Netgear HD/Gaming 5 GHz Wireless-N Networking Kit Reviewed by PC Magazine

netgear wnhdeb111In an ideal world, home networks would run at optimal 100Mbps and all our devices would work together easily. In the real world, home networks are still a pain and wireless technologies still aren’t at the point that you can consistently deliver HD Video content without hiccups, stutters or flat-out drop-outs. Because of these challenges, any company that offers a solution that aims to consistently deliver HD over wireless without these issues is destined to get some serious attention. Enter Netgear. Seeing that 802.11g over 2.4Ghz was not working for HD transmission, they created a product (WNHDEB111Video Demo) that went with 802.11n (draft spec) and worked on the far less congested 5Ghz spectrum. So, how does it work? Well, PC Magazine really seems to like it.

First, it’s important to note that this kit does not include a router. It’s assuming you have a wireless or wired router already in place. Ideally, this will work in conjunction with a wired Gigabit router, as one of the units in the kit connects to a router to act as an 802.11n bridge. The other unit in the kit works as an AP (access point) only. Additional AP units go for $130. With that out of the way, you’re probably wondering how the kit performs.

Through various testing environments, PC Magazine found that this kit consistently delivers transmission speeds far better than those offered by 802.11g on it’s best day. Optimal transmission took place when the two units were about 15 feet away from one another. Those speeds were between 82 and 118mbps. At 45 feet away, and on different floors, the speeds dropped to a range of 68 to 96Mbps – which is still pretty impressive. The device worked well in almost any environment, with microwaves and other 2.4Ghz based WiFi networks causing virtually no issues. Wireless phones on the 5Ghz spectrum rarely caused issues and even 802.11a networks – which also sit on the 5Ghz spectrum – rarely caused problems.

With the speeds seen by this kit, and the fact that it is extremely easy to setup, PC Magazine couldn’t help but give the kit a glowing review. The only downsides were the average price of about $200 and the additional $130 for each additional AP unit. However, this kit brings 100Mbps networking speeds to a wireless world and that is definitely something to pay attention to.

Filed in: Home Networking Gear