One way to nab a good budget 802.11n router is to buy a formerly high-end model that has come down in price. Even if it is dated, we like the design of the WNR834B, which sits vertically on your desk. The Smart Wizard setup had us surfing the Web in just a few minutes.
The WNR834B cast a wide 1,000-foot Wi-Fi net, beating all the other budget 802.11n routers we tested and covering a large suburban home easily with its three internal antennas. The Netgear also sped along nicely at 100 Mbps from 15 feet--the fastest in our roundup, and maintained a strong 40 Mbps signal at 200 feet. Other highlights include Steady-Stream technology, for making sure games and VoIP run smoothly, and WPA2 security.
The WNR834B didn't provide very good voice quality when we used a Netgear Skype Wi-Fi phone, and video streaming to the Netgear Digital Entertainer HD was also a struggle; an episode of Lost paused a few times. While we wish it handled VoIP and multimedia applications better, the Netgear WNR834B offers very good throughput and range for the price.