The TEW-631BRP is a rather dull-looking Wi-Fi router, clad in Trendnet's trademark blue plastic. It might be a plain Jane, but it's nonetheless a well-specified device with some nice features.
There's a row of status LEDs along the front, and at the rear a trio of Mimo antennae can be swivelled to optimise signal strength. In between there's a WAN port, four LAN ports, a reset pinhole and a switch to turn Wi-Fi on and off. The Trendnet supports WPA2 security and QoS (Quality of Service) – a useful addition that'll prove important for glitch-free audio, video and gameplay.
Setup is completed entirely via a web interface. Wizards walk you through the various tasks, but novice users would probably have appreciated a bit more hand-holding. The Trendnet supports SPI (stateful packet inspection) and NAT (network address translation) firewalls – curiously, SPI is switched off by default.
Family-friendly controls let you grant access only to approved sites, limit web access by day and time and block access for certain types of applications, such as filesharing programs and games.
In our speed tests the TEW-631RBP (in conjunction with the companion TEW-621PC PC Card adapter) produced mixed scores. We clocked a peak data throughput of 57Mbps (megabits per second), 10 percent faster than four other draft-N routers we looked at recently. But when we switched to longer-range testing, throughput dropped to a disappointing 16Mbps, which put it among the slowest of the draft-N kit we've seen.