Customer Reviews: Trendnet TEW-684UB Wireless N 450 USB Adapter
Oct16 Amazon Fashion nav_sap_plcc_ascpsc Electronics Holiday Gift Guide Starting at $39.99 Subscribe & Save Cozy Knits Book 2 or More Hours of House Cleaning on Amazon fall24 fall24 fall24  All-New Echo Dot Introducing new colors All-New Kindle Oasis Frank Sinatra Shop Cycling on Amazon

Model: TEW-684UB|Change
Price:$43.99+ $5.99 shipping
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item

There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

on December 3, 2011
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.

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.
55 comments| 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on July 16, 2011
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.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 9, 2014
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!
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 25, 2016
Got this years ago (September of '11) to pair with a then top of the line E4200. The router and 684UB were about 30 feet, a floor, and two walls apart. That combo served me well playing a myriad of dungeon crawlers, Diablo III and Torchlight 2 amongst them. I've racked up several hundred hickup-free hours on those two games alone, and a good portion of that I had played with my brother on the same network. When he and my usual group of gaming buds moved on to Path of Exile, I of course followed suit.
Around that time though, I had updated to Windows 10, and to my dismay, the available drivers for the 684UB were either incomplete or wonky. The latest drivers from Ralink/Mediatek at the time only supported 2.4Ghz, or if I did use older drivers that allowed for 5Ghz my computer's internet speeds were hobbled. I have Optimum 55down/25up, and with Windows 7 my desktop was actually achieving 58down/29up on either band (tested using Ookla's Speedtest). With Windows 10, it was down to 37/22 on 5Ghz and 27/8 on 2.4Ghz. Pings were around the same time, between 9-12ms, but when I was browsing on Firefox, webpages would hesitate to load. Gaming was still smooth though, but streaming from my NAS, a DLINK DNS-320, suffered. Not that the 320 was a speed demon in the first place, but it could provide a steady ~40mbs read speed, but after the Windows 10 update, it was down to ~18mbs. Absolutely maddening!
I resigned myself to eventually buy a Windows 10 certified wifi adapter but never actually got around to it. Again, gaming was still smooth, and I used my laptop to stream from the 320. One day however, I needed to back up my desktop's hard drive, and good God the ~15mbs write speed to my new NAS (a repurposed Lenovo PC) was just unbearable. On a whim, I decided to check out Mediatek's website for updated drivers, and lo and behold there was one released on January 2016. Downloaded it (the file name was IS_Setup_ICS_011916_1.5.39.173), uninstalled the old drivers, installed the new one, and rebooted. And like an old friend recovering from a debilitating injury, the 684UB was back up to full speed. If anyone is familiar with Courage the Cowardly Dog and his distinct way of saying Yay, that was my reaction. Yay!
Also did some quick speed tests to the Lenovo (Core 2 Duo with 7200rpm Hitachi HDD) and was able to get over 100mbs on both read and write. The 684UB achieved that easily on 5Ghz AND 2.4Ghz. Keep in mind that is with channel bonding activated (that's the option in most routers that have you choose 20Mhz or 40Mhz) and a new router, an Archer C8.
Even with the venerable E4200 retired, I'm a bit reluctant to replace the 684UB. My brother has upgraded to a rosewill AC1200UBE wifi adapter, and it doesn't significantly outperform the Trendnet LAN to LAN despite being USB 3 and AC spec. Internet speeds aren't affected of course since that is limited by my ISP. With nearly five years of reliable service, I think I'll be hanging onto this little device a bit longer.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 7, 2012
I'll keep this short as there are already a number of reviews on this product.


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


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


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.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on February 1, 2015
After having had this in the box for months, I was finally able to put it to use on another desktop in the house that was older and "off lease". This adapter was able to pull the maximum bandwidth off my dual band router, so I am quite pleased with the product. As I build my "super computer" this year, I'll be moving this adapter from that old basic computer to my new one to make for a nice wireless setup.

