Cool gifts for geeks, 2011: Home and office gear

Presenting the gems in your home or office environment.

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WNDR4500 N900 Dual Band Gigabit Router, by Netgear

Ho, hum, another 802.11n router, you say? Hold on there, Santa, this one is different.

The inclusion of 3x3 MIMO allows up to 450Mbps, and this new router from Netgear has not one, but two of these - meaning 2x 450Mbps performance. Netgear's dual-band, dual-radio 3x3 MIMO 802.11n access point applies the latest in W-Fi technology to an inexpensive home/small-business router. 

There are a lot of features here - four-port gigabit Ethernet switch, Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS; for easy pushbutton setup of secure connections), DLNA media sharing, USB peripheral sharing (including a print server) of two USB ports, guest access, dual firewalls (NAT and SPI), IPv6, and even parental controls. Guest access, in which guests can only get to the Internet and not the local LAN, is also included. Oddly, the feature set isn't as complete as Netgear's dual-radio (600Mbps each) WNDR3800 model, which can function as an Apple Time Machine server among its other capabilities. But for the ultimate in speed today, the WNDR4500 isn't a bad choice at all. Even the manual is unusually detailed and complete. 

Setup was easy; there's no CD or other downloaded software required, and you can use any browser-based device you'd care to. The Genie dashboard is easy to use, and it's all very straightforward. No complaints from me - and 5-star giftability to boot. 

Cool Yule rating: 5 stars
Price: $179.99 (Amazon)
Reviewed by C.J. Mathias

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