Pros Fantastic range
Easy to access and configure web interface
2 USB Ports
Options and more options
Cons Inability to combine 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz band into a single SSID
Summary Just purchased the N900 router on December 9th 2011, and so far i'm pleased with it's performance, reliability has yet to be seen as i've only had it running for a few hours now. So far i've found that the 5Ghz band range is fantastic and reaches the far corners of my two story 1300 sqft apartment. Currently i have two Macbook Pro's, and two iPhone 4s connected via wifi, while a Playstation 3 and a DLink321 NAS connected via ethernet. I have streamed several Blu-Ray rips from the NAS to the PS3 without a single hiccup while simultaneously using all four of my wireless devices. I've also streamed multiple Blu-Ray rips from the NAS simultaneously to different devices with out a hitch as well. When inspecting the link speed between my Early 2011 MacBook Pro running SL and the N900 i consistently receive between 243Mbps and 300Mbps at a distance of 20 feet with line of sight. When i head upstairs one floor nearly directly above the router with only the floor/ceiling between my laptop and the N900 (15-20ft) i receive an average of 162Mbps with signal strength of -60db The range on the 5Ghz band so far, far surpasses that of my previous router, an Airport Extreme (In this same location i would not have been able to connect to 5Ghz at all). On the 2.4Ghz band in the same location upstairs the signal strength is -45db, so i gained about 10-15db of signal strength when compared to the 5Ghz band. Everywhere else in my apartment i receive a nearly constant link speed of 145Mbps on 2Ghz. My only request would be that Netgear adds the ability to combine the 2.4Ghz band the 5Ghz band within the same SSID so that the frequency would automatically switch depending on which band has the better reception. The Airport Extreme provides this feature and it's quite nice as it prevents you from having to switch over to the 2.4Ghz band manually or automatically only after you've lost connection to the 5Ghz band. The Airport can do this seamlessly in the background and it is a feature i would hope would be included in later f/w updates. I have not experienced any of the issues that a previous poster mentioned about his/her connection speeds dropping over a period of time. As i continue to use this router i plan to update this review later on to comment about it's reliability once i have more time with it.
Pros +Intuitive interface
+Extremely easy to set up
+bells and whistles like traffic meter and info like who is using what G channel
+definitely faster on G band with 450Mbps horsepower than my E4200.
Cons - My laptop has an Intel WiFi Link 5300 AGN (5GHZ) and I'm having a heckuva time getting a connection to the router. I've done it, but it takes multiple reboots of the laptop, router, and modem to get it to stick. I can get on the 2.4GHZ band no problem..
Summary Jury is still out...if they can tweak the 5GHZ range via a firmware upgrade and fix the 5GHZ connectivity issues then I'll be a satisfied customer.I've had a little bit of time to play around...interestingly the 5GHZ connectivity issues seem to go away if I don't set the channel to auto and just pick one.
Updated on Sep 23, 2011
Pros Dual band
2 USB ports, 4 Ethernet ports
Easily accommodates medium size house with strong WiFi signal inside and outside.
Cons None. I've been using the Netgear WNDR 4500 (N900) for a little more than 5 months and it has performed flawlessly.
Summary I currently have 2 laptops, shared external media drive, shared printer, three internet TVs and several handheld devices (phones, pads, pods) connected at the same time with no apparent loss of signal strength. I easily stream media (pictures, movies, music files) from an external drive connected to the router with USB to any of the TVs, and music files to my AV system. Best router I've ever owned.
Pros 1) Easy to set up.
Cons 1) Internet connectivity lost after plugging in WD 1TB MyBook USB Drive. See Summary.
2) USB drive filesystem corrupted after copying files.
3) Range on 5Ghz band less than my old Linksys WRT54G.
4) Netgear unwilling to accept return/refund.
Summary Internet connectivity was lost after plugging in WD 1TB MyBook USB Drive. Also, upon copying files via Readyshare, the USB drive filesystem was corrupted. Luckily, Windows was able to repair the filesystem. Here is what Netgear technical support had to say about it:
"As I double check the device that you are trying to insert and get it work on the router, it is actually not compatible. There are only 6 devices that will work and the device that you have is not one of them. Below are the devices that will work on the router:
Buffalo SAMSUNG HM160HI 150G, 2.5inch
Hitachi HTS545050B9A300 500GB, 2.5inch
Kingston DataTraveler G2, 8GB
Seagate FA GoFlex Desk 2T, 3.5inch
Seagate FreeAgent Go 500GB, 2.5inch
WD My passport 500GB, 2.5inch
Also, we could not process any refund since the router is working fine. It is just that the device you are trying to connect is not compatible. Please feel free to contact us again if you will require further assistance."
We purchased this router specifically for the Readyshare USB drive capability. Netgear does not advertise that there are only certain drives compatible with the WNDR4500, and was unwilling to accept a return. Luckily, we purchase via NewEgg and only had to pay a $35 to ship and restock the item. None of the compatible drive information is listed on product specification sheet. So how would one know this before purchasing?
Pros Very, very easy to install. Believe me, they give you a packet with 6 steps, and if you follow them you will have no trouble getting online in 15 reasonable minutes. My connection is phenomenal too, big-time upgrade from D-Link DIR 655.
Cons Not that I can think of, maybe wish the range was a little longer, but it's exceeded expectations so nothing to be mad about.
Summary I used to have a 1 bar connection on my xbox in my basement, now I have 4 bars. The 2.4GHz is still 1 bar in the basement, but that's why you have to really take advantage of that 5GHz, it makes such a difference. Great stuff from Netgear, can't go wrong with this one.
And, Netgear Genie really does help, it helps you visualize everything and make sense of all the technical jibberish that I really don't understand (WiFi channels anybody?)