Description on the box of NETGEAR WNDR3800 we feature for review today says that the device possesses a kind of 'premium' functionality. We are not really planning to find out how premium its functionality is, but we will try to provide you with the most detailed insight on it and test its performance. Let's get started!
NETGEAR WNDR3800 wireless router comes in a plastic case which consists of two parts. The dominant colours are black, dark grey, and maroon. The upper panel of the device is glazed, whilst the bottom one is opaque. Unfortunately, we can't help but mention that the glazed plastic the case is made of may be easily scratched so that under certain illumination one can see all scratches.
The model under review can be placed on a table horizontally or vertically, or mounted on a wall. A single-purpose support stand that is used for vertical placement of the device on the table comes in the box. To work properly WNDR3800 needs an external power unit with the following characteristics: 12 V and 2,5 А.
The upper panel (when the device is mounted horizontally) has a 3D brand tag. Side panels are not remarkable at all.
The front panel has LEDs indicating the device status, as well those of its wired ports and wireless modules, and two buttons: one ON/OFF button for Wi-Fi and the other one for facilitating the wireless user connection procedure (WPS).
On the rear side there are five Gigabit Ethernet ports (one of them is WAN and the rest are LAN), USB 2.0 port, and a power socket with ON/OFF button.
The bottom side has four rubber legs used for table mounting and two tooling holes used to mount the device on the wall. Also, a sticker with brief information about the device can be found over here. Sunken Reset button used to reset the user settings is located on this panel too.
Now let's have a look at the insides of the case.
The hardware platform of the model under review is one green textolite card where elements are located on either side. Two tiny additional cards perform functions of antennae.
That is where we bring the review of the device hardware platform to a conclusion: all other components are covered with a metal screen and are inaccessible for review.
Firmware upgrade and supportive utilities
Firmware upgrade is carried out in Firmware Update group, Administration menu item of the web-interface advanced mode. Firmware upgrade may be carried out both in a manual and semi-automatic mode. In case of the latter the router gets connected to the vendor's server and checks for a newer firmware all by itself. In order to upgrade the firmware manually a user will need to download the firmware upgrade file and then upload it to the device. The whole firmware upgrade process takes about three minutes and does not require any technical proficiency from an administrator.
It would be fair to notice that there are alternative firmwares, for example DD-WRT, that may be used with NETGEAR WNDR3800. DD-WRT firmware is installed in two steps. The user needs to upload the initiate image to the device and then the firmware will be updated automatically. The firmware upgrade process is reviewed in detail on the website of the developers of the alternative firmware.
However, it's worth noticing that we could not change to DD-WRT using 126.96.36.199 firmware by NETGEAR and we had to install an older version, 188.8.131.52, as v24-sp2 (03/25/13) firmware incorrectly identified the router we used as WNDR3700 v2.
The user can change to the official firmware by uploading the applicable firmware in Firmware Upgrade group, Administration menu item, basic mode.
The method we just mentioned didn't work for us and we could not change to the factory firmware. Instead of it we had to change the router to the recovery mode (it's on when Power indicator is flashing and you can change to it by pushing Reset button for several seconds while the device is booting) to transfer the firmware through TFTP. It's worth noticing that this method of firmware recovery will also come in handy if a failure during the upgrade process took place upon usage of the official firmware.
C:\>tftp -i 192.168.1.1 put c:\WNDR3800-V184.108.40.206.img
Successfully sent: 11141313 bytes for 4 sec., 2785328 bytes/s
The user can also use the vendor's website to download software used for facilitation of the installation of a data carrier as an HDD or a printer connected to the device USB-port.
Now let's pass on to a brief review of the web-interface capabilities of the device.
We decided not to review all capabilities of the web-interface of NETGEAR WNDR3800 in detail in this review since they are quite similar to the ones we have already seen in WNDR4500 and R6300. The device web-interface is available in 22 languages and operates in one of the two modes: basic and advanced. Basic mode allows the user performing the primary tasks such as reviewing the router status, managing WAN connection parameters and wireless module settings, and granting access to an external data carrier connected to the device USB-port.
Advanced operation mode of the web-interface allows the user to manage settings of wired and wireless network segments, as well as those of connection to the Internet, more accurately. The above-mentioned settings are located in Setup menu item.
Groups in USB Storage menu item are used to manage operation of a flash card.
