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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

Updated 5/11/2010: Posted results for new Max. Simul. Connection test
Be sure to read the WNDR3700v2 review.

NETGEAR WNDR3700

At a Glance
Product NETGEAR RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router (WNDR3700)
Summary Atheros-based dual-radio, dual-band 802.11n router with Gigabit ports and media-enabled USB drive sharing.
Pros • Very high routing performance
• Very high aggregate wireless bandwidth
• Wireless Guest networks
• WDS Repeating / bridging
• Good wireless throughput stability
• USB drive sharing with UPnP AV / DLNA server
Cons • No innovation in 5 GHz range

My preview of NETGEAR's first real "simultaneous" (dual-radio), dual-band 802.11n router already covered most of its constuction and feature set. So after a brief feature set update, I'll get right to the performance.

Features

The 3700 comes in a new form factor that can sit horizontally on a desk or vertically on a supplied stand. There are also wall-mounting slots on the bottom. The internal printed circuit "metamaterial" antennas used in previous NETGEAR 11n routers are still used, however. But, contrary to what some may think, they don't negatively affect wireless performance.

Figure 1 summarizes the front panel indicators and controls. The wireless on/off switch (7) is a nice touch. Too bad there isn't one for each radio.

WNDR3700 Front panel
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: WNDR3700 Front panel

The back panel (Figure 2) has the Gigabit WAN and LAN ports and USB port for the USB drive ReadyShare feature.

WNDR3700 Rear panel

Figure 2: WNDR3700 Rear panel

 

The 3700 implements the standard NETGEAR router feature set with a few new tweaks:

WAN Support - Types handled include Static and Dynamic IP, Other (static and dynamic IP), PPTP (static and dynamic IP) and BigPond. There is no specific PPPoE setting, so you might be better off using the Setup Wizard to set up your WAN connection. WAN MTU is set separately from the connection type (WAN Setup page) and applies to all WAN options. WAN port MAC address spoofing is supported only for Static and Dynamic connection types.

Firewall - The SPI+NAT firewall is pretty basic, although you can disable SPI. Both port forwarding and triggered port forwarding are supported. You get a rather short pick list of services in the Port Forwarding add screen, but you can specify the port numbers and protocols directly for both the outbound trigger port and inbound port range.

Ports can also be opened automatically via UPnP NAT Traversal (enabled by default), but at least you can log into the admin interface and see the automatically opened ports in the UPnP Portmap table. A single DMZ IP is also supported and you can disable the SPI portion of the firewall.

The WAN Setup page holds the SPI Firewall Disable (default unchecked), DMZ, Respond to Ping on Internet Port and MTU settings. There is also a NAT Filtering option (default "Secured") that isn't explained very well in either the online help or user manual.

The Block Services (outbound port filters) can be applied to all, one or a range of IP addresses, but not MAC addresses. They also can be controlled by a single rudimentary schedule (checkboxes for days of the week and one set of start / stop times).

The Block Sites feature is keyword-based and applies to web traffic only. You get an attention-grabbing red and black "Web Site Blocked by NETGEAR Firewall" page when you trigger the block and the ability to have one "trusted" IP address that can bypass any blocking.

Dynamic DNS clients - Only Dyndns.org is supported

Logging and Reporting - Logging seems mainly focused on logging web traffic. Everything goes into one log, with no filtering provided. You can clear or email the log, but there is no syslog or SNMP trap support. Email authentication has been added, but there is still no Test email button or ability to handle SMTP servers using secure connections or to specify an alternate SMTP port.

Other features - The DHCP server can be disabled and allows IP address reservation by MAC address. RIP direction and version (1, 2B, 2M) can be controlled and static routes set.

QoS: Simple four-level priority-based QoS for upload (Internet-bound) traffic has been added. You must specify the uplink bandwidth. QoS priority can be set by Ethernet port, client MAC address or application port. There are 18 pre-built QoS Policies for applications or you can define your own rules.

Note that this is not Automatic Quality of Service, as NETGEAR claimis on the 3700's web product page (Overview tab).

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