Prices for wireless N routers have been dropping steadily and TRENDnet jumps on the bandwagon with a broadband router that's only a shade over £50. You'd expect sacrifices to be made to get the price down so low but at first glance the latest Wireless N Home Router looks to tick all the right boxes.
The only key feature you won't get at this price is Gigabit Ethernet as the router is equipped with a quartet of switched Fast Ethernet ports. If you believe the quoted 300Mbps top transfer rates for wireless N then these will cause a bottleneck for data transfers between users on the LAN and WLAN. However, we've never seen any product get even close to this so it's not a real issue.
As the name implies, this router is aimed at home users and TRENDnet has made the installation routine as painless as possible. The CD-ROM setup routine runs through a brief tutorial covering physical connection and then moves onto router discovery and configuration. Sensibly, it offers an option to change the default administration password and then lets you enter your own wireless SSID if you wish. Next up is wireless security where you can pick from WEP and WPA or the foolhardy can leave it disabled. You can also install the bundled copy of Network Magic which provides a range of useful tools for configuring your network and adding shared devices but note this is only a trial copy which has a severely restricted feature set. If you like it then an upgrade to the Essentials version will set you back around £15.
So far, so good but at this point we came up against a major glitch as the router wouldn't work with our ActionTec intelligent ADSL modem. This unit has proved to be a reliable companion for a long time and the TEW-632BRP is the first broadband router it refused to talk to. Essentially, the router's WAN port wouldn't accept a dynamically assigned IP address and we confirmed it wasn't the modem by connecting it to an older TEW-631BRP where it worked fine. We advised TRENDnet of this problem and received a firmware update a week later. This failed to resolve the problem but a second update provided a week after this was successful. Admittedly, we can apply more leverage here than the average user but we were still impressed with TRENDnet's timely responses.