D-Link this week announced a couple of new additions to its Amplifi family, with D-Link describing Amplifi products as "not only the fastest home networking solutions on the market, they're also some of the smartest." Those are big shoes to fill, and D-Link says its new HD Media Router 2000 (DIR-827) and PowerLine AV 500 Gigabit Switch Kit (DHP-541) can walk the walk.
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).
We weren’t impressed with the Netgear WNDR4000, to say the least. The router’s bizarre naming conventions (we’re still not sure what to call it, exactly) and dubious 750 Mbps speed claim raised our hackles, plus, the older WNDR3700 blew it away in benchmark testing. Netgear’s hoping that the newly announced WNDR3800 will right those wrongs. The router’s available worldwide as of yesterday and it packs a pair of interesting features.
D-Link is chasing after the budget router crown with the release of its Wireless N 300 Gigabit Router, model DIR-651. It's a single-band router with 4 Gigabit ports, multiple intelligent antennas, and support for intelligent Quality of Service (QoS) to separate and prioritize different typs of data streams for smoother video streaming, gaming, and VoIP calls.
Woe is the home user in need of a new router. We say this because it's easy to be overwhelmed with all the choices out there, and if you go by specs alone, almost all of them are winners. Of course, we know better than that, and our current 'Best of the Best' pick for a Wi-Fi router is Netgear's Rangemax WNDR3700, which has held the top spot for a long while. The WNDR3700 has been able to deflect numerous attempts to pluck the performance crown from its head, and ironically enough, the one that finally does it might be from Netgear itself.
Like wings on a skydiving Penguin whose parachute fails to open, or racing tires on a 1971 Ford Pinto, Evercool's new Dr. Cool router cooler has us wondering if such a device is necessary. Even Evercool appears a bit uncertain. The company says its Dr. Cool device was designed with three features in mind, which include branding, creative aesthetics, and effective cooling. Notice that cooling is listed last, not because it isn't capable, but does your router really need a blast of cold air?
Netgear announced several new Wi-Fi routers and power-line networking devices at CES, including the successor to our current best-of-the-best pick, the WNDR3700.
Netgear is transitioning to a new model numbering scheme, so the new flagship is labeled the N600 Premium Edition but it’s also known as the WNDR3800. The N600 adds a number of features, including a much-improved user interface, a ReadyShare remote access feature that enables you to access attached USB storage devices from anywhere you have broadband access, Apple Time Machine compatibility for Macintosh backups, and DLNA certification. The router comes with 16MB of Flash memory and 64MB of RAM.
How strong is your Wi-Fi signal? Or, more importantly, how strong is your neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal? Where do you have to be to leech, er, acquire the best free Wi-Fi signal in your general surroundings? At your favorite strip mall? Outside of the local Starbucks?
Anyone can grab a Wi-Fi sniffer and go wardriving around to find the best possible signal for your personal or business use–that’s easy. Heck, you can even do that in Windows if you don’t mind staring at (and constantly refreshing) the tiny little “bars of service” meter in your wireless connections window. But this week’s “App of the Week” does a bit more than tell you the networks that give you the best signal, or when you might have acquired said signal in your trips around town. No, the app I’m profiling will actually go and map your connectivity as visualized “hot zones” overtop any map you’d like to use.
Let's not kid ourselves, Best Buy's Geek Squad division isn't exactly a respected establishment in DIY circles, and referring someone to Geek Squad for tech support is like, well, does this even need an analogy? No offense to any of our readers who may work as a Geek Squad tech, but you know what they say about a few bad apples.
What's even worse -- and we thought unthinkable -- is when the manufacturer of one your computer parts suggests calling Geek Squad to diagnose your failing gear before they'll replace it. That's exactly what one user who wrote into The Consumerist claims happened when his Netgear DGN2200 wireless router with DSL modem went on the fritz.
"Five calls to [Netgear's] tech department and it is still not working," the user claims. "On the fifth and final call they suggested I call the Geek Squad (approximately $139 for them to come to our home) to troubleshoot it and if it proves the modem is bad they will send me a new unit at that time (which I only paid $79 to begin with)."
It doesn't take a math whiz to figure out that's a bum deal. Assuming it all went down the way the user claims it did, let's hope this was an isolated incident.
The Asus RT-N16 is a single-band router with three removable (and therefore upgradeable) antennas, but the third antenna didn’t help the router rise above third place overall in terms of TCP throughput. It did, however, do a solid job of penetrating our media room.
The RT-N16 is equipped with two USB ports, so it can support both a portable USB hard drive and a printer. USB storage devices are shared using SMB/CIFS, so the shares appear when you use Windows to browse your network. This is a far superior alternative to forcing you to install a client to access the shares, as some of the other routers do.