Trendnet TEW-692GR 450 Mbps Concurrent Dual Band Wireless N Router review: Trendnet TEW-692GR 450 Mbps Concurrent Dual Band Wireless N Router
The Trendnet TEW-692GR 450 Mbps Concurrent Dual Band Wireless N Router is the upgrade to the company's TEW-691GR model, which is the first single-band Wireless-N router that offers 450Mbps standard on the 2.4GHz frequency. The TEW-692GR is now the first to offer this new three-stream 450Mbps Wireless-N standard on both 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands. Most other true dual-band routers only offer the traditional 300Mbps speed or 450Mbps on only the 5GHz band.
Other than that, the TEW-692GR is very similar to the TEW-691GR in terms of features and performance. The new router offers Gigabit Ethernet but no support for IPv6 and USB devices. In our testing, the router was very fast on the 5GHz band, while its 2.4GHz band could use some improvement. It has long range, however.
At the street price of around $140, the TEW-692GR is much cheaper than its original suggested price of around $250, and makes a good investment for those who want top ceiling speeds on both bands. For more features, however, we'd also recommend checking out the Linksys E4200 or the Netgear WNDR4000.
Design and ease of use
The Trendnet TEW-692GR is squarish in shape with a detachable base so it can work in the vertical position. The router can also be put flat on a surface but is not designed to be mounted on a wall. On one side, it has three antennas sticking up. Having external antenna is typical for a Trendnet router but the TEW-692GR offers a small improvement by separating them from the ports, which are on the back. This keeps the ports area from getting too crowded.
The router has four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port. Also on the back are the on/off switch and the power connector. On top, the router has a WPS button that activates the router's Wi-Fi Protected Setup feature that allows supported wireless clients to enter the network automatically.
Like most routers from Trendnet, such as the TEW-639GR or the TEW-691GR, the TEW-692GR lacks USB ports, meaning it has no support for printers or external storage.
On the front, like most routers of this design, the TEW-692GR has an array of LEDs showing the status of the network ports on the back, the Internet connection, and the Wi-Fi Protected Setup feature.
The TEW-692GR 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 it 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, with the log-in "admin" for both username and password.
Apart from being the first router that offers concurrent 450Mbps support, the Gigabit TEW-692GR is rather spartan in terms of features. The router can operate two wireless networks, one for each band, simultaneously. On top of that it's able to add another three additional networks for each band. The additional networks, however, can't be isolated and shouldn't be confused with the guest networking feature. This is because wireless clients connected to any of the networks will have access to both the Internet and local resources. Guest networking, however, allows clients connected to the guest network to access the Internet but not your local printer or files.
The TEW-692GR's Web interface, similar to that of the TEW-691GR, is responsive and works with any browser, be it Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome. The interface includes a clear indicator that shows the process of changes that are being applied to the router's settings. This is helpful, as with many other routers you have no idea when changes have been applied.
Apart from allowing you to change the basic networking settings such as the name of the wireless network, the encryption key, and so on, the interface allows give you access to the TEW-692GR's more advanced (though standard for most routers) features. One of these features is Access Control, which allows you to restrict certain computers in the network from certain Internet services such as Web browsing, e-mailing, or chatting. This feature is rather limited, however, as you can't specifically prohibit a particular Web site or service provider. Other advanced features include Virtual Servers, which allows you to make computers in the network host a service, such as FTP or HTTP, and Gaming, which prioritizes Internet traffic for certain games.
The router is not very comprehensive when it comes to assigning a fixed IP address to a computer in the network. You will need to find out that computer's MAC address, via the list of the connected devices, and manually type it in. Other routers can display this information for connected computers and you can just assign a fixed IP to any of them via a few clicks. Unlike recent routers such as the Linksys E4200 or the D-Link HD Media Router 1000, the Trendnet TEW-692GR doesn't support IPv6, which is the new Internet protocol that's due to replace the existing IPv4 that's running out of addresses. While this won't affect the majority of home users, it might make the router incompatible with certain future services. Generally, IPv6 support can be added via a firmware update, however.
For security, the TEW-692GR supports all variations of WEP, WPA, and WPA2 encryption standards.
We tested the TEW-692GR in both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and with both 300Mbps and 450Mbps clients. The router performed well and offered fast throughput speed on the 5GHz band. Its 2.4GHz band, though not slow, could be better when compared with others.
On the 5GHz band, the router scored 116.1Mbps when used with a 450Mbps client at a distance of 15 feet. This is very fast, faster than a typical wired Ethernet connection. At this speed, the router can finish transmitting 500MB of data in just about 35 seconds. It's not the fastest, however, compared with the 170.2Mbps of the Belkin N750 DB. When we increased the distance to 100 feet, the router was still able to offer an impressive throughput of 105.8Mbps, this time faster than the 55.8Mbps of the Belkin.
When used with 300Mbps clients--the majority on the market--the router was slower, averaging 71.9Mbps in the close-range test and 49Mbps for the 100-foot-range test. This is about the average among all dual-band routers.
On the 2.4GHz band, the router didn't show much difference compared with those that don't support the new 3-by-3 450Mbps speed. In a close-range test with a 450Mbps client, it registered 77.8Mbps. When we moved the clients 100 feet away, this number dropped to just 31.3Mbps. When used with a regular 300Mbps client, the router, as expected, did even worse with 52.1Mbps and 31.1Mbps for the close-range and 100-foot-range tests, respectively. Note that these scores weren't bad, but they didn't impress us, either.
To make up for somewhat slow throughput performance on the 2.4GHz band, the TEW-692GR offers very long range, around 280 feet on both bands. Ideally, however, you should use it within about a 150-foot radius. The router also successfully passed our 48-hour stress test, in which it was set to transmit a large amount of data back and forth between multiple wireless clients, during which time it didn't disconnect once.
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
Service and support
Trendnet backs the TEW-692GR with its usual generous three-year warranty (compared with one year for most routers). 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 feel of the router's Web interface and its features. There are also other download materials such as manuals and firmware updates.