NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Modem Wi-Fi Router WNDR3400 Review

This device is an Alpha in its class. Its strengths lie in its ease of use, security and the various options that give the user complete administrative control over features, thus allowing them to tweak settings to their own personal tastes. It’s high quality of service especially in the Wi-Fi performance, Band and Range ensures that it would be highly sought by gamers for streaming and on-line play. The price is satisfactory especially when one considers the features offered.

A summary of a sentence the Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 is a great dual-band router for any home at an affordable price.

NETGEAR N600 Product Image

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Pros
  • Faster WiFi Speed: N600 Dual Band WiFi delivers 300 + 300Mbps
  • Ideal WiFi range for medium to large homes
  • Simultaneous Dual Band: Reduces interferences for better connections to more WiFi devices
  • NETGEAR genie home network manager for easy installation and home network management
  • Readyshare USB feature enables users access and share USB storage via the wireless connection
  • Wi-Fi protected access (WPA/WPA2 and WEP security, Dos attack prevention)
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer Gigabit Ethernet
  • Its network storage performance could be better

The NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Modem Wi-Fi Router WNDR3400 may be listed on the lower end of the latest routers available from NETGEAR… but it seems that are quite impressed with it!

The N600 WNDR3400 has proven to be an excellent device which is optimized for keeping a strong and steady Wi-Fi signal flowing through a specified enclave. The design is sleek and simple. It provides data speeds of up to 300 megabytes per second due to its wireless dual band technology which also reduces interference and makes for smoother connections for a larger number of devices.

This makes it ideal for on-line gaming. The system is embedded with the ‘Readyshare’ USB feature which enables multiple users to wirelessly access a single USB hard-drive connected to a USB port. The ‘Genie’ application which is native to the system grants the user complete administrative control over the network. The entire package upon purchase includes the N600 Wi-Fi Dual Band Router (WNDR3400v3), Stand, Ethernet cable and Power adapter.

Video – Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 Review

NETGEAR N600 Modem Router Features

  • Simultaneous Dual Band: Reduces interference for better connections to more WiFi devices.
  • NETGEAR genie home network manager for easy installation and home network management.
  • The genie app comes with live parental control settings that enables the user to set filters and controls on content which enters the network. It also enables the creation of a guest network.
  • Wi-Fi protected access (WPA/WPA2 and WEP security, Dos attack prevention).
  • It uses 802.11n Dual Band wireless technology.
  • Ready share USB feature enables users access and share USB storage via the wireless connection.

Our NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Modem Wi-Fi Router WNDR3400 Review

NETGEAR N600 WNDR3400 Top View

It’s a bit hard to categorize the Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400. On one hand it has the stellar performance and features of a high-end wireless router; on the other, it doesn’t support Gigabit Ethernet, a lack that is only found in budget low-end routers. At its lower end street price, however, this is a great deal nonetheless.

The N600 WNDR3400 offers all-around great wireless performance on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands with excellent range, especially on the 2.4GHz band. Apart from the lack of Gigabit Ethernet, the only other complaint people seem to have is the network storage throughput speed, which is mediocre. However, this is common among routers with the same features.

N600 WNDR3400 Design and Setup

The N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 router looks much like a member of Netgear’s RangeMax family of routers and access points. On top, right in the middle of the sleek black surface, it has a big, round blue button adorned with eight little LED lights that supposedly represent the directions in which the antennas are directed. Like most Netgear routers and access points, the WNDR3400 has an internal antenna design, making it more compact and tidier than routers with external antennas.

This big blue button is also dubbed the Wi-Fi Protected Setup button. Press it and you will start a 2-minute window of time in which other WPS-enabled devices can enter the network.

On the back, the router has four LAN ports (for wired clients) and one WAN port (to be connected to an Internet source such as a broadband modem). These ports, unfortunately, are all regular 10/100Mbps Ethernet. Near the ports are the Wi-Fi on/off switch and a USB 2.0 port to host an external hard drive for the router’s network storage feature.

On the front, the WNDR3400 has an array of LED lights that show the status of the network ports, the connection to the Internet, the USB port, and so on. The router has two detachable feet that enable it to work in the vertical position.

The router comes with a setup application called Netgear Genie that includes detailed step-by-step instructions. The instructions are so clear that I believe few would have trouble getting the router up and running. I was able to do so within 5 minutes, including the time spent getting the router out of the box. Note, however, this is an early version of Netgear Genie. During CES 2011, Netgear announced a much more advanced version of the software that can do a lot more than just help set up the device.

Video – How To: Set Up Netgear N600 Dual Band Router

Basic Setup of the N600 WNDR3400

As I said NETGEAR makes it very easy to setup and connect to the router once you have it installed and powered up. They provide a setup wizard and the NETGEAR Genie app that takes you through the steps needed for basic operation. If you are connected to the router via wired Ethernet, then going to http://www.routerlogin.net/ in your web browser (or for advanced users, 192.168.1.1) still works as well.

If you wish to setup the router wirelessly, they have the name and password for the router on the plastic bag the router comes in. You can use your computer to scan and find the SSID and then connect to the router using those provided credentials. Regardless of the way you connect, the default login name is ‘admin’ and the password is ‘password’ (case sensitive) You want to ensure that you change the password during setup.

