Netgear's DGN3500 Higher Speed Router
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The DGN3500 is in a slim case 223 x 153 x 31mm which is accompanied by a mains plug type power adapter. Although the unit can be laid flat on its side, Netgear recommends that it is stood vertically using the supplied clip-on stand in order to get the best wireless coverage from the three internal antennas.
Installation procedure is quite simple; just follow the step-by-step illustrated instructions on the provided CD. It will normally be able to identify one’s ISP and automatically apply all the necessary settings with the exception of the user’s unique username and password provided by one’s ISP. Consequently, even the newbie should be able to get started without any major difficulty before moving on to use its advanced features. In this context, the 112-page PDF user manual appears to be reasonably comprehensive. However, I could not find any reference in it or, for that matter, in the router’s control panel of ‘Automatic Quality of Service (QoS) for reliable Internet, video, voice and gaming applications’. Consequently, I can only assume in it is applied automatically without intervention.
The four gigabit Ethernet ports allow maximum interconnection speeds between attached PCs and/or network storage. As a growing number of PCs now come with gigabit Ethernet, this will be of increasing importance especially for gamers and those handling large files.
Wireless set-up is straight forward and one is prompted to use one of the security options such as WPA2. WPS (WiFi Protected Setup) is also available and can be via either push-button or PIN. The WiFi can be enabled (or disabled) using a push-button on the back of the unit. While the IEEE 802.11n offers wireless connectivity at up to 300Mbps when used in conjunction with an ‘n’ adapter on the connected PC or laptop it is, however, equally happy working at lower data rates with ‘b’ or ‘g’ adapters.
There is a wide range of other security features and options that are incorporated. These include site blocking by address or keyword, scheduling as a useful tools for parental control and the ability to set up both inbound and outbound firewall rules.
As well as being accessible to users on the LAN, the USB external drive can be setup so that it can be accessed via FTP over the Internet and thus can provide remote file access as well as local.
It supports MacOS, UNIX and Linux as well as Windows even though Windows 7 was omitted from the list on the box. While at a price of £109.99 it may seem a little expensive, the DGN3500 can be found at lower prices if one looks around. Under these circumstances it offers good value for money and has the performance and ease of installation and use that will make it an ideal upgrade to go alongside the newer high-spec PCs where gigabit Ethernet and 802.11b/g/n are standard irrespective of whether the use is business or gaming.
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