Netgear WN3000 Universal WiFi Range Extender Review

Short summary: I can’t get this thing to work and will likely return it. Updated, it’s sort of working now. See updates below.

This is unfortunate because the device has most of the features I was looking for – easy router config and connect, MAC address filtering, and all the normal forms of connection encryption.

I was unsuccessful in connecting an XBox 360 and two different tablets (Win8 and Android). All devices failed to aquire an I.P. address. The extender also does something funky with virtual mac addresses I was never able to figure out. (Speaking of which, what the heck is a virtual mac address? The internet doesn’t have a good definition.) Another complaint, the web based admin interface seemed buggy, clicking on the main sectional nav links didn’t spin the throbber in my browser, and sometimes the interface I selected simply didn’t come up. One last complaint, the documentation through the web based admin interface wasn’t very good. One of those classic cases where the person who wrote the docs didn’t have good english skills.

Overall Netgear has a useful little device here if they work out the connection problems. The device had strong signal from various parts of my house, it connected to my WPS router with zero effort, and it had the security features I wanted. However getting a pc, tablet, or xbox connected to it should “just work”. It didn’t, and the support docs and support web site were of little help.

Update – I managed to get this working by performing a system reset. Basically, plug the device in, wait for green lights, then hit the device reset button using a paperclip. I then went through the same process of getting it connected to my router using WPS. After which I was able to connect via a Windows 7 laptop and the XBox 360. (However, I received a warning from the xbox about NAT issues which concerns me. Does this device have issues with UPnP?) Also, the xbox test connection process was very slow. I’ll run with this for a bit and see how things go. If the connection speeds are bad or I have issues with games, I’ll likely still ditch the unit. Linksys sells a similar model, I might try that product out if the Netgear extender totally fails to impress.

Update 2 – More connection problems, this time with an android tablet. The tablet connects and attempts to get an IP address which it seems to accomplish, but then it immediately loses the address, and attempts again. This cycle goes on continually. With all the issues I’ve had, I think in the end this device is going to be a waste of money. I am not impressed.

I did figure out the virtual mac address thing – the device maps a virtual address to the address of a device connected to it. If you use mac address filtering you’ll need to set up filters for both addresses on your router and the device itself. Kind of a pain really, since you have to maintain two lists. For devices connected to the extender, you’ll need to add the device address and then add the virtual address to your router. If you want to be able to connect to both access points simply add both addresses to both lists.

PRO:
1) easy router set up
2) mac address filtering and encryption

CON:
1) major issues with getting clients connected
2) Mysterious NAT warning on the xbox
3) Android connection cycling
4) buggy web based administration interface
5) crummy web site support

4 thoughts on “Netgear WN3000 Universal WiFi Range Extender Review

  1. I reycently purschased the wn3000 universal wifi extender and wirelessez connected to my droid 2 global with an app hotspot and works fine. I can stream netflix and video on two seprate android tablets i main tain 2500 kpbs steady and unlimited data plain so finally Working Great but tech zupport suckz.

  2. I’m having problems with this model currently

    Bought it home and hooked it up to our router, with the hope of being able to have wifi access at the far end of our house.

    The unit (extender) connects to the existing wifi no problems, however even though all the devices we have (Iphone, Laptop, Xbox 360 and PC) can pick up the signal from the extender excellently, not a single one can connect to the extender.

    I gave your “paperclip reset” idea a try but with no changes

    Any ideas?

    – Cheers

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