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Model: TEW-684UB|Change
Price:$57.98+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime
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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.
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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.
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on December 10, 2010
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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on January 29, 2016
Another product with many mixed reviews. We have a top ofthe line dual band router and i still wasnt getting above 56ish mbps. I tried everything. Had cable co come out and replace all cable lines and eliminate all interfearance. Changed my settings on my router. Got inssider and selected the best channel. Our laptops didnt not have ac technology but on 3ghz i could not get more than 50ish. Hardwired we got 100 and above no problem. But i have a router for a reason. Ran the modem in bridge mode so there was no interference. Got this and fought with it on my laptop. Plugged it in then installed cd with drivers etc.. Kept clicking on the shortcut and nothing would happen. Was not happy. We have windows 10. Kept checking the wireless networks list to see if the 5ghz network would show up and it wouldnt. After much anger i noticed a drop down menu in the wifi list. Selected wifi 2 and there it was. For my husbands laptop i plugged in the usb let it load went to wifi drop down menu and got right on. I never had to install disk in first place. Hope that saves someone the frustration. Speeds are at 80ish. Much better

Update: dropped it down a couple of stars. out of the first two i replaced one almost immediately cause it was overheating.. that replacement has worked fine since. the other original has since stopped working completely and I ordered a replacement of a different band.. also after a while it does stick out too much so I got a smaller one.
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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.
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on August 8, 2015
I have an older quad-core hp desktop running vista. As a full time camphost/workamper most rv parks have "less than ideal" wifi. Within the past year we've been to three parks where my vista computer doesn't want to connect (but other people's newer computers will).
I got loaned this dual band wifi adapter at a park and immediately connected once the software got loaded where I couldn't before. I am currently using this at another rv resort where I couldn't connect but now can as I bought the same model... TRENDnet Wireless AC600. They make a good, better, best in this product and this one is the good designated category. Now I wonder if what the better and best are like. But, hey... for $12+ I'm happy to have it.
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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!
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on April 24, 2016
Works very well, even on my 2006 Dell with Windows XP. I use this when I am working on client computers in my office. It has a good reach and is so much less expensive than the others I reviewed.

I am totally happy. 24 years as an IT professional and I feel like this is one of my best finds when you're talking bang for buck and quality!

Thanks guys!
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on May 18, 2016
Well I purchased a today's special HP Laptop computer deal from HSN for $399.00. Its a pretty nice 15.6 Intel Pentium quad core N3700 processor, 4 gigs of ram, etc., etc., Now at that price HP saved money by no Bluetooth, and of course a cheap Real tech 2.4 gig wireless WiFi card that I could only get a max download speed of 25 mbs even having a top tier Linksys AC 1900 dual band fast WiFi router with Cox communications 100 mbs download speed internet service. I had a Cisco USB AC dual band USB adapter which wouldn't let me install the software as I am running Windows 10 and Cisco/Linksys wont bother coming out with a driver update for Windows 10 and it would only allow me to use the 2.4 Mhz band and it wasn't any faster than the installed card.It costs $29.and change on Amazon too. so needless to say I was looking for hours on Amazon for the best Windows 10 AC WIFI USB adapter at the best price. After reading reviews for hours on different branded adapters I came across this Trendnet TEW-804UB dual band AC USB WIFI adapter at a great price if less than $19.00 and change.
Well the software CD that came with it installed on Windows 10 with no problems. It even has a WPS button on the end of it, with a cool blue led light. The adapter is only one inch long too, so it doesn't protrude very much.
Well if your trying to increase your speed on a laptop or PC and you have Windows 10 look no farther! Trend nets own software found my 5 Ghz band from my router right away. Let me tell you now I get blazing fast speed of 95 mbs to 118 mbs down and around 10 to 20 mbs upload speed now making this lower end computer a great buy now! Another great thing about this adapter is it comes with a 3 year warranty! Trust me this is the one to buy! I have had and have many Trendnet gigabit Ethernet switches so I can attest to how good of a brand TRENDnet is!
look at the picture of my Ookla speed test after using this adapter. My 5 Mgz signal is very strong using this adapter!
(You must have a dual band AC wireless router to get the fastest speed, which is always on the 5 Mhz band)
review image
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on January 9, 2010
worked out of the box the 1st time exactly as advertised with minimal reference to instructions & excellent range through walls in house. performed much better than more expensive adaptor from Verizon which it replaced.
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