For a 2×3 antenna router, the Netgear RangeMax Next did impressively well with the 2×3 and 3×3 Intel adaptor card. It also provides very good routing and firewall options, from web content filtering (for parental control) to dynamic DNS.

In view of the Netgear RangeMax Next's relatively high price tag, we were disappointed not to see more extras, such as USB drive or printer sharing, a guest access mode, and strong parental controls. It also lacks WPA-Enterprise or RADIUS server support, which some small businesses will see as critical omissions.

That said, the Netgear RangeMax Next WNR3500 has a very well-designed setup utility, and what may be the best context-sensitive help service we've ever seen in a router web interface.

The Netgear RangeMax Next's web configuration utility can look for updated firmware every time you log in - a feature that we wish all routers would emulate. After all, keeping your firmware up-to-date is the first rule of router maintenance.

Although the Netgear RangeMax Next router is quite good-looking, it can be used only in an upright position and has no wall-mount holes. The antennae are internal.

OUR VERDICT

Overall, the Netgear RangeMax Next WNR3500 is a capable router that delivers superior performance, but it lacks some of the special features we look for in models in its price class.