ZyXEL’s new router is about a year late to market.
ZyXEL calls its NBG6816 ARMOR Z1 a "Wave 2" 4×4 router. But it is only MU-MIMO "ready", which makes it more a "Wave 1.5" product.
Unlike the Linksys EA8500 and other MU-MIMO routers introduced at January’s CES 2015, the ARMOR Z1 is classed as AC2350, supporting only 600 Mbps maximum link rates in 2.4 GHz vs. the 800 Mbps that AC2600 class routers support.
ZyXEL’s new router supports Qualcomm’s StreamBoost intelligent bandwidth shaping technology, which comes courtesy of its dual-core 1.4 GHz processor. The MU-MIMO "ready" feature is a hallmark of Quantenna‘s MU-MIMO 5 GHz radio. The ARMOR Z1 also has Gigabit WAN and LAN ports and a USB 3.0 port for storage and printer sharing.
ZyXEL Armor Z1
None of the companies that have shipped first-generation 4×4 routers based on Quantenna’s chipset, including Linksys, ASUS and NETGEAR, have said if or when their AC2350 routers will have MU-MIMO support turned on.
Linksys’ EA8500 MU-MIMO enabled router is now in stores and more are soon to come. Without a clear path to MU-MIMO support, ZyXEL’s new router seems destined for clearance sales right out of the gate.
The ARMOR Z1 lists for $299.99 and ships in June.