Setup Options and Functionality
A web-browser is to be used to set these devices up. Let’s begin with the simpler of them, i.e. with the adapter. It works in Wi-Fi bridge mode, providing wireless access to the router. It can be shared by multiple clients if you throw in an ordinary switch.
The adapter has a predefined IP address of 192.168.10.110. You can use it to access its setup menu. You can also try using the name “TEW-687GA.trendnet”.
As a matter of fact, you don’t even have to use the web-interface at all to set the device up because WPS technology provides a quick and easy way of connecting it to a compatible Wi-Fi network. However, you may want to tweak the settings in order to get the most from such an advanced product.
The settings menu has a standard layout with a list of menu items on the left and a page with setup options in the center. The menu is available in English only. The Network section contains a single option called LAN Settings. You can change the adapter’s IP adapter or have it acquired via DHCP.
It is the Wireless section that should be your first stop. The Profile page allows you to store multiple profiles with settings and quickly switch between them. For each profile you specify its name, network SSID and security parameters. RTS Threshold and Fragment Threshold can also be specified if necessary. The Link Status page helps you find the channel that the network works on and the wireless signal strength. There is a network scanner for searching for Wi-Fi networks but it doesn’t show the standard a particular network uses. The wireless adapter maintains statistics of sent and received data packets. The Advanced page provides a few more Wi-Fi related options. Unfortunately, the user manual describes the obvious options in much detail but has almost nothing to say about the more obscure ones. So, you can choose the wireless standard to use (b/g, n or b/g/n), enable Auto mode for choosing a dual-band channel and even specify the modulation and coding scheme (MCS). Interestingly, the fastest version in the list has an index of 23, which really corresponds to 450 Mbps when working with a short guard interval in two channels and three streams. The only problem is that you cannot explicitly specify this combination of parameters because some of them are selected automatically, which doesn’t guarantee the speed of 450 Mbps. This must have been made to ensure maximum compatibility with other wireless equipment.
The same goes for the QoS page. Although there seem to be a lot of options, they actually refer to special power saving modes, which is rather odd for a Wi-Fi adapter powered from a wall outlet.
The last item in this group is about WPS. If you find it hard to press the WPS button on the device itself, you can start the automatic setup process through the web-interface by choosing a network.
The Administrator group combines various auxiliary options. There are standard ones such as changing the admin password, updating the firmware, managing the settings, and rebooting the device. You can change the device’s name and domain. A simple wizard makes the process of initial setup easier. The status page reports you the adapter’s firmware version, uptime, network address, and Wi-Fi connection information. The current speed is not reported while the quality is shown in percent. The device doesn’t keep any logs and has no internal clock.
Overall, it is rather easy to set the adapter up for a connection to a Wi-Fi network but an inexperienced user may get confused with some of the more obscure setup options in the menu which go without any explanations.
The router’s settings are presented in four groups: Network, Wireless, Advanced and Administrator. There is a link to an integrated help system but its information is not very accurate. And I guess it would be better to have such links on the pages themselves. An integrated wizard is available to help inexperienced users with setting the router up.
You can use any of the popular Internet connection methods with this router: static or dynamic IP address, PPPoE, PPTP or L2TP. In every case you can change the MTU size and the MAC address. When using PPTP or L2TP, the external IP address can be specified. The address for a VPN tunnel cannot be changed as it is selected automatically. If the router is connected via a server, there are three possible operation modes: always connected, connection on demand, and manual connection. After a tunnel is established, the provider’s LAN becomes unavailable. The field for entering the server name is only some 15 characters long, which may prove to be too short with some providers.
The LAN settings are ordinary. You can choose the internal IP address, enable DHCP to assign IP addresses to clients, or specify permanent addresses for some of them. The list of the currently assigned IP addresses can be viewed on a separate page.