Belkin’s N1 Vision and Trendnet’s Wireless N Gigabit are among the first routers to be benchmarked in our new real-world test environment: a 2,800 square-foot foot home in rural Northern California (call it Maximum PC Lab North). You’ll find all the details, including photographs, at Mike's blog.
If you’ve already installed a Wi-Fi router, you don’t need the vendor’s installation software to help you through the process. So we weren’t surprised that Trendnet didn’t develop anything for its TEW-633GR 802.11n Draft 2.0 product, relying instead on Pure Networks’ Network Magic.
But we feel obligated to evaluate each company’s installation routine, and we were torqued to find that Trendnet’s resulted in the free, basic version of Network Magic in residence on our system. We’ve recommended Network Magic in the context of an expert installing it on other people’s rigs to avoid becoming the default tech-support monkey for friends and family, but it’s not an app power users will need on their own machines. We’re not saying that Network Magic installed itself surreptitiously, but it gives no indication of what it is about to do until it’s already done it—and that’s bad etiquette.
We weren’t very impressed with Trendnet’s hardware, either. As you can see from the benchmark chart, the router delivered tremendous wireless TCP throughput without encryption, but rates fell through the floor when we enabled WPA Personal security with an AES cipher. The router couldn’t reach the client in the second of our outdoor tests with or without security enabled.
The TEW-633GR does have a strong feature set, including push-button WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup), a four-port Gigabit switch, and Ubicom’s StreamEngine quality-of-service technology. But those attributes are of little value without fast wireless throughput.
Shakin' all over
StreamEngine, WPS, Gigabit switch.
Slow; Network Magic installs itself on your system.
Location 1 No Encryption / WPA Personal
Location 2 No Encryption / WPA Personal
Location 3 No Encryption / WPA Personal
Location 4 No Encryption / WPA Personal
Location 5 No Encryption / WPA Personal
Belkin N1 Vision (MB/s)
70.1 / 35.1
69.8 / 29.5
13.2 / 8.4
11.8 / 9.4
1.9 / 0.1
Trendnet Wireless N Gigabit (MB/s)
76.5 / 27.4
59.4 / 16.2
1.4 / 1.1
Best encrypted scores are bolded. N/C means no connection could be established between client and router. Additional test criteria available here.