It's been more than a year since we anointed Netgear's Rangemax WNDR3700 (N600) as our "Best of the Best" pick for wireless routers, and to this day, its overall performance has been unmatched. Even Netgear's own WNDR4000 (aka the N750, because it supports theoretical speeds of 300Mb/sec on its 2.4GHz radio and 450Mb/sec on its 5GHz radio) couldn't topple its predecessor. The WNDR4000 scored a rather pedestrian 6 verdict compared to the WNDR3700's 9/Kick-Ass. Netgear might finally have a worthy successor in the WNDR4500 (aka, the N900 because—you guessed it—the router supports theoretical speeds of 450Mb/sec on both the 2.4- and 5GHz bands).
On paper, the new WNDR4500 is a beast. This dual-band gigabit router utilizes a 3x3 antenna array for improved data throughput, and also to reduce or eliminate dead spots that otherwise plague performance. Netgear also shoved in high- performance power amplifiers that the company claims will boost the WNDR4500’s wireless range anywhere from 30 to 50 percent.
Outside of raw throughput numbers, the WNDR4500 offers an easy CD-less setup routine so, in theory, your mom and pops should be able to hook it up without reaching for your number on speed-dial. There are Live Parental Controls baked in, and what looks to be an intuitive client Dashboard to monitor, control, and repair home network issues. It's equipped with two USB ports, so it can host storage and a multi-function printer simultaneously, and it’s DLNA-certified, which should make for easy media streaming.
So how does it perform in the world? That's a great question, and one we intend to find out. We've lined up a unit for review, so stay tuned for our official impression. In the meantime, the WNDR4500 is available now for $180 MSRP.