Definitely recommend this to those looking for something with a super small footprint but that does exactly what it says it does. This actually picks up the signal better than the AC NIC cards that I upgraded in both mine and my wife's laptops.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 26, 2011
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.
0Comment| 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on April 12, 2015
I have tried a lot of top rated adapters on amazon and this one is by far the best. It never lags and meets all my needs. Other adapters would perform well when browsing internet and downloading and stuff but would lag with more intensive online activities like gaming and what not. This one does the job. It also looks awesome on your desk, although be ware it does flip over easily and fall off the desk sometimes, the usb port in the adapter actually broke a little because it kept falling off the desk so i have jam it in with a piece of cardboard to get it to work now but its all good.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 5, 2012
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.
0Comment| 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on December 17, 2012
I am upgrading our house network to increase transfer speeds between all our devices and to implement a more robust backup scheme. Chose the ASUS Black Knight N66U router as our primary networking device, a dual band 450 Mbps device, which then led to the need for higher speed wireless adapters on a few key computers to take advantage of the higher router speeds, and after much research, chose the TRENDnet 450's to match the router specs. Have installed these on work laptop and audio workstation desktop so far, and will purchase another for home server when get that up and running.

Honestly, I've been moving away from the old stalwarts like Netgear, Dlink, and especially LinkSys (after Cisco acquisition), as I don't think they are on the leading edge of performance, reliability, and ease of use any more. TRENDnet, on the other hand, seems to be on the rise, and offering good price/performance, especially on the adapter side. Had a TRENDnet 300 Mbps 2.4GHz dongle that worked very well, so that and reviews led me to the 684UB.

Conclusion, the TRENDnet 684UB is an very good low priced choice! However, for MAXIMUM throughput, get the slightly more expensive but worth it Asus USB-N66 ASUS Dual-Band Wireless-N900 USB Network Adapter (USB-N66)

First and foremost, am getting much higher link speeds than via old N and G adapters linked to my previous dual band N router (Netgear WNDR3700 dual band 300Mbps). Am seeing up to the rated 450 Mbps link speed with the TRENDnet 684UB working with the Asus Black Knight, especially on 5GHz band, and had never exceeded 100 Mbps with previous setup. 2.4 GHz link speeds are up as well, 50-100%, despite the crowding in that band in general and where I live specifically. I know link speeds are not the same as throughput, BUT, throughput is some *fraction* of link speed, so, if you don't get the higher link speed, you are limiting throughput as well, and now, I can work with the maximum *potential* speed that 802.11N currently provides. Have not done formal speed/throughput benchmarking, but will update this review if I do. Real world speed FEELS fast, and much faster than previous setup.

Second, these adapters are really small! No, they are not a USB dongle in size, but I want speed first and foremost for this application, and the device just needs some physical size for antennas to send and receive at these new higher 802.11N speeds.

Setup was drop dead easy, just downloaded the latest driver and utility bundle from the TRENDnet site (I almost never use included CDs with devices, as the drivers are almost always out of date), installed, plugged in, and connected to my router with WPA2-PSK security (this specific security protocol is necessary to get to the top speeds in the 802.11N spec).

Another cool thing I am testing is on my laptop, where I have both the built-in dual band 300 Mbps Intel radio and now the TRENDnet both operating simultaneously. Have not done any benchmarks yet that would measure the benefits of such a setup, but I'm intrigued. And it's just plain cool to have 2.4 and 5 GHz connections show up simultaneously in Windows wifi taskbar app.

Summing up...

+ True 450 Mbps link speeds on 5GHz band in real world (router two rooms away thru three walls)
+ Very small size - 3" tall by 2" wide
+ Can locate device for optimum reception via USB cable
+ GREAT price
+ Easy setup, can be managed by Windows or through optional utility software
+ Looks like a high tech shark fin :-)

- Throughput drops under load, as noted by others elsewhere (- 1 star).
- Utility software is kind of primitive, but seems to work fine. I did notice at one point that I had to enter my SSID password in both the TRENDnet utility and Windows Wireless Networking for things to work right, but kinda serves me right for leaving both enabled - heh heh

* Location/orientation. Move the adapter around, changing orientation, height, location, to get the best signal, and watch the link speed change to see which location provides best link speed. I just held the adapter in many different positions for a few seconds and eyeballed the average link speed to find out what was best. Turned out location/orientation within the range of the bundled USB cable could affect speed by as much as 50%! For me, higher was better (perhaps obviously), and the best orientation was sideways hanging off the edge of my 26" LCD, with the lights facing down. Hmmm... but it works.
* Tune your router. The router is of course the other key enabler of overall network performance. Each router is different, but on the Asus Dark Knight I'm using the already mentioned WPA2-PSK security on both bands, 40MHz channel width on 5GHz band, and 20/40 Auto on the 2.4 GHz band, and, critically, power output turned up to the 200 mW maximum. The latter REALLY helps both bands, but especially the 5GHz link speeds.

Highly recommend the 684UB for those who have dual band 450 Mbps routers and need a high performance, reasonably priced adapter to match.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 15 answered questions

Need customer service? Click here