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Trendnet TEW-818DRU review

Richard Easton
14 Nov 2014
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
127
inc VAT

The Trendnet TEW-818DRU is let down by its poor wireless range and high price

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Specifications

Modem: None, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 1,300Mbit/s, USB ports: 1x USB3, 1x USB, Wall mountable: No

The Trendnet TEW-818DRU is very light for an 802.11ac router, which might be a strange thing to note when a router isn’t typically something you move around. However, this particular model was so light when we unboxed it we were momentarily concerned it was an empty dummy unit. 

The router is designed to stand vertically and looks more like an external hard disk than a router. There aren’t any wall-mounting points. The router has a row of LED status indicators for internet connectivity, four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and two USB ports. One of the two USB ports supports the faster USB3 standard, and both can be used for USB storage sharing through FTP or SMB. You’ll need to dive into the web interface to eject your storage drives, as there aren’t any eject buttons on the router itself. 

You’ll need to connect an external modem or router to the TEW-818DRU's WAN port to get online as there’s no built-in modem. The router can broadcast simultaneously on its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and both are password-protected by default. It’s also possible to create two additional SSIDs with different passwords per band, so you can let others access your network while still keeping your wireless password secret, and you can also run a guest network on each band. You can limit the guest networks to be internet-access-only in order to keep your local network away from prying eyes. 

The router's web interface is broken down into Basic and Advanced sections. The interface is for the most part logically laid out, but some useful settings such as Dynamic DNS are tucked away behind two sub-menus. This isn't the kind of setting you’ll be changing regularly, however. 

Changing your wireless settings is easy from the Basic menu, and you can change encryption passwords easily. It might be worth noting that the router doesn’t support WEP encryption, which might be a problem with any legacy devices you might want to connect; this is a pretty niche requirement nowadays, though. There’s a WPS pairing button on the router for quickly connecting compatible devices. 

If you find the standard web interface too basic, the router is compatible with DD-WRT. This is a popular open-source custom router firmware that allows greater control over your router, such as more intricate QoS (Quality of Service) controls for managing bandwidth on your network as well as the option to configure your router in Wireless Bridge mode. 

We tested the TEW-818DRU’s wireless speeds using our laptop’s built-in Intel Dual Band Wireless N-7260 adaptor. The router has a theoretical throughput of 1,300Mbit/s on its 5GHz band and 600Mbit/s on 2.4GHz. At 10m using the 2.4GHz network, we saw transfer speeds of 38.9Mbit/s, which is average, but the router was unable to maintain a stable connection at 25m and so failed our test at that distance. Performance was markedly better using the 5GHz network, where we saw with speeds of 133.6Mbit/s at 10m and an above-average 72.4Mbit/s at 25m. 

We also tested the router using Trendnet’s own TEW-805UB 802.11ac USB3 adaptor (£35 from www.argos.co.uk). When set to operate in 802.11n mode, performance was worse than with our laptop's built-in chipset. We only saw 44.4Mbit/s at 10m on the 5GHz band, and the adaptor failed our test at 25m. Performance wasn’t much better when the router was set to 802.11ac, either. At 10m we saw 139.3Mbit/s, and 121.1Mbit/s at 25m is also a below-average transfer rate. 

We were disappointed with the Trendnet TEW-818DRU’s wireless range. It stability and speeds from both our laptop’s integrated Wi-Fi and Trendnet’s USB adaptor were both underwhelming compared to some of its rivals. We would rather spend less on the D-Link DIR-868L and get far better speeds. 

HARDWARE
ModemNone
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Bands2.4GHz, 5GHz
Stated speed1,300Mbit/s
SecurityWPA, WPA-PSK, WPA2, WPA2-PSK, WPS
Upgradable antennaNo
WAN ports1
LAN ports4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
USB ports1x USB3, 1x USB
Wall mountableNo
Size48x155x180mm
SOFTWARE
Guest networks2
Media serverSMB, FTP
USB servicesNAS
DDNS servicesDynDNS.com, No-IP.com
BUYING INFORMATION
Price including VAT£127
WarrantyThree-year RTB
Supplierwww.ballicom.co.uk
Detailswww.trendnet.com
Part codeTEW-818DRU