Still bimbling along on 802.11g wireless speeds? It’s time to take the slip road and turn onto the 802.11n super-highway with the RangeMax
If the 802.11g wireless highway feels a little too reminiscent of your slow commute round the M25, fear not – the draft 802.11n wireless standard gives significantly higher transfer speeds and range. And Netgear’s RangeMax WNR854T is here to bring it to your home network.
Pretty fly for a router
It's Mac-compatible and a pretty snappy dresser compared to its drab brethren, concealing everything in a single white slab without a protruding antenna. There’s no ADSL modem so it's only for cable internet, although the same wireless tech is available in the very similar DG834N.
Set-up is easy by wireless networking standards, with decent software that does most of the hard work for you, meaning you shouldn't have any trouble getting your broadband into the air. It's no slouch at wired connections either, with Gigabit Ethernet ports that prevent your network choking on excess traffic.
The RangeMax does comes with all the usual wireless caveats: we found the quoted speeds impossible to achieve, and to get the substantially reduced numbers that are possible in the real world you'll need to bust out a set of equally-rated Netgear wireless cards.
Sting in the tail
There's also the extra worry that the draft-N standard isn't quite nailed down yet, so you'll be in for a bit of extra faffery updating it when it's finally signed off.
That said, the control software is designed to make this quite straightforward, and until then it'll play quite happily with your current wireless technology. If you need a new access point now, the Rangemax is worth buying in readiness for when the next generation bursts upon us.
Netgear RangeMax NEXT WNR854T review
Super-fast speeds and slick looks, although you'll need matching cards for top performance