By using Security menu item the user can limit the list of websites that may be accessed and manage access to various services and utilities. Groups in Administration menu item are used to review logs, manage user settings, and upgrade firmware.
Wireless Settings, Wireless AP, and Wireless Repeating Station groups in Advanced Setup menu item allow the user to manage the wireless module very accurately and select its operation mode.
All other groups in this menu item are used to manage DDNS, port forwarding, static routing, USB-port, maintain support of IPv6, and estimate the user traffic count.
That is where we bring a brief review of NETGEAR WNDR3800 router web-interface to a conclusion and pass on to examining capabilities of its command line.
Access to the router command line is prohibited by default. One can access it using a standard utility for NETGEAR devices called telnetenable. The only thing we would like to point out is absence of a password upon connection via telnet.
=== IMPORTANT ============================
Use 'passwd' to set your login password
this will disable telnet and enable SSH
BusyBox v1.4.2 (2012-12-04 18:24:49 CST) Built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.
_______ ________ __
| |.-----.-----.-----.| | | |.----.| |_
| - || _ | -__| || | | || _|| _|
|_______|| __|_____|__|__||________||__| |____|
|__| W I R E L E S S F R E E D O M
KAMIKAZE (7.09) -----------------------------------
* 10 oz Vodka Shake well with ice and strain
* 10 oz Triple sec mixture into 10 shot glasses.
* 10 oz lime juice Salute!
BusyBox 1.4.2 library is installed in Linux 2.6.15.
BusyBox v1.4.2 (2012-12-04 18:24:49 CST) multi-call binary
Copyright (C) 1998-2006 Erik Andersen, Rob Landley, and others.
Licensed under GPLv2. See source distribution for full notice.
Usage: busybox [function] [arguments]...
or: [function] [arguments]...
BusyBox is a multi-call binary that combines many common Unix
utilities into a single executable. Most people will create a
link to busybox for each function they wish to use and BusyBox
will act like whatever it was invoked as!
Currently defined functions:
[, [[, addgroup, adduser, ash, awk, cat, chmod, chown,
cp, crond, crontab, cut, date, dd, delgroup, deluser,
df, dirname, echo, egrep, env, expr, fdisk, fgrep, find,
free, fuser, grep, halt, head, hexdump, ifconfig, init,
insmod, ip, ipaddr, iplink, iproute, iptunnel, kill, killall,
killall5, klogd, ln, logger, logread, ls, lsmod, md5sum,
mkdir, mknod, mount, mv, nice, passwd, pidof, ping, ping6,
pivot_root, poweroff, printf, ps, pwd, reboot, rm, rmdir,
rmmod, route, sed, sh, sleep, strings, su, switch_root,
sync, syslogd, tar, test, tftp, touch, traceroute, umount,
usleep, wc, wget, zcip
root@WNDR3800:/# cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.6.15 (josn@dnisw3) (gcc version 3.4.4 (OpenWrt-2.0)) #1 Tue Dec 4 19:26:56 CST 2012
Let's see what processes are currently running via ps command.
PID Uid VmSize Stat Command
1 root 392 S init
2 root SWN [ksoftirqd/0]
3 root SW< [events/0]
4 root SW< [khelper]
5 root SW< [kthread]
9 root SW< [kblockd/0]
12 root SW< [khubd]
53 root SW [pdflush]
54 root SW [pdflush]
56 root SW< [aio/0]
55 root SW [kswapd0]
651 root SW [mtdblockd]
758 root 284 S klogd
762 root 304 S datalib
890 root 108 S /usr/sbin/potval
1036 root 240 S udhcpd /tmp/udhcpd.conf
1040 root 208 S /usr/sbin/net-scan
1058 root 276 S /usr/sbin/lld2d br0
1113 root 140 S udhcpc -b -i br1 -h WNDR3800 -r 0.0.0.0
1158 root 324 S /usr/sbin/dnsmasq -r /tmp/resolv.conf
1166 root 340 S crond -c /tmp/etc/crontabs -T GMT-3
1192 root 332 S /usr/sbin/miniupnpd
1206 root 932 S uhttpd -e /usr/sbin/detwan
1209 root 136 S inetd
1223 root 932 S uhttpd -e /usr/sbin/detwan
1224 root 932 S uhttpd -e /usr/sbin/detwan
3105 root 680 S hostapd /var/run/topology.conf
3170 root 364 S syslogd -m 0 -T GMT-3 -c 511
3187 root 236 S /usr/sbin/ntpclient
3192 root 336 S crond -c /tmp/etc/crontabs -T GMT-3
3212 root 272 R /usr/sbin/utelnetd -d -i br0
3234 root 556 S /bin/ash --login
3286 root 1012 S N /usr/sbin/afpd -F /etc/netatalk/afpd_RU.conf -P /var/
3287 root 452 S /bin/sh /usr/sbin/send_wol 300
3296 root 860 S avahi-daemon: running [WNDR3800.local]
3326 root 316 S /sbin/traffic_meter
3347 root 144 S /usr/sbin/net-disk
3348 root 284 S hotplug2 --persistent --coldplug
3358 root SW [ telnetDBGD ]
3361 root SW [ acktelnetDBGD ]
3362 root SW [checkSBusTimeou]
3365 root DW [NU INITSOCK]
3366 root SW [NU UDP]
3367 root SW [NU TCP]
3375 root 212 S init
4689 root 324 S sleep 300
4691 root 424 R ps
Let's find out what kind of content /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin, and /usr/sbin catalogues have.
