Netgear WNDR4000 N750 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router review
802.11n dual band, 4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s Ethernet ports
Netgear’s WNDR4000 is a feature-packed dual-band router. It doesn’t have a built-in modem, but it's a good way to extend the functionality of your current ADSL or cable router.
The WNDR4000 provides simultaneous use of the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, four Gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB2 port to which you can connect USB drives. Sadly, the WNDR4000 doesn’t act as a print server, so you won’t be able to connect a USB printer and share it with the network.
Not only does the WNDR4000 look good, it performs well too, and has a theoretical top speed of 450Mbit/s using the 5GHz band and 300Mbit/s using the 2.4GHz band. When testing on the 2.4GHz band using our Centrino laptop's built-in Wi-Fi adaptor, we achieved data transfer speeds of 39.9Mbit/s at one metre, 31.1Mbit/s at 10 metres and 15.5Mbit/s at 25 metres. These speeds are typical of a router at this price, but when we used Netgear’s N600 WNDA3100 Wi-Fi adaptor (£43, www.shop.bt.com), the speeds increased dramatically. When using the WNDA3100 adaptor on the 2.4GHz band, we saw astonishingly good transfer rates of 64.5Mbit/s at one metre, 46.6Mbit/s at 10 metres and 17.9Mbit/s at 25 metres.
Data transfer speeds improved once again when we used the less congested 5GHz band. Using our Centrino’s Wi-Fi adaptor and the 5GHz band, we saw 83.9Mbit/s at one metre, a very fast 81.3Mbit/s at 10 metres and a respectable 22.2Mbit/s at 25 metres. Using the WNDA3100 Wi-Fi adaptor, speeds jumped to 97Mbit/s at one metre and 87Mbit/s at 10 metres. The average data transfer speed at 25 metres was an astonishing 45.7Mbit/s, which is the fastest transfer speed we’ve seen at that distance. The WNDR4000 router and WNDA3100 Wi-Fi adaptor make an outstanding combination if you need high-speed Wi-Fi. It’s also worth noting that the speeds were attained without the use of channel bonding, because the WNDR4000 doesn’t have it.
Less impressive is the WNDR4000’s web interface, which is so badly coloured it makes you want to lie down in a dark room after using it. The left-hand pane has a dark blue background and ultra-white text, which hurts your eyes, while the right-hand help pane has black text on a dark blue background, which makes it hard to read. Options are hidden within categories, as is typical with routers’ web interfaces, but the WNDR4000’s are split into basic and advanced settings, and this can make it difficult to find the option you want to change.
Looks and organisation aside, the WNDR4000’s web interface does provide plenty of options for expert users, such as the ability to operate the router as a wireless distribution system (WDS) base station or repeater, a content filtering system to block undesirable websites and dynamic DNS. The WNDR4000 also has an extremely flexible guest Wi-Fi system. You can either isolate users of the guest account so that they can access the internet only or give them full access to your network, and you can individually tailor guest Wi-Fi for both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.
The WNDR4000 also lets you set up attached USB drives as network shares and has a built-in DLNA media server that lets you easily access music and videos across your network. We could even comfortably watch music videos and listen to MP3s at 25 metres when using the WNDR4000 and WNDA3100 Wi-Fi adaptor.
The WNDR4000's transfer speeds are unremarkable when using the 2.4GHz band, but its transfer speeds when using the 5GHz band - or when using either band with the WNDA3100 Wi-Fi adaptor - are excellent, as are its network storage functions, and that makes it a Best Buy.