where some settings are to be found, since they're split between Basic and Advanced sections.
As a 5GHz router, the Netgear R6300 excels. It provides a comprehensive feature set and easy installation. Problematically, it's very expensive, has disappointing 2.4GHz performance and is outperformed as a 802.11ac router by the Linksys EA6500.
And frankly, even if it's compatible with future 802.11ac hardware, we wouldn't recommend investing in such hardware at this time just on the back of that.