A router is just a router, right? It's like a coffee maker or a microwave; it's supposed to be one of those appliances that you buy and set up one time, leaving it alone to do its job for you each day. You really want to set it and forget it, but you also want that product to do its job effectively. What's the point of having a router that isn't reliable or isn't fast enough?
And so we turn to the TRENDnet TEW-751DR N600 dual band wireless router. While those of you on the bleeding edge of technology may scoff at its lack of AC capabilities, the vast majority of users are likely perfectly satisfied with N speeds, especially when it's a dual band router that just works.
Feature and Spec Rundown
Whereas something like the Diamond WR300NR may be perfectly appropriate as a small travel router, it may not be enough for full-time use in the home or office. This N600 dual band wireless router from TRENDnet, however, looks to be up to the job.
What you get here is concurrent dual band 300Mbps wireless-N, so you can take advantage of both 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, effectively running two wireless networks at the same time. The MIMO antenna technology gives you great wireless coverage, even if it doesn't have large external antenna. The TEW-751DR is fully compatible with legacy wireless-G, B, and even A devices too. There is support for IPv6 for those of you who want that as well.
Keeping the Ports Simple
Also on the back, you get the recessed reset button, a small WPS button, the power port, and the on/off button. I would have preferred to see the WPS button placed at the front of the router instead for ease of access, but then you'll have security experts that say that you shouldn't use WPS at all. And yes, you can turn off that function through the settings menu should you so desire.
I was also disappointed to see the lack of a USB port for storage or printer sharing. In this respect, the TEW-751DR is probably best positioned as a basic dual band wireless-N router. If you're looking for advanced features like that, you'll need to look higher up the range at a correspondingly higher price point.
Setup and Configuration
If you really are the "set it and forget it" kind of user when it comes to wireless routers, then this TRENDnet offering is perfectly appropriate for you. It comes pre-encrypted with a password-secured network, so you don't have to enter new WPA2 info if you don't want to (we suggest you do, of course).
The official documentation suggests that you go through guided setup wizard via a wired connection, but I was able to run through the steps very quickly through a wireless connection instead. It really only takes a couple of minutes and even the most inexperienced of users will understand it. It is also here that you can change the SSID and password, along with other features.
Adjusting the more "advanced" features is a relatively straightforward affair as well. All of the primary navigation through the browser-based interface can be found along the left sidebar. It is here that you can adjust (or deactivate) the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks, set up any "guest zones" that you want to have (with separate SSIDs), adjust the parental controls, set the MAC filters and so on.
The admin panel understandably has a lot of sections, but you don't have to dive into any of them unless you really want to access a particular feature. And you simply access the admin panel by connecting to the network and then hitting http://tew-751dr in your browser window.
Not surprisingly, I found the signal strength of the 2.4GHz network to be generally stronger than the 5GHz network, especially when I was in a different room that would be separated from the router by some walls. Even so, the overall range was what you'd expect from a wireless-N network and I had coverage throughout my home and even into the garage in the backyard, a feat that the wireless-N router built into my Shaw gateway device cannot achieve.
MEGATechie Radical Router or MEGATechie Just Another Black Box?
Make no mistake. There are many wireless routers on the market that have far more features than what you'll find here on the TEW-751DR. You can NAS-like features with the Western Digital My Net family, for example, but the higher end of that family also cost a lot more than what you'd pay for this TRENDnet router instead.
This little black box is hardly the most exciting thing in the world (aside: while it's reasonably well built, it felt a lot lighter than I expected, as if it were very hollow), but it does do exactly what you need it to do. You get dual band wireless-N, parental controls, guest networks, website filtering, firewalls and the rest of it for as low as $55 online. That's not groundbreaking, but it's not too shabby either.