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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment At First...
Rating revised (1 -> 4). Original review kept as-is for reference purposes in case others have similar problems. See final update for solution to performance problem.

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The purpose of a cutting-edge dual-band (and simultaneous at that!) multi-stream adapter such as this is to allow you to create a modern wireless...
Published on December 3, 2011 by garzascreek

versus
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How Fast Is It?
The dongle arrived relatively quickly and in good shape...Shipped in original retail box. HOWEVER, the 300Mbps speed as advertised is not quite right...Only after I got the drivers installed (which was not easy on a machine with XP...Took four tries and it's still buggy), I found that the broadcast speed the configuration utility reports is only 150 Mbps. So, I cruised...
Published on June 14, 2012 by Thomas Browne


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29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment At First..., December 3, 2011
By 
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Rating revised (1 -> 4). Original review kept as-is for reference purposes in case others have similar problems. See final update for solution to performance problem.

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The purpose of a cutting-edge dual-band (and simultaneous at that!) multi-stream adapter such as this is to allow you to create a modern wireless environment using the newest 2 and 3 stream dual-band wireless routers. In practical terms, though, the 2.4GHz radio band really only has 3 clear channels to choose from so unless you live in a rural area the likelihood of getting more than one channel to bind together to get the multi-stream link speeds advertised by the manufacturers is nil.

So, you set up your new multi-band multi-stream router to use one channel of the 2.4GHz band (if you can find a clear one) just for legacy g and single stream n purposes (your smart phone, older laptops, etc). Then you set up the spacious 5GHz band with as many streams and 40Mhz channels as your router will let you claim. Your new laptop probably already has a multi-stream card that can sit on the 5GHz radio band. This TEW-684UB adapter would theoretically be the perfect add-on to a desktop PC in an awkward location for running Ethernet cable. And with simulcast radios you can use the 5GHz for your main connectivity and the 2.4GHz band for monitoring the rest of your network with free software such as InSSIDer.

I read the mixed reviews of this device and as usual I thought I would be smart enough to make it work to my satisfaction. My conclusion, however, is that either there is a huge variability in the quality of the adapters, or perhaps they only work well with the same brand chipset on the routers, or the praising reviews here are confusing link speed with actual throughput. Do not trust any review that does not include a speed test (available from various websites) comparing the speed of connecting your PC to the Ethernet port of the router with a test using the wireless interface. The link speed your computer reports is of little real significance. The actual throughput relative to a known quantity (your Ethernet connection to the router and onward to the Internet verified by a speed test site) is all that is important. The difference will show you your true wireless speed.

And therein lies my extreme disappointment. I should have known something was going to go bad when the setup program had extreme difficulty installing the drivers and the utility under Windows 7-64bit. After installation, the adapter would ignore the enable device function in Windows and the utility did not even list the 5GHz band as even existing. Note the utility, though not strictly required, is the only way to manipulate the radios used and does provide some useful functionality such as listing the local networks in your area and some dBm signal strength meters. I was finally able to to get it installed by using the old workaround of using the compatibility mode and telling the installer (the second setup.exe) that I really have Win XP. Do we really still need to do that in 2011? The next clue that this was more toy than tool is that the profiles that can be set with the utility only allow WEP for the encryption. Puleeze! 802.11n requires WPA2 minimally. Not really a problem since everyone uses Windows itself to control wireless these days and the Windows profile worked fine for setting WPA2.

In my environment (using a cable modem) I get between 22-24Mbps download througput with a 1Gb Ethernet connection. On a laptop using an Intel Centrino Ultimate-N 6300 card set to 5GHz priority I get 18-20Mbps download throughput with clear line-of-site across an average size living room (no walls) but much faster connectivity to other local devices on my LAN (true n speeds to hardwired devices, for example). With TEW-684UB at the same location, the 5GHz a/n mode will get me around 0.3-0.5Mbps download and on the regular single stream 2.4GHz g/n mode I get up to 2Mbps download throughput and similar uselessness on the LAN.

