Netgear WGU624

The WGU624 offers a well-rounded amalgam of fast throughput, long range, and tight data security.


6.7
User Rating

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Netgear has designed its WGU624 wireless firewall router as a workaround to poky Wi-Fi networks by incorporating 5GHz 802.11a and 2.4GHz 802.11b/g support into the device, allowing you to send data in two separate radio frequencies instead of just one. No matter which frequency you choose, you can count on fast delivery of your data from a great range; the WGU624 earned excellent overall throughput scores in CNET Labs' tests. Thankfully, the router's secure WPA technology and extensive firewall features protect your transmissions in both modes. There's just one catch: to experience all of the WGU624's benefits, you'll need to install a Netgear WG511U PC Card, or other dual band adapter, in each of the computers on your network.

With the WGU624, Netgear has livened up the look of its routers by switching from its usual grey to white. The device includes two sturdy plastic feet that snap onto its short side, letting you stand the router on its edge. Unfortunately, it doesn't include brackets for wall mounting, the inclusion of which would make it easier for you to hang the WGU624 high on a wall or ceiling to maximise range.

You configure the WGU624 via its browser-based configuration tool, which lets you manipulate important features of both its integrated 802.11a and 802.11b/g access points. Those features include establishing keys for 64-, 128-, and 152-bit WEP encryption, setting a passphrase and encryption type (AES or TKIP) for WPA, and specifying an IP address for connecting to a RADIUS server. The tool also allows you to block traffic going in and out by preventing certain MAC addresses from accessing the router, as well as forbidding the router to connect to earmarked Web sites. The supersleuth in you can check the tool's Web log to see which sites users have attempted to access through the WGU624.

The WGU624's browser-based configuration tool lets you adjust the router's NAT (Network Address Translation) and SPI (Stateful Packet Inspection) capabilities, which enable you to obscure and thwart peeps into your computer's contents. You can also use the tool to configure settings for the router's handy DMZ port, which lets you set one of your computers outside the WGU624's firewall for the purposes of gaming or videoconferencing.

CNET Labs maximum throughput tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput in Mbps
Netgear WGU624
42.1
Buffalo AirStation WZR-RSG54
37.1

CNET Labs maximum throughput tests with mixed 802.11b/g and MIMO clients
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput in Mbps
Netgear WGU624
39
Buffalo AirStation WZR-RSG54
25.3

CNET Labs long-range tests
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Thoughput in Mbps measured indoors at 200 feet
Netgear WGU624
35.6
Buffalo AirStation WZR-RSG54
4.1

NOTE: Products in this test are for comparative purposes only and are not necessarily available in the Australian market.

In addition to its hearty features, the Netgear WGU624 delivers fast performance in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Set to Super G (108Mbps) mode, the router earned a 42.1Mbps score in both 802.11a and 802.11g modes in CNET Labs' tests. Although its times are a few seconds shy of those of the Belkin Pre-N router and the D-Link DI-624, the WGU624 still performs admirably compared to most routers. In our Labs' mixed-mode, 802.11a and g trials, the WGU624 clocked an awesome 39Mbps time. Last but not least, the WGU624 proved that it can pass muster at long distances in our Labs' maximum-throughput range tests: at 60 meters, the router transferred data at a quick 35.6Mbps in 802.11g Super G mode and 29.1Mbps over its 802.11a interface. For more details on how we test networking devices, see the CNET Labs site.

The WGU624 ships with a setup guide and a documentation CD, too. Unlike many setup guides, the WGU624's guide does a decent job explaining how to hook up the router's hardware. The extensive electronic manual on the accompanying CD also offers a detailed explanation of the router's browser-based configuration tool--although the manual's fuzzy screenshots could stand some sprucing up.

The FAQ and troubleshooting info on the company's support Web site is nothing special, but the site's well-organised customer forum comes in handy for seeking router advice from other users.

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Anonymous
2
Rating
 

"awful, hard to set up"

Anonymous posted a review   

Anonymous
2
Rating
 

"awful, hard to set up"

Anonymous posted a review   

enduser
6
Rating
 

"GOOD, CHEAP, NEEDS VENTILATION"

enduser posted a review   

The Good:works good- Fast and cheap with good security

The Bad:some firmware probs- check before you upgrade.
Main problem is overheating, which can be easily fixed by ventialting unit. instructions on web.

Anonymous
1
Rating
 

"excellent range and not to expensive"

Anonymous posted a review   

 

"Internet cuts out at high data volumes with wired and wireless. Unit is well ventilated. Do not buy!"

Adam Playfair posted a comment   

redfanrod
1
Rating
 

"This unit is great... much better than Linksys..."

redfanrod posted a review   

I spent nearly a week looking and testing the only wireless routers with "dual band" capability -- 5.0 and 2.4 Ghz bands that you can independently turn on or off. The Linkysy WRT55AG is a joke. It must be its dated firmware, but I spent 3+ hours on the phone with techs, got it running for 30 minutes, then returned it to the store. This Netgear installed like a dream (25 minutes or so) and has worked great for a whole week now. I have a Comcast Internet (cable) connection and a 3-year-old RCA modem and have been impressed with this one. I need the 5.0 Ghz connection (I have other wirelss instruments at 2.4 Ghz and can't stand the interference) and have found that it is great. My wireless laptop has a card that accepts "a" band and that is required if you turn off the 2.4 Ghz radio transmitter on the Netgear firmware site. Another note: when hooking up the wireless PC, the firmware's "Web passphrase" is equivalent to your laps "network key" password. That was the only difficulty in communicating with the laptop. Adding access to your "host" printer was easy -- just god to the "add printer" option on your laptop, find your "network" printer(s) and click "add printer." The only "burp" I have on my host PC is that I have to hit the "refresh" button once in a while to "restart" the internet connection. It takes a split second and this (in my opinion) is a minor price to pay for a great wireless connection (even streaming video comes in great). In short(?) a great router. It is worth the extra dough ($110) for the "a" band alone.

 

"lemon"

Pete posted a comment   

This product is a lemon. It overheats in the hot aussie summer and drops internet wireless connections. Check out the forums you will be shocked. Various workarounds include turning off the wireless or throwing it out the window




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