Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next Wireless-N Router Gigabit Edition

The Netgear RangeMax Next WNR854T Gigabit is a smart choice for home networks, thanks to its fast throughput and easy setup.


7.3
CNET Rating
3.9
User Rating

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The Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next Gigabit router isn't a new product, but in our recent sweep of Draft N routers, we decided to take a look at this Netgear unit that provides Gigabit Ethernet wired networking along with Draft 2.0 of the 802.11n wireless standard. In labs testing, the WNR854T proved itself to be a solid performer, finishing at or near the top of our three wireless throughput tests. Given the RangeMax name, however, we expected the signal to carry farther than it did. Still, its range is no worse than what we found on other Draft N routers. For basic home networking where advanced features are not required, the AU$299 Netgear RangeMax WRN854T offers a winning combination of easy setup and strong performance.

Unlike most wireless routers, the WNR854T bears a unique antenna-less design. As we saw on the Netgear WNR834B RangeMax router last year, the antennas are concealed inside a rather sleek, square, plastic case. It is a simple box with an array of network ports -- four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port -- on the back and corresponding status LEDs on the front. It comes with a little detachable base for to position it vertically.

The RangeMax Next WNR854T features an intuitive and responsive Web interface that makes configuring your home network quick and easy. For most cable and DSL services in Australia, the router will likely work right away once plugged in -- without you having to do anything. But if you want to customise a bit, naming your networking or adding encryption, for example, the setup wizard will walk you through a few simple, self-explanatory steps. We had a named, encrypted network up and running in less than 10 minutes. The router supports all available wireless security encryption standards, including WEP, WPA, and WPA2 and has a useful set of basic networking features such as IP address reservation, hardware firewall, and parental control via the Content Filtering feature. This feature lets you block certain types of services (chat, peer-to-peer sharing, certain Web sites, and so on) as well as limit the time a particular computer can be on the Internet. While these features aren't unique, we applaud Netgear for making them accessible and easy to set up and maintain.

The WNR854T lacks more advanced networking features, however. There's no option, for example, to set up a VPN or port reservation for gaming or other special applications, which you can do with the Trendnet TEW-633GR.

Unlike many routers, the Netgear WNR854T doesn't come with a USB port. This means it doesn't offer any USB-related features such as a print server or Windows Connect Now, which enables users to transfer the wireless encrypting setup from the router to other clients via a thumbdrive. The router also doesn't support Wi-Fi Protected Setup, another technology that simplifies the process of getting clients connected, either.

With the latest firmware update (version 1.4.23NA) that makes it compatible with Wi-Fi Certified 802.11n draft 2.0 standard, the WNR854T turned in some impressive results on CNET Labs' benchmarks. On our close range throughput test, it scored as much as 85.5 Mbps, among the best we've seen (though it's still nowhere close to the theoretical max 300Mbps of the "n" specification, we've yet to test a router that's come even close to that figure). On our mixed mode test, where the router was set up to work with multiple devices of different wireless standards, the score was a reduced but still impressive 67.5 Mbps. On our long-range test, at 200 feet, the router was able to sustain a 26.87Mbps, which is on par with competing routers form ASUS, D-Link, and SMC. During our testing process, the Netgear worked smoothly, and we didn't experience any reset during heavy load as we did with the D-Link DGL-4500 router.

The Netgear WNR854T's range failed to impress, though that has something to do with the lofty expectations we held given its RangeMax name. Its range turned out to be only average, no better and no worse than other high-end Draft N routers, including the DGL-4500. Generally speaking, we look for a range of 90 metres for Draft N routers, and in anecdotal testing, the Netgear router started to drop its signal at around 82 metres. It's necessary to note a wireless router's range depends a lot on its environment, and our test environment is not exactly range-friendly.

