|Test Description||Throughput - (Mbps)|
|WAN - LAN||768|
|LAN - WAN||832|
|Maximum Simultaneous Connections||4096|
Table 2: Routing throughput
Fans of speedy routers will be happy to see that the 4500 ranks third in downlink throughput and second in uplink behind the ASUS RT-N56U "Black Diamond" that continues to be the most popular router among SmallNetBuilder readers. But NETGEAR must think that 4,096 simultaneous sessions is enough, because that's all the 4500 supports.
Figure 5: NETGEAR WNDR4500 routing throughput
NETGEAR's 4500 briefing material boasts of its "ultimate" USB storage performance. The material quotes 11.4 MB/s "read-write FAT32" and 8.1 MB/s "read-write NTFS", which it claims is about 3 and 1.5 times faster than an unspecified "750 Mbps Competitive Router".
I ran quick Windows filecopy tests using the standard NAS testbed to the WNDR4500 with my standard Iomega UltraMax Pro drive configured in RAID 0 and formatted in FAT32 and NTFS. I pulled results from NETGEAR's other routers into Table 3.
|FAT32 Write (MBytes/s)||9.2||12.5||9.9||6.1|
|FAT32 Read (MBytes/s)||11.6||13.3||14.2||6.9|
|NTFS Write (MBytes/s)||6.7||4.3||3.0||4.6|
|NTFS Read (MBytes/s)||6.5||12.0||12.1||4.3|
Table 3: NETGEAR router filecpy performance comparison
I got close enough to NETGEAR's claimed 11.4 MB/s on the FAT32 read test to confirm the claim. But my results didn't confirm NETGEAR's for NTFS. The chart also shows that the 4500's storage throughput isn't really far-and-away better than other NETGEAR routers'.
Wireless Performance - Overview
With simultaneous dual-band routers that support three stream N, I make a total of eight test runs. That's a lot of data to get lost in and I sometimes do. So I'm trying something new in this review by providing a summary of wireless performance first. Then if you want to dive into the details, you can hit the relevant sections.
The WNDR4500 is Wi-Fi Certified and properly defaulted to 20 MHz bandwidth mode ("Up to 217 Mbps" in NETGEAR-speak) on the 2.4 GHz radio on power-up. The 5 GHz band came up in 40 MHz mode or "Up to 450 Mbps" in NETGEAR lingo.
I was able to run a Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) pushbutton session with a Win 7 client that resulted in a WPA2/AES secured connection to each radio. All tests were run with this secured connection using the four-location wireless test process.
First look at the Benchmark Summary in Figure 6. As we've seen with other three-stream router tests, the overall average difference between two and three stream operation isn't that striking. That's because three-stream N can only provide significantly higher throughput under very strong signal conditions (same room or next-room).
Figure 6: NETGEAR WNDR4500 benchmark summary
Diving a bit deeper, Table 4 brings together the highest wireless throughput measured out of all locations in the 20 MHz mode test runs. I'm not calling out the test locations where each best throughput was found. But most times it was in Location A, with an occasional Location C.
Note that the Dn/Up result is the test where I run simultaneous up and downlink tests in Location A. This is a good check to see if additional bandwidth is available via additional connections.
|Test Group||Max Dn (Mbps)||Max Up (Mbps)||Dn/Up (Mbps)|
|2.4 GHz, 2 stream, 20 MHz||32||46||35|
|2.4 GHz, 3 stream, 20 MHz||80||63||99|
|5 GHz, 2 stream, 20 MHz||35||44||45|
|5 GHz, 3 stream, 20 MHz||66||67||86|
Table 4: Highest Throughput, 20 MHz mode
The results here are not knock-your-socks-off good. On the contrary, the two stream 2.4 GHz downlink results are downright awful, putting the 4500 at the bottom of the Average 2.4 GHz Downlink chart when filtered to show only dual-band routers and fourth from the bottom when all tested routers are included.
You'll see the reason for this if you look at the IxChariot plots for these tests, which show extremely high throughput variation that has a periodic oscillation. This problem seems to be limited to two-stream 2.4 GHz downlink performance in both 20 MHz and 40 MHz modes. Upstream and both directions in three-stream seem ok.
|Test Group||Max Dn (Mbps)||Max Up (Mbps)||Dn/Up (Mbps)|
|2.4 GHz, 2 stream, 40 MHz||48||64||53|
|2.4 GHz, 3 stream, 40 MHz||90||82||122|
|5 GHz, 2 stream, 40 MHz||40||71||56|
|5 GHz, 3 stream, 40 MHz||86||85||129|
Table 5: Highest Throughput, 40 MHz mode
Because they were so odd, I shared these results with NETGEAR before posting this review. After some quick overnight tests on their end, which included duplicating my two-stream test platform (an Acer Aspire 1810T with Intel 5300 card substituted for the factory Intel 5100), NETGEAR was able to confirm the problem and identify its source.
The problem is due to my use of the three stream Intel 5300 wireless module with only two antennas connected. When the router and client connect, they exchange information on the link rates each support. Since the 5300 is a three stream client, that's what it reports and the router sets itself to a three stream link rate.
But when the router starts transmitting, the client can't actually support three-stream link rates because it doesn't have a third antenna connected. This results in low throughput. When the WNDR4500 sees the low throughput, it falls back to a two-stream rate and throughput then improves. The problem is that the router then switches back to a three-stream rate and the cycle starts again. NETGEAR has also checked with Intel, which also confirms this behavior.
NETGEAR is checking to see what the installed base of three stream N clients with only two antennas connected is. They believe it is low since Intel had the 5100 client as an alternative, which has only two antenna connections and supports only two-stream N. In fact, my Acer 1810T came with an Intel 5100 installed. Based on what they find, NETGEAR may change the WNDR4500's firmware to fix the problem, or I may change my client and rerun the two-stream tests. Or maybe both. Stay tuned.
