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Trendnet TEW-673GRU review:

Trendnet TEW-673GRU

The Trendnet TEW-673GRU requires a software utility installed on a computer to use its connected USB devices, which are available to only one network computer at a time.

This limitation means that the router's USB port is much less useful and offers almost no benefit over connecting the USB device to a computer directly. Most other USB routers we've seen support external storage or printers as an independent host and allow the connected USB devices to be accessed by multiple network computers at the same time, without requiring any software to be installed.

For security, the TEW-673GRU supports virtually all existing encryption methods currently available for wireless routers. These include all variations of the WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption standards. The router fully supports Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) so you won't have to worry about memorizing the encryption key most of the time. It has a WPS button on the right side that initiates the 2-minute window time that WPS-enabled clients can enter the network automatically.

The TEW-673GRU is part of Trendnet's GreenNet Initiative and is able to turn off power to idle ports automatically. It also has other energy-saving features, and Trendnet claims that it could use up to 70 percent less energy than other routers of the same size and features.

The TEW-673GRU performed well in our tests, especially at close range. We tested the router with both of its frequency bands.

In the 2.4Ghz band, the router did well in close range throughput test, where it was set up to offer the best possible transfer speed. With the score of 61.52Mbps, it currently is the fastest among dual-band routers in this test. At this speed the router can finish transmitting 500GB of data in just 65 seconds.

This speed, however, reduced significantly when we increased the range to 100 feet. At this distance, the TEW-673GRU's range test's score was just 27.3Mbps. This by no means was the slowest we've seen, but it's a big degradation compared to the previous test.

In the mixed-mode test, where the router was set to work with both N and legacy G clients at the same time, the TEW-673GRU again scored quite high at 59.6Mbps.

In the 5Ghz band, the router's scores were more consistent. In the close range test it registered 62.9Mbps and in long range test it made 50.3Mbps; much less of a degradation when compared to the other band. These scores were, by the way, about average for dual-band routers.

The TEW-673GRU also offered very good range, around 280 feet in the 2.4Ghz band and 250 feet in the 5Ghz band in our testing environment.

What made us happiest about the TEW-673GRU is that it passed our 48-hour stress test flawlessly. During this test, the router was set to transfer a large amount data back and forth among different wireless clients. The TEW-673GRU was the first in the most recent series of routers that we've reviewed that passed this test without any hiccups. This means you can rely on this wireless signal stability to play online games without worrying about being kicked out of the game randomly.

We also gauged the router's network storage performance, which did well when compared to other routers that have NAS features. The router registered 80.7Mbps and 108Mbps for write and read, respectively. While these numbers were much lower that those of dedicated NAS server, they were many times faster than those of the Belkin PlayMax.

CNET Labs 2.4Ghz Wireless-N performance test (Measured in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Mixed Mode  
TrendNet TEW-673GRU
D-Link DIR-825 (2.4Ghz)
Belkin N+ Wireless Router (2.4Ghz)
Netgear WNDR3700 (2.4Ghz)
Belkin Play Max (2.4Ghz)
Cisco Linksys E3000 (2.4Ghz)
Linksys WRT610n (2.4Ghz)
Apple Time Capsule (2.4Ghz)

CNET Labs 5Ghz Wireless-N performance test (Measured in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Linksys WRT610n (5Ghz)
TrendNet TEW-673GRU
D-Link DIR-825 (5Ghz)

NAS performance test (measured in megabits per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)

Service and support
Trendnet backs the TEW-673GRU with a generous three-year warranty (compared to one year for most routers). The toll-free technical phone support is available 24-7, even when the warranty runs out. Trendnet's Web site offers comprehensive self-help tools including the Configuration Emulator, which shows the look and feels of the router's Web interface and its features. There are also other download materials such as manuals, latest firmware, and so on.

What you'll pay

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