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NETGEAR WNDR3700v2 N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router Reviewed

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Introduction

NETGEAR WNDR3700v2 N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router

At a Glance
Product NETGEAR N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (WNDR3700v2)
Summary Hardware revison of popular Atheros-based dual-radio, dual-band 802.11n router with Gigabit ports and media-enabled USB drive sharing.
Pros • High routing throughput
• Wireless Guest networks
• WDS Repeating / bridging
• Good wireless throughput stability
• USB drive sharing with UPnP AV / DLNA server
Cons • Lower performance than v1 in 5 GHz band
• Still only 4096 maximum simultaneous sessions

It's been a little over a year since NETGEAR starting shipping what has become its flagship 802.11n router, the WNDR3700. Judging from the SNB web traffic, there has been more sustained interest in this router than perhaps any other router that I've reviewed.

There has been the usual speculation about the first hardware revision of NETGEAR's best-selling WNDR3700 dual-band N router. While most people hope for improved performance, hardware revs are usually more about cost-reduction and less often address design flaws.

The WNDR3700v2 seems to be about the latter approach with two key changes. First, it increases flash memory from 8 to 16 MB. And second, it has changed the antenna configuration for the 5 GHz radio.

Other than that, the WNDR3700v2's design remains an Atheros-based design using an AR7161 Wireless Network Processor and 2.4GHz/5GHz AR9220 and 2.4GHz AR9223 radios. The Realtek RTL8366SR Gigabit switch also is unchanged. So let's get to what's different.

Figure 1 is an FCC photo that shows the two new "patch" style antennas that flank the top front left corner of the router. These attach to connectors on the main board that were also present on the Rev 1 board.

WNDR3700v2 inside view

Figure 1: WNDR3700v2 inside view

Figure 2 is a closeup of the v2 board. Pay attention to the left edge of the board, which is where the key changes are.

WNDR3700v2 board top

Figure 2: WNDR3700v2 board top

Comparing Figure 2 to the view of the original WNDR3700 revision (v1) board in Figure 3, you see the same four mini (Hirose U.FL if I'm not mistaken) antenna connectors, two each for the 2.4 and 5 GHz radios. If you look closely, you can also see that the etched metamaterial antennas for the 5 GHz radio have been removed.

WNDR3700v1 board top

Figure 3: WNDR3700v1 board top

Checking the bottom side of the boards, we see similar, although more subtle, changes, clearing away vestiges of the on-board 5 GHz antennas.

WNDR3700v2 board bottom

Figure 4: WNDR3700v2 board bottom

All the board images are clickable for a larger view. Right click on them if you want to open the larger image in a new browser tab or window.

WNDR3700v1 board bottom

Figure 5: WNDR3700v1 board bottom

The v2 came in a red-themed box that was new to me, although it may have changed sometime over the past year or so. Pay no attention to the "N600" in the revamped product name.

WNDR3700v2 box

Figure 6: WNDR3700v2 box

That's just NETGEAR's way of fooling folks who don't know better into thinking they are getting a faster router than ones with "300" or "450" in their names. (No, Virginia, you can't get your dual-band client to show a 600 Mbps link rate no matter what you do.)




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User reviews

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Average user rating from: 14 user(s)

NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.

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Overall: 
 
2.6 Features :
 
3.2 Performance :
 
2.8 Reliability :
 
1.9
 
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One of the lucky ones

Overall rating: 
 
4.7
Features:
 
4.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
5.0
Reviewed by Jhun Wong
February 18, 2012
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After one year, easily the best consumer router i have ever used. I have 1.5 problems, 1st the USB storage is crap. Even getting the latest firmware, best possible USB key (20mb/s) + correct partition format = never got passed 2Mbit/s. My 1/2 complaint is that the range is worse than my old router. Previous one was a Billion 7300N, which had 3 huge external anttenas, the range was stupendous @ 150 METERS accross the road. Now I am reduced to with in my land which is the 1/2 complaint. Performance wise WiFi N 5Ghz is stupid fast averaging 18Mbyte/s , Gigabit averaging 45M/Bytes is ok. Reliabilty is all based on heat, as long you keep the black box out of sunlight a cool area and upright it should stay cool. When cool the thing is rock sold, I have a habbit of switching modems and router off every 2 to 4 days to rest. But I always forget with the WNDR3700 because it never even slows down, amazing. Warning when hot, it’s slow and drops out a lot. A fast reliable router at a good price, 9/10.

