Lag kills as gamers will tell you, and buffering is no good for video buffs. Thankfully, the TEW-680MB delivers solid results in the performance category. While it’s never going to compete with good old hardwired connections, it actually did outperform several of our direct wifi link speed tests. When tested from 125′ both with a TRENDnet, and Cisco branded routers, the device consistently turned in better results than our standard wifi adaptors did. In more subjective testing, we tested 2 full length netflix on demand HD videos streamed through an internet ready TV, as well as a few marathon Gears of War 3 sessions on the Xbox 360. Both devices are usually connected via switched 100Mbps ethernet; and in our eyeball tests, we saw no percievable difference in performance. We had 2 occasions where Netflix momentarily paused and buffered, during peak traffic hours of the day. In our normal evening movie viewing times, there were no issues whatsoever, and we chalked the earlier hiccup up to general internet congestion on our cable modem. Another interesting thing we saw were quite wide swings on the performance tests as we re-positioned the device from place to place, in the same room. We were able to achieve 30% faster performance by literally moving the device 1 foot further away from our electronics. The graphs below do not reflect the improved speed, simply the average in our real world environment.
Standard USB 802.11n adapter at 125′
TRENDnet TEW-680MB, connected to ethernet at 125′
As you can see from the second graph, the Bridge connected to our laptop tester via ethernet was actually faster than the onboard (Intel based) 802.11n adaptor utilized in test. While outside the scope of this test, we actually noticed a lower CPU utilization as well.