Review: Netgear WNR854T Wireless Gigabit Router

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Netgear WNR854T Wireless Gigabit RouterIn two words, it sucks.

Now, on to the detail. First of all, I paid $179 for this router earlier this year. I had upgraded to this router primarily for two reasons: I wanted more range, and I wanted Gigabit ports for my wired LAN.

It turns out that I did get slightly better range on my Wireless G laptop than my previous Linksys wireless router, but only slightly. For example my old Linksys router wouldn’t reach from my home office to my bedroom at all, and the Netgear WNR854T did reach… but just barely. I averaged only one bar and this made surfing from bed an excruciatingly poor experience.

As far as setup on this router is concerned, well it’s just like all the others nowadays. There is a Web based interface and you log in, make your configuration changes and then forget about it indefinitely.

One good thing is that this router, as opposed to my previous Linksys, basically never required any rebooting. It just ran and ran – that is up until last Wednesday when it decided to just quit working altogether. And now we get into the sucky part.

A couple of weeks ago my friend Greg called me up and asked me for a router recommendation. I told him which one I had and sent him the Amazon.com link to it. A few minutes later he started asking me about all the people complaining about the device. I had no idea what he was talking about, so I looked at it myself.

Sure enough, it appears that a LOT of people are complaining about the device just dropping dead on them one day. I told him that I didn’t know about all that, but mine was still working so perhaps it was just a bad batch of them. Well, flash forward two weeks and what do you know but the same damn thing happens to my router. Now it’s just a lightweight doorstop.

I guess I’ll send it in for repair, but there is no way I’m relying on this device going forward so I went out and purchased a brand new router made by Belkin. Look for my review of the even more expensive Belkin N1 Vision shortly. Hint, it kicks ass!

Anyway, back to the Netgear WNR854T. My official recommendation is that you stay very far away from this thing. It isn’t worth the premium price over a cheap Wireless G router, the reliability is highly suspect, and the performance wasn’t anything to write home to mom about. This combination does NOT represent good value.

Article Written by
John P.

John P. is CEO of Livid Lobster and co-host of Geek Beat TV. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

Comments

  1. Christian Treczoks says:

    Looks like you only have to replace the 3.3V regulator. Five minute job if you know how to handle a soldering iron, and you can even use a better regulator that won’t break anymore.

  2. Dan Hiner says:

    The Netgear WRT854T is a absolute piece-of-crap!

    My 3rd (Yes my third) one (ser#1JF569L400A42) has just, again, crapped out for no apparent reason. I bought that one on the 27 of NOV 07 to replace number 2 (ser#1JF267LN0117E) which I bought on the 10 MAY 06
    to replace the 1st one (ser# 1JF164K500264).

    So, as you can see, they only last anywhere from 5 to 7 months before they totally crap out, again, for no apparent reason.

    I speculate poor power regulation because they never come back to life…just the power light comes on after you reset the power after they go totally “dark”.

    Dan

  3. P3T says:

    count me in. i’ve had this router for about a year as well. the first router i rcvd died in one hour. i figured it was a lemon. i rcvd a replacement within the week and it has been working fine until this morning when i woke up and my pc very gladly informed me i had no connection to the internet. so i wasted about two hours trying to get the blasted router working again to no avail. finally resurrected an old linksys from a storage closet and was back online. i completely advise all to stay away from this router. very disappointed with netgear.

  4. John P. says:

    It’s funny that you ask. I actually contacted them a while back to talk about getting some sample units that I could test both at home and for our local city of Frisco, TX. They sent me some paperwork, but that was about it.

    I’m not willing to send them hundreds of dollars to learn how it works, to then do a complete write up and serve as advertising for them, but if you want to suggest to them that they send me a few devices then I’ll be happy to review them completely and do the write up.

    If you just need a network for a small area, you should really check out the new Belkin I just reviewed. My neighbor from two houses down and across the street told me today that he can see my network and even has 2 bars over there! It is awesome!!! :-)

    John

  5. Greg says:

    I’ll make sure to keep any knowledge of NSX engine problems to myself…I obviously have some sort of supernatural power and need to be careful from now on.

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