|At a glance|
|Product||NETGEAR WNDR4500 N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router [Website]|
|Summary||High performance dual-band, three-stream 802.11abgn router with bandwidth metering, external USB drive and printer sharing w/ UPnP AV / DLNA media server and completely new admin GUI.|
|Pros||• Revamped user interface|
• Many new features including printer sharing
|Cons||• Fewer features than the WNDR3800|
Typical Price: $129 Compare Prices Check Amazon
Updated 11/7/2011: Link to two stream retest
The WNDR4500 is probably the last of NETGEAR's new router introductions for the year. Depending on how you look at it, it either pushes aside the WNDR4000 or WNDR3800 for top-router-dog spot in NETGEAR's current lineup.
The table below, which I pulled from the WNDR3800 New to the Charts review, shows the current offerings, which may be one or two too many and drive some consumers into a brain freeze when it comes to choosing one.
Figure 1: NETGEAR Top-End Router line
The first thing that stuck me about the 4500 was its weight and size. The router itself is a bit larger and heavier than any of its predecessors. Part of that weight comes from the clear plastic non-removable base that runs the entire length of the router. I suppose you could lay the router on its side, but, given the design, NETGEAR clearly doesn't want you to.
However, a bigger contributor to the 4500's box weight is the brick-style 12V @ 5A external power supply that you'd more expect to come packed with a NAS. Apparently, the technology that makes the 4500 tick has a significantly larger power appetite than your typical router.
The controls and ports are pretty standard for NETGEAR's top-end WNDRs. The front panel gets both wireless on / off and WiFi Protected Setup (WPS) buttons and all the indicators you'd expect.
Figure 2: WNDR4500 front panel callouts
The main difference on the rear panel is two USB 2.0 ports vs. the usual one. So you can connect both a USB printer and USB drive to share, without having to juggle connections or deal with a USB hub.
Figure 3: WNDR4500 back panel callouts
NETGEAR requested a 180 day block that went into effect at the end of July on most of the informative FCC docs. So after testing was complete, I opened up my review unit to see what I could see. I got as far as looking at the bottom view shown in Figure 4.
Figure 4: WNDR4500 inside
All six antennas (three each for each of two radios) are glued to the top and side of the top cover, making it difficult to flip the board over. I decided it wasn't worth it, after a brief peek at the top side of the board revealed heatsinks on just about all the key components.
Some poking around turned up a post on the DD-WRT forum, saying the 4500 has a Broadcom BCM4718 chipset. But since that chipset supports only dual-stream N, that's not likely.
Instead, two BCM4331 Single-Chip 802.11n Dual-Band 3x3 SoCs is my guess, which NETGEAR confirmed. They also said that external power amps and low-noise front-ends are also baked into the design to further tweak wireless performance.
NETGEAR told me that, instead of sharing one of the 4331's CPUs for routing duties, a Broadcom BCM4706 is used, which is a 600 MHz MIPS32 74K Core processor. We also know, because it's right on the 4500's datasheet, that the 4500 has 128 MB each of RAM and flash.
I've assembled the comparison table below that has guesses only for the Gigabit switch.
|CPU||Broadcom BCM4706||Broadcom BCM4718|
|Switch||Broadcom BCM53115 (?)||Broadcom BCM53115 (?)|
|RAM||128 MB||64 MB|
|Flash||128 MB||8 MB|
|2.4 GHz Radio||- BCM4331
- 2.4 GHz power amps (x3) (?)
|- in BCM4718
- SiGE 2528L 2.4 GHz power amps (x2)
|5 GHz radio||
- Broadcom BCM4331
- Broadcom BCM4331
Table 1: WNDR4500 and WNDR4000 components
You can think of the 4500 as a three-stream version of the WNDR3800, but with fewer features. The briefing material from NETGEAR positions the 3800 as a "lifestyle" option and the 4500 for "performance" buyers.
The table back in Figure 1 shows you won't be able to use the 4500's "ultimate USB storage performance" for your Apple Time Machine backups. Nor will you be able to remotely access it via the ReadyShare Cloud feature.
On a more positive note, you do get the new Genie interface that I first saw in the WNDR3800 and you also get its same IPv6 WAN connection features. Craig Ellison will be going through the 3800's new features and interface in a review that will post later this week or early next and I'll refer you there when it posts.
Figure 5: WNDR4500 Advanced Home
In the meantime, suffice it to say that all of NETGEAR's traditional routing features have been carried to the 4500; they just have a new look. You can also download the user manual for more details.
Average user rating from: 5 user(s)
NOTE! Please post product reviews from actual experience only.
Questions, review comments and opinions about products not based on actual use will not be published.
|User Rating [Back to Top]||Overall:||3.3||Features :||3.2||Performance :||3.2||Reliability :||3.4|
Don't waste your money - Choose something reliable
December 02, 2012
Report this review
I have had several problems with this router!!! Every time there is a glitch in power the router seems to lose its firmware load. Another issue is that the Wi-FI continually hangs up or bogs the system wireless system and clients cannot connect to the router and I have to restart the router. Customer service based OCONUS is terrible too. I believe my support was India based. While trying to figure out how to reload my firmware by talking to the India support center, I was hung up on 2x because they could not fix my problem I guess. And after being passed around to several support personnel this is frustrating. Also to reload your firmware, you must be familiar with tftp. Really!! Why can't Netgear come up with a software package that will automatically reinstall the firmware.
