The Trendnet TEW-691GR is very similar to the TEW-639GR with one major difference: it's the first router that supports three-stream Wireless-N, with cap speeds of up to 450Mbps; typical dual-stream Wireless-N routers have cap speeds of 300Mbps.
In our testing, the TEW-691GR delivers. It's the fastest 2.4Ghz wireless router to date in close-range throughput tests. In the range test, however, its performance is about the same as most other Wireless-N routers.
With the street price of around $180, the TEW-691GR falls a little short of our expectations, as it doesn't support dual-band, USB devices, or guest networking. Though we love the router's speed, there are many other Wireless-N routers on the market that offer good performance and more features for less money.
Design and ease of use
The Trendnet TEW-691GR looks almost exactly the same as the TEW-639GR, with a traditional rectangular design and three antennas sticking up from its back. As the router's ports are also on the back, we wish these antennas were on the sides of the router, for easy access.
Like the TEW-639GR, the TEW-691GR also lacks USB ports, so it has no support for printers or external storage devices. On the back of the router, you'll also find a power switch and a WLAN switch, which quickly turns on or off the wireless signal.
The router includes four LAN ports (for network Ethernet-ready devices) and one WAN port (to be connected to the Internet, for example, via a broadband modem). These ports are gigabit, meaning they are capable of delivering wired connection speeds up to 1,000Mbps.
The TEW-691GR has an array of LEDs on the front; each shows the status of the network ports on the back as well as that of the Internet connection and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), a feature that allows for quickly adding a client to the wireless network. The WPS LED blinks green as you push the WPS button on the side of the router and shows the time window that a WPS-enabled client can be hooked up to the network.
The router comes with four tiny rubber feet to keep it grounded on any surface. It's also wall-mountable.
The TEW-691GR doesn't ship with any desktop setup software, just a quick setup guide that walks you through the process step by step, and a CD that contains the manual in PDF format.
It's easy to set the router up, nonetheless. Basically, once you have connected the router to a computer via its LAN port and the broadband modem via its WAN port, your home network is done and set up with the default settings. You then can further customize this by pointing your browser to the router's IP address, which by default is 192.168.10.1.
Despite the hefty price, the TEW-691GR is bare-bones. It doesn't support dual-band, meaning it operates in only the 2.4Ghz frequency band. It doesn't support guest networking, either.
The TEW-691GR's Web interface is responsive and works with any browser. The interface has a clear indicator that shows the process of changes that are being applied to the router's settings.