Although it doesn't support the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocols, the Netgear WNDR3700 wireless-N router is far from obsolete. It supports virtually every Wi-Fi client out there, offering terrific throughput and good range. It's slow when reading or writing to attached storage devices like an external hard drive, however, so don't expect to use it as part of an effective network attached storage (NAS) solution. Still, for those not quite ready to live on the cutting edge, the WNDR3700 is among the best wireless-N routers you can buy.
Easy setup. The Netgear WNDR3700 is a simultaneous dual-band, wireless-N unit that most reviewers find easy to set up.
Among the fastest. The WNDR3700 allows the use of the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands at the same time, at a speed of 300 Mbps per band. This router proves fast, especially at close range, although some testers say throughput speeds on the faster 5 GHz band drop dramatically as they move away from the router. Others say speeds drop mysteriously after a few weeks of use.
The Netgear WNDR3700 crawls as an NAS device, however; it's the slowest in CNET's test and even slower in SmallNetBuilder.com's evaluation, where it takes four minutes and 15 seconds to write a small 2.79 GB file to a disk. At these speeds, CNET says the Netgear's NAS feature is only "suited for light and basic network storage tasks, where only one or two users access the drive at the same time."
While Apple wireless routers win two awards for reliability and have nearly perfect owner ratings at Amazon.com, Netgear gets only average dependability scores at PCMag.com and PC World. In addition, some owners at Amazon.com and Newegg.com complain that the WNDR3700 loses most of its signal strength after a few weeks of use.
External hard-drive sharing. The WNDR3700 comes packed with features, is highly rated for use with both Windows PCs and Macs, and allows wireless external hard-drive sharing. There are four Gigabit LAN ports for other devices, parental controls, the ability to set up guest networks on both bands and a USB port that accepts an external hard drive for wireless sharing. The router also has a traffic meter, which is especially useful if you don't have unlimited Internet access, although it doesn't let you limit the amount of downloading a user can do.
Even though the WNDR3700's USB port can't attach to a printer for wireless sharing, the majority of owners love the router and several experts recommend it, especially for PC-savvy users who love to tweak their equipment. Netgear allows users access to more settings than Apple does.
Unlike the Apple AirPort Extreme, the Netgear WNDR3700 reads the more common Windows NTFS format. For Windows users, this means "you can just plug an existing hard drive with data already on it into the router and share that with the rest of the network," says CNET's Dong Ngo. "Very convenient."
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The Netgear WNDR3700 gets 4 mice out of 5, and is called "business ready" and a "joy to use." Although Jacobi is impressed with the router's speed and reliability, he says this comes only after a difficult setup and configuration process. Once the WNDR3700 is running, "there's no better performing" router for home and small business use. This review also appears in PC World.
Review: Netgear N600 Wireless Dual-band Gigabit Router WNDR3700, Jon L. Jacobi, March 28, 2011
Lynn gives the Netgear WNDR3700 an Editor's Choice award, calling it one of the fastest routers she has ever tested. Its extensive feature set, ease of setup and high throughput combine to provide wireless networking power for both home and business use.
Review: Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router (WNDR3700), Samara Lynn, March 6, 2011
3. Small Net Builder.com
Higgins reviews version 2 of the Netgear WNDR3700 router, which increases flash memory to 16 MB and changes the antenna configuration for the 5 GHz band. He says the original WNDR3700 outperforms the later version in the 5 GHz band.
Review: Netgear WNDR3700v2 N600 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router Reviewed, Tim Higgins, Jan. 20, 2011
4. Small Net Builder.com
With high-end features including guest networks on both bands and "routing speed well above what most of us can use," the Netgear WNDR3700 is one of this site's most highly recommended routers. Detailed tests show how it surpasses two rivals, the Linksys WRT610N -- now the E3000 -- and D-Link DIR-825.
Review: Gentlemen, Start Your Buying: NETGEAR WNDR3700 RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router Reviewed, Tim Higgins, May 11, 2010
The Netgear WNDR3700 beats all rivals, including the D-Link DIR-855 and Cisco Linksys E3000, in this seven-router shootout. It offers the best performance at almost every tested distance on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Brown does find a few flaws, like the lack of USB printer sharing, but you can plug a printer into one of the router's Ethernet ports and share it that way.
Review: Router Roundup: We Review 7 Top-Tier Routers, Michael Brown, Oct. 27, 2010
6. The Wall Street Journal
The Netgear WNDR3700 comes out on top in Fowler's "real-world torture tests" to find a wireless router that isn't "sluggish and flaky." It covers the farthest reaches of his apartment and its performance mode improves its reliability.
Review: No Signal: Homes Often Baffle Wi-Fi From Routers, Geoffrey A. Fowler, Dec. 22, 2010
7. PC & Tech Authority (Australia)
Editors test 12 of the latest wireless-N routers, including the Netgear WNDR3700. Despite its great feature set and "blazing" speed in the 5 GHz band close to the router, they say performance drops dramatically as you move away from the unit. It doesn't win an award here.
Review: Time for Faster Wireless? 12 Latest 802.11n Routers Reviewed, Editors of PC & Tech Authority, June 11, 2010
With more than 925 reviews posted, the Netgear WNDR3700 earns an overall score of 4 eggs out of 5. Its reliability and stability are praised by long-term users, and in contrast to professional reviews, some owners find it easy to set up and configure.
Review: NETGEAR WNDR3700-100NAS Wireless Gigabit Open Source Router/USB Port Rangemax 2.4/5 GHz Simultaneous N600 Dual Band IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, IEEE 802.3/3u/3ab, Contributors to Newegg.com, As of July 2013
The Netgear WNDR3700 gets an overall rating of 3.6 stars out of 5 from more than 2,025 users. Although more than 980 owners give the router a perfect 5 stars, others complain that it fails after weeks or months of use.
Review: NETGEAR Wireless Router - N600 Dual Band Gigabit (WNDR3700), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of July 2013
The Netgear WNDR3700 earns a spot on CNET's list of the best wireless routers in 2009. After a full test, Ngo says the router could be quicker, but its "decent" performance and robust features -- including network-attached storage -- make it a great choice for "networking enthusiasts who also want a quick and easy network storage solution."
Review: Netgear WNDR3700 RangeMax Dual Band Wireless-N Gigabit Router Review (Premium Edition), Dong Ngo, Sept. 23, 2009
11. Information Week
The Netgear WNDR3700 "truly is packed with features," which O'Brien lists briefly along with details on five other routers he recommends. Although this website does evaluate routers, O'Brien doesn't discuss any performance testing here.
Review: 802.11n Router Buyer's Guide, Bill O'Brien, June 5, 2010