Netgear D6300

Though pricey, if you demand next-generation networking technology today with a built-in ADSL2+ modem, the D6300 is a capable option.


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Looking more like a monolith box that is housing a collector's edition of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the D6300 is the kind of gadget buyers would be proud to hang on the wall alongside their abstract art collections. Those of you who read CNET Australia's R6300 review last year will probably recognise the D6300's striking design as they look identical. However, the new brute on the block now includes an integrated ADSL2+ modem, delivering the cutting edge 802.11ac routing of its predecessor without the need for a messy external ADSL2+ modem. The illusion of size is enhanced by the fact that it stands upright rather than flat on your desk, and matching the hefty size is a heavyweight price tag. Thankfully, Netgear has crammed plenty of tech inside to justify the damage to your wallet.

Specs at a glance

Firmware tested V1.0.0.24_1.0.24
ADSL2+ modem Yes
Annex M Yes
3G modem No
IPv6 Yes
NBN ready? Yes
Wireless protocols 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz) & 802.11a/n/ac (5GHz)
Dual band Yes
Highest wireless security WPA2
WDS Yes
Ethernet ports 4 + WAN
USB print sharing/storage 2x for storage, printer
Accessories ADSL filter, Ethernet cable, power supply, driver disk

Connections

While the front of the D6300 looks like polished black stone, devoid of a single feature, the rear is where all the work gets done. A not so pretty feature is the hulking power supply, which shames most laptop power bricks. Four gigabit Ethernet ports plus WAN provide plenty of connectivity for wired networks, and one of these can be used to connect to a fibre or cable modem. Unfortunately, there's no mention in the specs about fibre-to-the-node connectivity, and it'd be a shame to buy such an expensive router only to find that it'll be obsolete in a couple of years if a Liberal NBN is installed.

Twin USB 2.0 ports deliver the ability to share your printer while simultaneously plugging in an external hard drive, effectively adding Network Attached Storage to the network. An ADSL2+ connection plugs into the included ADSL2+ line filter, and the modem inside is provided by Broadcomm.

Testing the modem on a standard Internode ADSL2+ connection, we hit the same 18Mbps download speed seen with every other quality modem, suggesting that it is the maximum speed the line can handle.

UI and Features

Heading into the router's configuration screens via Chrome, it becomes immediately apparent just how helpful Netgear's interface designers are. Every screen and option includes a comprehensive help menu, holding the hand of the user and talking them through every detail. While the wording in the help text can be a little lacking when it comes to more advanced features, we have to commend Netgear for providing so much assistance to network noobs.

Combined with the powerful, yet easy to use wizards that step the user through the process of setting up ADSL2+ and wireless networks, this is the kind of networking product that won't give you recurring nightmares about G.dmt.bisplus standards at 3am. It's a case of plug it in and play, unlike some of the more technical routers on the market. Power users will appreciate the advanced menu, which exposes most of the crucial settings with far less fluff.

Interface is simple, clear and informative.
(Screenshot by Bennett Ring/CNET Australia)

Don't mistake the ease of use means a lack of features, as the D6300 packs a potent technological punch. On top of the usual 802.11 b/g/n support, the dual band radios inside also deliver 802.11 a/n/ac support.

It's worth pointing out that 802.11 ac still hasn't been formalised, so the D6300 is using a draft version of the specification. However, based on similar experiences with early 802.11n devices, it's highly unlikely that the D6300 will suddenly turn into an expensive brick when 802.11ac is ratified.

Of more concern is the lack of 802.11ac devices on the market. It's slowly spreading into tablets and smartphones, but most of today's models lack it, and thus won't be able to take advantage of the extra performance. We had to use Netgear's A6200 dongle for testing, as our brand new Acer S7 ultrabook simply didn't have 802.11ac built in. At $85 per dongle, connecting several PCs to the 802.11ac network suddenly becomes a rather pricey proposition.

The D6300's wireless network interface.
(Screenshot by Bennett Ring/CNET Australia)

Before we dive into wireless performance, let's take a quick glance at some of the other tricks in the D6300's bag. Quality of Service is present and accounted for, as is a DLNA server for media streaming. A separate Guest network keeps nosey relatives from prying through your home network, while bandwidth monitoring allows you to keep a close eye on how much data your kids have been hogging. Most of the basics for home users are covered, but it skimps out on some of the more advanced options, such as IPTV configuration or hardware VPN.

Performance

Our tests were conducted using LAN Speed Test, sending five 50MB packets over the course of several minutes. We used an Acer Aspire S7 ultrabook as the roaming client for range tests. The first test was conducted in the same room as the router at a range of 3 metres. Test two placed the ultrabook in the next room, at a distance of 5 metres and with one double brick wall between them. Our final test saw the ultrabook moved 10 metres away, with three double brick walls, a very challenging test indeed. Netgear's A6200 802.11ac dongle was used for all tests.

