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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

26 Nov 2007 - Corrected processor info on Pg 2

Netgear RangeMax NEXT Wireless-N Router - Gigabit Edition

At a Glance
Product Netgear RangeMax NEXT Wireless-N Router - Gigabit Edition (WNR854T)
Netgear RangeMax NEXT Wireless-N Notebook Adapter (WN511B)
Summary Marvell-based Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n Draft 2.0 router with gigabit WAN and LAN
Pros • Gigabit WAN and LAN with excellent routing speed
• 90 Mbps maximum throughput with 40 MHz channel
Cons • 2.4 GHz band only
• Not neighbor-friendly in "up to 300Mbps" mode
• Same ol' routing features

Next up in the Draft 2.0 11n review batting order after the D-Link DIR-655 is Netgear's WNR854T. Netgear is thinning out its stable of MIMO products a bit, having dropped the Airgo-based WPNT834 RangeMax 240 in mid-2006. That leaves the Broadcom-based WNR834B, which currently is in its second revision, and the object of this review, the WNR854T.

In an odd bit of product non-differentiation, both the 834B and 854T are packaged in identical white and gray plastic enclosures. While you can lay them down, its better to stand them up using the enclosed base, since this puts the fixed-position internal antennas into a vertical plane. It's odd that the 834B's setup sheet includes instructions for putting the router on its base, while the 854T's setup instructions make no mention of it.

The front panel has the status lights shown in Figure 1 below, which use backlit icons that are clear when viewed at a distance. Thankfully, Netgear uses bi-color LEDs, but only the LAN ports use color to indicate 100 or 1000 Mbps connection; there is no way of knowing the WAN port's negotiated link speed.

The web-based admin interface isn't any help here either, providing neither a way to force link speed / mode, nor an indication of any of the ports' link status or settings. And please don't ask about jumbo frame support, because it's not included.

WNR854T Front Panel

Figure 1: WNR854T Front Panel

Connectors on the rear panel (Figure 2) include four 10/100/1000 LAN ports, one 10/100/1000 WAN port and power jack. All ports are auto MDI / MDI-X which means they'll figure out how to connect to whatever you plug into them. There's also a reset-to-factory-defaults switch.

WNR854T Rear Panel

Figure 2: WNR854T Rear Panel

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