And the adapter, though it has simultaneous radios, can't have the band to use be selected as a preference as with Intel. It will always default to 2.4Ghz when both radios are enabled. When you disable the 2.4Ghz radio in order to use the 5Ghz band you lose monitoring capability of the 2.4GHz band. Why have simultaneous radios if you can't have them both turned on? I will have to resort to multiple SSIDs to access the 5GHz band while the 2.4GHz band is on. I did find a more up-to-date driver and utility from Ralink, the manufacturer of the RT3573 chip used in the adapter (Trendnet just slaps their name on the driver and utility, they don't write anything themselves). They also had all the same shortcomings of the Trendnet provided driver and utility.

So, though at first I did not believe them, I now wish I trusted the reviews that questioned this adapter's capabilities. It would have saved a lot of hassles and time. Unfortunately, I also bought a Trendnet TEW-680MB Media Bridge at the same time which I have just started to play with and the same mediocre performance is present. I am probably going to stay away from any Trendnet products with Ralink chips for the time being. They might work with their own Trendnet routers but are very incompatible with my high-end Netgear router (WNDR3800) which works perfectly with Intel n wireless cards and all other legacy g cards I have. It seems to me that compatibility testing was not an important element in the development of this product and the lack of any upgraded drivers, firmware, or utility since release is telling. And one final thing, for such an expensive adapter you'd think they could put a USB cable that was not so ridiculously short and of such poor quality or at least use a standard USB B connector on the adapter instead of a micro-USB connector which few will have lying around.

Update 12/8/2011 - By turning off all n functionality on the 5GHz band on the wireless router (making it a single channel a band 54Mps network), the TEW-684UB throughput is as expected for that bandwidth (now reporting 16Mps instead of a fractional amount). Usable for Internet purposes but not very good for intranet purposes on my LAN with other functional n 5GHz and hardwired devices. Sorry, Trendnet/Ralink, you have to be compatible with the big guys. If Intel works perfectly with Netgear so must you. No change in review. It is just an overpriced a/b/g adapter in my environment.

Update 12/15/2011 - While playing around with the TEW-680MB Media Bridge I was noticing the same behavior as with this TEW-684UB adapter. In trying to discover the incompatibility with my Netgear router I basically went through all the multitude of settings on the router. The key appears to be forcing the Netgear router into Wi-Fi Multimedia Mode (Advanced - Setup - QOS Setup - Enable WMM settings on 5GHz) which makes no sense but, hey, it works and the speed is now blazingly fast, even faster than the Intel Centrino reference point and indistinguishable from hardwired connection (cable modem is now the bottleneck as it should be) . Note: the Multimedia setting in the advanced configuration setup of the TEW-684UB adapter itself does NOT also need to be set. This router setting combined with using two SSIDs to workaround the lack of the needed band priority setting in the adapter to allow simultaneous use of both radios removes the two show stoppers for me. The performance is now as expected. Loses one star for the mediocre documentation and inadequate QA compatibility testing, but terrific otherwise.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works very well, but it's a little bulky, November 15, 2007
By 
Scott G (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Product works well. Shipped to me with v1.0 of the software -- had to get v1.1 from the website. Also, it's a little large, so it will block things that are very close (e.g. another USB port on top of or right next to it). Trendnet includes a small (about 2") USB extension cable to resolve the problem, though that's a little awkward. On the other hand, probably all wireless N usb adapters will have the same problem, because of the extra antenna & circuitry. Range and throughput are excellent, and it doesn't keep dropping connection like some adapters do.
*edit*
FWIW, I've verified that this is compatible with not only Trendnet Wireless N routers, but also Linksys WRT600 and dlink dir-655
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice product, but not great., April 22, 2010
By 
Richard S. Sims (Hamilton Township, NJ) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 150 Mbps Mini USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-649UB (Personal Computers)
The good:
Received the product quickly and plugged it in and was up and running at N speed in ~10 seconds, not too shabby. Speed was far and above what I ever got with G, and it works all over my house.

The less than good:
Despite the 300mps claim, I'm pretty sure that the theoretical max of this card is locked at 150mps, and unlike every other wireless card I've ever used, the reported speed does not lower automatically based on real time performance statistics, it always says "150mps".

Why oh why do companies insist on putting OUTRAGOUSLY bright blue lights on things? I had to put a piece of electrical tape over the blue light because it was lighting my bedroom...

