Trendnet TEW-637AP review
Switching to 802.11n is often a daunting task, and getting to grips with a new router’s often -baffling menu systems makes things worse.
Trendnet’s unusual Upgrader device offers an easy alternative. Instead of replacing the router, you simply plug this small black box into a spare Ethernet socket on your current router, run through a simple CD-based setup wizard and, hey presto, you’ve moved up to draft-n. It picks up an IP address in the same way as any other connected device, supports WPS for simple security setup, and is so easy to configure that you’ll be up and running in under ten minutes. It’s also a Wi-Fi Alliance certified device, so cross-compatibility with other certified draft-n devices is assured.
You can, however, ignore the rather ludicrous speed claims plastered all over the box. As we’ve found in previous Labs (see issue 167), these bear only a passing resemblance to real world transfer speeds.
Nevertheless, in tests the Upgrader did achieve relatively sprightly performance. It outperformed the A-Listed Linksys WAG160N at long range (40 metres away, through two walls), with a transfer rate of 20.3Mbit/sec compared to 13.9Mbit/sec. In less demanding tests – file transfers in the same room, next door, and upstairs – throughput was just a little down on the Linksys, at around 30Mbit/sec.
The price of £37 makes the Upgrader a relatively cheap option. Our current A List choice, the aforementioned Linksys, costs £15 more, though it does include a modem and a four port Ethernet switch.
The Upgrader does, of course, involve extra cable clutter, and the cost of running yet another peripheral on top of your standard wireless router. But if you’re desperate to save a few pounds, and the thought of setting up a new router modem from scratch brings you out in a cold sweat, this is a fast, effective and easy-to-use alternative.
|WiFi standard||Draft 802.11n|
|802.11 draft-n support||yes|
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