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Wireless Networking: Nine 802.11n Routers Rounded Up

TRENDnet TEW-654TR And TEW-671BR

We wanted to throw in at least one wild card in this roundup. TRENDnet’s TEW-654TR ($58.89) is a travel router measuring just 2.4 x 3.2 x 0.7 inches. The pocket-sized marvel weighs just 1.6 ounces. It features two internal 2.4 GHz antennas and is rated to cover about a 160-foot radius under indoor conditions—plenty big to cover the hotel rooms it’s meant for unless you’re hob-nobbing at the top of the Venetian.

The idea is that instead of being stuck at a tiny desk with an uncomfortable chair, you plug the router into the room’s Ethernet feed and kick back in your bed with either your laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi or the TEW-624UB dongle TRENDnet throws in with the kit. Of course, if you’ve got several people in the room with you (presumably not in the bed), they can hop on the wireless connection with their own clients.

Be aware that there are no LAN ports on this unit. You get one WAN port and the rest is wireless. Apart from Wi-Fi Multimedia QoS, WPS setup, and the ability to flip the router into an access point mode, there’s not really much else here to discuss. OK, the carrying case is nice, too. And no, the performance we witness was nothing to write home about. This is meant to be a business solution, not a gaming product, and we viewed it as such. All things considered, we thought the little TEW-654TR put in a respectable showing.

We’d hoped to review the TEW-673GRU, TRENDnet’s latest router. The company was kind enough to send us a pre-release model a couple of months ago, but we were unable to get satisfactory results from it. By no small coincidence, the 673GRU still has yet to release as of this writing. Instead, we tested the TEW-671BR ($83.80) TRENDnet had already sent us. We were intrigued to see how this unit fared because, while it’s a simultaneous dual-band model, it only features two 2 dBi external antennas rather than the usual three. However, there are another two 4 dBi internal antennas. For SDB, $84 is a screaming deal—if the router actually performs.

Admittedly, the SDB functionality is sort of the whole TEW-671BR story. The four LAN ports are 10/100. You get the usual base-level QoS features, integrated security, and WPS. Tack on TRENDnet’s three-year warranty and this emerges as a strong budget offering.

  • Which version of the Linksys WRT610N did you use? V1 or V2?
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  • deividast
    I want one of those Linksys :) I use now WRT54G and it's doing it's job, but it's a bit slow some times then transfering files from notebook to PC :)
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  • vant
    I'm surprised the 610N won. Without testing, the general consensus is that Linksys sucks except for their WRT54s.
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  • The testing is flawed in that there could be great variability in adapter performance, as admitted by the author. A true "router" comparison would use a common non-partial built-in Intel wifi link miniPCIe card to isolate router performance. Otherwise, too many variables are introduced. Besides, most ppl buy routers for routers, not in matching pairs since most ppl already own wifi laptops or adapters. Smallnetbuilders tested the Netgear WNDR3700 as one of the best performing routers on the market. Obviously this review unit is hampered by the Netgear adapter.
    Reply
  • vant
    kevinqThe testing is flawed in that there could be great variability in adapter performance, as admitted by the author. A true "router" comparison would use a common non-partial built-in Intel wifi link miniPCIe card to isolate router performance. Otherwise, too many variables are introduced. Besides, most ppl buy routers for routers, not in matching pairs since most ppl already own wifi laptops or adapters. Smallnetbuilders tested the Netgear WNDR3700 as one of the best performing routers on the market. Obviously this review unit is hampered by the Netgear adapter.Good point.
    Reply
  • The Greater Good
    I will never buy a Linksys again. No 64 bit driver support! What gives?
    Reply
  • cag404
    I just replaced my Linksys WRT600N with the Netgear WNDR3700. I have not used the WRT610 that is reviewed here, but I can say that the difference in routers is noticeable. The reason I replaced the router was that the WRT600N was dropping my port settings used to provide remote access to my home server, and I got tired of it. Wanted to try a different router so I went with the Netgear based on a favorable Maximum PC review. Glad I did. It has a snappier feel and I get a stronger signal throughout my two-floor house. The Netgear has not dropped my port settings for my home server yet. Also, I didn't like that fact that Linksys abandoned the WRT600N with no further firmware updates after about the first or second one.
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  • pato
    Was the Linksys the V1 or V2 variant?
    Which firmware was installed on it?
    I have one (V1), but am very unhappy about the signal range! I have it replaced with a WNDR3700 and have now a twice as strong signal as before!
    Reply
  • No D-Link DIR-855, DGL-4500, no Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station?
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  • Would have been nice to see the WAN-LAN throughput/connections as well for wired connections, but I guess all people but me use wireless for everything nowadays...
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