Review: TRENDnet 450Mbps Wireless Router & Adapter - Page 2

By Eric Geier

March 08, 2011

Features

After we got the router and gaming adapter hooked up and online, we clicked around the Web-based control panels some more to check out all the features.

Along with all the basic features, we found the router supports multiple SSIDs, which not all consumer-level routers support. Unfortunately, these additional SSIDs will all be connected to the main SSID unless you have a managed switch supporting VLANs. In other words, users on an additional SSID can access users on the main SSID, and vice-versa. Most other routers that support multiple SSIDs let you easily separate them onto their own VLAN, which is useful when setting up access for guests.

It would be nice to see some more additional features. For example, some vendors add USB ports on the router to hook up flash or USB drives, thus easily making them available to the whole network. Dual-band functionality would also be nice, letting you use the less crowded 5GHz band.

Performance and speed

We wanted to see if and how much the added stream increases the actual data rates. We ran some throughput tests and found a theoretical link rate of 405Mbps shown on the router's Station List. The actual maximum speeds were around 170Mbps.  This is much less than the advertised 450Mbps but is more than the typical 90 to 110Mbps in two-stream wireless N products. So we indeed found much better performance with the added stream.

Limitations to consider

It is important to understand all the stipulations to getting these high throughput numbers with three-stream products and wireless N in general:

  • Both the router and adapter must support 802.11n, preferably from same vendor.
  • When using three streams, like with these TRENDnet products, ensure both the router and adapter support three streams. Computers connecting to a three-stream router with a two-stream wireless adapter won't get the high 170Mbps speeds.
  • Ensure the Ethernet port on the device you're connecting the gaming adapter to supports gigabit ethernet connections up to 1,000Mbps.
  • You must use WPA2 (PSK or Enterprise) for Wi-Fi security; you cannot use WEP or WPA.
  • You must limit the wireless router to only 802.11n connections. Consider any other wireless computers or devices you might have in the home.
  • You must change the default channel width setting on the router from 20MHz to 40MHz (or Auto 20/40MHz)

Final thoughts

Overall, the TRENDnet 450Mbps wireless router and gaming adapter did well. Though some improvements could certainly be made to the setup process and feature-set of the router, it is one of the best performing on the current market. It would be great for supporting performance-hogging applications, such as streaming HD video or VoIP.

Both TRENDnet products are competitively priced. The MSRP for the router is $199.99 with online prices around $140. The MSRP for the gaming adapter is $149.99 with online prices around $100.

Eric Geier is the Founder and CEO of NoWiresSecurity, which helps businesses easily protect their Wi-Fi with enterprise-level encryption. He is also the author of many networking and computing books, for brands such as For Dummies and Cisco Press.

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