Netgear Australia RangeMax Next Wireless Router (WNR854T)

Drop-outs while it's hot

Netgear Australia RangeMax Next Wireless Router (WNR854T)
  • Expert Rating

    2.00 / 5


  • Good speed for streaming video, Gigabit Ethernet switch, keyword content filtering


  • Random drop-outs, had to restart after every settings change, worked best with Netgear adapters only

Bottom Line

Good features and wireless streaming speed were countered by random drop-outs, which caused us many headaches.

Would you buy this?

The airy box that surrounds the inner workings of Netgear's WNR854T wireless router certainly isn't the smallest we've seen. Its large size serves a purpose: it allows the unit's three antennas to hide inside. The WNR854T is an 802.11 draft-n router with a four-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, so it should provide plenty of bandwidth for users after quick wireless and wired speeds — when the router works.

After an extended evaluation of this router, using the latest firmware, we found it to be unreliable, both for streaming media, and for keeping an Internet connection alive. After seemingly random periods of time, the router dropped off our network completely – it would drop wireless and wired computer connections – and would only work after a reset. This happened a lot during the first few days we used it, then it settled down for a while, then it started dropping out again, then it became reliable again. It was quite moody.

We used the router with an ADSL1 connection (512Kbps) to download torrents on a main PC, to stream video to a Netgear Digital Entertainer HD EVA8000 and to use the Internet on a roaming laptop and a secondary wireless PC. This usage pattern didn't change – it's the same one we use for all routers – nor was the router ever powered down for more than a few seconds during our tests. Nevertheless, the uptime of the router varied from a few minutes to a few hours, up to a few days. It's a problem that we were not able to pin down to a specific machine or task.

However, when it did stay up for a long period of time, it produced an average wireless throughput of 5.71MBps to our laptop. This was recorded in 'mixed mode' (802.11g + 802.11 draft-n) and in 'max speed mode' (strictly 802.11 draft-n). So even though 802.11g devices were connected to it in mixed mode, the router was still able to reach its maximum speed. When streaming a DivX-encoded video to the EVA8000, the 802.11 draft-n transfer rate dropped to 4.79MBps. This means there is still ample bandwidth for other tasks while streaming videos across a wireless network.

Indeed, despite its maximum transfer rate being slower than the Linksys WRT310N, the last draft-n-based router we reviewed, the WNR854T had a better file transfer rate to our laptop while simultaneously streaming data to the EVA8000.

We weren't able to use our standard Linksys 300N (version 2) notebook adapter for testing, as it would only connect to the router at 54Mbps. Instead, we had to use a Netgear WN121T USB adapter in order to reach maximum speed.

The WNR854T's interface is simple and has good features. The Setup Wizard detected our Internet connection in a few seconds, and all we had to do was enter our login details. However, the Wizard didn't offer us the option of changing our wireless settings.

The unit comes with a built-in firewall, and keyword filters can be applied. A message saying "Web site blocked by NETGEAR Firewall" will appear when attempts are made to access unauthorised content.

Annoyingly, the router restarted automatically after any settings were changed, be they wireless or firewall related. Even changing the wireless channel, or simply adding a keyword to the filter, made the router restart, which was very annoying.

Basically, the WNR854T was more of a headache than a joy to use, but it produced good speed for streaming videos when it did work. If it was more reliable, played nicer with non-Netgear adapters and didn't restart after every single change, we wouldn't have given it such a low rating.

Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments


James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >


Sansai 6-Outlet Power Board + 4-Port USB Charging Station

Learn more >

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?