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Can't connect in "N" mode with Trendnet N AP+Trendnet N card

by Slikkster / November 2, 2009 3:25 AM PST

I have a Zyxel-X550 802.11g router. It's been great, for the most part, but I wanted to do an interim upgrade to 802.11n connectivity.

I bought this Trendnet TEW-637AP Easy-N-Upgrader AP as well as a Trendnet TEW-621PC card (Wireless N as well).

I configured the 637AP, turned OFF the wireless on my Zyxel since the 637AP sits right next to it. I installed the 621PC card in my Dell 600m laptop.

I can't get the 621PC card to connect in anything other than "G" mode to the 637AP. The 637AP is set for "Mixed B-G-N" service. All of my legacy G devices connect to the 637AP fine. But the 621PC N cardbus card just won't make an "N" connection.

If I set the 637AP to "N" mode only, the 621PC won't connect to it at all. It sees it, but doesn't connect. It needs to be in "Mixed B-G-N" or at least "Mixed G-N" for it to connect.

Signal strength not an issue. 75 percent or higher.

All the latest firmware and drivers used. I've even tried the RA2860 drivers as the 621PC card is a rebadged RALink card. No difference in connectivity.

I setup an additional SSID with the 637AP and only connected to it with the N 621PC card. No difference.

Nothing in the setup of either the AP or the card prohibits N connectivity. It's essentially in default mode for both.

Stumped for now. Both the AP and the card are the latest revisions. 2.0R.

One would think that devices from the same company should play nice.

Support ticket written; no reply as of yet. Looking for any other thoughts. Tks.

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Links please.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 2, 2009 5:07 AM PST
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It's not discontinued
by Slikkster / November 2, 2009 6:26 AM PST
In reply to: Links please.

That link probably points to the older 1.0 version (discontinued). Here's the link to the 2.0R version of the TEW-637AP:

Since I first wrote, I went back into the manual and found that some of the settings they suggest are NOT the default settings for the config. Go figure. I'll check the efficacy of the new settings later when I get home, and will report back.

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Look at the updated firmware.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 2, 2009 10:14 AM PST
In reply to: It's not discontinued


Wow that's fresh. Look for the adapter as well as it is likely to have newer as well. I can't explain why I still find I have to update firmwares on products I take out of the box these days.

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by Slikkster / November 2, 2009 10:52 AM PST

Turned out to be a settings issue on the Access Point (TEW-637AP). But here's the kicker. The tech support guy writes back to me in email and says "To get an N connection, it must be on channel 1 or channel 11". Yeah, thanks for putting THAT in the manual. I'm not sure I actually believe that because another important setting needed to be changed as well. The "Channel Width" setting of the AP defaulted in the setup to 20, whereas it needed to be a "20/40" selection. It also needed a channel extension option set, too. So, when I get a chance, I'll investigate the whole Channel 1/11 deal.

But as of now, I'm on Channel 11 with an extended channel (Channel 7) for throughput. I've got it set for 20/40 width in a mixed G-N environment. I'm getting a steady 270 mbps connect speed after some judicious antenna placement, and that's about all I can ask out of the theoretical 300 mbps. My legacy G devices continue to connect fine as well.

So, thumbs WAY down for a poor manual and a poor default configuration of the AP after you go through the wizard process. But so far, so good on the 270 mbps connect speed. I'm going to have to do some speed tests copying files from share drives to see what difference it's made in N vs. G.

Firmware and drivers are all the latest, by the way. No firmware updates on the actual cardbus card; just the AP.

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My experience too.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 2, 2009 8:22 PM PST
In reply to: Update

I'm unsure if any maker has everything you need to know to get the network product working in the included manual. I've been at this for over 2 decades (pre-internet, pre-tcpip) so I can see that all possible items are unlikely to be in the manual.

If I were to bet, the defaults might have been those channels.

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The default channel(s) were "Auto"
by Slikkster / November 2, 2009 9:09 PM PST
In reply to: My experience too.

Who knows if the AP would have defaulted to 1 or 11 --were those channels available in my neighborhood. The setup wizard sets the device for "Auto". Obviously, that would preclude Ch 1 or 11 if the device detected signals on those channels, and then no "N" connectivity. That's a poor implementation --no two ways about it. I could see that there were low-signal Channel 1 and 11 devices near me, but I'm hoping for their sake their routers are set for "Auto", lol. I've manually set the AP for Channel 11 as mentioned.

As far as the manual and setup being better, it could be. IF those two channels were absolutely necessary for "N" connectivity --on a device specifically marketed as an "N" upgrade-- it should be crystal clear that one needs to choose them.

Secondly, a better "wizard" would ask questions such as "Do you have any wireless devices on your network that are not Wireless N capable?". If that question were answered in the affirmative, the AP would be set for "Mixed Mode" operation vs. "Greenfield" (N-only). Hopefully the channel width would be set correctly as well, but in my case, it wasn't. It was set to Greenfield by default, and "20" for the channel width. There was no question about the current wireless setup.

I guess the assumption is that people would use this strictly as a corollary to an existing wireless router (as a network extender), but that was never my intention. I've turned off my Wireless "G" router's wifi (Zyxel X-550) and have the Trendnet N AP sitting nearby acting now as my sole wifi unit. In that regard, I would think that Trendnet would reconsider the ways this might be used.

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