Netgear RangeMax DGND3300 £100
4th Mar 2011 | 09:11
Wireless-N lovin' from Netgear
Netgear RangeMax DGND3300: Overview
The Netgear RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Modem Router DGND3300 is certainly a mouthful – and rightfully so, since it's packing a hefty amount of juicy networking technology inside its rounded, slim-line case.
Netgear, at least, is certainly trying to deliver on that dream.
5GHz kit is now trickling into the market with models such as the ASUS RT-N56U Dual Band Wireless-N Router we checked out last, but the Netgear RangeMax DGND3300 is the first we've seen that offers an all-in-one ADSL broadband modem and 5GHz wireless n dual-band solution.
It's styled in the usual Netgear RangeMax chassis with annoying flashing central dome, which doubles as the quick-connect WPS button.
We're also happy to see a real power button, so you can easily turn it off when you're going away.
A USB port enables you to attached external storage that can be accessed via the router and four Ethernet LAN ports are also provided alongside the ADSL2+ WAN port.
The Netgear RangeMax WNDR3300 is the cheaper, cable alternative to this ADSL modem model.
Netgear RangeMax DGND3300: Benchmarks
We record file transfer speeds in three distance tests to mimic real-world use: same room, one room and floor away and a 25m line-of-sight distance test.
These are done at both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz modes using a standard Intel Centrino 2 laptop with a 5GHz-capable internal antenna.
Same room transfer speed
One room away transfer speed
25m line-of-sight transfer speed
Netgear RangeMax DGND3300: Verdict
We describe the ASUS RT-N56U dual-band router as feeling like two routers in one, but the Netgear RangeMax DGND3300 feels like one-and-a-half.
Effectively, it enables you to run the router in either a 5GHz wireless n with 2.4GHz wireless-g/b mode, or a full-speed 2.4GHz wireless-n/g/b mode.
Not quite the wireless networking dream we were hoping for, it's more a case of going all-out on 5GHz and suffering a generational downgrade on your 2.4GHz wireless network or nothing.
It's arguably sensible, since up-to-date laptops should support the 5GHz mode, though this isn't guaranteed, and most portable devices only support 802.11g at best anyway.
The counter argument is the ASUS RT-N56U offers full-speed networking for both frequency ranges, so sort it out.
That aside, the Netgear RangeMax DGND3300 is a suitably lovely device to set up and use.
Its web interface is nothing stunning, but it provides the traditionally welcoming Netgear design, is easy to navigate and very fast to use.
The router offers features such as guest network access for public hot spots and can act as a network repeater, too. The USB port enables external storage to be accessed as NAS, along with FTP(S) and HTTP(S) external internet access.
During testing we realised the LAN ports are 100BaseT rather than Gigabit, which we find rather odd, since this will potentially cap LAN to wireless transfers at around 12.3MB/s.
As it turns out, the performance of the Netgear DGND3300 simply wasn't good enough for this to be an issue. It under-performed at both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands at same-room and one-room-away tests.
The one good area of performance was at the distance test, where transfer rates remained suitably high.
A good feature set helps the Netgear RangeMax DGND3300 – it provides a wealth of networking features alongside ADSL2+.
While general network performance was good, if not particularly impressive, it did prove impressive at range with respectable transfer speeds of just over 5MB/s happily maintained.
The lack of Gigabit LAN is a shame, because that caps LAN to Wi-Fi transfers at 12.3MB/s.
Performance from the USB port was also very poor at 1.5MB/s.
The 5GHz mode failed to beat many 2.4GHz units that we've seen and generally performance fell flat, but the lack of a full-speed 5GHz and 2.4GHz mode is the bigger annoyance for us.
A comprehensive all-in-one networking solution with dual-band 5GHZ and 2.4GHz capabilities and ADSL2+ broadband, let down by the lack of dual-band full-speed access and lacklustre 5GHz performance.