Trendnet just raised the bar for draft 802.11ac routers. The AC1750 Dual Band Wireless Router (TEW-812DRU) cranked out throughput the likes of which we have never seen before. This router delivers to the market the increased speed and range that 802.11ac is all about. Excellent throughput, excellent range, and improvements in features and design since I last took a look at a Trendnet router all make this a superb piece of home networking equipment.
Design and Specs
The first thing you’ll notice about the TEW-812DRU is it’s a fat router, measuring 1.9 by 6.1 by 7.1 inches (HWL). It’s width is notable, when compared with other modern routers, which tend to be trending towards the sleek side.
I did notice the TEW-812DRU I tested did not come with a stand. The LEDs on the front panel are positioned vertically, indicating the router is meant to operate upright. Without a stand, this chunky router is a bit wobbly when vertical—more so with cables attached.
On the rear panel are four Gigabit LAN ports and a WAN port, a WPS button, and a USB 2.0 port. The front LEDs represent the status of your USB connection, WPS, LAN, WAN, and wireless activity.
Internal components include Broadcom’s BCM4360 for the 5GHz band, which is a 1.3Gbps 802.11AC, 3×3 wireless radio. For the 2.4 GHz band, there’s a BCM4331 450Mbps 802.11n dual-band 3×3 wireless radio; a BCM4706 (600 MHz MIPS32 74K superscalar CPU with gigabit MAC (which supports high-speed I/O interfaces, including DDR2 and PCIe), and a BCM53125 Gigabit Switch.
Trendnet’s router ships with a DVD that includes the user guide and a quick install guide. I set the device up based on the guide’s directions.
To set up, you connect the WAN /Internet connection to the router’s WAN port and then connect an Ethernet cable to one of the router’s LAN ports and the Ethernet port to a computer you’d use for setup. This set up method bucks the tradition of most current routers on the market, where setup is wireless. I prefer Trendnet’s wired method, because you are only dealing with any issues related to the setup process—and not wireless issues, too.
After the cables are connected, you power the device up and wait for the LEDs to light. When the router is fully booted up, the power LED turns green, the WAN LED blinks green, and the wireless LED lights up blue.
When I last tested a Trendnet router, the 450 Mbps Concurrent Dual Band Wireless N Router (TEW-692GR), I found it counterintuitive that router’s LAN LEDs lit red with a successful connection. Red on networking devices typically indicates some sort of connection or communication issue. I was happy to see no red LEDs on the TEW-812DRU.
Once the LEDs are lit, it’s just a matter of firing up a browser and typing in the IP address of the router as the URL. This opens the setup wizard and management interface.
The installation guide instructs you to go through the Internet setup wizard first. Now, the router already had a successful connection to my Internet service. I could already browse the Web before even accessing the setup wizard.
The Internet setup wizard directs you to select your type of Internet connection: Static, PPTP, DHCP, and so on. Most home users will select DHCP as the guide correctly states. I selected DHCP and then clicked to apply settings. I saw a progress bar that moved very quickly as settings were saved and the router was all set up in minutes.
The TEW-812DRU has many of the same features as the TEW-692GR. One feature is support for up to four SSIDs on each radio band. The router supports DMZ, virtual servers (a form of port forwarding differing from actual port forwarding in that virtual server can accept public ports and private ports to be different for forwarding), WMM QOS, and access control.
WDS (Wireless Distribution System) is also supported. This features sets up a wireless backbone across multiple access points in a wireless network. WDS is not to be confused with WPS, which is also supported. WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) connects devices to the router when you push a WPS button on both the router and the device, or by entering a PIN number on the device.
There is a feature in the TEW-812DRU from other 802.11ac routers I’ve tested: its wireless mode. Other 802.11ac routers allow you to set 5Ghz in 11ac or 802.11b/g/n or 11ac/a modes, or some combination like that. With Trendnet’s router, you can set the channel width (20, 40, or 80MHz) and the MCS (Modulation and Coding Scheme). The MCS allows you to set each band’s data rate. By default, the MCS for both 2.4 and 5GHz is set to Auto. I would recommend leaving that setting, because the performance the router kicked out was astounding.
The only issue I took note of in the interface was a little sluggishness as I moved among interface screens. Still, that bit of pokiness does not take much away from a well-designed UI loaded with features.
The TEW-812DRU’s throughput at 5GHz with the router set at WPA2-PSK with AES encryption and channel width set to 80MHz is the fastest throughput we’ve seen in testing consumer routers. I average throughout tested three times, and one of those times the Trendnet router’s throughout hit over 300 Mbps—incredible results in my challenging testbed. Previously, the fastest router tested was the Edimax AC1200 Wireless Concurrent Dual-Band Gigabit Router, hitting 197 Mbps at one point in testing. This amazing speed was obtained by using Edimax’s AC1200 Wireless Dual-Band USB Adapter, a USB 3.0 11ac adapter.
I still received very good throughput with my laptop’s Intel Centrino 3×3 adapter but not as fast as with the Edimax adapter. For example, with the Intel adapter, the Trendnet router managed 100 Mbps in 2.4GHz mode—only slightly exceeded by the Netgear Dual Band 11ac Wireless Router R6300, which reached 138 mbps.
Not only did the TEW-812DRU deliver great speed, but it sustained throughput as I moved further away from the device. Click on the image to review performance results and comparisons.
Top 11ac Router
So far, the TEW-812DRU is the best 11ac router I’ve tested. There are many other really good routers for 802.11ac out there—theBuffalo AirStation AC1300/N900 Gigabit Dual Band WZR-D1800H and the Cisco Linksys Smart Wi-Fi AC 1750HD Video Pro EA6500, to name two. However, 11ac is all about speed, and Trendnet killed in my testing. Demanding tasks like streaming high-def video in a home network would be ideal with the TEW-812DRU. With a very good feature set, IPv6 support and the ability to connect USB devices, this router gets an easy 4.5 out of 5 stars and PCMag’s Editors’ Choice for 802.11ac home routers.
|Networking Options||802.11ac, 802.11ac|
|Access Control Lists Based on MAC Addresses||Yes|
|Stateful Packet Inspection||Yes|
Copyright © 2012 Ziff Davis, Inc