capsule review

Netgear RangeMax Next Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500

At a Glance
  • Netgear RangeMax Next Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500

    PCWorld Rating

    This workhorse router had very good performance and great software, but too few features for the price.

The Netgear RangeMax Next Wireless-N Gigabit Router WNR3500 is a workhorse device that aced our throughput tests, especially at long range. For a 2×3 antenna router, it did impressively well with the 2×3 and 3×3 Intel adapter card. It also provides very good routing and firewall options, from Web content filtering (for parental control) to dynamic DNS.

In view of this unit's relatively high price tag ($120, as of April 20, 2009), we were disappointed not to see more extras, such as USB drive or printer sharing, a guest access mode, and strong parental controls. It also lacks WPA-Enterprise or RADIUS server support, which some small businesses will see as critical omissions.

That said, the WNR3500 has a very well-designed setup utility, and what may be the best context-sensitive help service we've ever seen in a router Web interface. The Web configuration utility can look for updated firmware every time you log in--a feature that we wish all routers would emulate. After all, keeping your firmware up-to-date is the first rule of router maintenance.

Though this Netgear router is quite good-looking, it (like the Belkin N+ Wireless Router F5D8235-4) can be used only in an upright position and has no wall-mount holes. The antennas are internal.

Overall, the Netgear WNR3500 is a capable router that delivers superior performance, but it lacks some of the special features we look for in models in its price class.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    This workhorse router had very good performance and great software, but too few features for the price.

    Pros

    • Good long-range performance; strong firewall
    • Very good setup and Web utilities

    Cons

    • No WPA-Enterprise encryption or RADIUS server supp
    • No USB port; vertical orientation only
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