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Netgear N300 vs. N600 Wireless Adapter

Netgear N300 vs. N600 Wireless Adapter

Buying a router is a confusing endeavor. Choosing from a wide variety of router models from different manufacturers, with all the codes and alphabets that come with them, the whole experience is everything but painful.

Okay, let’s narrow it down to these two: Netgear N300 and N600. At first look, without considerable analysis and ample research, you’d think automatically that the N600 is better. Of course, the number in itself is higher than the N300. It must be the latest model. That said, it must have all the good things that none of the N300 has.

Well, for starters, what does N mean? Does it refer to something significant or do you simply just focus your eyes on the numbers next to that letter?

The Netgear N300 and N600 are two of Netgear’s remarkable wireless adapters in the market today. Better than D-Link or TP-link or whatever manufacturer using the same model name or code. However, both the N300 and the N600 have their own distinct features and differences. Each model has its own purpose hence, they perform differently and better according to situations and uses.

Both the Netgear N300 and N600 wireless adapters are knights in shining armors for IT people as well as overnighters who burn the midnight oil and unrepentant weekend bingers and downloaders. Let’s first understand why.

Wireless N Technology Basics

By theory, the N in the model refers to the maximum speed of the wireless adapter is capable of. The number next to the alphabet is that maximum speed. For example, the Netgear N300 is capable of up to 300 MBPS speed. And the N600 is capable of offering up to 600 MBPS of wireless or Internet speed. And so on, and so forth.

Again, all that works in theory. There are other considerations that must be taken into account, such as band and spacial streams. We can get too technical down this path but let’s take a stab.

Apart from the maximum theoretical speeds that the wireless adapter can offer, the adapter’s special stream as well as its band, whether its single or dual band, can affect the wireless speed that the adapter can offer in actual. While the N300 is advertised as an adapter that’s capable of offering up to 300 MBPS wireless speed, this Netgear wireless adapter model also has a 2×2 radio stream.

By standard, a typical N spacial stream offers 75 MBPS speed (for a single stream). So, if the Netgear has a 2×2 spacial stream, the actual wireless speed it can offer would then be, transmit stream speed * 2 plus receive stream speed * 2. Therefore, it would look like this:

(75 MBPS * 2) + (75 MBPS * 2) = 300 MBPS

That is for a single band. Now, think about the N600 (or even the models with the higher number), which are designed with dual bands. The formula then would be:

Band 1 + Band 2 (for the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz), or:

[(Transmit stream * 2) + (Receive stream * 2)] + [(Transmit stream * 2) + (Receive stream * 2)]

In that formula above, the dual-band added another layer of complexity and capability of the wireless adapter. A dual band means that the wireless adapter is capable of transmitting/receiving wireless signals in different frequencies, ie: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz.

With this, it’s much easier to connect a device to any of the two bands of the adapter without any problems. The higher the frequency, the higher the speed, and potentially the lesser the congestion. The only caveat is if the device you’re connecting to the adapter is compatible. This means that when you connect your device to the 5 GHz band of the wireless adapter, you have to make sure that your device is compatible to 5 GHz.

Moreover, the interference is much lesser with the 5 GHz especially when there are non-Wi-Fi appliances around the house, such as cordless phones and microwaves.

Phew! Hopefully, that didn’t feel like a firehose pointed straight at you. Anyway, let’s go back to the difference between the Netgear N300 and the N600. Before that, let’s look at the features and specifications of these two amazing wireless adapters.

Netgear N300

  • Wireless speed: 300 MBPS
  • Wi-Fi technology: 802.11n
  • Wi-Fi range: Medium homes
  • Frequency bands: 2.4 GHz
  • Wireless technology: N
  • Weight: 0.67 ounces or 19 grams
  • USB file sharing: None

Netgear N600

  • Wireless speed: 300 MBPS
  • Wi-Fi technology: 802.11n
  • Wi-Fi range: Medium to large homes
  • Frequency bands: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz
  • Wireless technology: N
  • Weight: 0.67 ounces or 19 grams
  • USB file sharing: Yes

Just looking at the specs quickly, the Netgear N600 appears to be really good and fast. Both Netgear wireless adapters are convenient and compatible with most wireless router models and brands. Both have reliable interference reduction features and Push N’ Connect push button security. However, the Netgear N300 will give you rapid and quick Internet speeds. It offers up to 300 MBPS wireless speed on a single band. It is also much cheaper than the Netgear N600.

On the other hand, the Netgear N600 will give you really fast Internet speeds considering its dual-band offering. You can get up to 600 MBPS with the N600 and connect compatible devices in either the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequencies. It has the upper hand in terms of running multiple and simultaneous Internet applications.

