TRENDnet Tri-Band AC2200 WiFi Mesh Router System (TEW-830MDR2K) Long-Term Review @ ModSynergy.com
Having WiFi at home can be a tricky affair. A single traditional wireless router system is what most are accustomed to and for the most part it works. However, depending on the size of the home and other factors such as what kind of materials in the home the wireless signal has to travel through and against, the wireless signal may not be able to cover the whole home. I’m sure all of us at some point have noticed a few WiFi dead spots in our home where speed is very slow and or devices in these areas will disconnect from a poor signal.
The options throughout the years to combat poor WiFi signal was to add a separate WiFi extender unit in between the WiFi dead spot area and the wireless router to extend the overall range. In most cases while the speed improved in the dead spot, it was never full speed. Another drawback was that each WiFi extender unit needed its own SSID name so if you had three WiFi extenders, you would have three different SSID names at different parts of the home that you had to manually connect to. You could not reuse the SSID name from your main wireless router.
Another option we looked at years back was powerline networking, where when plugged in to your wireless router and then to an available electrical wall outlet plug in your home via network cable, it would enable you to use the power lines of your home as a really long network cable without actually running cable. Then you plug the secondary powerline unit at the desired area and run the network cable to your device. This was a wired option. There was also a powerline networking wireless extender option which again needed another SSID created. The disadvantage to powerline networking was that in some homes with the way the power lines of the home were wired, usually in older homes, powerline networking would simply not work. It is a hit or miss option.
Wireless networking since then has grown into something called “mesh”. Creators of mesh networking systems have essentially created the best of both worlds and solved disadvantages of WiFi extenders and powerline networking spoken above into a WiFi mesh router system where there are two or three or more router units called mesh “nodes” that connect together to provide wireless router and broadcasting through one SSID name no matter where the secondary nodes are placed throughout the home. All the nodes in a mesh networking system act collectively as a single seamless network routing the best path routing possible while providing redundancy if one node goes down. Wherever you walk in your home, you will connect to the closest mesh WiFi node. Say goodbye to having multiple SSID names to connect to if you were using older WiFi range extender units.
Today I will review the TRENDnet Tri-Band AC2200 WiFi Mesh Router System (TEW-830MDR2K) and see if this is a system worth purchasing. TRENDnet says their system is “designed to replace older WiFi routers, extenders, and signal boosters”.
TRENDnet's vision is to build innovative, easy to use, and reliable Networks People Trust™. TRENDnet solutions network the countless devices which enable your connected lifestyle and workplace. Building award winning networking solutions since 1990, TRENDnet connects you with what you value most.
Founded in Torrance, California, TRENDnet has grown to become a leading global networking hardware brand. From the network core to the periphery, TRENDnet's expansive product portfolio includes Wireless, Wired, Surveillance, Connectivity, and Peripheral device categories. An emphasis on continual improvement and our ISO 9001:2008 quality management certification is an essential component of TRENDnet’s success. The TRENDnet brand is consistently recognized for exceptional quality, superior performance, and responsive support.
TRENDnet TEW-830MDR2K Product Features
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TRENDnet's AC2200 WiFi Mesh Router System is designed to blanket your home or small office in seamless WiFi coverage. The AC2200 WiFi Mesh Router System provides ample coverage for up to a 4,000 square foot home. For larger homes, simply add additional AC2200 WiFi Mesh Routers to thesystem for expanded WiFi coverage.
The WiFi mesh router system uses an intuitive app-based installation process, making setup a breeze using our TRENDnet WiFi Mesh app. In minutes, you'll have your AC2200 WiFi Mesh Router System up and running providing whole home WiFi coverage.
Our WiFi mesh router system also includes cutting-edge content filtering powered by Router Limits™. Router Limits' innovative tools offer an enhanced user experience for device-level scheduling and filtering capabilities. By offering access to these advanced web content filtering and productivity tools, the mesh router system allows you to take control of the Internet, whether it be for your business or your home.
