The 680MB is an attractive looking piece of hardware. It’s roughly 2.5″ x 4.6″ x 5″ plastic, oblong shaped, wireless bridge. It’s finished with a high gloss black finish, and it will look right at home with your A/V set-up, or buried somewhere behind your TV. The back-side consists of simply 4 standard category 5 ethernet Jacks, and one barrel style power connector port. On the front of the device there are 6 easily readable LED indicators consisting of 4 PC link/activity lights, power, and wifi connectivity. On the top of the device there is a standard WPS quick connect button.
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Setup for the device is very straightforward. The quick installation guide is short at only 4 pages, and it basically consists of plugging some type of PC into the device, powering it on, and following a short wizard set-up. It also supports WPS, or Wi-Fi Protected setup, in either PIN mode or Push Button Configuration. This really does make it a snap to install and configure the device. Be advised though, you will need to be connected to the device via PC when performing the PBC installation as you still have to follow some prompts from the web based setup tool. Overall, it’s quite straight forward.
This device is very similar in function to another TRENDnet product; the TEW-687GA Wireless N Gaming Adapter. In fact, the main functional difference is the gaming adaptor has 1 ethernet jack, and the 680MB has 4. Those 4 ports, are the devices main attraction. With more and more devices in the home taking advantage of internet connectivity for content, or updates; the 680MB provides an easy connectivity solution for up to 4 of these devices. It also supports DHCP pass-through, so theoretically you could plug this device into a hub or switch and add even more devices. The value proposition of the 680MB is connecting the device to your Xbox 360, Playstation 3, your internet ready Blue Ray, or any other combination of up to 4 TV’s, PC’s or set-top boxes in your living room and not having to purchase individual wireless adapters for each. Not to mention any legacy devices that may just not support WiFi or the pain and expense of running a long cable. The devices firmware is upgradeable via the web based console, which keeps the product relatively future proof.
Speed is essential for both streaming video, as well as not getting slayed when playing games online. The 680MB supports the latest and greatest 450Mbps wireless N Dual Band specification (when paired with the appropriate router), which provides for the fastest wireless performance available on the market today. It can operate on both the 2.4 ghz band, as well as the 5ghz simultaneously… kind of. While the device utilizes both at the same time, there is no bonded effect of both networks. It simply chooses the best performing network and can revert to the other on the fly if it notices interference. The device supports all popular wireless security protocols, and has QOS capabilities on-board. This is actually nice, for cases when multiple devices may be utilizing the bridge at the same time.