If you’ve had your current router for a while now and you are looking to maybe upgrade or perhaps your router is now dead and your looking for a replacement there is a new type of router known as the dual band wireless router that may be an appealing upgrade for you. The Netgear N600 is such a router providing simultaneous dual band Wi-Fi networks and much more.
Dual band routers use two separate wireless networks running at different frequencies, the most common being 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands. What this does is allow more mundane tasks such as web browsing and smartphone use along the 2.4Ghz band that is also littered with other traffic such as cordless phones, Bluetooth devices and even baby monitors while reserving the 5Ghz band for intensive needs such as HD video streaming and new age video game consoles that require high bandwidth. Both wireless networks are simultaneously available and you can pick and choose based on the devices needs. Simultaneous dual band is preferred over selectable dual band for it’s obvious advantages.
Inside The N600’s box is pretty bare, like most Netgear products we’ve used. Inside is the router itself inside of a plastic bag that is positioned in an egg crate type material. Also inside is a yellow netowrk cable for connecting the router to your cable modem and the A/C power adapter for powering up the device. Also inside is a quick start guide and some legal documentation. If you wish to mount the router upright as we did you may use the included stand to do so.
The router is covered in a think plastic film that you will need to peel off before use that protects it from scratches. After removing this covering we inspected the device and were happy that it did it’s job, unlike a earlier Netgear modem we reviewed that had scratches on the front.
The bottom contains all the useful information you may need when setting up the N600 such as login information and MAC address.
The front of the N600 contains all pertinent symbols such as power, Wi-Fi status, and the Gigabit ports that light up to show they are active and in use. A Netgear logo adorns the front in white lettering and a recessed logo can be found on the top. Speaking of up to the border around the upper edge is ventilated and provides the cooling for the router. All together the router is pretty minimalistic while sporting a grey bottom that flows perfectly into the stand if you choose to use it.
The rear of the N600 contains all the connections required to use the router. There is an A/C power port, an internet in port, 4 Gigabit connections for 1000Mbps transfer rate between wired devices and also a USB 2.0 port that allows you to share a USB drive with the network. This USB drive feature is a very convenient feature that more and more routers are supporting which basically turns any storage device into a Network Attach Storage (NAS) device. Also on the back is a power switch, a WPS button for fast connection of wireless devices and a button to enable or disable the Wi-Fi.
The N600 measures 218mm x 148mm x 33mm. As with all newer Netgear products the glossy black finish picks up fingerprints easily and shows off dust. The plastic feels a little cheap and flexes under pressure which seems to also be the case with newer Netgear products.
After hooking everything up and getting the router installed into the network the wired ports had internet access right away. The Wi-Fi did need to be set up and can easily be done by opening up your browser and going to http://routerlogin.net and typing in the username and password on the bottom of the N600.
After logging in you will be taken to this screen which is the Netgear Genie homepage. From here you can manage everything about the router, including the Wi-Fi. There is also an app on Apple’s app store and Google’s Play Store which will allow you to reach this settings menu from your smart device. Setting up the Wi-Fi is as easy as clicking the wireless tab and naming both the 2.4 and 5Ghz networks and adding your security mode with a password of your choice.
The 5Ghz band netted us a download speed of a little over 40Mbps using Xfinity’s Blast internet package. For reference we get a constant 124Mbps on the wired connection.
If you are looking to upgrade your router and you want something that will just work right out of the box with no fussing or headaches the Netgear N600 will do that for you. It is a solid dual band router that performs well even if the construction leaves a little bit to be desired. AT $79USD it is definitely an affordable solution and there are much more expensive routers out their that probably have more features then you’ll ever use.