When operating with a fully-capable three-stream client the 4500 has better luck, with its best performance in the 5 GHz band running in 40 MHz mode. Although it's a smaller competitive field, the 4500's throughput in this area ranks it near the top of the half-dozen competitors. Still, if you're expecting 100+ Mbps of throughput from paying the big bucks for this router, you'll get it only in the aggregate when supporting multiple simultaneous clients.
Average user rating from: 5 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.
|User Rating [Back to Top]||Overall:||3.3||Features :||3.2||Performance :||3.2||Reliability :||3.4|
Don't waste your money - Choose something reliable
December 02, 2012
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I have had several problems with this router!!! Every time there is a glitch in power the router seems to lose its firmware load. Another issue is that the Wi-FI continually hangs up or bogs the system wireless system and clients cannot connect to the router and I have to restart the router. Customer service based OCONUS is terrible too. I believe my support was India based. While trying to figure out how to reload my firmware by talking to the India support center, I was hung up on 2x because they could not fix my problem I guess. And after being passed around to several support personnel this is frustrating. Also to reload your firmware, you must be familiar with tftp. Really!! Why can't Netgear come up with a software package that will automatically reinstall the firmware.
Features - a firewall with more features would be great.
On a positive note, when the router is running it is fairly fast.
May 01, 2012
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Extremely frustrating! It will not hook up wirelessly to my Netgear adapter. I have reviewed all the documentation (what little there is) and checked all the settings, tried the setupo wizard that came with the adapter card and tried Windows network setup. Nothing. Called the free 24/7 technical help line, 4 time and failed to reach anybody who could help. Looks like it goes back to Fry's
LOW UPLOAD PERFORMANCE
April 18, 2012
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I did install today the wireless router. The download performance is good (WAN LAN), the full 95Mbit is achieved. The upload is very bad, it's only 30Mbit (WAN LAN) and very unstable speed. With my old wifi router (WL306) 92Mbit could be achieved.
Don't buy this router for the good performance!
It just works!
October 22, 2011
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I have been running this router for about a month now without any problems WHATSOEVER. I have 14 devices connected including a FIOS router, ROKU, PS3, Wii, 3 iPhones, iPod touches, and PCs. I get my fully provisioned speed (download and upload) through WAN when testing with a gigabit hard wired PC.
I am quite surprised about the poor 2.4 performance tests, but maybe less is better. In comparison to the RT-56U, which I also used previously, there is no stuttering at all when streaming to a PS3 through the media server. Likewise, streaming to a ROKU works flawlessly. Signals are stable throughout my 3-level home with no disconnects. inSSIDer shows that the 2.4 defaults to 217 Mbps, while the 5 radio defaults to 450 Mbps.
Guest network also works great, something RT-N56U does not even offer. The guest network, however, is not on a different subnet as in the E4200 (advantage for E4200).
The Web interface seems a bit slow, but it has all the information you need, including attached devices and traffic meter. I personally like the RT-N56U interface better, though.
IPv6 seems to work automatically (6to4), although FIOS does not support it.
Love it so far
October 13, 2011
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I needed something to replace my really old WRT54G. After a lot of research, I decided on the WNDR4500. I had also looked at the Asus RT-N56U, the Cisco E4200 and the Netgear 3800 and 4000. You can find somebody with negative comments about anything and usually it is their own fault but, even though they seemed to have high performance, it sounded like the Asus was prone to reliability issues and the Cisco lacked features. I was ready to purchase the Netgear 4000 when I heard about the 4500 (which had just been released). Per some additional research, the features and performance looked very promising. I didn't need all the 3-stream immediately, but may in the near future. That and the improved LAN-WAN performance, among other things, made it seem worth the few extra dollars.
I purchased it from Amazon and got it the next day (thank you Amazon Prime). After unboxing it and checking everything out, I hooked it up to the dsl modem and hard wired it to the laptop. It determined the settings of my ISP automatically and I was connected to the internet within a few minutes. I let it update the bios and then set up the basic wireless. After about 15-20 minutes, most basic users could be done.
I spent the next couple of hours maticulously going feature by feature. I set up the IPV6 tunneling and custom wireless SSIDs and security. I set up the static IP addresses for the QNAP TS-219P+, the PS3, the B/W laser and the Color multi-function. I then set up wireless for the Dell laptop, the Macbook Pro and the NOOK. I set up a few more features, but was really impressed with the parental surfing controls. They work great. Much better than software!
So far, I have not had any drops and have had strong signals everywhere on the first and second floors (the router is in the basement and I have a wood framed house). The wireless speeds are SIGNIFICANTLY faster than my WRT54G. I know, not much of a comparison, but it also seems much faster than any other networks that I connect to (Panera, Starbucks, hotels, etc.). The actual hard-wired routing is blazing fast. The speeds between my desktop and NAS are incredible. I have no complaints with performance yet.
My only beef is Netgear's warranty information, or lack thereof. They heavily advertise a lifetime warranty on several other WNDR products. On their website, the WNDR4500 is listed as "varies by location" and does not have the lifetime warranty icon/picture. Newegg says it is lifetime. BestBuy says 1 year. Amazon says nothing about warranty. I sent an email to Netgear Tech Support and they replied that it had a 1 year warrant. I called Netgear Customer Service with a pre-sales question and they said it was lifetime. I emailed Tech Support again (explaining the phone call) and they replied that Customer Service had better information than Tech Support and to go with them. I re-called Customer Service who reiterated that the warranty is lifetime. I purchased the WNDR4500 with the understanding that it has a lifetime warranty, so it better!
Either way, I love the router!!!
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