Features - a firewall with more features would be great.
On a positive note, when the router is running it is fairly fast.
May 01, 2012
Report this review
Extremely frustrating! It will not hook up wirelessly to my Netgear adapter. I have reviewed all the documentation (what little there is) and checked all the settings, tried the setupo wizard that came with the adapter card and tried Windows network setup. Nothing. Called the free 24/7 technical help line, 4 time and failed to reach anybody who could help. Looks like it goes back to Fry's
LOW UPLOAD PERFORMANCE
April 18, 2012
Report this review
I did install today the wireless router. The download performance is good (WAN LAN), the full 95Mbit is achieved. The upload is very bad, it's only 30Mbit (WAN LAN) and very unstable speed. With my old wifi router (WL306) 92Mbit could be achieved.
Don't buy this router for the good performance!
It just works!
October 22, 2011
Report this review
I have been running this router for about a month now without any problems WHATSOEVER. I have 14 devices connected including a FIOS router, ROKU, PS3, Wii, 3 iPhones, iPod touches, and PCs. I get my fully provisioned speed (download and upload) through WAN when testing with a gigabit hard wired PC.
I am quite surprised about the poor 2.4 performance tests, but maybe less is better. In comparison to the RT-56U, which I also used previously, there is no stuttering at all when streaming to a PS3 through the media server. Likewise, streaming to a ROKU works flawlessly. Signals are stable throughout my 3-level home with no disconnects. inSSIDer shows that the 2.4 defaults to 217 Mbps, while the 5 radio defaults to 450 Mbps.
Guest network also works great, something RT-N56U does not even offer. The guest network, however, is not on a different subnet as in the E4200 (advantage for E4200).
The Web interface seems a bit slow, but it has all the information you need, including attached devices and traffic meter. I personally like the RT-N56U interface better, though.
IPv6 seems to work automatically (6to4), although FIOS does not support it.
Love it so far
October 13, 2011
Report this review
I needed something to replace my really old WRT54G. After a lot of research, I decided on the WNDR4500. I had also looked at the Asus RT-N56U, the Cisco E4200 and the Netgear 3800 and 4000. You can find somebody with negative comments about anything and usually it is their own fault but, even though they seemed to have high performance, it sounded like the Asus was prone to reliability issues and the Cisco lacked features. I was ready to purchase the Netgear 4000 when I heard about the 4500 (which had just been released). Per some additional research, the features and performance looked very promising. I didn't need all the 3-stream immediately, but may in the near future. That and the improved LAN-WAN performance, among other things, made it seem worth the few extra dollars.
I purchased it from Amazon and got it the next day (thank you Amazon Prime). After unboxing it and checking everything out, I hooked it up to the dsl modem and hard wired it to the laptop. It determined the settings of my ISP automatically and I was connected to the internet within a few minutes. I let it update the bios and then set up the basic wireless. After about 15-20 minutes, most basic users could be done.
I spent the next couple of hours maticulously going feature by feature. I set up the IPV6 tunneling and custom wireless SSIDs and security. I set up the static IP addresses for the QNAP TS-219P+, the PS3, the B/W laser and the Color multi-function. I then set up wireless for the Dell laptop, the Macbook Pro and the NOOK. I set up a few more features, but was really impressed with the parental surfing controls. They work great. Much better than software!
So far, I have not had any drops and have had strong signals everywhere on the first and second floors (the router is in the basement and I have a wood framed house). The wireless speeds are SIGNIFICANTLY faster than my WRT54G. I know, not much of a comparison, but it also seems much faster than any other networks that I connect to (Panera, Starbucks, hotels, etc.). The actual hard-wired routing is blazing fast. The speeds between my desktop and NAS are incredible. I have no complaints with performance yet.
My only beef is Netgear's warranty information, or lack thereof. They heavily advertise a lifetime warranty on several other WNDR products. On their website, the WNDR4500 is listed as "varies by location" and does not have the lifetime warranty icon/picture. Newegg says it is lifetime. BestBuy says 1 year. Amazon says nothing about warranty. I sent an email to Netgear Tech Support and they replied that it had a 1 year warrant. I called Netgear Customer Service with a pre-sales question and they said it was lifetime. I emailed Tech Support again (explaining the phone call) and they replied that Customer Service had better information than Tech Support and to go with them. I re-called Customer Service who reiterated that the warranty is lifetime. I purchased the WNDR4500 with the understanding that it has a lifetime warranty, so it better!
Either way, I love the router!!!
Related Items:NETGEAR WNDR4500 Retest
New To The Charts: NETGEAR WNDR3800 N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Ro
Three Stream N Performance: Two More
WD My Net N900 5 GHz Retest
New To The Wireless Charts: TRENDnet TEW-691GR 450Mbps Wireless N Giga