After a slow start, ADSL users now have a good selection of 802.11n hardware to choose from. But this Netgear is still the only concurrent dual-band ADSL router on the market.This means it's able to maintain both 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks simultaneously, allowing devices such as internet radios access at the same time as 5GHz laptops. It does this in an unusual way, however. Instead of two full-powered 802.11n radios inside, the DGND3300 has one 802.11n and one 802.11g. This means you get one fast network and one slow one, which in theory, allows the best performance at the lowest possible cost.It's an interesting approach but not wholly successful, despite the presence of eight internal aerials. It came last in both our close-range 2.4GHz and 5GHz tests, and although it improved at long range, its results were still firmly below mid-table. Part of the problem is the lack of Gigabit Ethernet ports, which places a cap on maximum throughput.It did maintain a reliable enough signal to pass our Full HD video-streaming test in all locations without any frame drops, pauses or signal dropouts. And the feature set, apart from the lack of Gigabit, is reasonable. Highlights include a USB port for sharing hard disks or flash drives, a tool that alerts you to firmware upgrades, and a guest network feature.Despite Netgear's cost-cutting, the DGND3300 still costs $192, and that dual-band support fails to translate into a real-world advantage. Firmware upgrades may improve it, but for now you're better off with a more powerful, single-band router.
Issue: 322 | December 2013
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