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Review of Netgear WNDR3800 Wireless N600 Router

post #1 of 352
Thread Starter 
I wrote this review to share my experience with the new Netgear WNDR3800 wireless router. I have been using a preproduction unit for several weeks. Functionally it is the same as the shipping units except that my unit has half the memory of the shipping units. The memory limitation of my unit would affect Time Machine support which I did not test.

Bob Silver
Netgear AV Consultant


Overview

The new Netgear WNDR3800 router is in my opinion is the logical successor to the widely popular WNDR3700. The 3700 was a feature rich high performance dual band router with features aimed at the performance users and media users in the home networking space. The WNDR3800 takes all that was great about the 3700 and adds several new and innovative features as well as enhanced and updated functions of the WNDR3700. For me the WNDR3800 feature set sets a new bar on performance and capabilities for anyone looking for a high performance feature rich wireless dual band network router.

New Features in the WNDR3800

Clear Channel Technology

The 3800 adds new enterprise grade technology such as Clear Channel interference prevention technology. This new technology allows the router to automatically communicate with its wireless client's to instruct them to move to the clearest possible channel in the 2,4 g band to gain the maximum wireless performance in this increasingly crowded wireless wifi spectrum. The use of Clear Channel is a big step up in my opinion. The 2.4ghz band is very crowded. Every wifi device uses 2.4ghz. And many other wireless devices use this space as well. And more so if you live in an apartment or city area where you have many neighbors who have wireless networks. This is an ingenious solution to a complex problem. And the WNDR3800 is the only consumer / prosumer router on the market to offer it to my knowledge. Clear Channel works completely in the background. No settings to worry about. Nothing you need to do. Just use your devices as normal and the WNDR3800 takes care of the rest. It just works providing the clearest wireless connection possible based on your environment

ReadyShare Cloud

Other new features over the WNDR3700 are the enhancements to the router's ReadyShare USB file sharing technology. This technology has been further developed to provide a true cloud based file sharing experience. The new technology is now called ReadyShare Cloud. This is a very useful aspect of the Netgear routers has been enhanced dramatically. Ready Share Cloud is a complete Cloud solution for users that want easy available access to all of their data be it locally or anywhere they have web access. In addition Netgear has a completely new design on the user interface providing a true Windows Explorer like experience that makes it feel the remote drive you are accessing is really a local drive. This is very unlike cloud experiences I have had including those from DropBox, SugarSync and other cloud based sharing systems. On top of that I have a 500gb drive connected to my 3800 so my limits of storage are so say the least large. And the WNDR3800 will accept larger drives so in essence you really will have all the shared storage you will need.

Additionally Netgear has enhanced Ready Share Cloud further by the development of both IOS and Android clients. This provides users with a complete mobile access point to their cloud based shared files. At this time there is no Mac client available but that will be forthcoming later in the year.
Both the IOS and Android clients offer a very seamless experience accessing your ReadyShare Cloud storage. When you log in using the user name and password you set up when you set up the 3800 ReadyShare Cloud you are taken to the top menu which will list the WNDR3800 (or whatever you may have changed the name to). You then just drill down the folder structure until you reach the appropriate folder or file you are looking for. The IOS and the Android apps operate very similarly with the only differences being inherent in the devices themselves.


For more information check out the video on Ready Share Cloud here www.netgear.com/readyshare. Seeing it will really help understand it.


Netgear Genie and new UI

The user interfaces of all routers to date have been at best cryptic. I always thought Netgear had a better UI than any other I had seen but I still found myself stumbling around to change a setting or turn on a function. Additionally you really had no idea what was happening on your network unless you downloaded some third party app to track network traffic etc. There was nothing that provided a complete network dashboard and the ability to command and control what is happening on your network.
Well the addition of Netgear's new UI and the Netgear Genie solve this problem in a very easy to understand and highly functional new user interface. First is the login screen of the router. It itself is a highly informative login screen. It provides a quick snapshot of what is happening on your network. To the left of the dashboard are all the sections to controls you will use in setting up your router. It is all very logical and easy to use. I found this this router setup up to be a breeze.

The standalone Netgear Genie application takes this dashboard a step forward. It provides some of the same capability of the web based log in Genie to remotely manage some of the user functions of your router but adds a whole new level of management and control by clearly snapshotting all of the activity going on in your network real-time. This helps you understand what devices are attached, what devices are active, how much network activity is taking place and what you're up and download activity on your internet connect is. It is a very handy tool. One I am beginning to rely upon greatly.


