NETGEAR WNDR3700 Review: The Ultimate Wireless Networking Machine

Sometimes, all you need are the basics.  Other times, you need to break out the "big guns."  The NETGEAR WNDR3700?  One of the big guns.

How big, you say?  Gigabit Ethernet.  680 MHz processor.  A robust 16 MB of flash and 64 (!) MB of RAM.  This thing has the power you need, maybe even more than you need, which makes it perfect in my book - and definitely leagues beyond your average cheapie generic router.

This "ultimate networking machine" is also fully decked out with everything the super-connected, bandwidth crunching, HD media streaming home requires, with power to spare.  Is the WNDR3700 right for you and your home?  Read on, and learn about the advanced features of this special router.

Unboxing the WNDR3700


I've unboxed a lot of NETGEAR products, and the WNDR3700's packaging is no different.  NETGEAR does a great job of packaging, keeping the materials efficient, with as little waste as possible, while retaining the product safely and securely.

NETGEAR WNDR3700 Box Contents

Inside the box, you'll find the WNDR3700 router along with the installation CD (you won't really need it,) the power cord,  an Ethernet networking cable, and a stand if you wish to use it.

NETGEAR WNDR3700 Unboxed

The router is handsome, as far as routers go.  It's made of a sturdy plastic with a glossy NETGEAR-logo-embossed top, and looks really sharp.


The back of the router is gifted with mounting holes, with which you could easily attach the WNDR3700 to a wall - for example, in your basement or in a media center.  Very handy.

NETGEAR WNDR3700 Back Panel

The back ports are pretty standard - except for that the Ethernet ports are gigabit capable, and you also get a USB port for ReadyShare usage (more on that later.)

Installing the NETGEAR WNDR3700 Wireless Router

Ready to get this bad boy up and running?  Fortunately, NETGEAR really makes setup quite easy on this router (as well as all others that I've gotten my hands on.)  This is nice, since router setup can really be a pain, especially with cheaper products.

After plugging in the router to your local network as well as to your Internet connection and powering it on, simply navigate to in your browser bar, and enter the "standard" credentials.  (If you need help connecting the cables, consult your user manual - but for basic purposes, plug the cable from your Internet into the yellow port, and your local network items into one of the four others.)

Admin = admin

Password = password


Pretty simple.  You'll be brought into the router interface, at which time it will check the NETGEAR servers for a newer version of the firmware.  You should allow it to do this, and complete an update if necessary.  Having the newest version of the stock firmware ensures that the device will be stable and have the latest feature set.

Now, let's get it set up.


Setting up the NETGEAR WNDR3700 Wireless Router

Assuming that you have an "always on" Internet connection, such as cable Internet, the WNDR3700 should automatically detect the connection, as well as any network-enabled devices that you have plugged into it, such as NAS devices.  There are some basic settings that you will need to definitely change, though.

NETGEAR WNDR3700 Password Reset

First, if the router didn't already prompt you to do so, you should change the default password to something unique.  


Next, you'll want to configure the wireless network settings so you can use the WNDR3700 with your wireless devices.  The WNDR3700 supports every format up to the super fast Wireless-N standard - but one thing thats's different about this router is that you can configure two separate hotspots, one running on the 2.4 GHz band, and one running exclusively on 5 GHz.

I recommend setting both of them up - set the 2.4 GHz hotspot to run up to 130 Mbps, so all devices (including wireless-b and g) will be compatible, and the 5 GHz hotspot to run up to 300 Mbps, for the fastest speed on your Wireless-N compatible devices... especially your media streamers.


For the last part of your basic setup, you will probably want to enable uPnP - this will enable the router to talk to your other network devices easily and open ports as necessary.  You would use this, for example, if you are using a BitTorrent program or accessing a home server or NAS externally.  Simply  navigate to the uPnP tab and make sure the "turn uPnP on" check box is enabled.

WNDR3700 and ReadyShare

NETGEAR WNDR3700 ReadyShare

While the WNDR3700 has a boat load of features, I'd like to cover some of the more notable ones here before you go exploring on your own - if you can wait that long!  The first is ReadyShare, NETGEAR's USB sharing technology, that is built right in to the WNDR3700.

In a nutshell, ReadyShare will take a USB drive that is plugged into the port on the back of the router and make it available on your home network.  The router comes out of the box with the feature enabled, so once you have completed the basic setup steps and plug in your drive, it should pop up in your network as easy as that.  This means that you can have a simple NAS without having to buy any additional equipment.

WNDR3700's Built In ReadyDLNA Media Server

Even better is the support for ReadyDLNA, again, enabled by default and ready to rock when you are.  Assuming that the USB drive that you plugged in to the WNDR3700 has media to stream, such as video or audio, the ReadyDLNA server will make it available to streaming devices in your network, such as a Digital Entertainer or NeoTV, with no further configuration needed on the router side of things.

Setting up a Guest Network on the WNDR3700

If you're a lucky owner of this router, don't miss this feature.  I fear that it be one of the more underrated features of this product.  Have you ever had guests over, brandishing their iPhones and BlackBerries, asking if they can connect to your network?  Of course you have.  Or, maybe you work from home or have a home office and need to collaborate with co-workers.

Either way, you have no desire to share your files with your guests, or give them full unfettered access to your network - the WNDR3700 can take care of things.

NETGEAR WNDR3700 Guest NetworkHead to the Guest Network Settings page and you'll be presented with a screen that is very much like the basic wireless settings section - but the network you set up here lives separately from your regular, personal wireless network.  In other words, you can "hide" the other network from view, but make the guest network public, if you wish.

Of course, you can also set a separate password for this guest network; that way, passers-by can't simply log in and suck down your bandwidth for free.

Setting up a Bandwidth Meter on the WNDR3700

The last standout feature I'd like to talk about is the bandwidth meter.  Lots of folks flash their routers with third party firmwares such as DD-WRT to get this feature, as it isn't built in to a lot of consumer routers.  However, the WNDR3700 has this covered also.

With this easy to use feature, you can track daily and monthly bandwidth usage - something that is bound to become more valuable in the age of pay-for-play bandwidth, throttling, and restrictions.  (For example, through Comcast, I am bound to 250 GB per month.  This sounds like a lot, but if you stream video from online services, it adds up fast.)  You can even set it up to warn you when a usage threshold has been reached, or disable the Internet connection automatically if you go over.


I will boldly step forward and say that, to date, the WNDR3700 is one of the best and most fully featured routers I've ever used.  I'm not the only one.  It's received rave reviews from MaximumPC, SmallNetBuilder, and countless other publications and sites - praised not only for its speed but also its feature set.

I'd say that the WNDR3700 is right for you if you have a need for advanced features that are easy to use such a bandwidth meter, media sharing, and so on, or if you plan on doing heavy network file transfers or HD media streaming.

Even for basic use, the WNDR3700 has lots of room to grow and power to spare, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone.

[Shop for NETGEAR Products]

[More Information on NETGEAR's Official Site]

OneMoar's picture
for the price you can't give

for the price you can't give us 96MB of 350MHZ DDR ?

16mb so if we use netgear math thats really only 15.6MB
screw the larger flash just give us the higher clked cpu anr ram and a REAL 8MB of flash

vaporman_ri's picture
This makes my 3500 look weak

This makes my 3500 look weak :) i run dd-wrt on it from day 1 and is just a all around great media router with dd install or stock firmware its a win win.

Robocub's picture
Which version of the router

Which version of the router is this? V1, 2, or 3? And is this router hack able to install DDwrt or Tomato firmware?