Trendnet TEW-672GR Dual Band N Gigabit Router

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Product: Trendnet TEW-672GR Dual Band Wireless N Gigabit Router
Provided By: Trendnet
Price:

Introduction:

When it comes to networking, Trendnet isn't usually the name you think of first.  Home networking typically belongs to D-Link or Linksys and often we think that Trendnet products are low quality alternatives for those that can't afford a "real" network.  Part of this idea stems from the extreme value line of Trendnet products and the way they are marketed at retailers.  I've often seen a Trendnet Wireless G router bundled with a pair of wireless G USB adapters for under $50.  For that price one immediately thinks that the product must be inferior.  In the past I've setup a few networks using Trendnet products and to be honest, it was pretty much the same as any other router.  The web interface on these older products wasn't very polished and after each setting change, you had to reboot.

I'm not starting out the review by heaping crap on Trendnet; I'm simply stating the common consensus regarding Trendnet products - especially among enthusiasts.  To try and shake things up a bit and perhaps make you take a second look at Trendnet we are taking a look at their new flagship TEW-672GR router.  This router supports the latest draft of 802.11n (draft 2.0) and comes dual-band ready so if you are suffering with a crowded 2.4GHz spectrum, the 5.0GHz capability should help free up the air.

 TEW-672GR Box
TEW-672GR Box

This router also supports things like port forwarding, SPI firewall, Access Control and four GB Ethernet ports.  It also comes with a GB WAN port for those of you on blistering fast broadband connections.  The list of features is long and the product is certainly shiny so let's jump right in.

 

First Look:

Trendnet is putting on a nice fresh face with the TEW-672GR.  This product comes in a nice attractive box and looks pretty sharp on the shelf.  If you are shopping for some network gear in a retail store, the box may catch your eye and that is always a good thing.  In the box is the pretty standard fare of a CD that contains the installation guide.  Also in the box is the power adapter, quick install guide and a 1.5m network cable.

 In The Box
In The Box
Bundle
Bundle

 

I've seen a lot of Trendnet products - like the TEW-452BRP ship in the standard dull blue but the TEW-672GR has a nice sleek refreshing and very glossy black exterior.  This is a catch 22 of sorts.  While it looks great at first appearance, it shows fingerprints and scratches very easily - much like the DGL-4500.  A benefit the TEW-672GR has over the D-Link product is that the Trendnet router isn't meant to be handled in order to see network information.  This will help keep it fingerprint free.

TEW-672GR Profile
TEW-672GR Profile

 

The TEW-672GR ships with a protective film over the top of the unit in order to keep it free of blemishes on the ride over. Unfortunately the sleek looks are spoiled almost immediately as you turn the router around and look at its backside.  The brightly colored ports detract from the classy finish on the front.  It really doesn't matter though as you will never see the back of the router once you have your gear plugged in.

 Rear Of Router
Rear Of Router
 Bottom Label
Bottom Label

 

On the next page we'll take a closer look at this unit and cover the features and specifications.


Closer Look:

As we take a closer look at the TEW-672GR router we find that Trendnet has done a pretty good job setting up this router for the average consumer.  The front of the router comes adorned with LED indicators for power, LAN connections 1-4, WAN, Wireless LAN and WPS.  Most of these LEDs are pretty commonplace.  On the left side of the router there is a WPS setup button as is found on many other routers from Linksys and D-Link.  This makes setting up a protected network a bit easier for the networking n00b but many techs and enthusiasts will want to setup their network with custom security settings.

 Front LEDs
Front LEDs
 WPS Setup
WPS Setup

 

Moving around to the back we get a closer looks at the bright LAN and WAN ports as well as a look at something we didn't expect to find.

 GB LAN Ports
GB LAN Ports
WLAN Switch
WLAN Switch

I was surprised to see a physical WLAN on/off switch on the back of the TEW-672GR.  This is actually a very handy little item as you can quickly and easily shut off the wireless aspect of your router if you are going out of town and don't want to shut down the rest of your network.  While many people may not care or use this feature, I think it's a great idea and one that enables simple security by shutting off your WLAN at the flick of a switch.

