TRENDnet is starting to make a name for itself in the UK with a rapidly expanding range of networking products aimed primarily at the consumer and small business markets. It’s TV-IP201W IP Camera impressed us with its ease of use and low price and now we turn to its latest draft-802.11n enabled firewall router.
The TEW-631BRP offers a quartet of switched Fast Ethernet LAN ports and its RJ-45 WAN port means you’ll be needing a separate cable or ADSL modem equipped with an Ethernet port. ADSL users who don’t want to incur the extra expense might want to check out Netgear’s DG834N, which comes with an integral ADSL2/2+ modem and can be had for only a few pounds more. The router is available for around £85, while its accompanying PC Card can be found for around £70.
The TRENDnet router has a triplet of aerials at the rear and only the centre one is removable. A useful feature is the small switch next to the power socket, which allows you to physically disable the wireless access point.
It was at this stage we had a sense of déjà vu and after further investigation we confirmed that the TEW-631BRP is more than a little similar to SMC’s Barricade N Broadband Router. In fact, apart from the colour and TRENDnet’s natty backlit display on the top panel it looks virtually identical. You tread the same path for installation as the web interface offers a selection of wizards for configuring Internet access and wireless services. TRENDnet has added its own design touches to the interface but essentially it offers all the same features as the Barricade N.
The Internet access wizard steps through sensibly changing the default administrative password and if it can’t detect a connection it’ll offer a choice of DHCP, PPPoE, PPTP, L2TP or static addressing. A selection of predefined ISPs is provided but, as we found with SMC, none are UK based so of little value here. Wireless security is easy to set up as a separate wizard asks if you want Good, Better or Best modes which equate to WEP, WPA or WPA2 respectively. Few small businesses are likely to use it but the WPA-Enterprise option allows you authenticate users with an external RADIUS server.