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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

The TEW-811DRU is not Wi-Fi Certified. It defaulted Auto channel and "Auto" mode (20 MHz, auto speed selection) on the 2.4 GHz radio and channel 153 and "Auto" (80 MHz, Auto speed selection) for the 5 GHz radio upon power-up. The router comes with different 2.4 and 5 GHz SSIDs set, so you'll be able to connect to your desired band without having to change router settings.

We ran 40 MHz Coexistence and Fat channel intolerant tests, but neither passed. When the 2.4 GHz radio is set to 40 MHz mode it will continue to let clients link at 300 Mbps, even when that setting interferes with nearby networks.

We didn't have any luck getting our Win 7 client to detect that the router was WPS enabled, so we mark WPS function as failing our tests, too. Checking the WPS page for both radios showed WPS was enabled with a status of "Processing WPS start...".

All tests were run using our new wireless test process and V1.0.2.0 version firmware loaded. The router was first reset to factory defaults and Channel 6 was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 153 for 5 GHz. "Auto" (20 MHz B/W) mode was set for 2.4 GHz and "Auto" (80 MHz B/W) mode (to enable draft 802.11ac link rates) was set for 5 GHz. The test client was connected via WPA2/AES encryption that was manually set up.

The router was positioned 8" from the chamber antennas in all test positions. The 0° position had the right side (facing front) of the router toward the chamber antennas.

The retest Benchmark Summary below from the new Consolidated benchmark process shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations. The 2.4 GHz values in the summary correspond to 2.4 GHz values (20 MHz B/W) and the 5 GHz values correspond to the 80 MHz B/W values measured with the previous test methodology.

TRENDnet TEW-811DRU Benchmark Summary

TRENDnet TEW-811DRU Benchmark Summary

Compared to the only other AC1200 router tested so far—NETGEAR's R6100 —the TEW-811DRU's 2.4 GHz average throughput is about half the NETGEAR's for both up and downlink. The main reason for the difference is that the TEW-811DRU's throughput falls off drastically as signal level drops. You'll see this clearly in the throughput vs. attenuation plots shortly.

5 GHz performance is the opposite, with the TEW-811DRU averaging about double the NETGEAR R6100's downlink throughput and 50% more on uplink.

For a look at full throughput vs. attenuation plots, I plotted the only other AC1200 router, NETGEAR's R6100 and added in NETGEAR's R6250 AC1600 router as a next-step-up alternative. Note that the R6250 has Gigabit Ethernet ports, while the R6100 is only 10/100.

The 2.4 GHz downlink profile shows the TRENDnet's much poorer range performance. Throughput falls off sooner than both NETGEARs with the router disconnecting at 48 dB attenuation. The R6100's 100 Mbps Ethernet ports are probably not holding back its maximum throughput, which at the 0 dB point used for throughput ranking falls midway between the other two products.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot again shows quickly diminishing range performance, but higher maximum throughput. With the router disconnecting again at 48 dB of attentuation.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Fortunately, the negatives of the TEW-811DRU's 2.4 GHz performance are offset by what happens in 5 GHz. The TEW-811DRU's throughput is higher than the R6100's throughout the entire measured range.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 5 GHz uplink plot shows a similar story, the AC1600 R6250 on top, TRENDnet AC1200 in the middle and R6100 on the bottom.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

For a look at throughput characteristics, let's check out a few IxChariot plots. Here is the simultaneous up/downlink plot for the 2.4 GHz radio. We're accustomed to seeing a uplink or downlink bias in these simultaneous tests and the TEW-811DRU looks like it heavily favors downlink.

2.4 GHz up/downlink IxChariot plot - 0dB

2.4 GHz up/downlink IxChariot plot - 0dB

The 5 GHz simultaneous up/downlink plot below is similar to the 2.4's it that it has the same preference for downlink over uplink, but there are some large variations in the 5 GHz downlink plot, while uplink stays steady, but very low.

5 GHz up/downlink IxChariot plot - 0dB

5 GHz up/downlink IxChariot plot - 0dB

Closing Thoughts

When we look at the Router Ranker for AC1200 routers, we see the TEW-811DRU is ranked #1, followed by the only other AC1200 router reviewed so far, the NETGEAR R6100. Digging into the TRENDnet's Ranker Performance summary below shows that it gets top ranking for many benchmarks. Unfortunately, this ranking isn't very useful because both are flawed products.

TRENDnet TEW-811DRU Router Ranking Summary

TRENDnet TEW-811DRU Router Ranking Summary

The TEW-811DRU's weaknesses are its broken WPS, bad behavior for both 40 MHz coexistence and Fat channel intolerance scenarios and poor 2.4 GHz range. The NETGEAR R6100's main sin is its 10/100 Ethernet ports, which hold back both its wired routing and 5 GHz throughput. Of these two, the 5 GHz holdback is the worse, because that's what you're primarily buying an AC class router for!

So while following the Router Ranker blindly might cause you to put a TEW-811DRU into your shopping cart over the NETGEAR R6100, we can't really recommend either if you want a fully functioning AC1200 class router that can provide all the throughput it should be able to provide.

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