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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

NETGEAR WNDR3300

At a Glance
Product NETGEAR RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Router (WNDR3300)
Summary Low-cost dual-band two-radio hybrid 802.11b/g / draft 802.11n router
Pros • Street priced below $100
• Internet uplink QoS
• Wireless repeating
Cons • Shorter than average 5 GHz range
• Unstable 2.4 GHz 11n
• 100 Mbps LAN

I have been holding off on reviewing NETGEAR's entry into the sub-$100 dual-band draft 802.11n router race, waiting for Netgear to release its firmware fix for the WNDR3300's low wireless throughput with the 11n radio switched to the 2.4 GHz band [related article].

Well, V1.0.23 was released last week and I retested both the first sample that NETGEAR sent as well as a second sample that was supposed to have lower noise coupling (which was causing the lower throughput). To cut to the chase, I found that the new firmware slightly improved the draft N radio's throughput when set to the 2.4 GHz band. But I also found that, in general, the draft 11n radio set to 2.4 GHz was too unstable for reliable use.

Inside Details

Figure 1 is taken from the FCC ID docs and shows the 3300's board, with its unique two-radio draft 11n / 802.11b/g approach.

The all-Broadcom design uses a BCM4704 processor, 16 MB of RAM and 4 MB of flash. The 10/100 WAN and LAN ports are handled via a BCM5325 switch which is Auto MDI/X.

A BCM4321 Baseband/MAC and BCM2055 2.4/5 GHz Intensi-fi draft 11n transceiver make up the dual-band 11n radio. The second radio is provided by a BCM4318 single chip 802.11b/g chip. Each radio has its own printed-circuit "metamaterial" antennas; three for the draft 802.11n radio and two for the 802.11b/g.

WNDR3300 board
Click to enlarge image

Figure 1: WNDR3300 board

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