It also gets pretty darned hot - which so long as it keeps running doesn't bother me, but experience has shown me that devices that run really hot don't tend to last.

Overall a good product, but I can't give it 5 stars.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Works for Windows 7 64-bit but here is a comparison, January 18, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 150 Mbps Mini USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-649UB (Personal Computers)
Here is how to make it to work:
Install the driver utility before inserting the USB adapter. Running the CD that came with it first is a good way of doing it. Downloading the latest driver utility from TrendNet web site and running it first is another. Actually this is the best way while you are waiting the adapter to arrive, so all you have to do later is to plug it in. The third way is to let Windows 7 to install it for you automatically (if you are running Windows 7, 32-bit or 64-bit) by directly inserting the adapter, but updating the driver might be a hassle. Seemed to me you have to unplug it and then update the utility. If you inserted the USB adapter first and couldn't get connection (maybe that's why some of the reviews here are bad), don't worry. Unplug the adapter and start over. Don't leave the adapter attached when you try to install/uninstall the utility.

SPEED:
Some reviewers said it would always display 150 mbps regardless of the true connecting speed. I was also curious about this and spent some time to investigate. It turns out this is not true. The adapter max out at 150 mbps when it is running at normal connecting speed (i.e., the communication speed between this adapter and the router). This is an indication that you have a good router signal strength. However, when the signal strength or quality is poor, it WILL show lower speed. I have seen 120 mbps and even 60 mbps at different locations or after running the computer for a long time, in which case I would change my location or just put the computer to rest a bit. Also, 150 mbps is not the speed into the Internet. The maximum speed between the Internet and your modem is determined by your ISP (DSL or cable company), and it varies depending upon the broadband Internet package that you pay for. In actual Internet speed tests it can reach 10-15 mbps anywhere in my two story house except where there is a metal blockage. My wired gigabit connection is getting 24-25 mbps. I have set my router to N only mode since I also bought a TrendNet media bridge (which works great) to help other slower g devices with wire connection option.

PRO:
SIZE: It is pretty small, although not the smallest on the market (refer to this review later). The size matters a lot to me. When you have to carry it around, especially when placed on a bed, you would always wish it was smaller.

CON:
1) I wish it could reach 300 mbps maximum connection speed specs as as claimed. The reality is this is a false or misleading claim.
2) The main problem I had was that if I wake up my HP notebook running Windows 7 64-bit, the web connection is mostly likely lost. I would have to re-connect it manually and this is annoying. I have less problem with PLANEX GW-USNano-G.
3) I wish it were a half smaller.
4) The blue LED light was bright and quite annoying. The PLANEX GW-USNano-G has a yellow light and tiny. AirLink has a smaller blue light. Neither one of them are as bad as this one.
5) I paid $26 for this, and now is only $19.

COMPARISON:
Competitor #1: PLANEX GW-USNano-G Wireless-N 150Mbps USB adapter. GOOD: Price: $17 (vs Trendnet $26), Size 22.5(L)x14.5(W)x7(H)mm (vs Trendnet 34x17x7mm), Speed: 150 mbps (vs Trendnet 150mbps), Band, 2.4GHz (vs Trendnet 2.4GHz). BAD: Max power consumption: ~1.5A (vs Trendnet 0.29/0.32A) This means it gets hot. Range: NA (vs Trendnet 50m/100m), smaller size=smaller antenna=shorter range.

Hands on test: The test was done on an HP Entertainment Notebook running Windows 7 64-bit. When plugged in, PLANEX looks roughly half the size as TrendNet. Signal strength: 5 bars (the same as the TrendNet). Connection speed to the router: 150 mbps. Actual Internet speed: roughly 10 - 15 mbps and very consistent (the same as the TrendNet). Power consumption: I didn't feel any temperature change during the test that lasted half an hour.

Competitor #2: AirLink101 AWLL5088 Wireless N 150 Ultra Mini USB Adapter. GOOD: Price: $13 (vs Trendnet $26), Size 14(L)x34(W)x6(H)mm (vs Trendnet 34x17x7mm). It stick out of the side of the computer for only 0.55 inch! which is only half of Trendnet's 1.3 inch. Speed: 150 mbps, Band: 2.4 GHz. BAD: power consumption: NA (but I read the reviews it gets hot, so I think it draws more amps than Trendnet), Range: NA (smaller size=smaller antenna=shorter range).

