Netgear DGND3700 - The Ultimate Home Gateway

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My setup difficulties apart, this is a reasonable dual-band product

When setting up a home network, it does make sense to go for a modem router that can offer the ability to give you dual-band connectivity to avoid the possibility of congestion and speed issues. One such product is the Netgear DGND3700, which is currently sitting on my workspace with various coloured LEDs winking at me. However, getting to this stage was not as straightforward as it could have been, as will become clear later.

Basic settings with Router Management

This modem router has a stylish appearance with its lacquered black finish, which can, if positioned incorrectly, reflect what is being displayed on the monitor and an array of front-mounted LED status lights. Personally, I would have preferred the unit to take up a horizontal rather than vertical orientation, but the recommendation was for the upright position. Apart from a single USB port, concealed behind a flap that had a habit of becoming partly detached, located just below switches for WPS and wi-fi on the front, all the other connections are located at the rear of the modem router. Along with a second USB port, there are connections for ADSL, five Ethernet ports (one for an external cable/fibre modem), power and an on/off switch.

Netgear DGND3700

Brief illustrated instructions are provided for attaching the various leads and linking the device to your computer. You then need to access the Netgear setup facility using your web browser. A setup wizard is meant to configure the unit but was unable to complete the process in my case and I was unable to connect to the internet. An update sheet (dated February 2010), included in the box, did seem to relate to my problem, but it was, in fact, for users of the BE and O2 internet service providers.

The reason for this, as determined by Netgear’s excellent technical support, turned out to be a conflict relating to my IE9 setup on that system. Switching to my laptop running the same browser allowed me to run the automatic wizard feature to set up the Netgear modem router.

Further optional manual adjustments can be made from the same setup feature. I would suggest that one adjustment should be compulsory, as wireless security is turned off my default. A panel running down the left side of the settings screen gives you access to features categorised as USB storage, content filtering, maintenance and advanced wireless topics. On-screen help is provided for the various settings and this goes some away towards compensating for the lack of bundled manual. Such a document is available but needs to be downloaded.

Apart from one occasion when the service struggled to access my mail account (restarting my email client cleared the problem), performance was of a reasonable standard. You can set your own password (referred to as passphrase) for accessing the different bandwidths and link various wireless enabled devices without problems plus connect USB devices to your network. You can also set up a guest account for those with limited access to your network.

Running various file transfer tests with differing distances between devices produced speeds that always favoured the 5GHz band. However, the differences were not as much as I was expecting. I was able to achieve speeds of between 8 and 14MB /s with 2.4GHz band and between 11 and 17MB/s with 5GHz. Overall, this is an attractive product but more suited to the experienced user.

 NETGEAR DGND3700 Wireless ADSL Router


Price: $195 (Amazon)

Manufacturer: Netgear


Required spec: A choice of IE 5, Firefox 2 or Safari 1.4, broadband connect Windows Me or later, Mac OS, Linux



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