Printer Sharing

Other enhancements to the WNDR3800 are the option of using its USB port for printer sharing as well. This does not prevent the use of the Ready Share Cloud but is an additional service available to the user. If using both a hard drive and printer you must add a USB hub to the WNDR3800 but other than that it is pretty straightforward to setup. In the usb setup menu are 3 options Basic (local use only), ReadyShare Cloud and ReadyShare Printer. Each selection takes you to the appropriate setup instructions and links that will get you going in minutes.
Using printer sharing requires the download of a small application that manages the usb connections. In my experience the printer sharing acts more like a switch in that only one computer can be connected to the printer at any one time. I am using a multifunction printer and what is nice is all the functions operate seamlessly on my wifi connected laptop. Something I could never do before. But given the fact these are single user printers Netgear had to build in multi user logic. The USB Control Center handles this by auto disconnecting a manually connected computer after a preset time. This allows for automatic selection when you want to print from other computers. If a printer is busy the USB Control Center sends a message to the other computer asking it to disconnect. It all works but as any of these solutions are work a rounds it will never be as seamless as a network connected multiuser printer. But for my purposes it gets the job done.

Apple Time Machine and TIVO Support

Other features of the WNDR3800 are Apple Time Machine backup support. This feature is not current active since with Apple's release of Lion Netgear had to go back and rework the code for this. Netgear claims that they will have the update for Time Machine by Q4 if not before. There will also be a limit to 300gb per backup. So keep that in mind as well.
The WNDR3800 also supports TIVO's. This will allow you to use your attached ReadyShare storage for TIVO recording storage. As I am not a TIVO user I can't comment. But those that are it is another plus.

Video Mode

While this is a carryover from the WNDR3700 the Video Mode option on the 5ghz band is a unique and important asset to these Netgear routers. Basically when you select this mode the router detects the type of data being passed through. When it detects video content it will throttle down the speed to provide the most consistent throughput which is what is needed for video. This is an important distinction. When I am passing data for a web page for example I don't mind if the download pauses for a second or two. I certainly will mind if it happens while watching video since my video will stop and freeze. With the use of the Video Mode and a Guest Network setting I have a video network in my home that is dedicated to when I am watching video on my laptop or iPad. This is a terrific and often unknown feature of these routers one I highly recommend for media consumers.

Summary and Experience

The WNDR3800 carries over the best of the WNDR3700 and adds a plethora of new and valuable features. Each user will certainly find a different level of priority on the feature set. For me as an example Ready Share Cloud and the Network Genie are at the top of my list. That follows with the Printer Sharing and the Video mode. Clear Channel I believe will be important buying decision for most but since I live in an suburban area with a lot space between houses congestion wasn't so much a problem. But managing my network with over 30 actives devices is.

The performance of the WNDR3800 has been excellent. I am not an engineer so I didn't do exhaustive networking tests. I just have been living with it for several weeks now. I have a large home network and use my network for passing a lot of HD media files. I do this both wired and wirelessly. The 3800 has worked great so far. My wireless devices connect quickly to the WNDR3800, signal strength is good and my coverage is excellent. With the added bonus of the extras like Ready Share Cloud, Genie and Printer Sharing I don't know what else I could ask for in a router. I believe anyone looking for a wireless router today would be hard pressed to do better than the WNDR3800. Frankly I don't know how you can do better than this. It is just that good.
post #2 of 352
Great review, Bob.
Can you scan on the multifunction printer or just print?
What printer model are you using?
Thanks,
Victor
post #3 of 352
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by vicmdv View Post

Great review, Bob.
Can you scan on the multifunction printer or just print?
What printer model are you using?
Thanks,
Victor

Yes you can scan. In fact I can use the actual software that my printer uses. I am using a Canon MP530. The ability to use the Canon software was important to me and the 3800 handles it fine because the computer thinks the printer is directly connected to it. The Netgear USB Manager also has a scanning function but I havnt used it since it works seamlessly with my printers software.

Bob
post #4 of 352
Thread Starter 
For anyone researching a this router for the first time I had started a thread months ago comparing the WNDR3800 to the WNDR4000. This thread has been very active and has a lot of information that may be of interest. The thread link is

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=1323800

But since that thread is getting long I would like to move any 3800 questions to this thread. So ask away and Ill do my best to get your questions answered.

