THE TRENDNET TEW-818DRU is designed to stand vertically and has no wall-mounting points. There are four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and two USB ports, one of which is USB3. Both can be used for USB storage sharing through FTP or SMB. You’ll need to go into the web interface to eject storage drives, as there are no eject buttons on the router.
You’ll need to connect an external modem to the 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. You can also run a guest network on each band. You can limit the guest networks to internet access only in order to keep your local network away from prying eyes.
The web interface is divided into Basic and Advanced sections. It 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 wireless settings is easy from the Basic menu, and you can change encryption passwords easily. It’s worth noting that the router doesn’t support WEP encryption, which might be a problem with any legacy devices you want to connect; this is a pretty niche requirement nowadays, though.
If the standard web interface is too basic, the router is compatible with DD-WRT. This popular open-source custom router firmware 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 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). In 802.11n mode, performance was worse than with our laptop’s built-in chipset. We saw only 44.4Mbit/s at 10m on the 5GHz band, and the adaptor failed our test at 25m. Performance wasn’t much better in 802.11ac mode, 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 £20 less on the D-Link DIR-868L and get far better speeds.