You’ll be assured your Internet connection won’t ever bug down or stall provided you have a great Internet service provider. You can certainly enjoy a lot more downloads and streams with the N600. It also will require you to spend a few more dollars for it.

Conclusion

Ultimately, the best choice between the two would boil down to the use and purpose of the wireless adapter. The N300 is best for personal use as well as for medium-sized environments. It comes a few dollars cheaper than the N600. The N600 is great if you’re using it at home and if you have a bigger environment with a few other people connecting to it.

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NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 (AC2200) Review

NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 AC2200 Review

Netgear’s release of its Nighthawk X4 AC2200 (EX7300) saw it join up with other major networking manufacturers such as Amped Wireless and Linksys, in providing Multi-User Multiple Input, Multiple Output or MU-MIMO technology for plug-in range extenders. It is easy to manage and install the EX7300, but it doesn’t have a pass-through outlet and is fairly large. However, in the 5 GHz tests that we conducted it did deliver good range performance and high scores, and had a very solid MU-MIMO throughput as well. We’ve rated this as one of the top options this year.

Features and Design

The EX7300 is a bit larger than the Linksys RE7000 and TP-Link RE 450 Wi-Fi extenders, however, unlike the TP-Link RE450 it does not utilize external antennas. It instead has an internal antenna array located in its chassis, in addition to multiple high-power amplifiers. The AC2200 is a dual extender that is able to reach 450 Mbps maximum speeds on its 2.4 GHz band and 1,733 Mbps on its 5 GHz band. The most recent performance-enhancing Wi-Fi technologies are supported, including beamforming, where data is sent to clients directly instead of via a broad spectrum, along with MU-MIMO stream, where data is transmitted to compatible clients at the same time rather than sequentially. It may be used as a wired access point or wireless extender.

There is a three-pronged plug at the back of the gray-and-white extender, and on the bottom there is one Gigabit LAN port. Although the second receptacle on a regular wall outlet is not blocked by the EX7300, it is lacking a pass-through outlet.

On the left hand side is a WPS button, a Reset button, On/Off button, and Access Point/Extender switch. On the front panel there are LED indicators for client link activity, router link activity, WPS activity, and Power. When the connection is poor the client and router LEDs are red, with a good connection they are amber, and with an excellent connection they are green.

To access the settings on the EX7300, type http://mywifiext.net in the address bar of your browser. This launches the console and then a Status page is opened that displays router and Internet connectivity status, SSID information on each of the extended radio bands, and wireless signal strength. On the Wireless Settings page you can disable or enable each band, limit the speed on each band, change Wi-Fi passwords, and rename your SSID. Connected Devices enables you to see information on each connected client, which includes the MAC address, Name, and IP address. On the Do More menu, there is the FastLane option which enables you to dedicate one radio band to extender/router communications and your other band to client/extender communications. That might provide across the board enhanced performance, but you should only use if all clients are either 5 GHz clients or 2.4 GHz clients. Leave that option disabled if there is a mixture of clients. There are other settings that enable you to update firmware, create access schedules, and back up settings.

Performance and Installation

It is very easy to install the EX7300. All I did is pull it into one of the wall outlets that is in the same room that my router is in and then pressed on the WPS button. Within seconds, the WPS LED started to blink. Then I pressed on the router’s WPS button and waited a couple of seconds until the LED glowed a solid green color, which indicated that it had linked successfully to the 2.4 GHz band on the router. To connect with the 5 GHz band I repeated the process and then was all set.

Some of the highest scores from the 5 GHz throughput tests have been turned in by the EX7300. On the close-proximity (or same room) test it had the highest score to date at 338 Mbps, which beat out the 310 Mpbs from the Linksys RE7000, the 288 Mbps of the Amped AC2600, and the 192 Mbps of the TP-Link RE450. The EX7300 scores also led the field at 50 feet with 115 Mbps and 25 feet at 170 Mbps. Its 66.7 Mbps throughput at 75 feet, trailed the 85 Mbps of the TP-Link RE450 and 81.5 Mbps of the Amped Wireless REC44M, but did score higher than the 29.1 Mbps of the Linksys RE7000.

On our 2.4 GHz tests, at close proximity the EX7300 had a score of 57.8 Mbps, at 25 feet a score of 43.7 Mbps, at 50 feet a score of 25.1 Mbps, and at 75 feet a score of 12.6 Mbps. It beat out the Linksys RE7000 scores across the board (46.1 Mbps, 39.8 Mbps, 18.6 Mbps, and 8.4 Mbps), but the same was not the case with the TP-Link RE450 (47.6 Mbps, 44.5 Mbps, 42.5 Mbps, and 32.1 Mbps). The scores of the Amped Wireless REC44M were 53.6 Mpbs for close proximity, 48 Mpbs at 25 feet, 21.4 Mbps at 50 feet, and 18.7 Mbps at 75 feet.

