Have been using the 3800 for 2 weeks with a Dell notebook with Windows XP Home and a Roku internet content streamer. Except for an initial conflict between a Dell wireless utility and Genie application (not the browser GUI Genie), functioning of the 3800 appears to be as expected. I had been using a single band a, b, g wireless adapter - a Broadcom 1395, that came with my Dell notebook. Yesterday, I received an Intel 5300 purchased off eBay. This adapter is a 3X3 450Mbps a,b,g,N card, so I expected the 2X2 dual band 600Mbps (300Mbps per band) to tap into some of the capability of the Intel 5300 card.
I installed the card, all three antenna and the latest drivers off Intel's web site. I did not install any additional software, just the drivers. The card was recognized and I went through setup as per Intel's instruction. Performance has been good in that, unlike my old wireless adapter, I can obtain the full throughput of my ISP on the 2.4 GHz band one story up and through 3 walls away from the router. Not surprisingly, the 5 GHz band is unusable in that same location.
I have the 3800 setup to not broadcast SSID, Channel set to Auto, Mode at Up to 300 Mbps, and security at WPA2-PSK (AES) for both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. There one other Attached Device on the network, a Roku 2 XS, that appears to function properly.
The new Intel 5300 wireless adapter connects and will show a Speed of 300.0 Mbps maximum. Correct me if I am wrong - this speed is as expected given the 300 Mbps maximum per band on the 3800. I wouldn't expect to see 450 Mbps on my Wireless Network Connection Status unless I were using the new WNDR4500 (450 Mbps on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands) or the WNDR4000 (450 Mbps only on the 2.4 GHz band).
A few observations and questions:
1) Compared to the actual wireless router, the icons on the front of the unit do no match the order of the icons in the picture on the box. With the router in the vertical position as in the picture on the box -"NETGEAR" on top followed by the "power" icon, then 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, USB, Ethernet, and then ports 1, 2, 3, 4. The picture on the box show NETGEAR on top followed by the "poer" icon, then ethernet,2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and then ports 4, 3, 2, 1, and finally the USB icon. None of this matters from a functional perspective but it demonstrates Netgear has poor communication between departments or lacks pride for a job done properly. The result is a less professional appearing division of the company.
The blue colored LED on the front of the unit is associated with the 2.4 GHz band in the picture on the box while the blue LED is associated with the 5 GHz on my physical unit. The blue LED light appears to be in the same location on the faceplate for both picture and actual physical router. Again, no functionality is affected.
2) From a discussion with Tech Support, enabling the "Wireless Isolation" feature for a band will prevent file sharing between devices on the network, such as between my wireless notebook and files being shared on my desktop wired to a Gigabit port on the back of the router. Has anyone found a work around? Similarly, does this apply between the wireless notebook and a drive plugged into the USB port on the back of the router whether it is shared as a ReadyShare Cloud or not?
3) I prefer to not broadcast my SSID. According to Tech Support, there is no way to have both the 2.4 Ghz and 5 Ghz connections listed in Wireless Network Connection of Windows XP without broadcasting SSID (one or both?). I have both bands set to automatically connect even if no SSID is broadcast. The 5 GHz band is the "preferred" band that connects at boot and is displayed in the list of wireless networks my adapter receives in the neighborhood. But my 2.4 GHz band connection does not show in the list - I guess because I am not broadcasting it. My question is, can I have both the 2.4 and 5 GHz connections displayed in the list WITHOUT broadcasting so I can easily switch connections as needed?
4) My notebook's Intel 5300 wireless adapter allows for adjusting the "channel width" to either 20 MHz or Auto, which seems to allow for 40 MHz. The Netgear 3800 has no setting for "channel width" or 20 MHz vs Auto (40 MHz?) but it does have the "Mode" setting that you can set for "Up To" 54, 130, or 300 Mbps. When I set the notebook's wireless adapter channel width to "20 MHz" in the 2.4 GHz band then the "Speed" of the connection in Windows "Wireless Network Connection Status" is automatically 130 Mbps even when the 3800 router Mode is set to 300 Mbps. Is the adapter's "channel width" analogous to the router's "Mode" setting?
5) Use of an electric kitchen knife from 3 rooms away on the same level decreased 5 GHz signal from 270-300 Mbps to 80 Mbps despite the notebook being 2 feet from the wireless router.