TRENDnet TEW-731BR is a 300mbps router which can be used for surfing internet, streaming movies and home networking. It has all the basic components including WPS, encryption, Dynamic DNS support, NAT, SPI, Virtual Server, Special Applications, DMZ Host, PPTP/L2TP/IPsec VPN Pass-through, and Multicast Pass-through.
Form Factor and Build Quality
TRENDnet TEW-731BR is a compact wireless router which measures around 158 x 109 x 34 mm. I personally like compact routers which do not occupy much space. I have used many routers and in the segment of 300mps routers such as from TP-Link, Cisco etc, TRENDnet TEW-731BR is quite close to being among the smallest of them. The router is made of black plastic and feels light. It weighs around 200gms. Overall, the build quality is not the best but it does not feels very cheap. TRENDnet TEW-731BR Router feels sturdy and score an average in terms of form factor and build quality.
The setting up of router for the first time was quite straight forward. The box comes with a manual and CD which helps you to easily configure the settings required for setup. I did not test the CD and went straight to the wizard. For some reason, the wizard got stuck, so I had to go to router settings (default: 192.168.10.1) and could easily set the required settings such as username, password, Dynamic IP routing configuration etc. Overall, the experience was good and it should not be difficult for anyone to configure the router.
Graphical User Interface
The graphical interface is decent but far from best. I think this is one area where TRENDnet developers need to work. Compared to TP-Link and Cisco UI, this was seriously lacking in terms of friendliness and ease of use. I could not find advance router settings easily. Parental control is not very advance compared to other router in this segment.
The most important factor for any router is how it performs and delivers in terms of networking and speed. TRENDnet TEW-731BR is 300mpps router and delivers that performance. The router supports 802.11b/g/n with 802.11n delivering highest speed if your laptop Wi-Fi adapter supports that. Note that this router is limited to 300mbps, so Gigabit LAN (1000mbps) is not supported. It did not heat while running for days and with high traffic passing through every time.
The TRENDnet TEW-731BR 731BR has 2 antennas, each can output 2dBi power. The range of the router was decent. It did struggle to give best range in between walls but should suffice a normal 3 bedroom house. I tested Wi-Fi range in various ways and TRENDnet TEW-731BR delivered acceptable range and speed. When 3 walls or more are obstructing router and laptop then only networking speed got a little hit. Overall, I am happy with the range keeping in mind that its antennas are 2dBi and 5dBi.
Cons or Areas of improvement
- Routers graphical interface
- When working for long hours, sometime it just does not accept any connection. I have reported this bug to TRENDnet and I see that the same has been reported by other buyers at amazon.
- No USB connectivity (although it would be not fair to demand this feature in this price range).
- DD-WRT firmware is not supported.
- Lacks Gigabit for Ethernet Ports.
- Price: It is quite cheap for a 300mbps router.
- Decent Wi-Fi Range
- Small and compact Size
- Has all Basic Features (Port Forwarding, Access Restriction, DMZ etc)
- Supports 802.11n
- Consistent transfer rates
- No heating issues even when continuously for days
TRENDnet TEW-731BR is a good router for its price. It delivers what it says. If you are looking for a high end router, custom firmware and advance routing features and control then this router is not for you. But for an average consumer, it’s a worth buy. If it provided USB port support then it would have been far ahead from competitors in this price segment. Nevertheless, it’s a no frills, simple yet effective solution for your networking needs.