As nice as this router looks out of the box, when it's plugged in and running it looks a little cheap due to the standard amber and green LEDs that shine too brightly.

LEDs In Action
LEDs In Action

 

Features & Specifications:

To check out all of the features and specifications, we'll head on over to Trendnet's site and pull the details from there.

 

  • IEEE 802.11n draft 2.0 and IEEE 802.11a/b/g compliant
  • Dual band 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz Wireless Local Area Networking (WLAN) in one device
  • 4 x 10/100/1000Mbps Auto-MDIX LAN ports and 1 x 10/100/1000Mbps WAN port (Internet)
  • Gigabit LAN ports for high speed network connectivity
  • Compatible with most popular cable/DSL Internet service providers using Dynamic/Static IP, PPPoE, PPTP and L2TP
  • High-speed data rates up to 300Mbps using an IEEE 802.11n draft 2.0 connection
  • 3 external antennas provide high-speed performance and expansive wireless coverage
  • Advanced Firewall protection with Network Address Translation (NAT) and Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI)
  • Access restriction with Internet Access Control; time scheduling, URL and MAC filtering
  • Built in pre-configured virtual servers and Application Level Gateway services for special Internet applications
  • Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) for auto discovery and support for device configuration of Internet applications
  • Enable/disable wireless functionality with the WLAN on/off toggle switch
  • Multiple pass-through sessions for popular VPN applications (IPSec, L2TP and PPTP)
  • Easy setup via Web browser using the latest versions of Internet Explorer, FireFox, and Safari
  • One touch wireless security setup using the Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) button
  • Complete wireless security with WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK, and WEP
  • Windows 95/98/NT/2000/XP/2003 Server/Vista, Linux and Mac OS supported
  • 3-year limited warranty

Hardware
Standards Wired: IEEE 802.3 (10Base-T), IEEE 802.3u (100Base-TX) and IEEE 802.11ab (1000BaseT) Wireless: IEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n (draft 2.0)
WAN 1 x 10/100/1000Mbps Auto-MDIX port (Internet)
LAN 4 x 10/100/1000Mbps Auto-MDIX port
Wireless On/Off Switch Turn on/off wireless LAN
WPS Button Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) with other WPS compliant devices
Connection Type Dynamic IP, Static (fixed) IP, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP
NAT Firewall

3K configurable NAT entries; restricted NAPT
IP ranges, port ranges and schedule
Pre-defined game hosting configurations
Port triggering for 24 special applications
ALG support (enable/disable support) –RTP/RTSP, AOL, FTP, ICMP, WMP/MMS, NetMeeting, SIP

SPI Firewall

Up to 24 rules; cyber attack protection – verified against over 2000 attacks

WDS Enable/disable Wireless Distribution System support
UPnP UPnP IGD 1.0 compliant
DMZ DMZ host, 24 configurable Virtual Servers and Game Servers
DNS Static or WAN assigned DNS servers; 10 verified services for DDNS
Internet Access Control Policy based parental control; time based Internet access; port range/service filtering; Dynamic URL filtering; Internet domain restriction; 32 user defined schedules, 24 MAC address filter entries
Logging 3 types and 3 severities event logging; up to 1,000 entries
Email notifications
LED Indicator Power, LAN1~LAN4, WAN, and WLAN
Power Adapter 12V DC, 1A external power adapter
Power Consumption 779mA
Dimension (L x W x H) 150 x 163 x 26 mm (5.9 x 6.4 x 1.0 in)
Weight 350g (0.8 lb)
Temperature Operation: 0°~ 40°C (32°F~ 104°F); Storage: -20°~ 60°C (-4°F~140 °F)
Humidity Max. 90% (non-condensing)
Certifications CE, FCC
Wireless

Frequency

2.412 ~ 2.462 GHz (FCC); 2.412 ~ 2.472 GHz (ETSI)
5.150~5.250GHz; 5.725~5.825GHz (FCC)
5.150~5.250MHz (ETSI)