Bob Silver
Netgear AV Consultant
post #5 of 352
I pre-ordered the WNDR3800 from Amazon but it still shows up on the Amazon site as not being shipped and an expected delivery date between August 30 and September 27. From your prior posts, it sounds like it has already been going through distribution channels this week. Any idea when vendors like Amazon will have it for shipment to customers?
post #6 of 352
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by robgold View Post

I pre-ordered the WNDR3800 from Amazon but it still shows up on the Amazon site as not being shipped and an expected delivery date between August 30 and September 27. From your prior posts, it sounds like it has already been going through distribution channels this week. Any idea when vendors like Amazon will have it for shipment to customers?

Netgear is still working with Amazon to get the ship dates fixed. Dont know why it is taking so long.

But here are some other links where you can place orders in case Amazon doesn't get it together.

J&R - http://www.jr.com/netgear/pe/NTG_WND...DZipdsT7nF8yKQ



Dell - http://accessories.us.dell.com/sna/p...796839-8853418



http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...l/-/B0058NN6CS



And as I stated earlier units should ship to customers by the 3rd week in August. This still looks good.
post #7 of 352
Bob-

I purchased a Linksys E4200 2 days ago, but i learned about the WNDR3800 today. I am very interested in the ReadySHARE Cloud services; especially the Android application associated with it.
I have two questions concerning the WNDR3800:
-Will this router be available within the next 20 days?
-will BestBuy carry it?
-Will Netgear eventually charge for the ReadySHARE Cloud service? When you look on the product webpage, the following verbiage is listed:

ReadySHARE Cloud Service is free until January 1, 2013 with purchase of WNDR3800 Router. Thereafter, annual fees or surcharges may apply.

Thank you for your detailed information concerning the WNDR3800.
post #8 of 352
Thread Starter 
The router will be available with in the next week or so from Amazon Frys and J&R. Best Buy will start to carry it in October.

Regard the Cloud cost Netgear us undecided. They sell the iOS and Android apps for $2.99. My guess is they will leave it at that but it is a guess based on conversations I have had.
post #9 of 352
Hi Bob

Been following the two threads with a lot of interest and I definitely want to get the WNDR3800 when it gets to the UK or even Europe. Resellers in the UK were saying it was going to be available by the middle of next week but now I'm being told that date is no longer correct and no new date is available. Any chance you could find out what is happening with availability in the UK and who is likely to be the first reseller with stock? Amazon UK doesn't even know it exists!

Thanks

norm
post #10 of 352
Thread Starter 
Product will be available in Europe and Uk by 1st week of Sept. Possibly the week before but plan on Sept. When I get more details I'll post.

Bob
post #11 of 352
Hey Bob,

What do you know about the WNDR4500. Best buy had it on their website yesterday morning - central time (you can still find the cached page on google). I've had a 3700 and a 37AV and both had the exact same problem, the 2.4Ghz radio died. The 3700 lasted one year and 20 days....grr...the 37AV lasted 7 mos. I bought the protection plan from BB on the last one so I now hold a store credit but they have no 3800's in stock.

I also found a review of the WNDR4500 but that also seems to have disappeared and I can't find the cached page either but they said it used new broadcomm radios. Does the 3800 use broadcomm? I have no 2.4 Ghz network atm so I need to do something fast. I dont' want another 37XX. The WNDR4000 has some feature weaknesses. The 3800 would work but I would pay the extra $ for the 4500.
post #12 of 352
From Best Buy website:

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$179.99


•Great Financing Offer





New! NETGEAR - N900 Dual Band Wireless-N Router with 5-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch

Model: WNDR4500-100NAS | SKU: 3219043

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Backordered, Available online or order in store

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post #13 of 352
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swjtx View Post

Hey Bob,

What do you know about the WNDR4500. Best buy had it on their website yesterday morning - central time (you can still find the cached page on google). I've had a 3700 and a 37AV and both had the exact same problem, the 2.4Ghz radio died. The 3700 lasted one year and 20 days....grr...the 37AV lasted 7 mos. I bought the protection plan from BB on the last one so I now hold a store credit but they have no 3800's in stock.

I also found a review of the WNDR4500 but that also seems to have disappeared and I can't find the cached page either but they said it used new broadcomm radios. Does the 3800 use broadcomm? I have no 2.4 Ghz network atm so I need to do something fast. I dont' want another 37XX. The WNDR4000 has some feature weaknesses. The 3800 would work but I would pay the extra $ for the 4500.


Well first off sorry to hear about the 3700 issues. Did you contact Netgear to get the units replaced? I have not heard of any radio issues. I own 3 3700. Two are several years old and have had no issues with any of them. If you need help I can possibly intervene with Netgear to get your 3700 replaced.



