Jun 23 2015

Review - NETGEAR ReadyNAS 202 2-bay Network Attached Storage Device

NETGEAR ReadyNAS 202 2-bay Network Attached Storage Device

CES 2015 introduced us to NETGEAR’s ReadyNAS 202/204, this network attached storage (NAS) was particularly interesting because by basing it around a 1.4GHz dual-core Cortex-A15, the underlying SoC should help alleviate once of the major concerns with ARM based devices – performance. With 2GB of RAM, two Gigabit Ethernet ports supporting various adapter bonding methods, easy “X-RAID2” setup, and a Btfrs file system supporting snapshots and "bit-rot" protection the ReadyNAS 202/204 family promises a solid platform for the SOHO (small office/home office) and media centric home. Adding in NETGEAR’s splash of “cloud” software and a robust feature set this $330/£230 MSRP (diskless) NAS could be the perfect companion for all your devices.

Apr 22 2015

Review - NETGEAR ProSAFE 8-Port Gigabit Click Switch GSS108E

NETGEAR ProSAFE 8-Port Gigabit Click Switch GSS108E

First thing, let’s get it out of the way that managed switches aren’t for everyone. The vast majority of users won’t require features, like port mirroring, VLANs, QoS, or link aggregation which are typically offered by a managed switch, but for those who do there is simply no substitute. With that said, given the $70 price, flexible “Click Switch” mounting, and included USB charging ports even if managed features aren’t on your “must” list the NETGEAR GSS108E warrants a closer look.

Mar 26 2015

Review - NETGEAR R7500 Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi AC2350 Router

NETGEAR R7500 Nighthawk X4 Smart WiFi AC2350 Router

The pace of innovation in the 802.11AC space over the last couple years has been breathtaking. With the iteration from AC1750 -> AC1900, the main improvement was realized in 2.4GHz bandwidth, and not focused on enhancing the speed of the primary 5GHz radio. The recent release of “Wave 2” 802.11AC chipsets has changed this by adding features like Multi-user MIMO and a fourth stream; we now have 1733Mbps [theoretical] available, pushing us that much closer to what is achievable with a Cat6 wired network. Of course, these claims need to be tested so when NETGEAR offered up their new $270MSRP R7500 Nighthawk X4 AC2350 Smart Wi-Fi router, I jumped at the chance.

Mar 03 2015

Review - NETGEAR Arlo


Where in the past OEMs have happily sold wireless cameras, and the infrastructure to put them on the network, no one has tried to tie it all together into a consumer product that is reliable and easy to use. With the recent release of Arlo, NETGEAR has done exactly that, signaling a strong a desire to build a discrete brand leveraging its deep networking expertise to deliver a rich and approachable monitoring ecosystem. To accomplish this Arlo is the combination of up to three 2.4GHz 802.11N base stations + up to fifteen weatherproof and completely wireless cameras. This holistic approach is unique because it provides a solution instead of just the parts, but to fully scale out the system there are hardware ($350 for a two camera setup to $500 for four, $160/camera à la carte) and ongoing service costs ($10-15/month or $99-149/year). There is no denying that NETGEAR Arlo is quite intriguing, let’s dig into the details.

Apr 25 2014

Review - NETGEAR EX6100 - AC750 802.11AC Wireless Extender and Bridge


Even in a mid-sized home, it is quite common to end up with a few “dead spots” where the main Wi-Fi router just does not provide enough signal to make the network work smoothly. Until recently--if your network is based on 802.11AC--the only way to address this, and take advantage of AC’s performance was by adding another full-on router acting as a media bridge or repeater. While this works, it is a costly way to address the problem, and one where frankly a specialized device might be better suited. Thankfully as 802.11AC has matured the device ecosystem has as well, and today we have the $90 (£65) NETGEAR EX6100 “AC750” Wi-Fi Range Extender / Media Bridge available for testing.

Dec 16 2013

Review - NETGEAR R7000 Nighthawk Smart AC1900 Wi-Fi Router

Nothing can deliver the raw capability of Gigabit Ethernet when it comes to pushing large amounts of data around the home. Unfortunately, in many homes it just is not practical to pull Cat-6 through the walls, so other methods must be found to enable the demands of a fully functional media consumption network. Where many other low-installation-effort home networking technologies have failed, 802.11AC’s 1300Mbps of theoretical bandwidth is tantalizing. With more than enough headroom to deliver stutter free streaming it holds tremendous promise, but whether the technology can really deliver was still open even after our first look. Today we have another chance to examine it however – this time with NETGEAR’s $199 Dual-band AC1900 R7000 Nighthawk Smart Wi-Fi Router. The R7000 is particularly interesting not only because its dual-core 1GHz processor and USB 3.0 support represents the current state-of-the art in Wi-Fi appliances, but because the underlying Broadcom 4709 Communication Processor (which makes that possible) marks a shift from MIPS to ARM for this market segment. Of course that change is only meaningful if the R7000 can deliver the stability, feature set and performance demanded by the home media enthusiast.

Sep 03 2013

Review - NETGEAR AV+ 500 NANO SET (XAVB5601) Powerline Networking Adapters


When pulling Cat 6 Ethernet cables through the walls is out of the question there are a few options for enabling a high-bitrate-media capable network. MoCA is usually a reliable source of the 100Mbps required, but limited to existing cable infrastructure. New kid, wireless 802.11AC shows significant promise, but won’t come home for anywhere near the price where Powerline networking claims 500Mbps of bandwidth. Historically, Powerline technology has over promised and under delivered--with actual performance falling below the number on the box. With a NETGEAR AV+ 500 NANO SET (XAVB5601) available, it is time to address the technology’s viability again. Asking $110 (£60) at retail, the kit is reasonably priced, has receptacle pass-through offering a solution to a common Powerline gripe, and with 500Mbps to play with, one would expect to have plenty of bandwidth headroom even as distance and environmental load are varied.

Mar 12 2013

Review - NETGEAR NeoTV MAX (NTV300SL) Media Streamer


After experiencing NETGEAR’s previous generation NeoTV NTV200, with solid function, value and distinction as one of the only media streamers with HDMI CEC support it was genuinely exciting when the NeoTV MAX (NTV300SL) arrived with a dual-sided QWERTY remote, full VUDU 3D and Netflix multichannel audio with subtitle support--that NETGEAR only asks $70 (MSRP) for the device was gravy. With the NeoTV MAX also promising 24p and continuing the tradition of seamless integration into a HDMI CEC controlled ecosystem it seems likely that NETGEAR would deliver the perfect Over the Top (OTT) streamer for the most demanding users.

Jul 16 2012

Review - Green vs. Non-Green Switches

D-Link GreenAs part of a recent effort to consolidate all of our backbone networking kit into a structured wiring panel, it was necessary to add a switch to the mix. Never having played with a "Green Ethernet" device (D-Link DGS-1008G) it seemed like a good idea to pick one up and find out how green it was in comparison to two other Gigabit switches (D-Link 2208/NETGEAR GS605) already in use on my network.

Oct 24 2011

Review - NETGEAR NeoTV - NTV200 Connected Media Streamer

NTV200If you are in the market for an inexpensive connected media streamer, the number of options has exploded recently.  A couple weeks back we took a look at Roku’s XS, and today we have the newest member of NETGEAR’s NeoTV lineup - the NTV200.  At first glance, the unit’s price ($79.99) and lack of a USB port for local content sets it neatly in the middle of the multitude of players currently available, but breaks from the pack by offering VUDU alongside Netflix and the many other “also ran” applications we have come to expect from this segment.

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