Netgear N600 Wireless Router

The Netgear N600 is a well designed, high quality router that should satisfy most users’ needs not just in today’s ADSL world, but well into the the NBN future. Providing wireless connectivity on both the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz bands, the setup of this modem was one of the easiest that I’ve encountered, and the connection points provide for a measure of future proofing as we move towards the NBN infrastructure.

Netgear N600 Modem/Router

Netgear N600 Modem/Router

Let’s talk about the setup process: Easy as! Plug phone line into the phone port on the modem. Plug one end of the ethernet cable into one of the four gigabit ethernet ports on the modem, and the other end into your computer. Plug in the power pack and connect it to a suitable power socket; turn the modem on.

Wait for about a minute or two until the modem has booted, and then open up a browser window and go to the modem’s dedicated internal URI; enter the user ID and password, and bypass the update procedure (as per the start-up guide’s instructions), and let the modem auto detect the settings that are needed. Enter your ISP’s connection credentials if needed, and you’re done, and online.

Adding a wireless device to the network is pretty easy too; the best way, I believe, is to activate MAC address filtering, thus ensuring that only pre-defined computers may connect wirelessly to your LAN. This, too, was a fairly easy process, and along the way it provides you with a means to tag each MAC address with a label that lets you identify the device being added to the list. Too often this is something that is not considered by the manufacturers, and a year later, you’re left guessing which address in the list belongs to which device. With a little care, you won;t have this problem with the N600.

Transfer speeds, both wired and wireless, were very good, with downloads happening in minimal timeframes relative to the connection in place.

Where the N600 scores a few extra points, for me, is in a couple of design elements: as well as a phone line connection for your upstreamĀ  ADSL connection, there is also a WAN port provided. While this allows you to connect to an existing ADSL modem if you wish, it will also let you connect to your future fibre modem when you connect to the NBN. Good thinking, Netgear.

There’s also two USB ports on the modem; these allow you to connect external USB drives to your network, effectively and easily converting them to NAS storage. I had no issues connecting two different drives to the N600, and accessing their content from other machines on the network.

My only niggle with this device relates not to the device itself, but to the firmware’s web interface. The interface that you will see in your browser is a three column web page. The leftmost column is your menu, and the middle column is your work area. It changes the displayed data based upon your current selection from the menu in the left hand column.

The right hand column is for help, and it too changes its context based upon your current working area within the centre column. While it’s good to have context sensitive help readily at hand, I question the need to have it permanently on display. It’s presence reduces the screen real estate that you would otherwise have, and it really makes the screen look very busy and cramped. Potentially, this could be quite intimidating for many users. This is especially true on laptops and netbooks, which by definition have smaller screens and less available real estate.

By all means, make comprehensive help available, but please, make its display optional. Let the user choose when they need to see it, and let the screens look a little less busy, and therefore, less intimidating.

Otherwise, this is a modem router that I can highly recommend; if you’re looking for a new one, I would definitely have this on my list.