For testing MU-MIMO performance three Acer Aspire R13 identical laptops were used that featured Qualcomm QCA61x4A MU-MIMO circuitry. Throughput was measured to all three of the clients at a 30 foot distance and at close proximity. On the close proximity test the EX7300 had an average 107 Mbps score, compared with the 115 Mbps average score of the Linksys RE7000, and the 99.8 Mbps throughput of the Amped Wireless REC44M. O the 30-foot test, the 90.1 Mbps of the EX7300 was below the 92.4 Mbps of the Linksys RE7000 but higher than the 89.9 Mbps of the Amped Wireless REC44M. To put the scores in perspective, the D-Link AC3150, a leading midrange router, had a close-proximity test score of 237 Mbps and a 30-foot test score of 165 Mbps.

Conclusion

If you need to fill dead spots in that cannot be reached by your router, the Netgear Nighthawk X4 AC2200 (EX7300) is a great option to consider. It is very easy to install and also scored some of the fast throughput that we have see from plug-in range extenders, especially when operated on the 5 GHz band. It doesn’t have a pass-through outlet and is a bit on the bulky side, but with these devices that is not uncommon. Compared to the TP-Link RE450, you will pay a little more money for the EX7300, but MU-MIMO stream is supported and it offers better overall performance. Therefore, the Netgear EX7300 is out top pick in range extenders, replacing the TP-Link RE450. However, it your router is getting ready to die, you should instead consider a Wi-Fi system. They require no or very little technical knowledge to use them, are easy to get to set up and provide whole-house Wi-Fi coverage.

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TP-Link AC750 (RE200) Review

TP-Link AC750 (RE200) Review

If you are unable to sit in your favorite recliner and surf the Web due to having a weak Wi-Fi signal, then it is time for you to think about getting a range extender installed like the TP-Link AC750 (RE200). It is a dual-band extender that is plugged in to a wall outlet to provide Wi-Fi connectivity to the dead spots that your main wireless router cannot reach. It is easy to install, affordable, and provides good 5 GHz throughput. However, its 2.4 GHz performance in tests did suffer the further away we moved from it, and it is also lacking in pass-through capabilities and a USB. If it is within your budget, the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (EX7000), which is our top choice, comes loaded with features and provides higher all-around performance. However, it is a bit more expensive.

Features and Design

In two-socket outlets, its two-prong plug doesn’t block the second socket. Dual-band networking (5 GHz and 2.4 GHz) is supported by the extender and works with 802.11b/g/n/ac routers.

On the bottom there is one gigabit LAN port and on each side are two high-gain, foldable antennas. On the front part of the extender are for LED indicators (WPS, 5 GHz, 2.4 GHz, and Power), and on the left hand side a WPS and Power button. On the right hand side there is a reset button, and button for turning the LED indicators off and on.

A Web-based management console is offered by the RE200, with lots of router-like setting. On the Network menu you are able to change the LAN settings like Gateway, Subnet Mask, and IP address, and the extender can also act as the DHCP server so that IP addresses can be assigned to wireless clients You can also change the DHCP lease times and DNS addresses here, and look at the DHCP client list as well.

The Wireless settings menu allows you to change the SSID on both bands, control user access to its MAC Address Filtering sub menu, and a security protocol can be assigned (WEP, WPA2, or WPA). Several advanced wireless settings are offered, including adjustments for Fragment Threshold, RTS Threshold, and Beacon Interval. The Systems Tool menu provides Backup and Restore as well as Firmware Upgrade options, along with a Reboot and System Log option.

Performance and Installation

Like the Amped Wireless REC33A and Linksys RE6700, it is very easy to install the RE200.

Installing The TP-Link AC750

  1. Begin by taking your new device and plugging it into a wall outlet.
  2. Then type http://tplinkrepeater.net into the address bar of your browser on your computer. Doing that launches a wizard that scans for networks that are available. It displays each network’s security protocol, channel, MAC address, signal strength and SSID.
  3. Next, select your network and then type in a name for your extended network, or you can use the settings and name of your router. You can also choose a password and security protocol here. You do this for both of the bands if you are connecting with a dual-band router.
  4. To finish the setup process, review all of your settings and then click on finish.