In most cases, the basic setup for the router name, password and wireless settings will be all that’s needed. If you have a special setup or need more advanced information NETGEAR provides a pdf with manual setup details.

Video – How to change wifi Password – NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router

How to Set Up the USB Feature of the WNDR3400

The WNDR3400 comes with a ReadySHARE USB port and sharing capabilities. With this, you can plug in a USB thumb drive or an external USB hard drive and share files on them in both your home or anywhere in the world via HTTP or FTP. You can also password protect the files so that no one gains unintended access.

When you plug in a USB drive the router immediately recognizes it. You don’t have to do anything at this point to access your USB drive, but you should check the advanced settings. NETGEAR makes this easy. Simply click on the “Edit” button and you can change the advanced settings for both LAN and WAN access.

Here you can turn on Internet access and which port to use. If you want to setup passwords or change the Share name, clicking edit again will pop up a window where you can do that. Once set up, you can now share any file to anyone both in the home and worldwide with or without passwords required.

Video – Connect your devices to a NETGEAR WiFi Router Overview

N600 WNDR3400 Features

The WNDR3400 is the second true dual-band router from Netgear, and follows on from the WNDR3700. This means it’s capable of simultaneously broadcasting Wireless-N signals on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies. The 2.4GHz is the popular wireless band shared with other home devices such as cordless phones and Bluetooth headsets. The 5GHz band is somewhat more exclusive and therefore should offer better throughput performance. By being dual-band, the WNDR3400 supports virtually all existing network clients.

Netgear offers another dual-band router, the WNDR3300, which can work in only one band at a time. In that sense, the WNDR3400 is a big upgrade. Like the WNDR3700, out of the box, the WNDR3400 has two wireless networks, one for each band. You can turn these networks on or off separately by using the router’s Web interface. Apart from these, the router offers the option of another two guest networks–one for each band–which can also be turned on or off separately.

A guest network is useful if you want to offer free Internet access to guests while keeping them from accessing your local resources such as your printer or personal files. This is a great feature for a small cafe or restaurant. Again, like the WNDR3700, the WNDR3400 comes with an NAS function that requires an external USB hard drive (not included) to work. I tried it with a few external hard drives and was pleased with how this feature worked, though I wished it were faster.

NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router Control Lights

The router supports hard drives formatted in both NTFS and FAT32 file systems. This means you can just plug in your current external hard drive with data already on it and share it with the rest of the network. The router can also power compact hard drives that are USB bus-powered. The router manages its storage via Netgear’s ReadyShare feature, which is also used for the company’s NAS servers. The router supports Windows’ SMB protocol, which allows any computer in the network to access its storage using a network browser (such as Windows Explorer) without having any additional software installed. It also supports Macs and the shares will automatically appear in Finder.

The router’s only means of restricting access to its storage is via password. For example, you can set a password for read-only access and another for read/write access to a particular folder on the external hard drive. Once set, the restriction is applied to anyone wanting to access that folder. This is a primitive but effective way to manage network storage. Most NAS servers use more advanced restriction protocols via user accounts. However, considering the fact that this is primarily a router, I was happy with this level of restriction.

Video – How to Hook Up a NETGEAR Wireless Router to a Cable Modem

The router’s NAS feature can also handle other NAS functions such as FTP and HTTP. You can also set up remote connections to access the data via Internet. To do this, however, you will need to use a dynamic DNS service, such as Dyndns.org, unless your connection to the Internet has a static IP address.

The second feature that I like about the WNDR3400 is its Traffic Meter, which allows you to control the router’s bandwidth. For example, you can set the router to disconnect from the Internet if a certain amount of data has been downloaded (or uploaded, or both) over a certain period of time. This is useful when you have a limited quota and don’t want to go over. Unfortunately, the Traffic Meter doesn’t offer the bandwidth control for individual computers. This means you can’t use it to restrict one individual from downloading too much.

The WNDR3400 also offers the Live Parental Controls feature that was first introduced with Netgear’s WNR2000 router. This feature requires a dynamic DNS account with OpenDNS, which is free. You can set up this feature by installing the Live Parental Controls setup software from the included CD and it will walk you through the short installation processes. Once the setup is done, you can access and control the router’s comprehensive Web-filtering function, from anywhere in the world, by logging in to http://netgear.opendns.com.

NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Wi-Fi Router Rear View

Like most RangeMax routers, the WNDR3400 has a very intuitive and responsive Web interface, which makes managing the router a pleasant job. The router also has many other features found in most RangeMax routers, such as Content Filtering, which lets you block certain Web sites or services, port forwarding, Quality of Service, and Universal Plug and Play.

For security, the router supports all existing wireless encryption methods including WEP, WPA, and WPA2. It also comes with Wi-Fi Protected Setup features that enable you to add a new client to the network at the press of a button, instead of having to type in the encryption key manually.

