For our testing here we used an internet speed test host called Speedtest.net. This was what we used to test the internet bandwidth from both a 16GB WiFi iPad and also from our MSI Wind 200U netbook.
For the MSI Wind 200U we tested using both the wireless and the LAN port to get the best idea of how well this will work for you in its real capacity. On the iPad we used the speedtest.net app as the website uses flash which is unavailable on the iPad (still).
Ok, now remember how we mentioned that our 3G adapter has its own GPS and WiFI Radio? Well, that came back to haunt us by reducing the range of the TEW-6553G/A. For some reason we were not able to get decent range beyond about six feet. We talked with TRENDnet and they said that this should not be the case for most operation and we did find that when we used the RJ-45 port for the WAN connection we had much better range.
It was only with the Sierra Wireless Compass that we had this issue. The solution to this was to use an extension cable to get the modem away from the TEW-655BR3G. After that we had almost no issues.
For real world testing we also ran YouTube and Netflix. On the iPad the YouTube app ran very well. We did not see much stuttering or lag at all. This was not the case with the Netflix app. It did not like running over our 3G connection very much and about every five to ten seconds the video would stop completely for a few seconds while it caught up.
On the Wind this was not the case, especially when connected to the LAN port. Netflix over the web and through Windows 7 Media Center was very smooth. I think that is because the Windows version can dynamically adjust to the speed you have available. I do not think the iPad app can do that quite as well.
Still, it was not a completely bad experience and there were times (depending on the movie) when the iPad maintained a watchable speed; it was just that those were rare during our testing time. I do not think that this issue was the fault of the TEW-655BR3G as we did not see the same issue on the netbook we used for testing.
The battery life on the TEW-655BR3G was decent. The included Li-ON battery gave us a little under 2 hours of internet time with a single device connected over WiFi. When we attached more than one system over WiFi that battery time dropped down to about an hour and a half.
When we connected over just the LAN port we saw the battery jump up a little to about 2 hours and 10 minutes. We never did see the stated 2.5 hours, but we did not expect to really, and to be honest, 2 hours and 10 minutes is very close when it comes to battery life claims.
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