In our testing, for the most part, the RE200 did deliver decent throughput on the 2.4 GHz band. However, on long-distance transmissions, it did have some difficulties. On close-proximity (or same room) test, it had a 32.5 Mbps score, which was similar to the 39 Mbps score of the D-Link DAP-1650, but lagged behind the 93.5 Mbps score of the Linksys RE6700 and 89.1 Mbps of the Amped Wireless, while the Netgear EX7000 had a 50.2 Mbps score. The RE200 had a 23 Mbps score at 25 feet and 21.2 Mbps at 25 feet, with the Amped REC33A having scores of 32.9 Mbps and 7.8 Mbps. The Linksys RE6700 had a 38.2 Mbps score at 25 feet, and a 14.4 Mbps score at 50 feet, and the NETGEAR EX7000 had a 38.8 Mbps score at 25 feet and a 28.6 Mbps score at 50 feet. At 75 feet the RE200 did stumble with just a 7.4 Mbps score. The Amped REC33A only had a 11.3 Mbps, while the Netgear EX7000 had a steady score of 26.9 Mbps.

On our 5 GHz close proximity test the RE200 had a middling throughput score of 74.5 Mbps, while the Amped REC33A came in at 210 Mbps and the Linksys RE6700 at 177 Mbps. On the 25-foot test, the RE200 had a 65 Mbps score, which was similar to the 67.8 Mbps score of the Linksys RE6700, while the Netgear EX7000 had a 137 Mbps score and the Amped REC33A had a 107 Mbps score. The RE200 recovered at 50 feet with a 29.2 Mbps score and at 75 feet with a 27.9 Mbps score, which beat out the Linksys RE6700 scores of 18.3 Mbps and 3.1 Mbps, while the Amped REC33A had a 8.8 Mbps score at 50 feet and at 75 feet no signal. The Netgear EX7000 is still our fastest extender with 105 Mbps and 31.1 Mbps scores.

Final Thoughts

The TP-Link AC750 RE200 is a good choice for users who are on a budget who need to have their Wi-Fi coverage extended. It installs quickly and offers a good selection of management settings and good 5 GHz throughput. Although it does have decent 2.4 GHz performance, with distance it does deteriorate. Like the Amped Wireless REC33A and Linksys RE6700, one wired LAN port is offered by the RE200 to connect to devices such as gaming consoles and Smart HDTVs, but it is lacking in additional LAN ports and USB connectivity. If you would like to share a USB drive’s content across your network or need to connect to multiple devices, then your best option is the Network Nighthawk AC1900 EX7000, which is our top choice for range extenders. It provides a USB port, five LAN ports, and superior performance. However, compared to the RE200 it does cost more and isn’t as compact.

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NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 (EX7000) Review

Just because you have wireless networking doesn’t not mean you need to deal with dead spots in the outer corners of your home. Many of these wireless devices have a reputation for being difficult to set up, but the setup is as easy as can be when the Nighthawk AC1900 EX7000 is used, but even more important than that, the dual-band extender provides excellent throughput on both of its bands.

The EX7000, unlike most extenders, is expensive and large, but it offers access control and Media Server features along with multiple connectivity ports. Its robust features and first-rate performance make it a top pick for wireless range extenders.

Features and Design

The EX7000 is a lot larger than the average plug-in range extender, like the D-Link DAP-1520 Wi-Fi Dual Range Extender. It measures 1.2 (H) x 9.9 (W) x 6.9 (D) inches and features a black, shiny finish. It also sports three adjustable antenna, so that you could easily mistaken it for being a full-blown router, so no matter where it is placed in your home it will most likely stand out.

The EX7000 provides speeds of up to 1,900 Mbps (1,300 Mbps on its 5 GHz band and 6,000 Mbps on its 2.4 GHz band), uses a Broadcom BCM 4708 1 GHz dual-core processors, and supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi. It comes equipped with a Power switch, a Reset button, a WPS (Wireless Protected Setup) button, and five gigabit Ethernet ports, that are all located on the back part of the chassis. On the front there is a USB 3.0 port, and the top part of the extender features nine LED status indicators (a USB activity LED, device to extender LED, one for every LAN port, and one for each of the bands). The vertical mount stand can be used to position the extender either vertically or horizontally.

It is very easy to manage the EX7000, due to is web-based management user-friendly interface called the NETGEAR genie. A status page is opened by the genie that displays Wi-Fi speed, region, channel, connection information on every band, including SSID, firmware version and signal strength on both of the bands (red is poor, amber is good, green is best). When the Smart Setup button is pressed it takes you over to a screen that allows you to configure the EX7000 as either an access point or an extender.