root@WNDR3800:/# ls /bin
addgroup cp egrep iptunnel mv rmdir uci
adduser datalib fgrep kill nice sed umount
ash date grep ln pidof sh usleep
busybox dd ip login ping sleep
cat delgroup ipaddr ls ping6 su
chmod deluser ipcalc.sh mkdir ps sync
chown df iplink mknod pwd tar
config echo iproute mount rm touch
root@WNDR3800:/# ls /sbin
root@WNDR3800:/# ls /usr/bin
[ dirname fusermount md5sum strings
[[ env head ntfs-3g test
awk expr hexdump ntfs-3g.probe tftp
crontab find killall passwd traceroute
cut free killall5 printf wc
detcable fuser logger smbpasswd wget
root@WNDR3800:/# ls /usr/sbin
afpd inetd remote_smb_conf
afppasswd ip6tables restart_ap_udhcpc
avahi-autoipd ipp ripd
avahi-daemon iptables ripngd
avahi-dnsconfd iwconfig runfuppes
brctl iwgetid select_partition
chkfuppes iwlist send_wol
cmd_cron iwpriv smbd
cnid_dbd iwspy smtpclient
cnid_metad lld2d stamac
crond minidlna tc
detach_afp_shares miniupnpd telnetenable
detwan monitor_smbd uhttpd
dev-scan net-disk update_afp
dhcp6c net-dump update_smb
dhcp6ctl net-scan update_usb_led
dhcp6s net-wall update_user
dni-bandwidth-check nmbd usb_cfg
dns-hijack ntpclient usbled
dnsmasq ntpst utelnetd
dsyslog potd vol_id
ebtables potval wget_netgear
ebtables-restore ppp-nas wol
ebtables-save pppd wpatalk
ez-ipupdate proftpd zebra
Now let's turn to /proc catalogue to view its contents and find out the system uptime, its average utilisation, information on the CPU installed, and the amount of RAM.
1 3348 br_iptv_port meminfo
1036 3358 buddyinfo misc
1040 3361 bus modules
1058 3362 cmdline mounts
1113 3365 cpuinfo mtd
1158 3366 crypto net
1166 3367 devices partitions
1192 3375 diskstats pci
12 4 driver scsi
1206 4712 execdomains self
1209 4713 filesystems simple_config
1223 5 fs slabinfo
1224 53 igmpsnoop stat
2 54 interrupts switch_collision
3 55 iomem switch_led
3105 56 ioports switch_phy
3170 651 irq sys
3187 758 kallsyms sysvipc
3192 762 kcore tty
3212 890 kmsg uptime
3234 9 lan_prio usbled
3286 MFS led_mode version
3287 NetUSB loadavg vmstat
3296 ath_attached_dev locks widi
3326 ath_pktlog mcast zoneinfo
3347 br_iptv_enable mcast_set
root@WNDR3800:/proc# cat uptime
root@WNDR3800:/proc# cat loadavg
1.00 0.97 0.74 1/47 4715
root@WNDR3800:/proc# cat cpuinfo
system type : Atheros AR7100 (hydra)
processor : 0
cpu model : MIPS 24K V7.4
BogoMIPS : 451.58
wait instruction : yes
microsecond timers : yes
tlb_entries : 16
extra interrupt vector : yes
hardware watchpoint : yes
ASEs implemented : mips16
VCED exceptions : not available
VCEI exceptions : not available
root@WNDR3800:/proc# cat meminfo
MemTotal: 126824 kB
MemFree: 83360 kB
Buffers: 3592 kB
Cached: 19472 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 7064 kB
Inactive: 18440 kB
HighTotal: 0 kB
HighFree: 0 kB
LowTotal: 126824 kB
LowFree: 83360 kB
SwapTotal: 0 kB
SwapFree: 0 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
Mapped: 4808 kB
Slab: 14152 kB
CommitLimit: 63412 kB
Committed_AS: 7076 kB
PageTables: 568 kB
VmallocTotal: 1048560 kB
VmallocUsed: 2560 kB
VmallocChunk: 1045656 kB
That is where we bring review of the device command line to a conclusion and pass directly on to testing it.
