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31 of 31 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
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful
I bought three of these units and they all would lose connectivity during file transfers and stop communicating. I'm no dummy when it comes to tech related issues but these are worthless. Save your money
Published 6 months ago by TMiller


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31 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Big Disappointment At First..., December 3, 2011
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
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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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
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast, reliable, small, December 26, 2011
By 
Maiaibing (Frederiksberg C. Denmark) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
Bought together with a fast Cisco 4200 wireless router. Works very well. No packet drops and regular rates around 320 mbps two rooms and two closed doors away. Price is nice too. Smallish for sure - weight is even less. Very happy after the first few weeks.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No problems at all. Great value, Great performance., October 5, 2012
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
I am a AV installation tech. I have used these in several of my jobs and they work great. Super simple to setup, WPS or manually. And they just work. I have systems that get used every day and systems that sit for some time and then get used. No resetting, no reconfiguration needed. They just work. Thank you TRENDnet for a great reliable product.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Small Package with Lots of speed - if it works!, July 19, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
We recently bought 2 of these for system upgrades for our personal computers.

The units are pretty compact - only slightly bigger than the old wired antennae for our old PCI G-band cards. The software installed quickly and easily in Windows 7 Home Premium. I really like the detail in the Trendnet application software showing the connection speed (initially was >350Mbps with router about a room and a half away). I was online in <10 minutes.

On the next computer, 2nd unit turned on, but didn't detect any wireless networks. After about a half-hour of troubleshooting - swapped the 1st with the 2nd and found the 2nd to be DOA. We went to an electronics store to pick-up a new one to replace the dead unit. That one worked great.

So to conclude - 2 working great, 1 DOA.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Works great!, January 9, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
I recently purchased a CybertronPC Assassin 4242B desktop pc from Amazon and I needed to buy either a wireless card to install or buy an adapter like this. After reviewing the stats on the Trendnet 450 Mbps Dual Band Wireless N USB Adapter I decided to purchase one, and give it a try. I am so glad that I did! It works absolutely wonderful connecting me to my DIR-857 wireless router. My connection speed between my new desktop and the wireless router is a solid and steady 216.7 Mb/s! My tests for online speeds were hitting 38.50 Mb/s D/L and 2.26 Mb/s U/L. My old HP laptop only hits 22.5 to 24 Mb/s D/L and 2.25 Mb/s U/L sitting right next to my desktop... My room is also on the second floor of our house, and the modem/wireless router are on the first floor with thick insulated walls. Our max speed setup on our internet connection is 50 Mb/s D/L, so it is performing absolutely wonderful!

I am really glad I gave this wireless adapter a try! I have had absolutely no problems with disconnects, lag, or lockups. If you are looking for a quick, easy, and very reliable wireless adapter then this is the right choice by far!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful, April 14, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
I bought three of these units and they all would lose connectivity during file transfers and stop communicating. I'm no dummy when it comes to tech related issues but these are worthless. Save your money
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars awesome speed., September 22, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
Love this product, got it in mail fairly quick its small and very portable. Internet is fast and downloads and uploads are fast. Just put cd in plug device in follow instructions and your done. Turns on by itself after initial installation when CPU is booted
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 450 Mbs works fine but location is critical to get the 450, June 4, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
Product works as advertized. Router (450 Mbs capable) and adapter position is critical to getting the 450 Mbs. Easy to install but the USB cable could be a little longer (too long of an extension and you will have problems) Good product--rugged. Dropped several times and still working well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS is the adapter you want! Performs as advertised!, March 7, 2012
By 
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This review is from: TRENDnet Wireless N 450 Mbps Dual Band USB 2.0 Adapter, TEW-684UB (Personal Computers)
I'll keep this short as there are already a number of reviews on this product.

Pros:

-Small Size
-Screaming fast 802.11n throughput speeds
-Decent price
-Great range
-Looks cool

Cons:

-It's not free
-It won't say "I Love you" back
-Blue activity light flashing doesn't seem to make sense to me.

Summary:

I'm using this adapter with my Asus RT-N66U router in "N-Only" mode, 40mhz channel bandwidth on the 5ghz band. I'm on the second story of my house with the router downstairs and one room away. My connection is rock solid all the time, Windows indicates 90% signal strength at 450mbps link speed.

I have a 30/4 cable connection and this adapter easily maxes out my download speed when compared to my wired PC.

Setup was pretty straight forward on Windows 7 64-bit, install drivers and TrendNet Utility, connect adapter, reboot, enjoy!

I've tried several different adapters, but this paired with my Asus RT-N66U router is just as good as a wired connection in my home. The only odd thing is that my blue activity light is either flashing so fast I can't tell, or hardly ever flashes at all under heavy transfer load. Seems to be a purely visual issue, not related to actual performance at all.

I'd recommend this buy 100%. If you're looking for speed and simplicity, you've found it.
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