GCN LAB REVIEW

Netgear ProSafe WNDAP330 Wireless Access Point

Netgear’s ProSafe 802.11n Dual Band Wireless Access Point WNDAP330 has a sturdy metal case that comes in the classic Netgear blue. It can either be wall-mounted or set on a horizontal surface, where its footprint would be a whopping 10 inches by 9 inches. Of course, the greater width allows the antennae to be spaced farther apart than on other access points, which can help increase the functional distance in some situations. This flexibility is enhanced by the ability of the antennae to rotate a full 360 degrees.

The WNDAP330 is a dual-band device, with a radio for the 2.4 GHz frequency for 802.11b and g compatibility and one for 5 GHz for 802.11a compatibility. This can help avoid interference if one band is over-used, and it also allows backward compatibility with a, b, or g devices. Its single gigabit LAN port is also Power over Ethernet,  which will free power outlet. The WNDAP330 even has a serial console port to allow an administrator to connect a computer directly to the access point, which is more secure than the Web-based interface.

GCN LAB TEST

Netgear ProSafe WNDAP330

Pros: Wide antenna placement, dual-band
Cons: Mediocre file transfer speeds, large footprint.

Performance: B+
Ease of Use: A
Features: A-
Value: B-
Price: $475 (but available for around $350)

With the Veriwave test equipment, the Netgear achieved an average rate of 240.63 megabits/sec when downloading 1,518-byte packets and 244.56 megabits/sec going the other way. Those are not the fastest speeds in the roundup, but they are respectable. What is more impressive is the average 1.2 percent drop in these rates in the five-user test, the best in the review. Unfortunately, the 5 percent drop during the tests with security turned on made the Netgear lose its lead in this area.

The Netgear device came out with some middle-of-the-road results in our file transfer tests. Although it did squeak out the best download speed of 6.67 megabits/sec and best upload speed of 14.20 megabits/sec at the 80-foot mark, at least one other device was clearly better at the other distances.

Netgear is selling the WNDAP330 for a whopping $475. We feel this is too high, even for a device with two radios. However, this access point might be the one you need if you want a more secure administrative interface, which might be a requirement at some organizations. While we usually don't consider actual available prices over list prices, it should be noted that many vendors are selling the WNDAP330 for significantly less, often as low as $350.

Netgear, 408-907-8000, www.netgear.com

About the Author

Greg Crowe is a former GCN staff writer who covered mobile technology.

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