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NetGear RangeMax NEXT DG834N - NetGear RangeMax NEXT DG834N

By Dave Mitchell



Our Score:


The web interface is common to all Netgear routers and it provides the standard mix of SPI firewall and NAT protection. The former can be customised by adding your own firewall rules to handle specific services. Port forwarding inbound traffic to specific servers is supported so you can select from nearly forty predefined services, provide the server’s IP address and add either a single IP address or a range to define WAN users that are allowed access. Web access restrictions are nothing special as the router implements simple URL filtering so you’ll have to create lists of sites you want to block.

For wireless security, Netgear only supports WPA and WPA2 encryption when using the higher speeds but you also get SSID masking and MAC address access controls. Setting up an encrypted link with a WN511B draft-n PC Card is nicely automated as you scan the network, pick an access point and enter your credentials using Netgear’s connection wizard.

Testing the router in our standard residential environment produced some interesting performance results. Installing Netgear’s WN511B PC Card in a 1.6GHz Fujitsu Siemens notebook running Windows XP SP2 we used the open source Iometer utility to measure read performance with a Supermicro Pentium D 3.2GHz PC on the LAN. With no encryption over a two metre line of sight connection it reported an average raw read throughput of 67Mbit/sec – marginally faster than the D-Link draft-n products. We then activated the WPA2 encryption options and saw Iometer return a healthy 56Mbit/sec – also faster than the D-Link and Buffalo routers. For real world performance a 691MB video file was copied from the laptop over a close range open link to the PC in 97 seconds for an average speed of 56Mbit/sec and with WPA2 in action this only dropped down to 53Mbit/sec. Moving the laptop to the floor below and placing two brick walls in the way slowed Netgear down but not by as much as the competition with an open link delivering a more impressive 41Mbit/sec.


So far Netgear is the best of the draft-n bunch for performance as this sleek white slab delivers better speeds over close range and at distance although it’s still well short of draft-n claims. It’s not as well featured as D-Link’s DIR-635 but if you are going to risk the lack of guarantees of forward compatibility then the DG834N should be at the top of your shopping list if speed is a priority.

Alan Cox

December 31, 2008, 3:36 pm

My experience with this item is, unfortunatly not good. I purchased it to replace an existing Netgear DG834G which had always performed well with no problems and this was one of the reasons that I upgraded it. About 4 months after I purchased it I switched it off because I was going on holiday and when I returned I could not get rid of the "red light" and consequetly I had no Internet connection so I had to go and purchase a Belkin Router as a spare as I had given my old Router to a friend. After protracted correspondence with the Support Desk I finally got it working again but was afraid to switch it off because of this problem - however it did happen again a couple of times but after getting the spare Belkin out I managed to get up and running. Recently it has suffered from the same problem nearly every day and the Support Desk finally admitted that it was a "hardware problem". A search of the Internet revealed that quite a number of other people had experienced the same problem and in many cases Netgear changed the Router or the cost was refunded. One person reported that the Customer Service Manager in Ireland had admitted that there was a problem with this model so I contacted Netgear again and sent them this information - they replied indicating that the Router that I had purchased had been previously registered some 6 months before I purchased it and as it was now out of warranty there was nothing that they could. I would add that I purchased it as a new item at a local Computer Fair and even if it had been registered some 6 months previously the problem was reported to them well within the 12 month period.

However, they still refused to do anything about it and they now deny that there is any problem with this item - obviously we have all been imagining the problem and the customer is obviously not always right in Netgear's eyes. Guess which equipment I will be recommending in future?


March 23, 2009, 6:29 pm

I cannot recommend this router to anyone. It's been nothing but a pain since I've had it. Sometimes, I lose internet connectivity to both wired and wireless clients, and as there is no switch on this router, I have to unplug it from the power source manually. However, and here's an inherent problem with these routers - when you unplug them from the power source, and plug the power back in straight after - the lights on the router go red, and it refuses to boot. The only solution is to leave it unplugged for 10 minutes! This is a well known problem unfortunately, and NetGear have done nothing to resolve it for the many users experiencing these issues - I guess maybe because - it's a hardware issue. The only advice I got from netgear support, was to return the item - which I duly did.

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