 

Performance doesnt correspond to price

Overall rating: 
 
2.0
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
3.0
Reliability:
 
2.0
Reviewed by DoG
November 27, 2011
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Selling it. NAS performance poor. Wifi range poor, dropping frequently on longer ranges. Dual band not needed anymore - sold the only device with such feature. So why this overpriced product? Why not Tplink 1043? Why not any other product that delivers the similar performance? Why not the cheapiest router in the world with EXTERNAL antennas?

 

Great device, lots of features

Overall rating: 
 
4.7
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
5.0
Reliability:
 
4.0
Reviewed by Don
June 12, 2011
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Great device, got the V2 version of it with the latest firmware, as i'm mainly using it as wired router, i don't really care about the wireless performance, although it is way better then my previous WRT320n (now i can actually use the iPad -with its weak wireless chipset- in the garden).

With a 100/100 Fiber to the home line you need a serious device, especially if you like to download and upload around 3TB per month. The 4096 simultaneous connections seems to be enough to handle the bittorrent traffic, usually i have around 3000 connections + 50 connections to a usenet server, for all other downloading needs.

This is the first router i have that actually reaches the 98mbit/s up and down, most other devices i got stopped at 80mbit/s down and 70 up.

It never crashed, even with some serious traffic volumes.

It has 1 little issue, i can't set a From: and To: port when i want to forward something (for example, SSH from 443 on the WAN side to 22 on the LAN side, so i can set up SSH-tunnels at school via the HTTPS port and still use 22 on my LAN).

It outperforms the WNDR4000 with its wired performance.

 

Netgear WNDR3700V2

Overall rating: 
 
1.0
Features:
 
1.0
Performance:
 
1.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by James G
May 28, 2011
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I brought home my new WNDR3700 after two failed Cisco products. My WinPro 64 bit was able to read the CD unlike the others so I thought this one would work. But after reading the CD my system was having unusual problems and I had to hit the reset button. So I give the features rating a complete failure. After forcing the CD read issue and getting one step away from the complete checkmark, all I had left to do was get the laptop to communicate... it would not.

Tech support said change to weaker WEP encryption and try again. Well It didn't work and they don't speak fluent english so the performance rating is a complete failure. The reliability of the product is finally a complete failure as well due to the fact that it is featureless and does not perform at all unless you count on reliability to take it back for a refund.

This router will piss you off and drive you to drinking. Without being crude, I told Netgear what I thought. If I recover from my bad attitude and decide to try wireless networking again I will call a veteran networking specialist and let that person decide on what router will work with my office pc and configure it to actually work. For now I'm looking at buying about a 1000 feet of ethernet cable and just punching a bunch of holes in the wall. Hope your purchase goes better than mine.

 

Good performance, bad reliability

Overall rating: 
 
3.3
Features:
 
5.0
Performance:
 
4.0
Reliability:
 
1.0
Reviewed by slimshday
April 29, 2011
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The router is great, when it works. I bought 2 of the 3700v2, the 2nd one is the replacement. I returned both eventually. The first router is blazing fast on both bands, for a week, before kept dropping 2.4G band connections. When the connection is dropped, I had to reboot the router. The 2nd router is a lot worse. After 3 days, the wireless part is completely broken, on both bands. No wireless signal at all.
The router offers a lot for a reasonable price but the reliability is a huge issue.

 
 
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