The first testing procedure we usually begin our testing section with is estimating the booting time of the device, which is a time interval starting with the moment when the power is on until the first echo reply is received through ICMP. WNDR3800 starts sending the first echo-replies in 20 seconds after booting. However, we think that the booting procedure takes more time since the device becomes unavailable after sending several first replies. This way we can assume that the booting time of NETGEAR WNDR3800 amounts to 50 seconds. We believe that this result is decent.
The second test we traditionally performed was a security scanning procedure which has been carried out using Positive Technologies XSpider 7.7 (Demo build 3100) utility. On the whole, there were eleven open ports discovered, and they are TCP-23 (Telnet), TCP-53 (DNS), UDP-53 (DNS), TCP-80 (HTTP), TCP-548 (afpovertcp), TCP-3333 (dec-notes), TCP-5555 (HTTP), TCP-20005 (unknown), TCP-33344 (unknown), TCP-49152 (HTTP), and TCP-49153 (HTTP). The most interesting data are presented below.
Prior to carrying out performance tests we can't help to mention the key specifications of the test stand we used.
|Motherboard||ASUS Maximus V Extreme||ASUS M60J|
|CPU||Intel Core i7 3770K 3.5 GHz||Intel Core i7 720QM 1.6 GHz|
|RAM||DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 32 Gbytes||DDR3 PC3-10700 SEC 16 Gbytes|
|NIC||Intel Gigabit CT Desktop Adapter
|OS||Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus||Windows 7 x64 SP1 Rus|
At first we decided to test WNDR3800 IPv4 routing performance using NAT/PAT translation, as well as without using this feature, for 1, 5, and 15 concurrent TCP-sessions.
Also, NETGEAR WNDR3800 supports IPv6. We couldn't help but test the routing performance using this IP. Connections from the external network to the internal are prohibited.
We connected a 750 Gbyte Transcend StoreJet 25M3 hard drive to the device USB 2.0 port, and formatted it into three file systems: NTFS, FAT32, and EXT3. Measurements of data access speed were carried out using Intel NASPT 1.7.1 utility. Results of the measurements are presented below.
Neither did we keep away from performance tests of the wireless network segment of the device. NETGEAR WNDR3800 supports simultaneous operation under two wireless frequency ranges: 2.4 GHz and 5GHz.
For majority of Russia's citizens the thing that really matters when buying a good router is the device performance margin upon operation with PPTP tunnels. The data transmission speeds via PPTP without encryption are presented on the diagram below. Unfortunately, WNDR3800 does not support encrypted tunnelling.
That's where we draw the testing chapter to a close and move on to summing it all up.
Generally, we are quite glad about the wireless router we have tested; some of its strength areas are specified below. NETGEAR WNDR3800 went on sale about two years ago and the final users had enough time (from the telecommunications point of view) to test its firmware, so at the moment it is really stable and well-tuned.
- Excellent performance results upon operation with PPTP
- Used traffic meter
- IPv6 support
- Ability to select USB devices which are to be granted access to the device
- Support of two wireless frequency ranges
- Presence of a USB 2.0 port
Unfortunately, we cannot help to mention certain drawbacks of the model.
- Absence of encryption support for PPTP
- The web-interface in Russian looks slightly distorted and it is not fully translated
- Password-free telnet access
- High price.
As of when this article was being written, the average price for NETGEAR WNDR3800 in Moscow online shops was 5000 roubles.