Trendnet TEW-812DRU V2 router review: Barely the basics
At a Glance
Street-priced at $135, Trendnet’s TEW-812DRU V2 is one of the least expensive 802.11ac routers on the market. But its performance leaves much to be desired, and it's virtually bereft of advanced features beyond its support for 802.11ac.
Well, that might be a little harsh. You can establish up to three guest networks with two options: Allowing guests full network access or restricting them to the Internet, and allowing them to interact on the network or isolating them from each other. Like D-Link’s DIR-868L, Trendnet’s TEW-812DRU V2 has a single USB 3.0 port that can be used to share storage or a printer.
And unlike Buffalo’s WZR-1750DHP, the Trendnet’s router recognizes drives formatted NTFS. Or at least some drives. For whatever reason, it wouldn’t recognize the WD My Passport drive I use for measuring NAS file-transfer performance. It did recognize a different WD My Passport, but since the TEW-812DRU happened to be the last drive I tested, I wasn’t about to go back and retest the rest of the field with that other drive, so I skipped that benchmark with this router.
Aside from those features, the TEW-812DRU V2 is as bare-bones a router as I’ve seen. Parental controls? Basic. VPN server? No. BitTorrent client? No. Cloud services? No. iTunes server? Heck, this router doesn’t have a DLNA server! It does have UPnP, FTP, and Samba servers—but once again, those are basic features that any router should have.
The TEW-812DRU V2’s routers are hidden inside its vertically oriented enclosure, and that design decision likely contributed to this router’s poor performance compared to the other five routers I tested.
Wireless networking performance
The Trendnet TEW-812DRU V2 is a router and nothing more. It can’t be converted to operate as a Wi-Fi access point, and you can’t turn it into an 802.11ac wireless bridge. Like most of its competitors, it doesn’t offer TurboQAM on its 802.11n network, either, but that’s not a significant shortcoming. It finished in the back of the pack in most of my TCP throughput tests.
As I’ve already mentioned, you can’t convert the TEW-812DRU V2 into an 802.11ac wireless bridge, so I couldn’t test it in that scenario.
Trendet’s router finished dead last when paired with a Linksys WUMC710 802.11ac Wi-Fi bridge. It was the only router that couldn’t break 200 mbps when the client was in my home theater, or 300 mbps when the client was in my home office.
The TEW-812DRU V2 delivered an outstanding performance when linked to a client outfitted with a Linksys WUSB6300 802.11ac Wi-Fi adapter, but only at very close range when the two devices were in the same room.
The Trendnet’s 5GHz 802.11n network performed much better. While it finished in fifth place in the field of six, it wasn’t that far behind the D-Link DIR-868L, which finished first.
This router turned in average performances on its 2.4GHz 802.11n network when the client was at close range, but its performance went off a cliff when I moved the client to my home theater and then my home office.
The TEW-812DRU V2 wouldn’t recognize the WD My Passport USB 3.0 hard drive that I use for benchmarking network-attached storage performance. Oddly enough, it did recognize an older WD My Passport drive. To be fair to the other manufacturers, I would have had to retest all the other routers with this model, so I decided not to spend the time to benchmark Trendnet’s.
The bottom line
There’s little to recommend the TEW-812DRU V2 beyond its low price tag. Buffalo’s WZR-1750DHP was $5 cheaper, and it has more features and delivered higher performance on most of my benchmarks. Trendnet is the better choice over Buffalo if you want a cheap router that can share a USB storage device. Then again, if you can squeeze another $15 out of your budget, D-Link’s DIR-868L delivers a full set of features and performance that’s leagues beyond both the Buffalo and Trendnet routers.
After you've finished reading the rest of these reviews, check out 12 of the new routers announced at CES 2014.
Trendnet TEW-812DRU V2 router review: Barely the...