|At a glance|
|Product||TRENDnet 450Mbps Dual Band Wireless N HD Media Bridge (TEW-680MB) [Website]|
|Summary||Ralink-based three stream dual-band N bridge with embedded four-port Gigabit Ethernet switch|
|Pros||• Very high throughput when paired with TRENDnet TEW-692GR|
• Integrated Gigabit switch
|Cons||• No AP mode. So can't use two to make a bridge|
Typical Price: $230 Buy From Amazon
I've had TRENDnet's first-to-market dual-band three-stream 802.11n bridge sitting on my "To Review" shelf for too long. So, lest I have to make yet another New Year's resolution, I dusted it off, fired it up and here is what I found.
The 680MB looks very much like TRENDnet's other wireless bridges, such as its TEW-687GA single-band sibling [reviewed], with a vertical "sharkfin" format that gets its internal antennas oriented in a proper vertical plane.
Both have curvy glossy black plastic cases designed to sit on a desk or table. Thermal design is the same as the 687GA's, with two rows of narrow perforations on the top side, plenty of air intake vents on the case bottom and slim rubber feet raising those intake vents only 1/16" or so.
The front of the bridge has power and link / activity lights for wireless and the four switched Gigabit Ethernet ports. There is a WPS pushbutton on top (Figure 1).
Figure 1: TRENDnet TEW-680MB front
The rear panel holds the power and Ethernet ports (Figure 2). You'll see a hole on the bottom of the 680MB for the recessed factory default reset switch.
Figure 2: TRENDnet TEW-680MB rear
Figure 3 is a board photo taken from the FCC docs (FCC ID XU8TEW680MB). You can see three printed circuit dual-band antennas arrayed at the front, top front corner and top board edges. This view has the tops of the RF cans removed to show additional RF components, which I suspect are 2.4 and 5 GHz power amplifiers.
Figure 3: TRENDnet TEW-680MB inside
Detailed views in the FCC docs allowed me to ID most of the 680's components. Table 1 holds the summary, along with those for its single-band sibling.
|Wireless SoC||Ralink RT3883F 802.11n 2.4/5GHz 3T3R 450/450Mbps Single Chip AP/Router SoC||Ralink RT3883F 802.11n 2.4/5GHz 3T3R 450/450Mbps Single Chip AP/Router SoC|
|Ethernet||Atheros AR8327 7-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch||Realtek RTL8211CL Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Transceiver|
|RAM||64 MB||32 MB|
|Flash||? MB||4 MB|
Table 1: TEW-680MB and TEW-692GA component summary
TRENDnet has used what appears to be its go-to three-stream N device, Ralink's RT3883F. This dual-band three-stream SoC is used in both adapters as well as its TEW-692GR and TEW-691GR three-stream N routers.
Figure 4 shows the 687GA's board, in the same orientation as the 680MB's, for your comparison pleasure.