Antenna

3 x 2dBi fixed dipole antenna

Media Access Protocol

CSMA/CA with ACK

Module Technique

802.11n: BPSK, QPSK, 16QAM, with OFDM
802.11b:CCK (11 and 5.5Mbps) DQPSK (2Mbps) DBSPK (1Mbps)
802.11g: OFDM with BPSK, QPSK and 16/64-QAM sub-carrier modulations

Data Rate

802.11a: 54Mbps, 48Mbps, 36Mbps, 24Mbps, 18Mbps, 12Mbps, 9Mbps and 6Mbps
802.11b: 11Mbps, 5.5Mbps, 2Mbps, and 1Mbps
802.11g: 54Mbps, 48Mbps, 36Mbps, 24Mbps, 18Mbps, 12Mbps, 9Mbps and 6Mbps
802.11n: up to 300Mbps

Security Encryption: hardware AES/TKIP, 64/128-bit WEP (HEX/ passphrase, 11a/b/g/n)
802.1X/EAP: EAP-TLE, EAP-TTLE/MSCHAPv2, PEAPv0/EAP-MSCHAPv2, PEAPv1/EAP-GTC
WPA: WPA/WPA2, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK (AES-11b/g/n, TKIP-11b/g)
WPS: support PIN and PBC
SSID broadcast control
Output Power 802.11a: 14dBm (typical)
802.11b: 18dBm (typical)
802.11g: 15dBm (typical)
802.11n: 11dBm (typical) with HT20 or HT40

Receiving Sensitivity

802.11a: -72dBm (typical) @ 54Mbps
802.11b: -84dBm (typical) @ 11Mpbs
802.11g: -73dBm (typical) @ 54Mbps
802.11n: -69dBm (typical) with HT20 or HT40

Channels

2.4GHz 1~ 11 (US), 1~13 (EU) 5GHz 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161, and 165



  Networking Solution

On the next page we'll take a look at the routers web interface and set this up for some testing.


 

Web Interface & Setup:

Most of the router setup is pretty straight forward and there isn't much use me stating the obvious.  I've included quite a few screenshots of some of the more advanced features as well.  Things like Advanced Routing, Virtual Servers, Multiple SSID Security, Access Control and more.  As I mentioned, most of it is pretty simple so make sure you take time to click through the screenshots in the gallery so you can understand what makes the TEW-672GR tick. 

 Network WAN
Network WAN
 Network LAN
Network LAN

 

The TEW-672GR supports the standard WAN connections such as static, DHCP and PPPoE to name a few.  This router comes with using the 192.168.10.x range so that it won't conflict with other network devices when installing in an active network.

 

Wireless Features:

The Trendnet TEW-672GR comes supporting Wireless N draft 2.0 and is backwards compatible with 802.11g and 802.11b.  It also supports 802.11a 5.0GHz band thanks to the dual-band function.  This router can operate both bands at the same time, or only one band for greater compatibility.  One thing I found remarkable was the ability of this router to offer four different SSIDs and different security for each SSID.  At the end of the day, all wireless SSIDs get routed out the same WAN port and I haven't found a way to restrict certain SSIDs from access different protocols.  I hope that I could specify different SSIDs to route to different address so that I could steer everything that connected to the default SSID to my homepage.  This may be possible in a future firmware, but at this point it doesn't appear possible.

 Basic - Wireless
Basic - Wireless
 Advanced - Wireless
Advanced - Wireless
   
 Wireless - Multiple SSID
Wireless - Multiple SSID
 Wireless - WPS
Wireless - WPS

 

 

Advanced Settings:

As we head into the advanced settings, I'll remind you to take a look at the gallery and click your way through these images here as we'll over cover a few below.

