TrendNET is surely counted among the leading manufacturers of SOHO and enterprise-class network equipment. The popularity of a particular brand in this market depends greatly on the specific region, yet TrendNET has achieved a prominent position in most parts of the world over 20 years of operations.
Today, it is next to impossible to live without wireless equipment at home. Computers, notebooks, smartphones and game consoles are all in need of a fast and easy Internet access, calling for a router that can share a single Internet channel among multiple devices. Some of those devices can be connected with cable, but others need a wireless connection.
The standard home router design with four LAN ports, a WAN port and Wi-Fi has been developing in every aspect. The wired ports are now more and more implemented as Gigabit Ethernet whereas Wi-Fi has been successfully transitioning to 802.11n with its higher speed and larger coverage. While it’s all clear about the former feature (Gigabit Ethernet is most wanted for today's desktop PC and top-end network attached storage devices), things are more complicated with Wi-Fi. The declared hundreds of megabits per second (150, 300 and 450 Mbps are the most common numbers referring to different hardware configurations) actually reflect the theoretical speed rather than the actual rate of transfer of user data. There are also problems due to the inherent dependence of wireless connections on the ambient factors such as the availability of other networks and sources of interference.
So, getting down to testing a TrendNET TEW-691GR router together with a TEW-687GA Wi-Fi adapter, I was rather skeptical about their allegedly phenomenal Wi-Fi capabilities. TrendNET offers several Wi-Fi devices with a specified speed of 450 Mbps. Besides these two, there is an access point TEW-690AP and an upcoming USB adapter TEW-684UB.
It’s all clear with usage scenarios for the router. As for the adapter, it is connected to a client via a Gigabit Ethernet port. On one hand, this is good as you can transform any network device into a wireless one, establish a bridge between network segments or install the adapter in the most convenient location, but on the other hand the adapter has to be powered via a wall outlet.