Besides the above-described interface, you can use the Netgear Genie utility for setting up and managing your WNDR3800. It is similar to the router’s built-in interface and has a few extra features but their implementation isn’t perfect. For example, when the program reports a lack of Wi-Fi connection on its main screen, it means the local PC’s connection rather than the router’s. The internet uplink/downlink speed is also reported for the local PC rather than for the router.
Thus, we don’t think that Netgear Genie is very useful in its current form as it largely duplicates the router’s own setup interface. Perhaps the utility will become better in its next versions.
We measured the speed of routing between the WAN and LAN ports using the iperf utility on a special system with remote access services. The client machines were running Windows 7 64-bit. The router’s firmware was version 188.8.131.52. The data-transfer speed was measured on a client machine connected to the router’s LAN.
The speed of the direct and PPPoE connections is as high as 300-400 Mbps, which is good considering the WNDR3800’s not-very-new hardware platform. The PPTP and L2TP performance is high: you can fully utilize a standard 100Mbps connection and have some reserve for an external hard disk. There is no performance slump even in full duplex mode, receiving data from the internet having higher priority.
The WNDR3800 having two independent 2T2R modules, each with a top speed of 300 Mbps, we switched the 2.4GHz module to 300 Mbps mode to enable two radio channels. The 5GHz channel may be useful for getting a very high speed, e.g. to stream HD video on your LAN. Other typical applications, such as web browsing, online video streaming, chats, forums, email, etc, all work well even in the heavily used 2.4 GHz band today.
For this test we took the following USB adapters: ASUS USB-N13 (Ralink, 2T2R, 300 Mbps), Netgear WNA3100 (Broadcom, 2T2R, 300 Mbps), dual-band D-Link DWA-160 (revision A2, Atheros, 2T2R, 300 Mbps). We also checked out the WNDR3800 with a dual-band Trendnet TEW-680MB which works in 3T3R mode (450 Mbps) and connects to a PC via a Gigabit Ethernet port. The tested devices were placed about 5 meters apart. The router was installed upright on the included stand. We selected WPA2-PSK AES and 300 Mbps mode in its settings.
The router’s wireless performance is rather ambiguous. On one hand, it delivers an impressive 170 Mbps with the Trendnet adapter in the 5GHz band and a nice 80 Mbps with the Netgear adapter in the 2.4GHz band. But on the other hand, it is much slower with the ASUS adapter and far from impressive with the D-Link (which is based on an Atheros chipset, like the router itself). The WNDR3800’s radio modules seem to be very picky as to what client adapter you use. You can’t expect to have high speed with just any 802.11n adapter you take.