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Wireless Reviews

Basic Wireless Features

The wireless features of the TEW-633GR are very similar to those of the DIR-655, with the notable exceptions of the lack of WCN support for the 633GR (a good thing), and the lack of L2 (WLAN) separation options for the 633GR (a bad thing).

Figure 7, below, shows the Basic > Wireless Settings menu.

Basic wireless
Click to enlarge image

Figure 7: Basic wireless settings menu

The 633GR comes with a Wireless Connection Wizard, which is a helpful feature if you know a little bit about your network but not much about how to set up security on a wireless router. It's actually more of a security wizard, and in fact does the same thing as the Launch Wireless Security Setup Wizard button in the Basic > Wizard menu.

Wireless network settings include Enable Auto Channel Scan or a Wireless Channel selector, 802.11 Mode, Channel Width, Transmission Rate, and Security Mode.

Enable Auto Channel Scan allows the 633GR to scan available channels and find the one that offers the least interference. 802.11 Mode includes mixed n/g/b (default), mixed n/g, mixed g/b, n only, g only, or b only. Channel Width switches between 20 MHz (default), or Auto 20/40 MHz. Operating in 40 MHz mode will cause the 633GR to use a control channel and an extension channel.

Transmission Rate offers a long list of rates, from 1 to 54 Mbps in 12 variously-sized steps, and from MCS 0 to MCS 15. The default is Best (Automatic). Security Mode supports None, WEP, and WPA Personal and Enterprise (RADIUS server) modes. WPA options include Auto (WPA or WPA2), WPA2 only, or WPA only; and TKIP, AES, and TKIP and AES.

Advanced Wireless Features

Figure 8, below, shows the Advanced > Advanced Wireless menu.

Advanced wireless
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Figure 8: Advanced wireless settings menu

Advanced wireless features include Transmit Power, Beacon Period, RTS Threshold, DTIM Interval, A-MPDU/A-MSDU Aggregation, Short GI, and WDS Enable.

Transmit Power can be set to one of three steps: High, Medium, or Low. Beacon Period, RTS Threshold, and DTIM Interval should only be adjusted if you encounter problems and know how to adjust these values to correct them.

A-MPDU/A-MSDU Aggregation is part of the 802.11n standard that increases throughput, but at a potential performance penalty if data must be resent. Only disable this option if you're sure it's causing problems.

Short GI, enabled by default, sets a short Guard Interval. This increases throughput, but can degrade performance if your location is susceptible to signal echos. Again, most likely you will only need to disable this option if you're sure it's causing problems.

An option that could have used a little more attention is the WDS Enable feature. One of my main complaints with the GUI is that TRENDnet left most of the screen empty, instead of putting help information in the blank spaces. WDS (Wireless Distribution System) is a non-standard feature that allows WAPs to be connected without wires. The same version of WDS must be supported by both APs to work.

The mode supported by the 633GR is repeating mode, which allows it to communicate with clients and other access points. You must enter the MAC address of the access point to connect to, and also enter the MAC address of the 633GR on that access point. The Advanced Wireless screen does not tell you anything about this, and the help is not context-sensitive, so you have to click through the help menu to find it. This is my other main complaint with the 633GR's GUI. It would also be nice to have a wizard that walked you through WDS setup, perhaps with a list of visible APs to which you can link. Note that to use WDS, you must use WEP or no security, and set both access points to use the same channel.

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