Trendnet TEW-731BR Review

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Think Twice

User complaints about this router run the gamut. Some report that it has broken down in less than a year, or that it has a weak signal and tends to drop connections.

As is often the case with particularly cheap items, there is a good amount of concern surrounding the durability of the Trendnet TEW-731BR (starting at $18, Amazon). We found some positive Trendnet TEW-731BR reviews on Newegg, where shoppers say the router is a good value for the price, with respectable transfer speeds and an easy setup process. Some buyers have also found the range to be good, and say the Trendnet TEW-731BR can stream HD video without a hitch. However, other reviewers on Newegg complain of frequent dropped connections, and several have seen the router break down within nine months or a year, well below a router's normal life expectancy. Reviewers on Amazon have similar gripes about dropped connections and weak signals. Some users like the product, though, because it's cheap and works well enough for their purposes.

The Trendnet TEW-731BR supports the 802.11b/g/n standards and includes a WPS button for making connections with external devices. It runs on a single 2.4 GHz band at a theoretical maximum of 300 megabits per second. It supports the WEP/WPA/WPA2 security protocols. The router has four 10/100 LAN ports on the back but doesn't support the gigabit network speeds that are becoming more and more popular for streaming high-definition video or online gaming. Users can set up a VPN, or virtual private network, with this router if they're so inclined.

The Trendnet TEW-731BR is affordable enough to attract the attention of budget shoppers, but we're concerned about the many complaints from buyers about this router's durability. Routers aren't complicated devices, especially when it comes to their hardware, and a good router should last several years. In too many cases, this router breaks down long before it should. As a result we hesitate to recommend it.

Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet writes about consumer electronics. If something runs on electricity or ones and zeroes, he's interested in it. Sweet has written about PC technology and consumer electronics for 14 years.

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