This review appears in the December 06 issue of PC Advisor – available from 19 October – as part of our definitive guide to wireless networking.

This model is slightly different to the other draft-N routers we looked at, in that it has an ADSL2+ modem – the WNR834B is the pure router version. That aside, it has the standard NAT router specification of four fast ethernet ports, an SPI firewall, WEP and WPA-PSK security. The DG834N is appreciably bigger than its 11g predecessor and so has to stand vertically. This is because the somewhat large Mac-friendly glossy-white casing hides the fact that there are no less than two sets of antennae. The DG834N is based on the Marvell TopDog chipset.

Installation was perfectly straightforward, with clearly marked colour-coded sockets on the back of the router. The built-in wizard makes hooking up to and sharing your ADSL broadband connection a piece of cake. When you first set it up, the DG834N isn't very secure; in fact the Wi-Fi security settings aren't enabled by default. However, its web interface, which is common across the Netgear range, is very clear and logically laid out.

Of all the draft-N routers we looked at, the DG834N provided the best overall performance – but only just. Using QCheck, we clocked the DG834N data transfer rate at 48Mbps in our close test and 33Mbps in the far test, bettering the Linksys on the former and matching it for the latter score. If you're looking for performance, Netgear's DG834N is definitely the draft-N router to go for.

Netgear DG834N: Specs

  • Wireless router
  • close-range speed 48Mbps
  • long-range speed 33Mbps
  • Wireless router
  • close-range speed 48Mbps
  • long-range speed 33Mbps

OUR VERDICT

The DG834N may be pricey, but it is easy to set up and configure. It's still early days in the draft-N saga, but for the moment, Netgear is ahead of the crowd – by a nose.

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