MSI looks to add executive chic to a winning laptop formula
- Supports SPI and NAT firewalls, family-friendly controls
- Novice users may be confused with setup, mixed speed scores, Price
The TEW-631BRP offers good performance at close ranges but is slow at longer distances. It'll be given a run for its money by a good Mimo 54G kit. Nevertheless, this product has some interesting features and remains a decent buy - for now.
Price$ 267.00 (AUD)
The TEW-631BRP is a rather plain-looking Wi-Fi router, clad in Trendnet's trademark blue plastic. It might be a plain Jane, but it's nonetheless a well-specified device with some nice features.
There's a row of status LEDs along the front, and at the rear a trio of Mimo antennae can be swivelled to optimise signal strength. In between there's a WAN port, four LAN ports, a reset pinhole and a switch to turn Wi-Fi on and off. The Trendnet supports WPA2 security and QoS (Quality of Service) - a useful addition that'll prove important for glitch-free audio, video and gameplay.
Setup is completed entirely via a web interface. Wizards walk through the various tasks, but novice users would have appreciated a bit more hand-holding. The Trendnet supports SPI (stateful packet inspection) and NAT (network address translation) firewalls - curiously, SPI is switched off by default.
Family-friendly controls let users grant access only to approved sites, limit Web access by day and time and block access for certain types of applications, such as file sharing programs and games.
In our speed tests the TEW-631RBP produced mixed scores. We clocked a peak data throughput of 57Mbps (megabits per second), but when we switched to longer-range testing, throughput dropped to a disappointing 16Mbps.
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