Bob
post #14 of 352
This is truly frustrating. As far as I can tell, the WNDR 3800 is exactly what I've been looking to buy... for months. Netgear's web site and virtually every online retailer simply says "coming soon." I've ordered from Amazon, which tells me to expect delivery by October. Here is a hands on review of the new router - this obviously is at last an idea that has been made into flesh and blood, but nobody in the retail consumer universe seems to be able to put hands on one. My repeated inquiries direct to Netgear's online customer support, asking about a release date and for the identity of a retail source have never been answered. Great marketing strategy for consumer electronics products!
post #15 of 352
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chambolle View Post

This is truly frustrating. As far as I can tell, the WNDR 3800 is exactly what I've been looking to buy... for months. Netgear's web site and virtually every online retailer simply says "coming soon." I've ordered from Amazon, which tells me to expect delivery by October. Here is a hands on review of the new router - this obviously is at last an idea that has been made into flesh and blood, but nobody in the retail consumer universe seems to be able to put hands on one. My repeated inquiries direct to Netgear's online customer support, asking about a release date and for the identity of a retail source have never been answered. Great marketing strategy for consumer electronics products!


Units are in route now. You should see product ship from Frys and Amazon by end of next week or early part of the following week.. As for Amazon their dates are not correct. They will have product within the next week but shipping customer orders depends on their product backlog based on a first order in first out basis.

As to my review unit it is a preproduction unit. There are no final units out yet. As I stated they will be here next week. You will start to see other reviews and comments on the product soon as other reviewers get units.

If you can hang on another week or two you should be OK.

Bob
post #16 of 352
Any Screenshots of the GUI available for the 3800?
post #17 of 352
Hi Bob,

No, I did not contact Netgear as the first one was about 20 days past the one year warranty and I bought the BB protection plan for the second so I took it back yesterday and now hold a store credit for the full purchase price which should get me a 3800 if they ever show up on the shelf. I stuck the old one back in service until I can get something else so ATM no 2.4 Ghz network wihich runs all my home security wireless cameras...so no security or wireless for wifey since her laptop only has 2.4.

Thanks for the additional info on the 4500. I'd rather have the 3800 features over the 4500 speed, especially since nothing I have has the right wireless NIC. 450 MB on the 2.4 was attractive however...

I'm going to feel like a noopid sterd standing in line at midnight at BB for a "cough" router...
post #18 of 352
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by swjtx View Post

Hi Bob,

No, I did not contact Netgear as the first one was about 20 days past the one year warranty and I bought the BB protection plan for the second so I took it back yesterday and now hold a store credit for the full purchase price which should get me a 3800 if they ever show up on the shelf. I stuck the old one back in service until I can get something else so ATM no 2.4 Ghz network wihich runs all my home security wireless cameras...so no security or wireless for wifey since her laptop only has 2.4.

Thanks for the additional info on the 4500. I'd rather have the 3800 features over the 4500 speed, especially since nothing I have has the right wireless NIC. 450 MB on the 2.4 was attractive however...

I'm going to feel like a noopid sterd standing in line at midnight at BB for a "cough" router...


Swijtx,

Well I have great news for you. I took your story back to Netgear and they are going to send you a new 3800 free of charge. They really appreciated your commitment to Netgear and want to say thanks. Netgear really cares for its customers and always wants to do the right thing.

So if you can send me your address and contact info in a private message Netgear will ship you a new brand new 3800. You should see it sometime after August 30th.

Bob
post #19 of 352
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magoo30 View Post

Any Screenshots of the GUI available for the 3800?


Check out this review just posted. Has UI screen shots and even more detail.

http://www.myopenrouter.com/article/...Router-Review/

Bob
post #20 of 352
Thanks would like to see a simulator online at some point!
post #21 of 352
Hi Bob,
I'm still using a WGT624 router. Wireless was not a huge concern for me so as a pre, pre-N unit, it suited my needs. Now that the boys are getting older, I've been looking at upgrading. The 3800 sounds like the answer. One of the greatest advantages of the old 624 router is that it had great coverage when needed. Not necessarily fast, but with the router located upstairs in my office, I could reach downstairs and in the backyard. I tested last year's Apple Extreme and found, while it was faster, it also had far less coverage (barely reached downstairs, let alone outside).

Has there been any word on testing the range of the 3800?

