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Netgear RangeMax WNR834B review

Netgear's draft-n kit gets a firmware refresh

It's still the same slim box with the antenna's built into the device instead of sticking out of the top

Our Verdict

This is a decent update, but still can't get round the limitations holding back draft-n


  • Easy set up

    Good security


  • Speed increases are theoretical only

With IEEE 802.11n - the faster successor to the current g standard - being touted in the next iteration of Intel's Centrino chips, it makes sense to consider upgrading your wireless network to the fastest connection possible.

The Netgear RangeMax WNR834B (£96 inc. VAT) has been around for a while, but this latest upgrade takes advantage of a few firmware updates for a more stable and quicker solution than previously available.

It's still the same slim box with the antenna's built into the device instead of sticking out of the top. This does rather limit usability, but as long as you don't want to throw your network too far, we found that it easily maintains reasonable performance up to a distance of 50 metres. The number of walls involved reduces this, but most houses will be fine.

The router comes with four Ethernet ports and a single WAN connection, so can be used to set up your broadband connection. When it comes to setting up the device, it's simply a case of installing the drivers from the supplied CD and then using your web browser to log in to the device interface. With the current array of encryption and security, the network is as secure as you can possibly get.

Netgear claims this device will easily run 10x faster than your current router and should have a theoretical maximum transfer rate of 270Mbps. In reality, no router achieves anywhere near this level. This was born out under test, as at a range of 10 metres we found a steady throughput of 76Mbps was normal.

This dropped to as little as 36Mbps at 50 metres. If you're using an older 802.11g laptop, you'll need to use a plug-in card (Netgear WN511B - £24 inc. VAT).

The Netgear RangeMax Next Wireless may not deliver on all that it promises, but we've yet to see any draft-n kit do this, so we weren't too surprised by the results. That said, this is as good a router as you're likely to find for the price.