Hands on test: The test was done on an ACER Netbook running Windows XP 32-bit, SP3. When plugged in, it looks roughly 1/4 the size as TrendNet. Connection speed to the router: 120 mbps. Signal strength: 4 bars (vs TrendNet:5 bars). Actual Internet speed: anywhere from 8 to 24 mbps (from different locations). The little size means the antenna is small and very sensitive to the signal strength. If you have a large house or a weak router, you may experience slower connection speed with it. Power consumption: I didn't feel any temperature change during the test that lasted half an hour.

CONCLUSION:
I would recommend a PLANEX GW-USNano-G adapter. Reason: Same connection speed, same performance, half the size, half the price.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nice and easy, March 3, 2010
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 150 Mbps Mini USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-649UB (Personal Computers)
Very easy set up, great signal strength through a few walls over some decent distance.

Vista 64
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How Fast Is It?, June 14, 2012
By 
Thomas Browne (Cheverly, MD, US) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 150 Mbps Mini USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-649UB (Personal Computers)
The dongle arrived relatively quickly and in good shape...Shipped in original retail box. HOWEVER, the 300Mbps speed as advertised is not quite right...Only after I got the drivers installed (which was not easy on a machine with XP...Took four tries and it's still buggy), I found that the broadcast speed the configuration utility reports is only 150 Mbps. So, I cruised on over to TrendNet.com, and learned that the unit has max transfer speeds of 150 Mbps up and 300 Mbps down. Was a real disappointment, because I waited for the price to drop for a true 300 (i.e. each way) mini dongle and ended-up with only 1/2 of what I wanted. Thought long and hard whether or not to send it back...Decided in the end to keep it - replacing it later when something else comes along. Vendors: Beware of what you post! I'm in sales, and your write-up is deceptive and wrong!!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow...Highly Recommended !, December 10, 2010
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Can't say enough good things about this item! Although I've not had it long, so far so very good. My HP DV6000 lost it's wireless ability (like every other DV6000 that HP ever built..) and all Hp offers is to replace the motherboard for 250.00. I replaced the internal wireless card but that didn't help, just more wasted money. So, I stated using an older, much larger USB wireless adapter. It worked but the signal strength was very weak and it struggled to stay on line. Read reviews on the Trendnet and decided to give it a shot. Installed on Windows 7 super easy and is pegging the signal meter. Signal is coming in loud and clear! All I've lost is one USB slot but that's way better & cheaper than anything that HP offers for DV6000 owners. Still got 2 USP slots to work with but at last I'm on line again and the signal strength is probably better than it was when the original HP internal wireless was working. Love to buy stuff that does what it claims to do. Thanks Amason...thanks Trendnet!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Speed & Range - this is the one to get!, July 16, 2011
By 
AZS (United States) - See all my reviews
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Having used the Netgear WNDA3100 and the Cisco AE1000 adapters previously this adapter beats them handsdown.
Neither of the previous adapters could maintain near the 300Mbps advertised, they would typically fluctuate between 54 & 150 Mbps (maybe hitting about 200Mpbs on 5mHz channel), but never holding a constant signal. The TrandNet holds 450Mbsp constantly. I am using the Cisco E4200 router (it also performed well on a Neatgear n750 router).
Range and signal reception are both FAR better than either of the mentioned USB thumb-tpye adapters.
This is the way to go if you need a high speed network connection for streaming or gaming and have a router that supports 450Mbps.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! more than doubles the Mbps, December 22, 2008
By 
C. Ross (Traverse CIty) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This adapter boosted the speed of transmission from 54 to 130 Mbps. Exceeded expectations. I wasn't sure I'd use it or need it, but it makes a huge difference!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast reliable, excellent tech support!!, October 30, 2008
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I have bought three (3) of these TEW-624UB and two of TEW-637AP because they have me very happy with these products I can"t rate them high enough. A five star rating is way to low for what these products have done for my wireless home network. I give these 10 stars. Thomas T. Perry
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