Zyxel Multy X AC3000 Two-box mesh router reaches further
X marks the hotspot
Of all the whole-home Wi-fi products we’ve tested, Zyxel’s Multy X boxes look the least distinguished. They’re less compact, less shiny, and we don’t think geometrists have invented a name for their shape yet. If we didn’t know they were mesh routers, we’d probably have guessed they were something to do with air conditioning.
But let’s be honest, you’re not going to choose any networking device on the basis of its looks. What counts is that on the inside of each Multy box are two sets of aerials: a pair for the 2.4GHZ and 5GHZ Wi-fi networks that your devices are going to connect to, and four more for an independent backhaul to carry data between the units.
We found this meant that even though you only get two boxes for your £249, rather than the three dishes that BT will sell you for £189, they spread the signal around a normal-sized house very effectively indeed. Unlike BT’S system, the primary unit includes a router, so you can plug it straight into your broadband provider’s modem. That’s handy if it’s time for your ancient router to go to the network in the sky, but if you have a combined modem and router you may need some extra fiddling to make it work properly.
The Multy will only give out IP addresses in the 192.168.212.x range, which may be an annoyance if you like to pick your own, but otherwise won’t matter. You can separate the 2.4GHZ and 5GHZ wireless networks offered by the Multy or let it decide which to connect devices to, and there are a few extras like basic parental controls and a guest network. Most users won’t need any more. Setup is from a phone app, with no option to use a web page from a PC browser, and we found the app quite slow and clunky – but it worked.
Although it serves the same purpose as a mesh network (see our round-up, Issue 523, page 24), this isn’t one. If you add a third unit, it still has to communicate with the primary unit, not the nearest. At the time of writing, an update was due to support daisy-chaining, which could make the Multy X a very interesting solution for larger premises.
As a two-box kit, the Multy X works impressively well for a reasonable price, and with four Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back of each unit (see image left) it’s just as good for connecting PCS and consoles as wireless mobile devices.
Inconspicuous and provides great coverage for larger premises