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Wireless Reviews

Introduction

450Mbps Dual Band Wireless N HD Media Bridge
At a glance
ProductTRENDnet 450Mbps Dual Band Wireless N HD Media Bridge (TEW-680MB)   [Website]
SummaryRalink-based three stream dual-band N bridge with embedded four-port Gigabit Ethernet switch
Pros• Very high throughput when paired with TRENDnet TEW-692GR
• Integrated Gigabit switch
Cons• No AP mode. So can't use two to make a bridge

Typical Price: $175  Buy From Amazon

I've had TRENDnet's first-to-market dual-band three-stream 802.11n bridge sitting on my "To Review" shelf for too long. So, lest I have to make yet another New Year's resolution, I dusted it off, fired it up and here is what I found.

The 680MB looks very much like TRENDnet's other wireless bridges, such as its TEW-687GA single-band sibling [reviewed], with a vertical "sharkfin" format that gets its internal antennas oriented in a proper vertical plane.

Both have curvy glossy black plastic cases designed to sit on a desk or table. Thermal design is the same as the 687GA's, with two rows of narrow perforations on the top side, plenty of air intake vents on the case bottom and slim rubber feet raising those intake vents only 1/16" or so.

The front of the bridge has power and link / activity lights for wireless and the four switched Gigabit Ethernet ports. There is a WPS pushbutton on top (Figure 1).

TRENDnet TEW-680MB front

Figure 1: TRENDnet TEW-680MB front

The rear panel holds the power and Ethernet ports (Figure 2). You'll see a hole on the bottom of the 680MB for the recessed factory default reset switch.

TRENDnet TEW-680MB rear

Figure 2: TRENDnet TEW-680MB rear

Inside

Figure 3 is a board photo taken from the FCC docs (FCC ID XU8TEW680MB). You can see three printed circuit dual-band antennas arrayed at the front, top front corner and top board edges. This view has the tops of the RF cans removed to show additional RF components, which I suspect are 2.4 and 5 GHz power amplifiers.

TRENDnet TEW-680MB inside

Figure 3: TRENDnet TEW-680MB inside

Detailed views in the FCC docs allowed me to ID most of the 680's components. Table 1 holds the summary, along with those for its single-band sibling.

  TEW-680MB TEW-687GA
Wireless SoC Ralink RT3883F 802.11n 2.4/5GHz 3T3R 450/450Mbps Single Chip AP/Router SoC Ralink RT3883F 802.11n 2.4/5GHz 3T3R 450/450Mbps Single Chip AP/Router SoC
Ethernet Atheros AR8327 7-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch Realtek RTL8211CL Integrated 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Transceiver
RAM 64 MB 32 MB
Flash ? MB 4 MB
Table 1: TEW-680MB and TEW-692GA component summary

TRENDnet has used what appears to be its go-to three-stream N device, Ralink's RT3883F. This dual-band three-stream SoC is used in both adapters as well as its TEW-692GR and TEW-691GR three-stream N routers.

Figure 4 shows the 687GA's board, in the same orientation as the 680MB's, for your comparison pleasure.

TRENDnet TEW-687GA board

Figure 4: TRENDnet TEW-687GA board

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