Mesh Made Simple
Mesh Made Simple
Whole Home WiFi Coverage
USB 3.0 Share Port
TRENDnet TEW-830MDR2K Product Specifications
The TRENDnet Tri-Band AC2200 WiFi Mesh Router System (TEW-830MDR2K) comes in a cheerfully designed eco-friendly packaging where it doesn’t use plastic (better for recycling).
The box takes advantage of a bright blue and black color scheme to make it stand out on store shelves.
Front of the box displays the dual AC2200 WiFi mesh router system pointing out the model number, app support for installation, and that it is designed for whole home WiFi coverage. The back and sides of the box displays some notable product information such as features and main mesh router specifications, along with package contents, 24/7 technical support and a very nice 3-year warranty.
The TRENDnet Mesh app is supported on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.
Package contents include 2x TEW-830MDR mesh node units, a quick installation guide, 2x 0.5m (1.6 ft.) network cables, 2x power adapter (12v DC, 1.5A), and wall mount screws and anchors.
Two identical TRENDnet TEW-830MDR mesh node units are bundled in this tri-band AC2200 WiFi mesh router system. Resembling enlarged hockey pucks, the white colored mesh nodes come in with a measurement of 4.96 x 4.96 x 2.36 inches and tip the scales at 372 grams (13.1 ounces).
Construction is purely of ABS plastic. The TRENDnet logo sits top dead center.
The top and sides of the mesh node units are glossy plastic finish while the bottom is matte.
A single LED (which illuminates white or orange or red) sits at the top front of the unit while a pin hole sits on the back side of the unit used to reset the unit should any problems arise.
There are no vent holes on this unit other than the hole used for the wall mount system. Under operation the units do feel very warm underneath near the connectors. During this summer 30 degree weather, I recorded the backside near the connectors were hovering around 59 degrees Celsius making it toasty.
There are four connectors which include the power connector (12v DC/1.5A), 1x Gigabit WAN port, 1x Gigabit LAN port, and 1x USB 3.0 share port with Samba (Linux) support.
There are six total antennas inside the TEW-830MDR2K connected to tri-band Qualcomm WLAN interface. A quad-core Qualcomm IPQ4019 CPU (40nm process) containing 4x ARM Cortex A7 717MHz CPUs and 2x2 2-stream MIMO powers the mesh router system with 128 MB SLC NAND (Spansion S34ML01G200TFV00).
It’s very easy to get up and running. All can be done on a smartphone or tablet.
First download the TRENDnet Mesh app in the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
Follow the instructions in the app.
Connect the master mesh node router’s WAN port (blue) to your modem with the network cable and plug in the power adapter. Give it a minute and wait for the LED indicator on the mesh node to change from white to orange.
Then scan the QR code from the bottom of the mesh node. Let it connect and you’ll see it flash orange when successful.
Then create a TRENDnet Mesh Account.
Then plug in the secondary mesh node close by (for initial setup) and wait for the LED to change from white to orange to be paired to the mesh network.
The app will scan and discover the secondary mesh device and pair it to create the mesh network.
TRENDnet Mesh App and Router Web Setup Page
Results - How Does It Work?
I’ve been testing this mesh router system for approximately one month.
I found the TRENDnet Tri-Band AC2200 WiFi Mesh Router System (TEW-830MDR2K) very easy to install and manage through the TRENDnet Mesh App. Rarely do you have to go into the web based router to modify more advance settings.
As a whole and with how TRENDnet was advertising this mesh router system, it is more of an entry level user friendly product that lacks features seen in other routers such as the ability to manage bandwidth control of devices connected to the mesh network. There’s no way to limit the speed of connected devices which is important to me. So if someone hogs all the bandwidth, everyone else has a worse off experience with pages not loading, slower browsing experience, etc. Even with the included QOS function enabled, it wasn’t good enough. I found I wanted greater control.
This is an entry level offering and it showed in some areas. Also I found it odd that in the advance setup web interface menu that you’d get routed to in an internet browser there is no WPS option yet in the TRENDnet Mesh App there is a WPS option but with no way to turn it off completely. There was only a button to enable WPS.
