3.5 star rating

TrendNet TEW-654TR Wireless N Travel Router Review

Pros: Small size ; Fairly fast throughput at close range ; Very affordable ; Powered by AC adapter or USB;
Cons: Limited range;
The Verdict: TrendNet TEW-654TR Wireless N Travel Router

REVIEW

SPECIFICATIONS

Watch out Apple, there’s a new 802.11n router in town. At just 1.6 ounces, the TrendNet TEW-654TR is so small you’ll barely notice it in your laptop bag. Plus, this router can be powered by a USB connection, unlike the AC-powered Apple AirPort Express, which is the only other travel router we’ve seen that supports the super-fast 802.11n standard. A low price and legitimate security settings make the TrendNet TEW-654TR a smart travel buddy.

Article Continued Below

Setup and Design

TrendNet bills the TEW-654TR as the world’s smallest 300-Mbps wireless N travel router, and at 2.4 x 3.2 x 0.7 inches, it’s smaller than the Apple AirPort Express (3.7 x 3.0 x 1.1 inches). Weighing just 1.6 ounces, this device makes the AirPort Express (7.4 ounces) feel chunky by comparison; however, the TEW-654TR’s size and weight doesn’t include the power plug, which is built into Apple’s device.

The router comes with a small carrying case that holds the charger, a USB cable (so you can power the router from your PC), an Ethernet cable, and the router.

Few road warriors have time to go through a long setup process when they get to a hotel room. The TEW-654TR makes it easy to get up and running. The router lets you share the connection for about 100 feet—plenty far to reach a bed or nearby desk. Some may see the short range as a plus, especially those concerned about other users piggybacking or snooping on your connection. The good news is that the TEW-654TR is just as secure as stationary routers, as it supports both WPA and WPA2.

To get started, you first connect an Ethernet cable in the room (usually provided for free) or at home into the lone Ethernet port on the TEW-654TR. The router auto-configures, and you can connect over 802.11n from your laptop, share files with business associates, or access the Web. TrendNet skipped a Windows or Mac installer altogether, which is mostly a good idea, although to access any advanced functions you will need to type the router’s IP address (just check in the manual on the CD for the default) in your Web browser. The TEW-654TR also supports Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS), which allows you to configure router security using a wizard in Windows; while this is a standard feature for most routers, it does simplify the setup process.

Performance and Features

We normally use IxChariot (www.ixiacom.com) to test router performance, but there is no way to set up a legitimate test with the TEW-654TR because this router only has one port for the broadband connection. Instead, we used KisMac on a Macbook and found the router to connect at about 100 feet with a good speed of 6.0 Mbps. Beyond that, the router barely provides any wireless connection—at 150 feet, close to the maximum advertised indoor distance of 160 feet, there was no signal at all. The 60 Mbps top speed at close range is fairly fast for a small router without powerful antennas, like most home and office models.

The TEW-654TR also works as a client adapter, but that is not exactly a perk since most current laptops have built-in Wi-Fi. To use client mode, you flip a switch on the bottom of the router, which is actually hard to move into position. This is likely a design decision to keep the device from switching out of AP mode when you don’t want it to.

When compared to the AirPort Express, the TrendNet TEW-654TR is pretty bare-bones. On Apple’s device, there’s a USB port that lets you network a printer, and an audio jack for wirelessly streaming music across the network. 

Verdict

A travel router has limited value—it’s not every day that you want to share a broadband connection in a hotel room or at a satellite office. But road warriors will be pleased with the TrendNet TEW-654TR’s decent speed, small size, and low price. It lacks the bells and whistles of Apple’s device, but this pocket-size router costs about $20 less, making it a good value.

Tags: TrendNet TEW-654TR Wireless N Travel Router, Placeshifting, TiVo, Wi-Fi, reviews

Technical Specifications
TrendNet TEW-654TR Wireless N Travel Router
www.trendnet.com


VPN Support
Supported Protocols802.11b/g/n
Security Features64/128-bit WEP (Hex & ASCII), WPA/WPA2-Radius (802.1x), WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK MAC address, IP and URL filtering
Warranty/SupportThree-year limited
Size2.4 x 3.2 x 0.7 inches
Weight1.6 ounces
FIND A REVIEW
Laptops
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Brand
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
Resolution
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options
SUBSCRIBE