 Advanced - Virtual Server
Advanced - Virtual Server
 Advanced - Access Control
Advanced - Access Control
Advanced - Gaming
Advanced - Gaming

 

The Virtual Server allows you to run servers on the web from your networks that are normally blocked by either your firewall or your ISP.  This allows you to open ports and to port forward in order to run these services.  For instance, most ISPs block port 80 and port 21 for HTTP and FTP respectively.  If you want to run an FTP server on your home network and have it available to the public on the web, you can specify that port 21 on your internal network should be port 8111 or something similar on the web.  This way you can run a web-accessible FTP server at 111.1.11.111:8111 for example.  If you tried to run this on port 21 (standard FTP port), it would not be accessible.  Like the DGL-4500, the Trendnet TEW-672GR allows you flexibility in this area.

The Admin area allows to you upgrade your firmware, reboot your router or just monitor what ports are connected and how many clients your router is currently serving.

 Admin - Management
Admin - Management
Admin - Status
Admin - Status

 

On the last age we'll take a look at how this router performs in terms of network throughput.


Network Performance:

As far as performance goes, we fired up iperf to do a little benchmarking on this router.  Iperf results show bandwidth that the network is actually capable of.  In the real world, you won't see wired transfer rates approaching 1000mpbs because hard drives are barely fast enough to read and write at this speed.  Also, CPU overhead becomes an issue when transferring this much data.  We use iperf with confidence as it shows how good the network hardware actually is and if it can perform anywhere close to its rated specs.

Network Speed

 

For reference we have compared the TEW-672GR with the DIR-655 and most recently the DGL-4500.  All of these routers support 802.11n and GB wired Ethernet.  A laptop was used to connect to the 802.11n network using the D-Link DWA-652 Xtreme N Notebook Adapter.  At my request Trendnet also supplied a Express Card based Wireless N adapter, but I soon discovered that I don't have an express card slot on my machine.  I will be following up with the TEW-642EC in the future however.

We ran through several instances of iperf and each instance transferred data for 5 minutes.  The results were averaged are displayed above.  As you can see the DIR-655 remains the 802.11n king while the DGL-4500 shows faster G/N mixed performance.  Unfortunately the TEW-672 trails both of these by a very large margin.  We re-ran the tests several times from different distances and the results always come back the same.  When it comes to a wired Ethernet connection the TEW-672GR comes right in the middle of the pack and outpaces the DIR-655, but lags behind the DGL-4500.  Keep in mind that network cable will play a major role here.  We used Cat.6 cable for our tests although Cat.5e is supposed to work with GB networks as well.

Final Thoughts:

The Trendnet TEW-672GR surprised me in terms of quality, looks and features.  It's been a while since I have used a Trendnet product and they have made a lot of improvements to their hardware.  One thing I especially enjoyed was the fast "reboot" time that clocked in at around 10 seconds.  One Netgear router I used took about a minute to reboot between each setting - the TEW-672GR is much, much faster than that.

While things have improved on several levels, the wireless performance at any distance is pretty dismal however.  It comes in about half the speed of the D-Link reference routers when running 802.11g/n mixed or straight 802.11n networks.  Wired performance is up to par though and it scores right in the middle of the pack.

My favorite feature is the multiple SSIDs and the WLAN switch - though I'm not really sure why.  If you could route different SSIDs to different IPs, web addresses and such, it would be incredibly handy.  The WLAN switch though really makes sense if you want to kill your WiFi for a while in order to stop the neighbors from leeching your bandwidth.

Pros:

  • Affordable 10/100/1000 4-port router
  • 10/100/1000 base WAN port
  • Features port masking / forwarding
  • Stealthy firewall
  • WLAN on/off switch

Cons:

  • Wireless performance quite poor
  • No QoS features

  BCCRating

 

Overall the TEW-672GR is a decent choice - although there are better ones out there.  The wired GB Ethernet is fast and it comes with an equally fast WAN port.  It has a host of wireless features but it lacks in the WiFi performance department.  Overall it should get the job done for most people, although if you're big into the wireless side of things, it may not be the best choice for you.

I'd like to thank Trendnet for sending this our way for a review.  Please feel free to post your comments in the forum at the link below.