Thanks,
John
post #22 of 352
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by teamssj View Post

Hi Bob,
I'm still using a WGT624 router. Wireless was not a huge concern for me so as a pre, pre-N unit, it suited my needs. Now that the boys are getting older, I've been looking at upgrading. The 3800 sounds like the answer. One of the greatest advantages of the old 624 router is that it had great coverage when necessary. Not necessarily fast, but with the router upstairs in my office, I could reach downstairs and in the backyard. I tested last year's Apple Extreme and had far less coverage, just on the floor below (let alone outside).

Has there been any word on the range of the 3800?

Thanks,
John

Range on the 3800 is similar to that of the 3700 which I would say is good to excellent. A lot has to do where you place the router. In my case I have the worst possible situation. It sits under my desk between 2 tower pc's. So it is low and crowded by metal electronics. Cant ask for worse. Even in that situation I get range all through my 3k sq ft ranch house and outside too. So based on my exeperience it is very good.

And if you look at posts on the wndr3700 you will see that it also ranked high in this area too.

So I believe you will be happy.

But one other note. The 5g range is less then the 2.4 g range so keep that in mind. I use the 2.4 for iphone, web cams and other general devices. I use the 5 g for my laptop , ipad and some media devices. 5g is about 2/3 what the 2.4 will give you in regards to range.

Bob
post #23 of 352
Hi Bob,

Wow, that is good news. I'll see if I can figure out how to pm you.

Edit: I believe I figured it out and replied.

I thanked you in the PM but would also like to do that here. Thanks for making my case and thanks to Netgear for their very gracious consideration. Based on a lot of research, the chances of buying one with this issue is a rare occurrence and I would have a better chance at the lotto than having it happen twice. Regardless of those issues, I'd still rather have a Netgear router and their consideration affirms my choice.

Thanks again,

swjtx
post #24 of 352
Good news, I was in Fry's yesterday (8/17) and they had a shelf labeled for the 3800. Price 179.99. Guy said they should be in 'soon'. I've been living with a DLINK DGL-4300 that's great overall, but my wireless devices will not stay connected more than a few days, have to power cycle the router to get them to connect again. Really looking forward to the 3800.

Bob, appreciate all the updates!

R&R
post #25 of 352
I also stopped by Fry's yesterday (8/18) to see if they had any info on when this router may be in. Sales guy said that they had been told last week that it would be a couple of weeks. So, hopefully next week we may be able to get our hands on one.

Also, another thanks to Bob. I have been following the other tread for months waiting for this router.

Scott
post #26 of 352
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by carsc9999 View Post

I also stopped by Fry's yesterday (8/18) to see if they had any info on when this router may be in. Sales guy said that they had been told last week that it would be a couple of weeks. So, hopefully next week we may be able to get our hands on one.

Also, another thanks to Bob. I have been following the other tread for months waiting for this router.

Scott

Frys should have them by mid next week. They hit the San Jose docks on Monday. Frys has an ad planned on Sept 2 for the product as well. So you are days away.

Bob
post #27 of 352
For all the UK readers, the 3800 is showing on the UK Netgear web site as

'Coming Soon'
http://www.netgear.co.uk/home/produc.../WNDR3800.aspx
post #28 of 352
Quote:
Originally Posted by plaver View Post

For all the UK readers, the 3800 is showing on the UK Netgear web site as

'Coming Soon'
http://www.netgear.co.uk/home/produc.../WNDR3800.aspx

Unfortunately it's been like that for weeks

I've emailed Kikatek and Lambada-Tek (both have it listed on their website as out of stock) The first one said that they are no longer expecting stock and the second said they have no ETA from their suppliers.

So basically us folks in the UK aren't getting it for a while!
post #29 of 352
Hi Bob,

Thanks a lot for these 2 threads. I'm looking to change my old Belkin routeur, and move to Wifi n.
I was looking at difference between 3700 and 4000, when I found all your informations about the 3800.
I can't wait to have it available in Europe. Few weeks to wait...
post #30 of 352
Quote:
Originally Posted by bobsilver View Post

Ok got a partial answer. There will be no UK specific 3800. There will be a unit in Europe but you will need to get a power adapter for UK plugs. I am waiting to hear where you will be able to order this from. The proper sku will be WNDR3800-100PES. I'll let you know more when I have details.

Clearly Bob knows what he's talking about! Had an email from one of the UK resellers

"I have received the below update from my purchasing team:

WNDR3800-100UKS is EOL and the replacement is WNDR3800-100PES
2 week lead time
"

The disappointing thing is that they are now quoting another two weeks! And who knows if that will be stuck to.
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