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Wireless Reviews

ReadySHARE

The WNDR3800 has a single USB 2.0 port that can be used to either share the contents of a USB storage device, or to share a printer. There are three ReadySHARE services.

Basic

This allows an attached USB storage device to be shared on your local network. The default network name is \\readyshare and everyone on the network has full Read/Write access. There are only two users: admin, which has a password, and All which requires no password.

Figure 10 shows the advanced configuration for ReadySHARE Basic. Here you can see that the device is available at \\readyshare on the local network as well as via a web browser on the local network. De-selected, by default, is internet web access, as well as local and internet FTP access. The advanced settings page lets you also create/edit/delete network folders, change the network device name and change the workgroup.

Advanced settings for ReadySHARE Basic

Figure 10: Advanced settings for ReadySHARE Basic

ReadySHARE won't win any performance contests with even the cheapest full-fledged NASes. But the table below from Tim's performance review shows that speed isn't too awful as long as you're not doing NTFS writes.

  WNDR3800 WNDR3700v2 WNDR4000
FAT32 Write (MBytes/s) 12.5 9.9 6.1
FAT32 Read (MBytes/s) 13.3 14.2 6.9
NTFS Write (MBytes/s) 4.3 3.0 4.6
NTFS Read (MBytes/s) 12.0 12.1 4.3
NETGEAR router throughput comparison

ReadySHARE Cloud

By choosing this option, you get remote access to the storage device attached to the router's USB port. It's like having your own personal storage cloud that doesn't have a monthly fee. Setup is a four step process.

First, you need to create a free ReadySHARE account.

Next, you enter the ReadySHARE Cloud user name and password to register the router with your account.

Now, log into http://readyshare.netgear.com to check your device.

Finally, if you want full access to the files on your storage device, you'll need to install a Windows client. This windows client installs a Leaf Networks virtual network adapter on your computer and assigns it a 5.x.y.z/8 (255.0.0.0) address. The client enables your remote computer to connect to the storage your WNDR3800 router using a secure VPN. (Note: Leaf Networks was acquired by NETGEAR in January, 2010. Here's a link to How Leaf Networks work.)

Thanks to a nearby unsecured wireless network, I was able to test remote access using the NETGEAR ReadySHARE cloud client. Figure 11 shows that storage device is available in Windows Explorer as though it were on my local network. Note the 5.171.62.239 IP address.

AccessingReadySHARE cloud storage

Figure 11: AccessingReadySHARE cloud storag

There's also client support for iOS and Android. Unfortunately, there's currently not a MacOS X ReadySHARE cloud client available. But NETGEAR advises that it's under development and should be available "soon".

ReadySHARE Printer

By selecting this option, you can share a USB printer with everyone on your network. Simply connect your printer to the USB port on the back of the WNDR3800 and make sure that drivers for your printer are installed on each system that will be using it.

Then, download and install the Mac or PC client from www.netgear.com/readyshare. I tested this using a Kodak AiO ESP7250 printer/scanner and it worked flawlessly. I was able to scan from as well as print to the printer.

Advanced Tab

This tab provides access to a rich set of features for advanced configuration of your WNDR3800. The Advanced Home, shown in Figure 12, shows the status of each of your wireless network, basic router information and the status and details of your internet connection. There are two tabs for wizards and four additional tabs that open up to reveal additional configuration options.

NETGEAR Advanced Home

Figure 12: NETGEAR Advanced Home

The advanced setup tab contains all of the features you'd expect to find on a high performance router. You can set up blocks of time to disable wireless networking. You can also configure the WNDR3800 for WDS-based wireless repeating.

The WNDR3800 supports port forwarding, port range forwarding and port triggering. Unfortunately, there are no pre-defined port triggering applications, so you'll need to know the ports used by your gaming applications (or they will have to use UPnP).

There is also support for Dynamic DNS, but only DynDNS is supported. UPnP is enabled by default, and you can view the UPnP portmap table by clicking on the UPnP menu. Under the USB Storage tab, you have the option of enabling a DLNA media server for media files stored on the storage device attached to the router. Optionally, you can also enable TiVo support so ReadySHARE storage can be used by your TiVo.

One of the interesting and fairly unique features is the Traffic Meter shown in Figure 13. This shows my traffic usage for the four days that the router has been connected to the internet. The traffic volume is stored in the router, so you don't lose if even if you have to reboot the device.

Traffic meter

Figure 13: Traffic meter

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