As one of CNET's top five wireless routers of 2011, the Netgear WNDR3800's performance and features come highly rated. Considered the successor to Netgear's WNDR3700 (our pick for best advanced Windows router), the WNDR3800 has almost identical hardware but more features and an updated administration interface. Its ease of use is highly regarded, as is its speed. It doesn't garner as many raves and awards as the WNDR3700, and some of its features may be overkill for the average user.
CD-less installation. Reviewers love how easy it is to set up and use the Netgear WNDR3800 due to its Genie interface, a downloadable, standalone application to manage, monitor and repair the network. Dong Ngo of CNET says the interface is similar to Cisco Connect, which comes with the Linksys E4200, but Netgear's interface has more detailed instructions and deeper access to the router's settings. Novice users can plug the router in and turn it on to install the basic prefigured settings, while experienced users can use the web interface to configure the router to their needs. SmallNetBuilder.com's Craig Ellison praises Netgear's decision to provide CD-less installation, because more netbooks, ultrabooks and tablets lack CD readers. He says changes to the network were applied quickly, within 30 seconds.
Speed receives praise. The WNDR3800's speed is praised by reviewers like Ngo, in whose tests the unit outperforms the Cisco Linksys E4200 (Est. $190) and the WNDR3700 (Est. $85) in both the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands. The WNDR3800's range isn't as far as that of the Linksys E4200. At SmallNetBuilder.com, tests show that the WNDR3800's speed is comparable to that of the WNDR3700.
Access to cloud-based data storage. The Netgear WNDR3800 router has some attributes not found in other routers from any manufacturer. With simultaneous dual-band capabilities in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, it has the now-standard technology of four GbE ports and one WAN port, but just one USB 2.0 port for connecting printers or storage devices. Unlike other premium routers that have only one guest network, the WNDR3800 can run two, one on each band.
This unit's add-ons are what set it apart from other routers, even other Netgear models. Its novel ReadyShare Cloud feature, which supports cloud-based data storage, allows users to access data stored on a connected USB external hard drive via the Internet; users get a free subscription to Netgear's ReadyShare network. Another feature that earns rave reviews from PC Advisor, CNET and SmallNetBuilder.com is Live Parental Control. After installing Netgear's software, parents can set up a free online account with OpenDNS that allows them to customize controls from the website and set overall access from anywhere in the world.
Review Credibility: Excellent Dong Ngo rates the Netgear WNDR3800 as excellent, giving it 4 out of 5 stars and placing it in the top five list of wireless routers currently available. He particularly likes its fast wireless data rates and long range.
Review: Netgear WNDR3800 N600 Wireless Dual-Band Gigabit Router (Premium Edition), Dong Ngo, Sept. 28, 2011
2. Small Net Builder.com
Review Credibility: Very Good Craig Ellison praises the feature set found on the Netgear WNDR3800, including its Genie interface, Live Parental Control and CD-less installation. He also likes its ability to allow remote file access and sharing.
Review: Netgear WNDR3800 N600 Wireless Dual-band Gigabit Router Premium Edition Reviewed, Craig Ellison, Oct. 20, 2011
3. Small Net Builder.com
Review Credibility: Very Good Tim Higgins gives the Netgear WNDR3800 top scores in the features, performance and reliability categories. He appreciates routers that include printer sharing and remote file access.
Review: New to the Charts: Netgear WNDR3800 N600 Wireless Dual-band Gigabit Router Premium Edition, Tim Higgins, Sept. 30, 2011
4. PC Advisor
Review Credibility: Good In this review, also found in PC World (Australia), Elias Plastiras highlights the feature set and ease of use of the Netgear WNDR3800. He calls it suitable for a home or a small business office, and he especially likes the customizability of the parental controls and the Netgear Genie router management application.
Review: Netgear N600 WNDR3800 Review, Elias Plastiras, Jan. 27, 2012