The Netgear N300 Wi-Fi Router one of the brand’s most affordable router units in the market today. But does this mean that it is significantly lower in the general totem pole of wireless routers? Not exactly. While it clearly won’t be able to match up with premium routers, it does appear to deliver a surprisingly good performance compared to most of its competition within its price range.
This is not a surprise as the N300 will be privy to most of Netgear’s signature features and quality. Is the N300 WNR2000 router a good budget router or should you look elsewhere? Let’s list down its strengths and weaknesses to help land on an informed decision whether or not this Netgear router is the right one for you and your home.
- 802.11n Wi-Fi Technology
- Max of 300Mbps speeds
- 2.4GHz Wi-Fi Band
- LAN Ethernet ports (x4), WAN Ethernet ports (x1)
- Netgear Genie App Support
The sleek vertical design of the N300 allows it to have a little footprint on any surface you install it on. The most prominent design feature you will most likely notice here is with its extremely well-ventilated casing. This is one unit that will be able to avoid altogether issues attributed to overheating, that’s for sure.
The ventilated casing also prevents it from accumulating fingerprints like some of the sleeker and glossier routers out there. This is also quite a slim router at 7 x 5 x 1.4 inches, quickly making it one of the most compact and space-saving models that you can get your hands on today.
You will find a host of LEDs at the front of the unit, which displays the status of each port. The front panel also sports the Wi-Fi Setup button which allows you to add WPS-compliant devices without that need to go through the standard security protocol.
Behind the unit are five ports which include four LAN and one WAN port. This is also where you will find the power button of this device. The stand support is detachable, but the unit is not designed to be mounted on the wall.
The Netgear N300 router also delivers a smooth and streamlined installation process. This has been a signature of current Netgear routers for quite some time now and is expected with future routers. It features the Netgear Genie app, which is compatible with all of the current operating systems on both desktop PC and smartphones.
The Netgear Genie provides a quick and easy way not only to set up the router network but also tweak some of the key features via smartphone, anywhere and at any time. If you wish for a more comprehensive setup process that goes through every detail of your network, logging in via the dedicated browser interface is the way to go.
Of course, the web interface also features an installation wizard that will help guide you along the way. The main difference here is that you will have access to more customization options, compared to using the Netgear Genie app.
If you are not familiar with router installation, I suggest you take advantage of the Network Genie app as you can quickly finish up the process with just a few clicks.
Functionalities and Features
The Netgear N300 router is touted as delivering up to 300Mbps speeds. This number is achievable by optimizing the setup and the location of the router in your residence. On average, you can expect around 40% to 60% of its max throughput, which is still a decent enough number if you only have a handful of clients connected to the N300 at a given time.
For streamers and online gaming fans, that speed might give you pause. Don’t fret though as the N300 has a QoS setting that allows you to prioritize which devices gets top billing when it comes to allocating the bandwidth. This will make HD streaming and multiplayer online experiences far smoother, which, for a budget router like this one can be considered as a Godsend.
The Netgear N300 also provides excellent security with the use of WPA/WPA2 protocols. For those who have regular visitors’ home, you can also take advantage of the router’s Guest Network Access functionality that allows devices to connect to a separate network. Also, the N300 comes with an in-depth parental control that will enable users to place bandwidth allowances, time limits, and reliable web filter for specific devices in your network.
Keep in mind that this router uses a single wireless 2.4GHz band. If you are in an area with several Wi-Fi signals, the N300 might experience the occasional disruption. Since it also has no beamforming technology, the N300 is suitable for small and medium-sized residences due to its limited range.
That being said, the Netgear N300 router can outclass most routers with similar price tags. With its additional features that are mostly found in more expensive models, the N300 goes above and beyond. The Netgear N300 is also covered by the manufacturer’s lifetime warranty which goes to show how confident Netgear is with their product’s integrity.
- Quick and easy installation.
- Decent speed and range for a budget router.
- Comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Complete parental control.
- Affordable price tag.
- This is a single band Wi-Fi.
- No Gigabit ports.
- The router’s web browser interface feels outdated and sluggish.
Despite its low price tag, the Netgear N300 is a surprisingly competent router that can achieve good scores even amidst today’s market. The simplicity of the N300 is one of its major draws. It also provides additional features like an in-depth parental control that is not commonly seen in routers of similar price.
It does lack in the wireless range department, and its use of single-band Wi-Fi limits its performance. But if you live in a small to medium home without much Wi-Fi signal traffic, this is a cost-effective router you should check out. Overall, the Netgear N300 router is a worthwhile option for individuals with a tight budget.