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SECURITY

Routers - March 2014 (Part 4) - Trendnet TEW-812DRU, Asus RT-AC56U, Tenda W300D

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Trendnet TEW-812DRU

This dual-band 802.11ac router needs an Ethernet internet connection and has four further Gigabit Ethernet ports for sharing the connection. Its wireless networks are secure by default and the basic configuration is clear and straightforward, though it loses this clarity when you delve deep into its configuration to set up its advanced tools.

The router performed particularly well in our 5GHz tests, and was the second fastest when connected to our laptop (82.4Mbps at 10m) but the connection was unstable at 20m. It maxed-out our USB 2.0 bottle-neck at 10m using its matching TEW-805UB USB adapter with a speed of 158.5Mbps, but fell to fifth at 20m with a speed of 46.7Mbps.

 

Trendnet TEW-812DRU

Trendnet TEW-812DRU

At 2.4GHz it was fifth fastest when connected to the laptop (37.7Mbps). This improved slightly to 39.6Mbps with its own adapter, but it dropped to ninth place and couldn’t maintain a signal at 20m.

Verdict

The TEW-812DRU has a clear basic interface, good Wi-Fi performance using 5GHz and an affordable price. However, we found its connection to be unstable at longer range.

Specs

·         Model: D6200

·         Price: $141.88

·         Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

·         Ports: 4x Gigabit Ethernet, 1x USB 2.0

·         Security: WPS, WPA/WPA2

·         Dimensions: 180 x 155 x 48mm

Rating

·         Features: 4/5

·         Performance: 4/5

·         Ease of use: 4/5

·         Value for money: 4/5

·         Overall: 4/5

Asus RT-AC56U

Asus’s RT-AC56U is $113.53 cheaper than the same company’s Silver Award- winning RT-AC68U. Its ports are similar and it requires an Ethernet internet connection. It also has four Gigabit Ethernet ports and two USB ports, one of which is USB 3.0 compatible. Its user interface is simple on the surface but we found some of the advanced options used non-standard names, which made them difficult to recognize.

Its performance on the 2.4GHz network was disappointing. Our laptop got speeds of 36.6Mbps at 10m, which is sixth overall, but we couldn’t get a signal at 20m. With the $100.18 USB-AC53 dongle, this improved to 56.7Mbps at 10m (fifth fastest) but only managed 5.3Mbps at 20m.

Asus RT-AC56U

Asus RT-AC56U

Its performance on the 5GHz network was better, though it only managed ninth place connected to the laptop at 10m, with a speed of 60.2Mbps. However, its own USB adapter produced a joint top speed at 10m and came second only to the other, more expensive Asus router at 20m.

Verdict

Although the RT-AC56U’s performance at 5GHz is excellent, we were disappointed by its 2.4 GHz performance, particularly at long range. It also works best when connected to its own USB adapter.

Specs

·         Model: D6200

·         Price: $186.96

·         Wi-Fi: 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

·         Ports: 4x Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 & USB 2.0

·         Security: WPA/WPA2 & WPS

·         Integrated VPN

·         AiCloud local media streaming

·         Dimensions: 147 x 205 x 66 mm

Rating

·         Features: 4/5

·         Performance: 4/5

·         Ease of use: 4/5

·         Value for money: 3/5

·         Overall: 4/5

Tenda W300D

The Tenda W300D is by far the cheapest router in this test, but it's only single band, so it works solely on the 2.4GHz network. It has a built-in ADSL modem, so is best suited to that type of broadband. However one of its four Ethernet ports can also be used to connect it to cable broadband, if you have that type of connection. Either way, if your existing router has broken, this is a very cheap way of getting a replacement.

We were keen to see how such a low-priced router would compare with the more expensive competition, so we tested it with our laptop’s built-in Wi-Fi, where it managed 27.7Mbps at 10m, the second slowest router with only the Billion BiPac 6300NXL performing worse. It was slower using Tenda’s own W311U USB adapter, ($11.69) but still beat the Billion router. Disappointingly, it didn’t manage to connect at 20m using either option.

Tenda W300D

Tenda W300D

Verdict

This router doesn’t support dual-band, but it’s incredibly cheap. However, its performance in our tests was disappointing, so its price is the only reason to recommend it.

Specification

Specs

·         Model: D6200

·         Price: $40.27

·         Wi-Fi: 802.11b/g/n

·         Wireless Speed: 300Mbps

·         Ports: 1 x RJ11 port, 3 x 10/100Mbps auto-negotiation (Auto MDI/MDIX) LAN ports, 1 x 10/100Mbps auto-negotiation WAN/LAN Interchangeable port (Auto MDI/MDIX)

·         Security: WEP, WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK

·         Dimensions: 172 x 119 x 31mm

Rating

·         Features: 3/5

·         Performance: 2/5

·         Ease of use: 4/5

·         Value for money: 5/5

·         Overall: 4/5

Our verdict

ISP routers don’t always produce the best performance, but if you’re with BT, we reckon your Home Hub 5 router is the best around. Luckily, anyone not using the service can still buy it to use with other companies’ broadband, even cable and fiber services. It performed brilliantly in our tests and wins our Gold Award.

If you’re with BT, we reckon your Home Hub 5 router is the best around

If you’re with BT, we reckon your Home Hub 5 router is the best around

If you’re a speed demon looking for the fastest router around at any cost, the Silver Award-winning Asus RT- AC68U blitzed our 5GHz test when used with its own adapter, and came second in the 2.4GHz test.

You need to pair it with its own hardware, and this adds to the already high expense, but it is consistently fast.

The Bronze Award, by contrast, goes to the cheapest 802.11ac router we tested. The Tenda W1800R’s interface leaves a lot to be desired and it shouldn’t be tackled by beginners, but none of these impacts on the performance, which is superb for the price.

 

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