TRENDNET’S TEW-810DR is an inexpensive 802.11ac router that broadcasts simultaneously on both 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. It’s designed to stand upright and, though there’s no way to mount it to the wall, it’s small enough to hide away without much difficulty.
There’s no built-in modem, so you’ll need to connect the router to an external modem through its WAN port. This port is only rated at 10/100Mbit/s, which could be limiting if you have high-speed internet. Similarly, the four LAN ports are also only 10/100Mbit/s. The back of the router is basic, with just reset, power and WPS buttons. There aren’t any USB ports for sharing storage devices, and there’s no physical button to turn off the wireless. You can, however, schedule times when the router will turn off wireless broadcasting through the web interface.
As soon as you plug the router in, it begins broadcasting on its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Both are easy to identify and have a password turned on by default. You can configure a guest network on each band, so that visitors can access the internet but not your network. You can also configure two additional SSIDs per band, which means you can give guests access to your network without having to give up a wireless password.
The web interface is straightforward, though some settings are hidden behind more sub-menus than we would have liked and required some hunting about to find. Most of the options you’ll need are found in the Basic menu, such as configuring wireless SSIDs and passwords. More advanced functions, such as port forwarding and QoS (Quality of Service), are under the ‘Advanced’ menu. When you initially access the web interface it will take you through a setup wizard to help get your internet connection working.
We tested wireless speeds using our test laptop’s integrated Intel Dual Band Wireless N-7260 adaptor. On the 2.4GHz wireless network, we saw speeds of 42.5Mbit/s at 10m, which is above average, and 31.9Mbit/s at 25m, which is one of the best results we’ve seen on the 2.4GHz band. Performance on the 5GHz band was less impressive, with a belowaverage 93.2Mbit/s at 10m, but 49.7Mbit/s at 25m is good for a cheap router. Performance was actually worse using Trendnet’s TEW-805UB 802.11ac USB3 adaptor (£35 from www.argos.co.uk). With the router broadcasting at 802.11n on its 5GHz band, we saw only 25.6Mbit/s at 10m and 16.3Mbit/s at 25m. With the router set to 802.11ac, performance dipped to 10.4Mbit/s at 10m and a crawling 2.4Mbit/s at 25m.
The Trendnet TEW-810DR is an inexpensive wireless-AC router with particularly impressive performance on the 2.4GHz band, and reasonable speeds at 5GHz, too. Its USB adaptor is to be avoided, but if you’re planning on using the router with older 2.4GHz devices and standard wireless cards such as you might find in an Intel-based laptop, it’s a good buy.