Trendnet TEW-654TR Travel Router

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Product: Trendnet TEW-654TR Travel Router
Provided By: Trendnet
Price: Find Lowest Price Online

 

Introduction:

When it comes to networking, Trendnet doesn't typically pop into your mind as a first choice.  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.

Trendnet has some very innovative products that are worth looking at however.  We have reviewed the TEW-672GR Dual Band N Gigabit router in the past that proved to be very high on features.  Performance wasn't top notch, but it was a much more affordable solution that other companies.  Today we are looking at a "Travel Router" and this unit is ideal for several scenarios that we'll touch on in the review.

 Initial Bundle
Initial Bundle

 

Like other non-travel routers, this unit supports port forwarding, SPI firewall, Access Control and all of the other features you've come to expect from a router.  It only has a single port on it however, and that is what makes it unique - that and the small size.

 

First Look:

When I first received the TEW-654TR, I never thought too much about it and as things were very busy here at BCCHardware.com, I actually left it unopened for about a week.  When I did open the ordinary looking box, I discovered a CD, Quick Install Guide, and a zippered case that holds the router.

 In The Case
In The Case
Bundle
Bundle

 

In the case Trendnet has included the very small router, an Ethernet cable, USB cable for powering the device as well as a AC to DC wall plug as well.  I was quite surprised to see the USB cord although this could come in very handy in some place like an airport.

The design and look of this router is quite minimalistic, and it just goes to show that you don't need a large unit to get the job done - as long as you're connecting to it wirelessly.  You can see what few features there are on the back in the picture below and to the right - a Power port, Ethernet port as well as WPS and Reset buttons.

 Front Profile
Front Profile
 Rear Profile
Rear Profile

 

On the front of the unit are three LED lights that indicate power, LAN status and WLAN status.

On the next page we'll take a closer look at the TEW-654TR as well as the features and specifications.


 

Closer Look:

As we take a closer look at the TEW-654TR router we find that Trendnet has included a few more features in this router than just a mere router.  While it obviously doesn't have a print server or USB port, it does offer easy network functions such as wireless access point and wireless client simply by flipping a switch.  This switch is located on the bottom and can be used to set the TEW-654TR between three modes - AP (Access Point), Client and RT(Router).

Mode Switch
Mode Switch

As you saw on the previous page, there is only one Ethernet port and this works as the "WAN" port when in router mode, as the uplink port in access point mode and as a peripheral cable port in client mode.

 

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.

The 300Mbps Wireless N Travel Router Kit offers a high performance router that is so small it disappears in your front pocket. Enjoy the freedom of wireless n while on the go and share a single Internet connection with multiple users. This compact kit fits into the most overstuffed luggage and contains everything needed to quickly create a 300Mbps wireless network.

A convenient carrying case holds the ultra-compact 300Mbps wireless n router, a slim Ethernet cable, an electrical adapter and an alternate USB cable that powers the router from a computer. Advanced wireless encryption secures your network, Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) antenna technology maximizes wireless coverage and Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) quickly connects client adapters.

  • Wi-Fi compliant with IEEE 802.11n (draft 2.0) standard
  • Backwards compatible  with IEEE 802.11g and IEEE 802.11b devices
  • Supports Router, Access Point and AP Client modes
  • Supports Multiple Input Multiple Output (MIMO) technology
  • Powered by external power adapter or USB connection to computer
  • Network Address Translation (NAT) and Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI) protect against Internet attacks
  • Maximum reliability, throughput and connectivity with automatic data rate switching
  • Wireless encryption includes 64/128-bit WEP, WPA/WPA2-RADIUS and WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK
  • Supports full duplex 802.3x flow control
  • Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) Quality of Service (QoS) supported
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) integrates other WPS devices quickly
  • Multiple VPN pass-through sessions for IPSec and PPTP
  • Easy Web browser remote management
  • Works with Windows, Linux and Mac operating systems
  • Coverage up to 50 meters (160ft.) indoor and up to 200 meters (650ft.) outdoor
  • 3-year limited warranty

 

 

 