There’s also no option to disable to enable explicit or non-explicit beamforming. Apparently it’s always on.
Navigating the advance settings web interface is also quite slow. Clicking on each tab it takes roughly 6-7 seconds to execute and move on to the next page.
The TRENDnet Mesh App works well for the most part, although there were times the app would hang and would require a force close on Android when I entered the devices tab. Also when I did a speed test within the app, it would go back to the main menu and I would have to go back and redo the speed test again to see the results.
When the TRENDnet tri-band AC2200 WiFi mesh router system (TEW-830MDR2K) works, it works great! It is fast and has very good close range performance. My WiFi IP security camera that used to lag, with the TRENDnet tri-band AC2200 WiFi mesh router system, it greatly reduced the lag times.
WiFi handoff when going to different ends of the home worked seamless.
In WiFi dead spots of my 2000 sq. ft. home, which was essentially the far corners of my home on the 2nd floor because I had my router on the 1st floor corner, where I used to receive speed tests of 10-15 mbps on my smartphone, I would now get 50-80 mbps (out of a possible 150 mbps) which was a huge increase.
But I experienced major reliability issues that took days to diagnose. When the TEW-830MDR2K didn’t work, it slowed to a crawl. Performance dropped greatly. Devices kept disconnecting. The mesh system (eventually) kept trying to recover and it also took me going into the app and forcing a total system restart when things didn’t get anywhere to return to “normal”. The inconsistent performance dragged this mesh system down during these problem times, which happened often. Example of when it went bad was having a hard time streaming low quality YouTube videos let alone 1080p or 4K. It would stream fine and then suddenly buffer over and over with interruption. I experience huge dips of performance.
I found out with lots of trial and error and diagnosis that (with the current firmware) the TRENDnet tri-band AC2200 WiFi mesh router system (TEW-830MDR2K) was not able to achieve as much distance between mesh nodes as it should have been capable of achieving even despite the TRENDnet Mesh App saying the mesh nodes were within optimum range of each other. The app says “be sure the devices are within 10 meters (30.28 ft.) of each other. I placed the nodes 8.2 meters apart according to a GPS distance meter. The TRENDnet mesh app still said they were in optimum distance but the performance was really bad. It was only until a few days later at random times that I noticed the app showed a red light which indicated disconnection. At this point I figured I should move the mesh nodes closer together 1 meter at a time and see what happened for the next few days. Things improved but I still had reliability issues. I moved the nodes even closer at roughly 6.5 meters apart and that is when 95% of the problems I had been experiencing stopped happening. I finally had a generally reliable mesh system working. The only problem that remained was the speed dips, but these happened a few times per week instead of constantly every day. I could now say that in my experience and in my home the TRENDnet tri-band AC2200 WiFi mesh router system (TEW-830MDR2K) suffered from long distance range issues where it could not achieve being 10 meters apart from each other despite what the TRENDnet mesh app said was possible and said it was in optimum range of each other. What this means is in really large homes you would have to add a third or fourth node to this system because the range is not as good as advertised. Maybe TRENDnet can modify or improve this via firmware update, but that remains to be seen.
Where Can I Buy One? And For How Much?
The TRENDnet Tri-Band AC2200 WiFi Mesh Router System (TEW-830MDR2K) can be purchased on Amazon USA for $199.99 with free shipping.
If you prefer to shop on Amazon like I do, then the order is going to be fulfilled and shipped directly from the Amazon warehouse and not through a third party. This makes the purchase safer in terms of getting what you paid for, and this way you can have Amazon's own protection and peace of mind.
Why do I like Amazon? They are fast, honest, reliable, and their return policy is great. I actually got money refunded back to my account after Amazon overcharged me on duty costs; talk about being an honest company, most others would keep the money and not say anything!
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When it works the TRENDnet tri-band AC2200 WiFi mesh router system (TEW-830MDR2K) is a solid performer, but when it doesn’t work it is really a poor performer. It suffers from poor long distance range which contributes to its poor reliability. Those of you with larger homes will likely need to look elsewhere.