There are tabs on the left side for Logout, Do More, Firmware Update, and Settings. In the Settings section you can change Wi-Fi properties including password, speed, channel, and SSID (network name). You can also use DHCP or have a static IP assigned. Information is displayed on the Connected Devices page about the wireless and wired devices that are connected with the extender, including the MAC address and IP address. The Other Settings page allows you to restart your extender, reset it to the factory defaults, restore previous settings, and back up the Wi-Fi settings.

There is an Access Schedule page in the Do More section that allows you set what time of the day that users are able to connect with the extender. There is also a Wi-Fi Coverage page where you can choose from four different wireless output power settings (100, 75, 50, and 25 percent), depending on what your coverage area is. The NETGEAR FastLane technology allows you configure your extender so that one band is used for connecting to the router and then saving the other band to use for wireless network traffic. Finally, on the USB Port page you can enable TiVo and Media Server support. You can also enable file sharing and printer sharing on connected USB devices.

Performance and Installation

The installation process for the EX7000 is easy and fast. First you power the extender up, and then choose the NETGEAR Ext SSID in the Wi-Fi control panel of your wireless device. A New Extender Setup page is then launched where you need to create account with password, email address and two security questions. Then choose a mode (Access Point or Extender) as well as a Wi-Fi network for connecting to. Finally enter the Wi-Fi password of your router. You will then have the option for entering SSID names and assigning unique passwords for each of the bands if you want, or the default NETGEAR passwords and names can be used. That’s all you need to do. At that point you can connected with one of the bands on the extender through the use of the Wi-Fi control panel.

In tests, the EX7000 delivered good range and very fast throughput, especially on its 5 GHz band. I our close proximity test (in the same room) it measured a 179 Mbps average throughput. That is significantly faster than the Amped Wireless REA20 Extender, which was our previous leader, that had an average 50 Mbps throughput, and much faster than the NETGEAR AC1200 which managed 31 Mbps on average. At a 50 foot distance, the EX7000 delivered a 105 Mbps average throughput, which completely blew away the closest competitors of 44 Mbps for the Amped REA20 and 34 Mbps for the D-Link DAP-1520. At 75 feet, the throughput went down to 31.1 Mbps, but the EX7000 still greatly outperformed all of the competition.

The EX7000 operates on a 2.4 GHz band, and tied for first place on the close proximity test with the Amped REA20, which both had speeds of 50 Mbps. The throughput of the EX7000 from 50 feet was 28.6 which beat the 25 Mbps of the NETGEAR AC1200 and 18 Mbps of the Amped REA20. Its 26.9 Mbps speed from 75 feat was also the leader.

Final Thoughts

The NETGEAR Nighthawk EX7000 provides you with the range performance and throughput that is necessary for providing all corners of your house with robust wireless coverage. It is very easy to install and provides enough wired LAN ports for connecting networked devices like HDTVs and gaming consoles. It also offers FastLane technology and access control scheduling that allows you to optimize the bandwidth through directing wireless traffic onto a specific band. Although the EX7000 is expensive, it is a little less expensive than the Amped REA20, and outperforms it across the board. The NETGEAR EX6200 will save you a bit of money and provides a friendly user interface and lots of features, but can’t touch the performance of the EX7000.

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NETGEAR AC1200 (EX6150) Review

NETGEAR AC1200 EX6150 Review

The NETGEAR AC1200 EX6150 is one of the best solutions to extend the WiFi signal in buildings with wireless dead spots.

It supports both the new 802.11ac protocol working in the 5GHz range and the old 2.4GHz one. This makes it suitable for virtually any wireless setup, no matter how outdated.

The unit plugs directly into the power socket. The green LED light indicates the router is within proper range, while the red one shows that it is outside this range.

You can easily setup the router by pressing the WPS button. Most modern routers have this button. If yours doesn’t, you can still enjoy a seamless setup by using the proprietary NETGEAR setup app or by logging in manually in your favorite browser.

Features

The EX6150 doubles as a WiFi Access Point. An Ethernet cable is all that you need to enable all of your wireless devices in the house to connect via WiFi.

The EX6150 delivers speeds up to 1200Mbps. However the transfer speed will depend on setup-specific parameters such as the thickness of the walls, the distance, and the number of signals that are in the air.

Some users were able to set this unit up about 65 ft away and managed to get 90Mbps at a quick speed test.

This is the perfect device to extend the range of your WiFi network to cover a dead spot in your house or on your porch, or to amplify a weak signal.

If you have annoying dead spots in your house, the NETGEAR AC1200 EX6150 seems to be a relatively inexpensive and effective solution.

Keep in mind, though, that you shouldn’t expect to see the same tremendous speed you get when you connect directly to your router.