Hardware
Interface 1 x 10/100Mbps Auto-MDIX port
Standards IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g, IEEE 802.11n (draft 2.0)
IEEE 802.3/IEEE 802.3u Fast Ethernet
Supported Protocol TCP/IP, NAT, PPPoE/PPTP/L2TP, HTTP, DHCP Server/Client
LED Indicator Power
LAN: Link, ACT
WLAN: ACT
Power Consumption 2.5 watts (max)
Power Adapter 5V, 1.2A or power via the included USB cable from pc
Dimensions (LxWxH) 60 x  80 x 18.5mm (2.4 x 3.2  x 0.7in)
Weight 50g (1.6oz)
Temperature Operating: 0° ~ 40° C (32° ~ 104° F); Storage: -10° ~ 70° C (14° ~ 158° F)
Humidity 10% ~ 90% max (non-condensing)
Certification FCC, CE
Wireless
Module Technique DBPSK/DQPSK/CCK/OFDM (BPSK/QPSK/16-QAM/64-QAM)
Antenna 2 on-board antennas
Frequency 2.412 ~ 2.484 GHz 
Data Rate (auto fallback) 802.11b: 11Mbps, 5.5Mbps, 2Mbps, and 1Mbps
802.11g: 54Mbps, 48Mbps, 36Mbps, 24Mbps, 18Mbps, 12Mbps, 9Mbps and 6Mbps
802.11n: up to 300Mbps
Output Power 802.11b: 14±2dBm  (typical)
802.11g: 14±2dBm  (typical)
802.11n :12±2dBm (typical)
Receiving Sensitivity 802.11b: -85dBm (typical)
802.11g: -68dBm (typical)
802.11n: -59dBm (typical)
Security 64/128-bit WEP (Hex & ASCII), WPA/WPA2-RADIUS (802.1x), WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK
MAC address, IP and URL filtering
Channels 1~11 (FCC), 1~13 (ETSI)

 

A couple of things are worth noting before we carry on to the web interface.  First, the range of the wireless router is somewhat limited.  Trendnet claims that it will reach a distance of 50m indoors.  The range is a bit shorter than other 802.11n routers, but keep in mind that this is geared for the traveler and this shouldn't matter - especially if you're powering the unit from a USB port on your laptop.


 

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 Wireless, WPS Setup, Virtual Server, 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-654TR tick.

 Wireless Setup
Wireless Setup
LAN Setup
LAN Setup
   
 WAN Setup
WAN Setup
WPS Setup
WPS Setup

 



The wireless features of the router are pretty standard.  You can set the SSID, choose encryption, or use the WPS setup if required.  The TEW-654TR scales from 802.11b to 802.11n without any issues at all.

 

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 - Access Control
Advanced - Access Control
Advanced - Virtual Server
Advanced - Virtual Server
 Advanced - Network
Advanced - Network

 

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 and the Trendnet TEW-672GR, the TEW-654TR allows you flexibility in this area.

 

Access Point & More:

The TEW-654TR works great as a router, and gives you security and privacy behind the firewall, but what if you want to connect to an existing wired network with the wireless router?  Trendnet supports this idea and you must unplug the router, flip the switch to "AP" (Access Point) and then plug back in.  You will then have access to the existing network shares - of course your computer will be visible on the network as well.

 Access Point
Access Point
AP Setup - LAN
AP Setup - LAN
 AP Setup - Wireless
AP Setup - Wireless

 

The client mode allows you to connect the TEW-654TR to a wireless network and then plug the device into your favorite printer, NAS, or other network enabled device to make it visible on a wireless network.  In this mode, you can also setup the TEW-654TR to be a "repeater" and connect wireless device to it directly as well.  It is loaded with features that are easy to setup and use.


 

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 Performance

 

For reference we have compared the TEW-654TR with the TEW-672GR, DIR-655 and DGL-4500 routers.  All of these routers support 802.11n.  A laptop was used to connect to the 802.11n network using the D-Link DWA-652 Xtreme N Notebook Adapter.  

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.  While the TEW-654TR falls behind the D-Link products, it actually beats out the Dual-Band Trendnet router.

 

 

Size Comparison Final Thoughts:

The Trendnet TEW-654TR is actually a bit of a treat.  While I expected this router to be quite small, I never expected it to be as small as it is - and still so large on features.  The ability of this little router to transform into an access point, wireless client and router all with the flip of a switch is a very nice feature that is worth its weight in lithium.

While the performance isn't record breaking, the TEW-654TR shows a bit of a boost from earlier Trendnet products we've looked at, and this makes it more value than ever.  So do you really need a router like this?  The answer depends on your traveling habits and practices.  Ever year, BCCHardware goes to CES and when we stay in a hotel, we usually either bring a router or buy one cheap at Circuit City in order to network our room and keep things secure.  This router is the perfect answer to that scenario.  Also one year we had a long layover in Salt Lake City and we networked our computers together for a little Unreal Tournament play in the airport.  This again would provide a much easier way to network multiple machine and keep them secure.

If you travel a lot with a laptop, seriously consider the TEW-654TR, if you travel a lot with a business to shows like CES, put this on your must-have list.

Pros:

  • Affordable with lots of flexibility
  • Powered by USB!!!
  • Features port masking / forwarding
  • Stealthy firewall
  • Wireless Client, Access Point and Router modes

Cons:

  • None

  BCCRating

While it's true that the performance isn't stellar, the idea behind this router is amazing and the execution is very good.  We award this unit a Gold Wrench as it is certainly a "Top Pick" here at BCCHardware.

  Gold

I'd like to thank Trendnet for sending the Travel Router our way for review.  If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to post them in the forum at the "Comments" link below.