WiFi stability counts for as much as speed and that's where the DG834G scores
Reputation for stability
Familiar user interface
Short on raw wireless pace
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The fact that Netgear's DG834G has been on sale for over five years with only minor revisions shouldn't necessarily be seen as a negative, therefore. Think of it instead as something of an old favourite.
Indeed, the DG834G has built up an extremely solid reputation for reliability and dependability over the years.
Where other routers tend to wilt in the face of heavy duty file sharing, gradually becoming laggier and less responsive or occasionally even hanging, the DG834G just keeps on trucking.
It's a pretty decent performer when it comes to basic network performance, too. Given the vanilla G-spec wireless technology, the DG834G is predictably slower in both our short and long range file transfer tests at around 2.5MB per second than the N-spec competition routers.
But the gap often isn't as big as you might imagine it ought to be. Moreover, there's very little drop off comparing close range performance at one metre to room-to-room throughput over approximately 10 metres.
Still, there's no getting round the fact that it's a poor choice for streaming high definition video. Yes, it just about gets the job done with sub-10Mb per second streams. But in practice that limits you to 720p content.
Attempt to wirelessly pipe even a moderate quality 1080p movie from room to room and you'll be treated to a stutter-fest. As for high bit-rate 1080p video, such as a Blu-ray rip, forget it.
As for broadband performance over wireless, performance is unremarkable. That's a good thing because it means there's little lost in terms of both raw throughput and latency compared to connecting via Ethernet.
That said, Ethernet performance, at least in terms of ping, isn't exactly world beating: 43ms is getting on for double that of the speedy Fritz!Box.
If you're an ultra-competitive online gamer on a quest for the lowest possible ping, look elsewhere.
Elsewhere, the DG834G nevertheless scores with its no-nonsense browser based UI. In all honesty, it's a bit difficult to be entirely objective about such a familiar interface.
But there's no doubting all the tools you want are present, accounted for and easy to access, including port forwarding, VPN pass through, various wireless security protocols and more.
Overall, then, this is a steady rather than spectacular performer. But at this price point reliability and ease of use are arguably more critical priorities.
In that context, we have no hesitation recommending the DG834G as our favourite entry-level router.
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