Imagine the power of open source combined with the newest in Wireless-N enabled technology, and you've just come up with NETGEAR's latest and greatest entry into the world of routers: the WNR3500L. Incorporating many of the features of its close cousin, the WNR3500, the WNR3500L adds the additional ability to customize your router with third party open source firmwares such as DD-WRT, OpenWRT, and Tomato - along with gigabit port speeds.
Whether you've just heard about the WNR3500L, are considering picking one up, or have already gotten one and would like to know where to start - continue on to learn how to set up the router and take advantage of its features. If you like, you can check out the features and specifications of the WNR3500L by clicking here.
Unboxing the WNR3500L
Upon opening the box, you'll find the box contains everything you need to get started: an installation CD (which you do not necessarily need,) the router and a stand, a power cube, and an Ethernet cable. The router itself is light but sturdy, and has a completely different form factor than its predecessor, the WGR614L. It is designed to stand vertically (thus saving space) and has a sharp, glossy black finish. It looks and feels much like the WNHDEB111 Wireless-N networking devices.
On the back of the router you will see the standard selection of ports, plus a USB port, which we will discuss later. This router also doubles as a four port network switch. To connect to your network, all you need to do is connect the Ethernet cable from your Internet connection into the yellow port and connect your other network attached devices to the orange ports, and power on the unit.
Setting Up the WNR3500L
The WNR3500L uses the same interface as many other NETGEAR routers, so if you're upgrading from the WGR614L or another model, you may very well be familiar with what you see. Once your router is connected, you'll see an available, open wireless connection entitled "NETGEAR," which you should latch on to right away. Then, type in "http://www.routerlogin.net" to access the control panel of the WNR3500L.
Once you're logged in, you should see the screen displayed above. For most basic setups, here are the options you should immediately address and change:
- Set Password: Head over to this menu to set up a new administrator password - this way, nobody smart enough to attempt to log in to your router will be able to sneak in with the highly uninventive default password.
- Wireless Settings: In this menu, you'll be able to name your SSID, hide it if you wish, and set up wireless encryption. I personally recommend that you change the SSID to something unique and enable WPA or WPA2 based encryption, as WEP can be easily cracked.
The WNR3500L also supports uPnP, which is enabled by default. In my setup, the router immediately communicated with my network attached devices to set up port forwarding and triggering, but it can be manually configured if you wish. Here are some other advanced functions you can edit if you wish:
- Wireless Repeating Function
- Remote Management
- QoS Settings
- Dynamic DNS Support
- Static Routes
Now, let's head to the next page to learn about the brand new USB ReadyShare feature of this router!