When operating in the same room as the client, the D6300 displayed respectable, if not blistering performance. Thankfully, the picture improved when we moved to the next room, with the router scoring one of the best 802.11n write speeds. Unfortunately, its 802.11ac performance at the same range wasn't anything to write home about. The final test at long range showed some rather dismal numbers, with the 802.11n connection totally dropping out for our read tests.

2.4GHz Read and Write (R/W in Mbps)

  • Billion 7800NXL
  • Netgear D6300
  • Linksys EA6500
  • WD N750

  • 150.98 W 36.89 R 97.98 W 82.64 R 98.17 W 79.24 R 89.79 W 97.33 R
    Location one (same room, 3 metres, no obstruction)
  • 57.77 W 44.07 R 86.23 W 78.31 R 71.25 W 96.93 R 62.98 W 71.45 R
    Location two (next room, 5 metres, one brick wall)
  • 3.58 W 5.72 R 3.2 W 0 R 18.42 W 25.35 R 11.03 W 20.36 R
    Location three (three rooms away, 10 metres, three brick walls)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


5GHz Read and Write (R/W in Mbps)

  • Netgear D6300 (802.11ac)
  • Linksys EA6500 (802.11ac)
  • WD N750 (802.11n)
  • D-Link AC 1750 (802.11ac)
  • Linksys WUMC710 (802.11ac)

  • 104.77 W 72.11 R 113.22 W 89.58 R 135.79 W 104.06 R 116.92 W 124.82 R 76.93 W 81.09 R
    Location one (same room, 3 metres, no obstruction)
  • 74.29 W 68.31 R 70.37 W 70.74 R 103.44 W 77.96 R 119.31 W 120.24 R 46.64 W 43.32 R
    Location two (next room, 5 metres, one brick wall)
  • 7.25 W 28.7 R 39.18 W 46.87 R 20.81 W 0 R 0 W 0 R 21.65 W 22.87 R
    Location three (three rooms away, 10 metres, three concrete walls)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)


Warranty

Netgear offers the standard two-year warranty on this router, but Aussies are protected for a longer period of time by our Australian Consumer Laws.

Conclusion

It's hard to justify such an expensive product when 802.11ac is still so rare, especially as each extra PC on the network will cost another $85 thanks to the need for a dongle. Making matters worse is the poor long range performance, but at closer ranges, it's a much happier story. However, if you demand next-generation networking technology today with a built-in ADSL2+ modem, the D6300 is a capable option.

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Post comment as
Ivan.B
8
Rating
 

"An excellent modem Router for home use"

Ivan.B posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Good perfomer

The Bad:poor looks; unprofessionally constructed; NetGear could do better !!.

I bought the D6300 a week ago and I installed it in accordance with the installation manual that came with it. I had no problems and it worked very well from day 1. It is about a couple of seconds slower than the 15 year old direct connected modem router I replaced. Never the less it is a very good modem router transmitting signals through 5 brick walls and a kitchen. The only disappointment I had was the way it was constructed. NetGear should have had a better style; made it look more professional than a bulky piece of plastic !!. My desk top PC is directly wired to it using the cat5 cable provided. My laptop PC is connected wirelessly OK and my Panasonic smart TV work wonderfully slightly slower being behind 5 brick walls and kitchen.

 

RosyV posted a comment   

Expensive paperweight. Slower than my old Linksys WAG200. Poor range, won't get a signal to another floor. Way poorer than my old one. Hard to set up, flaky connection, won't keep a signal to Apple TV. If you buy one get it from someone who will take it back. Horrible.

 

JamesB9 posted a comment   

I just bought the D6300 and no one can tell me why it doesn't work on on normal cat 5 Ethernet cable I even upgraded o the cat 6 cable but still it wont work... why can someone explain why it only works on the cable that came with the D6300 ??.
how can I make it work on my existing standard cable ???

 

StuartT1 posted a comment   

The graph colour scheme is confusing; Five shades of blue? I can't easily distinguish between the models.




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User Reviews / Comments  Netgear D6300

  • Ivan.B

    Ivan.B

    Rating8

    "I bought the D6300 a week ago and I installed it in accordance with the installation manual that came with it. I had no problems and it worked very well from day 1. It is about a couple of seconds ..."

  • RosyV

    RosyV

    "Expensive paperweight. Slower than my old Linksys WAG200. Poor range, won't get a signal to another floor. Way poorer than my old one. Hard to set up, flaky connection, won't keep a signal to Apple..."

  • JamesB9

    JamesB9

    "I just bought the D6300 and no one can tell me why it doesn't work on on normal cat 5 Ethernet cable I even upgraded o the cat 6 cable but still it wont work... why can someone explain why it only..."

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