Intro to the N900 Router
Each router will be given a designated letter a number which represents vital aspects of its system.
For example, the 'N' is a router rating which means that the router is incorporating 802.11n wireless standard.
There are several varieties of this type of router from the basic N150 up to N900.
With routers that have a rating of N750 and above, you can expect it to feature dual-band wireless technology.
These routers will incorporate both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels which should help improve overall network performance. It does so by lowering the risk of network traffic and signal interference from other Wi-Fi routers.
As for routers with a rating of N900, the same principle applies but expect a faster throughput with both channels used.
The 900 grade is the combined total of both wireless band's maximum speeds.
A common misconception here is that the higher the rating, the faster the internet speed will be.
The fact is that that routers with higher scores are better suited for use in areas with multiple devices.
Also, the rates can only be adequately taken advantage of at proximity to the router (10 feet or less).
You will notice a steady speed decline the farther you are from the router. Walls and other obstacles will also affect the overall performance of your wireless router.
So, is an N900 router the right choice? Well, that depends on your needs in regards to internet usage.
We will be checking out one N900 in particular, the Netgear Nighthawk WNDR4500 Router. How does it stack up compared to other routers in its price bracket? Let us find out.
Netgear N900 Nighthawk WNDR4500 Router Review
The Netgear Nighthawk WNDR450 N900 is the last iteration of their N-series and the successor to the well-received N750. This is a dual-band router which means it provides both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channel support.
Dual-band routers are designed so that it will be able to avoid common router issues associated with network traffic and signal interference.
The Nighthawk WNDR450 delivers stable throughput speed with both channels. The 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands both clock at a maximum speed of 450Mbps.
Hence, the N900 rating. As with all Netgear routers, the Nighthawk WNDR450 also features Netgear Genie compatibility.
The Netgear Genie streamlines network operation with a robust software the pools all the essential information and setting into this app that you can install on your smartphone.
The Netgear WNDR4500 router is a vertical standing router that has a lot of similarities with the previous WNDR4000 model.
The most noticeable difference is that the WNDR4500 is considerably larger. The WNDR4500 does lack the versatility in installation as this is strictly a vertical router.
The stand at the bottom cannot be detached, and there is no option to wall-mount it. Keep that in mind before deciding on purchasing this Netgear router.
The WNDR450 router comes with five Gigabit Ethernet ports at the back. Users will have access to four LAN ports and a single WAN port. Since these are all Gigabit Ethernet ports, users can expect ultra-fast wired connections.
You will also find a single USB port there. However, this is strictly a 2.0 USB port, so don't expect the high transfer rate that is synonymous with the current 3.0 USB.
That being said, this port is quite convenient for those who plan on sharing files from an external hard drive or for wireless printer functionality.
Over on the front, we have LED lights the show the current status of your network as well as the status of each Gigabit Ethernet port.
The LED changes color as well depending on the state of your system, which makes determining the problem quicker.
The front side of the router is also where you will find the WPS button and the power button.
We always prefer the WPS button to be located somewhere easily accessible, as the whole point of this button is convenience. Placing the WPS button anywhere else seems counter-productive in our opinion.
One crucial aspect of the WNDR450 router that helps separate it from the pack is its use of a 3 x 3 stream standard. For a router of its price tag, having this wireless standard in place is a massive factor as to why we recommend the N900.
While the router is compatible with all Wi-Fi devices, you can only take full advantage of its optimum performance if your device supports 3 x 3 standard wireless technology.
The Netgear N900 can broadcast both channels simultaneously as well as two Guest Network Access as well.
This alone will help improve the security of your home network, a must-have for homes that get visitors regularly.
If you are not familiar with Guest Network Access, it allows other devices to connect to the internet via your Wi-Fi router.
The difference is that they won't be connecting directly to your network. This will prevent these devices from accessing your files and data that are shared within your home network.
Next up in the N900's USB port which you can use to host either an external hard drive or a printer.
However, note that this particular version only supports USB 2.0, which might make transferring more substantial data a tad longer.
Also, the USB ports read both FAT32 and NFTS formats. As stated, the USB port has enough power to utilize bus-powered external hard drives.
Sharing files via external hard drive is also incredibly simple and easy. It takes the 'plug and play' approach by heart as once you have connected your hard drive into the router, all other clients now have access to the HDD files.
Shared files can be made into an FTP site as well. This further simplifies access to essential files while also building safeguards that will prevent unwanted intruders from accessing relevant data.
Another notable feature here is its compatibility with DNLA network media players. What this means is that all other clients can easily stream shared media files with each other.
The router will also automatically scan connected hard drives for multimedia files and segregate it for easy access in the future.
The Netgear N900 comes with all the standard security features you expect to find in a router. It uses industry-standard security protocols such as WEP, WPA, and WPA2.
This router is also designed to support Ipv6 internet protocol and comes with a Wi-Fi Protected Setup which allows you to add new clients with a press of a button easily.
Rather than going through the mandatory security process, which will take a bit longer.
The Netgear N900 also comes with parental control features which have become the norm with new Netgear routers.
If you wish to use this feature, you will need first to install the Netgear Live Parental Controls program. You can find the download link via the Netgear Genie application.
Speaking of which, the Netgear Genie is a highly recommended app for Netgear router users. It is user-friendly and secure in navigating your home network settings.
You will also need to open an account with OpenDNS if you wish to take advantage of every feature that the Netgear N900 has to offer.
Don't worry as registering for an account with OpenDNS is free, it will just take you a couple of minutes to complete as well.
Once you have your OpenDNS account ready, you are now free to utilize the parental control feature.
This is an excellent feature to have for homes with children who are also able to access the internet.
It allows parents to set limitations and schedules as to when and how long their children can access the internet.
It also allows users to filter specific websites and online content which can be deemed as inappropriate.
How Do I Setup My Netgear Nighthawk WNDR4500?
If you are a novice when it comes to wireless technologies, you don't need to fret about installing a Netgear router in your home.
All Netgear routers are designed to be extremely user-friendly. You can even argue that Netgear routers are at the pinnacle when it comes to user-friendly devices.
Setting up the Netgear Nighthawk WNDR4500 can be done via a web browser interface or the Netgear Genie app.
If you want to customize your network fully, we suggest going with the web interface. For beginners, the Netgear Genie will help you complete this task within 5 minutes.
Dimensions: 10.15 x 6.79 x 3.18 inches
Wi-Fi: N900, Dual-Band
Ports: x5 Gigabit Ethernet ports (x4 LAN and x1 WAN), 2.0 USB
The Netgear WNDR4500 N900 is a superb budget-friendly router with decent range and speed. We did find that the 2.4GHz somewhat operates at a lower performance rate than some routers with a similar design.