Trendnet 300Mbps Dual Band Wireless N USB Adapter Review


The latest product that we’re reviewing for Trendnet is their Dual Band Wireless N Adapter. Geared toward the plug-and-play generation, this clever little device makes connecting to a wireless N network as easy as plugging the adapter into the machine and then installing the drivers from the CD. No tearing apart your machine and physically installing a card. It couldn’t be easier. Also, anyone with a laptop will appreciate how small the adapter actually is. It’s the size of a large thumb drive, and very portable. Let’s take a closer look at this product. Click Read More to continue.

Provided By: Trendnet

Closer Look:

The packaging for the Trendnet 300Mbps Dual Band Wireless N USB Adapter features a large picture of the adapter itself and several facts about it. The coverage and speed of the wireless N adapter is displayed on the front as well as a graphic stating that the device uses Dual Band technology for a faster connection.

On the back of the package is where the real meat is at. Another smaller picture of the adapter is featured, with a graphic portraying various uses for the device. As always Trendnet rounds out the back of the package with a small section of related products. A nice feature if you wish to upgrade you wireless network and want to know which products will work best with your current hardware.

Once you open up the package, you’re greeted by a Spartan site. An installation CD, the adapter, and the USB dongle are all that is contained inside. This streamlining is one reason I like Trendnet products. Their installation CD installs the wireless drivers and interface, and that is it. There is no installation of useless programs that you’ll just delete later. Mean and lean, that’s the way to go.

The adapter is about 3 inches long and has a piano black finish. The people at Trendnet apparently like black, seeing as how most of their wireless products that I’ve reviewed tend be shiny black. Maybe this means they like Johnny Cash too. Anyway, this device is very small for a wireless product, something that should appeal to anyone who’s on the go.

Let’s take a look at the Specifications.

Specifications:

Hardware
InterfaceUSB 2.0
StandardsIEEE 802.11a, IEEE 802.11b, IEEE 802.11g and IEEE 802.11n (draft 2.0)
LED IndicatorActivity
Power ConsumptionReceive mode: 300mA (max) ; Transmit mode : 450mA (max)
Supported OSWindows 2000/XP(32/64-bit)/Vista (32/64-bit)/Mac OS X 10.4/10.5
Dimensions (LxWxH)80 x  27 x 12mm (3.1 x 1 x 0.5in)
Weight20g (0.7oz)
TemperatureOperating: 0° ~ 40° C (32° ~ 104° F); Storage: -10° ~ 65° C (14° ~ 149° F)
Humidity5% ~ 95% max (non-condensing)
CertificationFCC, CE
Wireless
Frequency802.11n: 2.412 ~ 2.484 GHz 
802.11a: 5.150GHz ~ 5.350GHz / 5.725GHz ~ 5.825GHz (FCC)
5.150GHz ~5.350GHz / 5.470GHz ~ 5.725GHz (ETSI)
AntennaBuilt-in 2 on board antennas
Data Rate (auto fallback)802.11a: 54Mbps, 48Mbps, 36Mbps, 24Mbps, 18Mbps, 12Mbps, 9Mbps and 6Mbps
802.11b: 11Mbps, 5.5Mbps, 2Mbps, and 1Mbps
802.11g: 54Mbps, 48Mbps, 36Mbps, 24Mbps, 18Mbps, 12Mbps, 9Mbps and 6Mbps
802.11n: up to 300Mbps
Output Power802.11a: 10dBm (typical)
802.11b: 16dBm (typical)
802.11g: 13dBm (typical)
802.11n : 13dBm (typical)
Receiving Sensitivity802.11b: -86dBm at 11Mbps
802.11g: -71dBm at 54Mbps
802.11a: -70dBm at 54Mbps
802.11n: -66dBm at 300Mbps
802.11a: -69dBm at 300Mbps
Encryption64/128-bit WEP (Hex & ASCII), WPA/WPA2 (TKIP/AES), WPA-PSK/WPA2-PSK
Channel802.11b/g/n: 1~11 (FCC), 1~13 (ETSI)
802.11a: 36, 40, 44, 48, 149, 153, 157, 161, 165 (FCC), 36, 40, 44, 48 (ETSI)

Testing Setup:

Trendnet Dual Band Wireless N Gigabit Router

Trendnet 300Mbps Dual Band Wireless N USB Adapter

Trendnet 300Mbps Dual Band Wireless N PCI Adapter

Testing:

If you’ve read our reviews before, you know how we test wireless products. If not, then here’s a quick explanation. I happen to use a wireless network that is shot about 80 feet, through several walls and across a driveway; hence an occasional car is in the way. Due to these constantly changing variables, each time I benchmark a wireless product, I do a fresh benchmark for the products I am comparing. This accounts for possible changes in wireless conditions. Then I simply look at which product did better this time around and show you the results.

For the actual test I will be pinging Google with large packets for exactly sixty seconds. I will display the results which will feature such things as packets sent, lost, top and low speeds, average speeds and network speed and connection bars. Let’s see what I found out.

  Trendnet USB Adapter
 Trendnet PCI Adapter
Packets Sent5259
Packets Recieved5059
Minimum Time (Ms)
4254
Maximum Time (Ms)
2571929
Average Time (Ms)
84227
Bandwidth ()
130117
Bars44

I found the results very interesting. The USB adapter sent fewer packets and dropped several. It had a higher Mbps than the PCI adapter and the same bars. But what piqued my interest was the fact that it had the lowest minimum and maximum round trip times, and had an average round trip time which was almost 150 Ms faster than the PCI adapter. To me this says that the USB adapter has a faster average speed than the PCI adapter. Why this is I don’t know. Perhaps the fact that the PCI card is located lower down my tower than my USB ports, which are near the top, is a factor. Less interference from wires and such things could be a reason for this.

Let’s look at the conclusion and see what the final word is.

Conclusion:

I was expecting the USB adapter to perform alright, but didn’t think that it would be able to stack up to a PCI adapter. But I learned a lesson doing this review. Don’t let appearances fool you. This little power house performed very well. As I alluded to earlier, I feel that the reason for its success is explained by its portable nature. The USB option allows you to place the adapter higher than the standard PCI card hence getting better reception. Heck, you could even place it anywhere you wanted via a USB extension. I feel that this flexibility is what enabled it to perform better in this review.

Would I recommend it for purchase? Yes. This review again proved my preconceptions wrong. Though USB adapters sometimes have a bit of a bad name, Trendnet has made an adapter that obviously can perform just a well if not better than a PCI adapter. Also the fact that you can move it around a lot easier than a PCI card makes it the preferred choice for anyone on the move.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Small and Portable
  • Flexible Positioning

Cons:

  • None

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