Review: Netgear WNDRMACv2 dual-band router
- — 19 June, 2012 22:00
|Name||Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router: Netgear N600|
|At a glance:||Good performance and features suited to home or small business,Mac Time Machine backup and printer sharing support,Reasonable set up, but sparse online help|
|Summary:||Quick and Mac-friendly, the WNDRMACv2 won’t disappoint if you can find it for a good price.|
Netgear’s naming scheme uses the first letter of each feature built into the router. This can make product names such as WNDRMACv2 confusing but underneath the acronym is a pretty solid Wi-Fi router.
To start with, the WNDRMACv2 ticks all the right boxes: 2.4 and 5GHz wireless radios with nominal speeds of 300Mbps and guest access on both, WPA2 security, WPS one-button registration, support for USB storage and printers, and a one-up four-down gigabit Ethernet WAN/LAN switch. IPv6 is also supported, which is great to see.
Getting the WNDRMACv2 up and running could have been easier if Netgear had provided better documentation. The web-based Genie admin interface has online help, but lacks some details and isn’t searchable. Working out how to use the WNDRMACv2 as a network bridge was a case of trial and error until I discovered the undocumented AP (Access Point) Mode tick box under Advanced Setup/Wireless Settings on the Advanced screen. Using the AP Mode means you lose access to most features that are available in router mode, but this is par for the course.
Wireless performance was pretty good overall. The radios on the WNDRMACv2 have good reach throughout the house, with even the shorter-range 5GHz being usable upstairs. At close range, I recorded 120Mbit/s file transfers on 5GHz and 70Mbit/s on 2.4GHz. At distances where the signal dropped to -60dB, the speeds fell to 35-40Mbit/s for the former, and 20-30Mbit/s for the latter.
The router in the WNDRMACv2 was able to handle plenty of simultaneous connections over the gigabit LAN and my 70/10Mbps VDSL2 broadband without choking, which is excellent.
The WNDRMACv2 is ‘Mac Friendly’ in that it supports Time Machine backups and printer sharing via the ReadySHARE feature – which uses Apple’s Bonjour protocol. Getting the latter feature to work was easy, ditto Time Machine backups to an HFS+ formatted Seagate USB 2.0 external drive that went at a solid 55 to 65Mbit/s on 5GHz.
For Windows content sharing, there’s DLNA support with a built-in Media Server.
At $319RRP, the WNDRMACv2 is well-performing router that’s a bit too expensive for what it is, and should come with better documentation.