N600 WNDR3400 Performance

The Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 offered very good wireless performance, although its network storage throughput speed could use some improvement. The router’s wireless performance was one of the best I have seen in true dual-band routers. On CNET Labs’ max throughput test, where the router is 15 feet from the client, the WND3400 registered 75.8Mbps on the 5GHz band and 65.4Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. It was the second fastest on the former and the fastest on the latter among all wireless routers I have seen reviewed. At these speeds, the router can transmit 500MB of data in about 52 seconds and 62 seconds on the 5GHz band and on 2.4GHz band, respectively.

Video – NETGEAR N600 Wireless Router Range Test

In a range test, in which the router was placed 100 feet away from the client, it again did impressively at 59.8Mbps on the 5GHz band, topping the charts. On the 2.4GHz band, it did slightly worse at 37.1Mbps, getting third place on the charts.

In the mixed mode test, where the router was set to work with both Wireless-N and legacy Wireless-G and B clients, the score was one of the best seen at 59.7Mbps. The mixed mode only tested on the 2.4GHz bands, as generally legacy clients don’t use the 5GHz band.

The WNDR3400 also offers great range, up to 300 feet on the 2.4GHz band and 250 feet on the 5GHz band. Note, however, that at these distances, the wireless connections are only good for light Web surfing and not much else. It’s best to use the router within 100 feet. I noticed that the router passed NetGears 48-hour stress test, during which time it had to move a large amount of data back and forth between multiple clients. They said it didn’t disconnect once.

Like all routers I have seen with a built-in network storage function, the WNDR3400 didn’t have very fast throughput performance for data access to the USB external hard drive connected to its USB port. With this kind of performance, the WNDR3400 is suited to light and basic network storage tasks, in which only one or two users can access the drive at the same time. If you want to assign the storage to multiple users and transfer a lot of data, you will need a dedicated NAS server.

N600 WNDR3400 Service and support

Netgear ships the N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 with a one-year warranty which seems to be the standard for most routers these days. The company offers free (and toll-free) phone technical support that’s available 24-7. The support pages on Netgear’s site are somewhat elusive (you have to click on many layers of links to get where you want) but nonetheless offer lots of support information from troubleshooting and a knowledge base to firmware, drivers, and manual downloads.

If you’re looking for a well-rounded wireless router for your home and don’t want to spend much, the Netgear N600 WNDR3400 is worth every penny.

NETGEAR N600 Customer Reviews

“Picked up two of these and paired them together to provide whole house wifi for my 4000+ square foot home. Now I have fantastic connection even outside on the patio and deck! I also stream everything using one cable modem. These can handle everyone in the house using the internet as well as two streaming devices (roku/Apple TV/etc) without degrading performance. For the price these are fantastic! Highly recommended.” …. Read More

“I bought this router because I wanted to try out the Advanced Tomato Firmware and install the NordVPN. When I first received the router, I follow NETGEAR’s instructions but the router would automatically change its ip-address to 10.0.0.1. It also couldn’t be configured as a router. But also, no matter which configuration I ran, it wouldn’t connect to the internet. I tried three times, resetting the router each time and following NETGEAR’s instructions, but to no avail.

I had already downloaded the tomato firmware to my computer a day before, so instead of playing around trying to get it to work, I disconnected the WAN cable (disconnected the internet cable), ran some basic setup just to get into its settings and flashed it with the advance tomato firmware. After the firmware was installed, restarted it, reset the NVRAM to ensure any previous firmware configurations were cleared, entered my personal information, performed a few configurations and had it running in no time.

I connected it to the internet and got 111Mbps upload and 117Mbps download…using ATT fiber optic internet service. I did some other firmware configuration and installed the NordVPN service. Having the VPN installed on a router provides the advantage of protecting every device connected to the router, even wireless devices. I have experienced issues connecting to some sites through the VPN, so I left the ATT Gateway’s wireless radio on to connect to those websites by bypassing the VPN.

I now a few reviewers mentioned about their router being bricked when installing the tomato firmware. I didn’t experience that issue, but one must make sure to get the right firmware before proceeding to flash the router, including making sure to get the right firmware version. For example, the model number for my router is WNR3500Lv2, so when looking for the tomato firmware one must make sure to download the firmware version V2 and not V1 or some other version.” …. Read More

Video – Netgear WNDR3400 wireless N dual-band router review

NETGEAR N600 Dual Band Modem Wi-Fi Router WNDR3400 Review Verdict

This Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 is an Alpha in its class. Its strengths lie in its ease of use, security and the various options that give the user complete administrative control over features, thus allowing them to tweak settings to their own personal tastes. It’s high quality of service especially in the Wi-Fi performance, Band and Range ensures that it would be highly sought by gamers for streaming and on-line play. The price is satisfactory especially when one considers the features offered.

The Bottom Line The Netgear N600 Wireless Dual Band Router WNDR3400 is a great dual-band router for any home at an affordable price.

Video – How to Improve your Wireless Router Home Network | NETGEAR

Ted Webster

Ted Webster

Ted Webster is co-founder of NRouter and brings his technical expertise to help explain router products in an easy to understand. Full-time networking since Jun 2010, Ted loves sharing his knowledge of PCs, networking and smart home gear.