Maximum throughput tests (at 4.5 metres, in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput max
Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next
85.5
SMC SMCWGBR14-N Barricade N
83.7
D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme Gaming Router
81.9
Edimax BR-6504N nMax
76.7
LevelOne N-One WBR-6000
47.3

Maximum throughput tests with mixed 802.11b/g and draft N clients (at 4.5 metres, in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Mixed
Edimax BR-6504N nMax
68
Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next
67.5
SMC SMCWGBR14-N Barricade N
52.4
D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme Gaming Router
50.9
LevelOne N-One WBR-6000
23.9

Long-range throughput tests (measured indoors at 60 metres, in Mbps)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Throughput at 200 feet
D-Link DGL-4500 Xtreme Gaming Router
27
Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next
26.9
SMC SMCWGBR14-N Barricade N
24.3
Edimax BR-6504N nMax
11.4
LevelOne N-One WBR-6000
5.3


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shuurai posted a comment   

The Good:looks pretty

The Bad:bad quality

not reliable...and hot

bought a belkin, its great....! you guys should try belkin

rh27
1
Rating
 

rh27 posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

Died after 6 months. Do not buy!!

Mark
8
Rating
 

Mark posted a review   

The Good:Easy to setup.
Excellent range.
Solid 3G coverage

The Bad:Nothing.

Nice router with mixshredder feature. I like it because of i work on papershredding so my shreddingservices required fast responsive router. This router is best for business. Its reliable and cheap.

bestseed
3
Rating
 

bestseed posted a review   

The Good:Worked great for a short time

The Bad:Very short life.

I had 2 of these and they both quit in less than 6 months. Worked great then totally quit with only the power light on. I cut a 3 inch hole in one and put a fan on it but it quit also.

font9a
2
Rating
 

font9a posted a review   

doesn't deliver 300 mbps. not even half - only up to 130 mbps

Edvins Briedums
2
Rating
 

Edvins Briedums posted a review   

The Good:Very impressive promotion of what it can do. Unfortunatly the advertising convinced me by it's claims.

The Bad:Called "MegaRange" - My previous "D-Link" transmitted to end of the house with Medium strength. This thing, cost 3x the price and claiming to have the greatest of range, hardly gets there with a "very low" and nostly "no signal" .
Boh units stopped transmitting wirhin a short time and have to be replaced.

Good name, but poor quality.
First I bought 10 May 2006 and by Dec 2007 wireless opration ceased.
Bought another 7 Dec 2007, an wirreless operation ceased 12 April 2008.
Warranty jusy about impossible to achieve and left frustrated .Will never replace with Netgear again.

shahafe
9
Rating
 

shahafe posted a review   

The Good:1) Very stable
2) High quality connection
3) Fast link establishment with the laptop
4) Very good speed
5) Very easy to install
6) perfect documentation

The Bad:Works only in low-band (2.4GHz). No support in 5.2[GHz] band.

I installed the router 2 weeks ago(very easy and good installation guide).
The router works perfectly. No connection problems. Inside the all house the speed connection is maximal(130-270 Mbps).
In the garden, the rate was reduced to 54Mbps with very good signal quality.

canberra_photographer
2
Rating
 

canberra_photographer posted a review   
Australia

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Poor quality, prone to burn out after only short time
Cheap styling, quite imposing
Set up has issues with Vista

The range max series from Netgear is well known for its poor quality. I myself had one and experienced the same problems that a multitude of other users had. It overheated and burnt out. Stories exist of users who have had to have their replaced 4 or more times. I didn't bother and got an Airport Extreme Gigabit version. Better styling and very reliable. I would suggest taking a look at the Apple Airport Extreme as well as offerings from dLink and even Belkin over Netgear.




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User Reviews / Comments  Netgear WNR854T RangeMax Next Wireless-N Router Gigabit Edition

  • shuurai

    shuurai

    "not reliable...and hot

    bought a belkin, its great....! you guys should try belkin"

  • rh27

    rh27

    Rating1

    "Died after 6 months. Do not buy!!"

  • Mark

    Mark

    Rating8

    "Nice router with mixshredder feature. I like it because of i work on papershredding so my

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