Routers: they’re in a kind of limbo. Stable technology waiting for the Godot that 802.11n technology has become. During their wait various proprietary standards have appeared, some gaining such a following they almost threaten to eclipse g wireless’ long overdue successor. Yet nothing gets true acceptance until laptops implement it on a wide scale, so for the most part routers have become stable, well behaved, even boring beasts that no longer excite like they did 12 months ago. So praise be to Netgear for producing a product in this currently docile category which serves to wake up from our slumber.
The MIMO enabled DG834PN has two major things going for it, one: it has everything on it and two: it’s made by Netgear (the Santa Clara based company has won an army of fans in recent years for its consistently reliable and user friendly products).
That said, visually the DG834PN looks identical to the fantastic MIMO WPN84 wireless router Dave enthused about in June. It features the same internal antennas and curious Blake 7 styling, but it packs even more in. Most fundamentally, the DG834PN integrates an ADSL+ modem alongside the router so the telephone line can be plugged directly into the back. On top of this is 10/100 LAN, a SPI Double Firewall and the all important 108Mbps RangeMax Smart MIMO wireless access point.
A ‘SmartWizard’ installation guide – similar to one used in the critically acclaimed WPN84 – handles the majority of the initial setup automatically and there is support for all the expected settings such as port forwarding, UPnP and VPN. Security is handled via either WPA-PSK or 64/128bit WEP and MAC address authentication. A two year warranty and 24/7 tech support line should help provide post sale peace of mind and while Netgear products are never cheap (£129 RRP) it can be found online for under £100 including VAT.
The world may be waiting impatiently for 802.11n, but we may be tapping our feet for a while yet. In the meantime I suggest you could do a lot worse than solidify your network with this.