NETGEAR

May 27 2016

Review - NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 - AC5300 Tri-Band Quad-Stream Wi-Fi Router (R8500)

NETGEAR Nighthawk X8 - AC5300 Tri-Band Quad-Stream Wi-Fi Router (R8500)

 

NETGEAR touts the Nighthawk X8 AC5300 (R8500) Smart Wi-Fi router as “the next wave in Wi-Fi”. Generally, I am inclined to dismiss this sort of hyperbole, but the $350/£350 802.11AC includes features that are a reasonable step up from other models including: quad-streams, two 802.11AC radios, Wave 2 enhancements , and six Gigabit Ethernet ports, with two 802.3ad (link aggregation) enabled. Alongside this, it also includes a feature that should have a tangible benefit for all clients – active antennas. By moving the amplifiers from the mainboard to the tops of the antennas, there should be a clear benefit in signal strength and clarity. I am not sure that is enough to count as a “next wave”, but it has got me very interested in testing out the R8500.

Mar 18 2016

Review - NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S R7800 AC2600 Wireless Router

The quad stream NETGEAR AC2600 Nighthawk X4S R7800 802.11AC wireless router is the successor to last year’s AC2350 Nighthawk X4 R7500 (and R7500v2). Besides a bump in “S”, for Smart, the Nighthawk X4S also jumps to the dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm IPQ8065, adds 200MHz of theoretical bandwidth to the 2.4GHz radio (800Mbps + 1733Mbps = AC2600) by increasing to 4x4 in both bands, and enables 160MHz channel width for 5GHz. Priced at $270/£230 SRP ($260/£213 street) the Nighthawk X4S R7800 looks to be a solid contender for the mid-range performance 802.11AC router market, and with Wave 2 features like MU-MIMO enabled out-of-the-box (OOTB) a fair degree of future proofing.

Dec 03 2015

Review - NETGEAR ReadyNAS 212 Quad-core 2-bay Network Attached Storage (NAS)

NETGEAR recently introduced the ReadyNAS 2xx family of network attached storage (NAS) devices running 1.4GHz Cortex ARM A-15 SoC. Having just reviewed the ReadyNAS 202, the introduction of the 212 (and 214) bumping the spec from two to four cores, but not the price – still $330 (diskless), came as a surprise. With all of the great features of the ReadyOS 6 (rev’d to 6.4) and twice as much horsepower on tap, we should see a decent improvement in throughput, alongside NETGEAR’s hallmark add: real time 1080p->480p transcoding via Plex for mobile devices.

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

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

NETGEAR EX6100

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

NETGEAR XAVB5601 Review

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.

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