Zyxel Multy X AC3000 Two-box mesh router reaches fur­ther

X marks the hotspot

Computer Active (UK) - - Con­tents -

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

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