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TRENDnet TEW-432BRP 54Mbps 802.11g Wireless Firewall Router review: TRENDnet TEW-432BRP

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The Good Compact design. Decent performance.

The Bad Supplied software is only a 30 day trial. Doesn't stand out in any particular way.

The Bottom Line The TRENDnet TEW-432BRP proves the adage that you get what you pay for -- it's a fundamentally generic wireless router with few bad points, but nothing that really stands out aside from its inexpensive pricing.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.5 Overall

Review Sections

Design
There's not too much that can be said about the design of wireless routers, a category that has typically eschewed design style on the grounds that they're objects that you can nominally stow away in a handy cupboard, well out of sight. TRENDnet's TEW-432BRP stands out in the router category on only the most minor of grounds; it's rather small and comes in a light blue plastic that suggests that if Peyo's famous Smurfs ever go wireless, it's the TRENDnet TEW-432BRP that they'll favour above all else.

The front panel of the TEW-432BRP houses an array of small activity lights for the network activity of the router, while the rear houses a very standard four 10/100 network ports, a WAN port for connecting an external modem, power socket and reset button. If you've used any router, you have in essence used the TEW-432BRP, at least on the physical level.

The TEW-432BRP offers you two installation options; either via the provided install CD, or the more traditional method, utilising an IP-based web interface. The installed software is simple to use for novices, although it does contain a slight catch. The setup software abjectly refuses to install if you're only using a wireless connection for configuration, although you could always fall back to the browser interface for configuration in that case. The TEW-432BRP's web-based setup screens aren't the most user friendly we've ever hit, but at the same time they're quick and clean in their layout, with a nice logical structure.

The other software offering that the TEW-432BRP includes is Pure Networks' Network Magic utility, a package that manages and displays your wireless and wired networks via a simple visual interface. It's a great little software package, with one striking problem -- the version on the CD is only a 30-day trial version, exactly the same as you can get from Pure Networks web site for nothing.

Features
Just as its design is fundamentally simple, so too the TEW-432BRP's feature set is essentially generic. It's an 802.11g router with 4 10/100 Ethernet ports, inbuilt NAT and SPI firewall facility, support for WEP/WPA and WPA-PSK, DHCP support for up to 253 users -- presumably for if you've got an awful lot of people around all at once. There's nothing particularly missing from the TEW-432BRP's technology offering that you'd want or need in a basic router, but that's because that's precisely what it is -- a basic router.

Performance
The trend of generic behaviour with the TEW-432BRP continues with its wireless performance, which was essentially on a par with other non-MIMO, non-Pre/Draft-N routers we've reviewed in the past. Wireless performance is a highly subjective thing, but in our test environment, running alongside two other routers (a Belkin Wireless Pre-N and Zyxel Prestige 660HW-61, respectively), the TRENDnet TEW-432BRP managed equivalent connection and data transfer speeds as the Zyxel, and, as you'd expect, much less than the Belkin.

With a raft of Draft-N products hitting or about to hit the market -- not to mention scads of Pre-N and MIMO that'll need to be flogged off cheaply, it's unsurprising to see a plain jane style router like the TRENDnet TEW-432BRP selling for a retail price not that far north of a hundred bucks. For its capability set and performance, that's a fair but unspectacular price point.>

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