USB is a sign of a top-end router. The WNDR4500 has two USB 2.0 ports and supports USB hubs. The router’s high-wattage power supply ensures better compatibility with external hard disk drives. Several disk and printer usage scenarios are available via the ReadySHARE service.
External hard disk drives may have one or several partitions. The router supports the following file systems, both for reading and writing: FAT32, NTFS, EXT2, EXT3 and HFS+.
An external disk can be safely disconnected via the router’s web-interface. Files stored on it can be accessed via the Windows network environment or FTP. You can also download files via HTTP using your web-browser. Access from the internet can be allowed for FTP and HTTP for easy sharing of files with other users. The settings include device’s network name, workgroup name, and ports for external access. There are few access control settings. You can choose the following for each folder: read & write for all; read for all / write for the admin; read & write for the admin only. The following diagram shows the data-transfer speed when accessing a USB disk connected to the router via network.
You can achieve a speed of 10-12 MB/s in a Windows network environment. With FTP, the speed is higher at 13 MB/s for reading and 18 MB/s for writing. EXT2 and EXT3 are the most efficient file systems, which can be expected with network equipment of this type. Overall, the data-transfer speed isn’t very high, making this feature less convenient for moving large amounts of data.
Oddly enough, this top-end router doesn’t support Mac OS and its backup utility Time Machine, although the more affordable models offer such support. The ReadySHARE Cloud service is only available on the WNDR3800, too. When it comes to multimedia, the WNDR4500 can work as a DLNA server and broadcast multimedia files over network. It supports files in jpg, mp3, aac, wma, flac, wav, avi, mp4, mkv, wmv, m2ts and some other formats. The DLNA server works for all connected disks. You can’t make it work with particular partitions only.
A USB printer connected to the router can be accessed via the USB Control Center tool which is available in versions for Windows and Mac OS. It allows using not just printers but also all-in-ones, monitor the level of ink and use the scanning feature. Printing from mobile devices is supported via the Netgear Genie utility which will be described in the next section.