While the current the trend for high-end routers is to have USB 3.0 ports, the NGB6716 has two USB 2.0 ports. The user guide talks specifically about USB Media sharing, but not printer sharing. So I'm assuming that even though SMB supports print sharing, it's not supported on the NBG6716.
The NGB6716 supports multiple types of storage sharing. First, there's a built-in DLNA server that will let you play music, photos and videos on a DLNA-compliant player. To test this, I inserted my "standard" media sharing flash drive into one of the USB slots. After performing a WPS test to connect my WDTV Live media streamer, I attempted to play different types of music, video and image files.
The DLNA server, for the most part, worked fairly well. It played video and music, and most, but not all of my .jpg files. I wasn't able to determine that there was anything different about the .jpg files that it had trouble with - perhaps they hadn't been indexed. Here's a screenshot of the DLNA server setup. You can force a manual rescan, but you can't set a rescan interval.
ZyXEL NBG6717 DLNA configuration
Second, the NGB6716 supports file sharing via both SAMBA (SMB) and FTP. Secure FTP is not supported. The screenshot below shows you the SAMBA setup. There isn't anomymous, or public sharing of USB-based storage. You must have a user account to access mounted USB storage, and user accounts are limited to five.
Each USB device can be configured either for Read access or Read & Write access. The user accounts only control which USB device you can access. If USB1 is configured for read only access, you can't, for example, grant a user Read & Write access. I enabled Samba and was able to map a drive on my Windows 8.1 notebook.
ZyXEL NBG6717 Samba configuration
Windows filecopy tests were run using the standard NAS testbed connected to a router Gigabit LAN port and our standard USB 3.0 drive formatted in FAT32 and NTFS connected via the USB 2.0 port.
For the sake of comparison, I created a chart that compares the filecopy performance of a few AC1750 class routers with USB 2.0 ports. I also included the processor used in each router. The QCA9558-based ZyXEL turned in similar, but somewhat slower performance than the other QCA9558-based routers for FAT32 reads and writes.
NTFS read speeds were very close for the three QCA-based routers, but the ZyXEL had a significant advantage for the NTFS writes. The ZyXEL outperformed the first-generation Broadcom BCM4706-based ASUS RT-A66U for all four read/write tests.
|ZyXEL NBG6716||EnGenius ESR1750||TP-LINK Archer C7||ASUS RT-AC66U|
|Processor||Qualcomm QCA9558||Qualcomm QCA9558||Qualcomm QCA9558||Broadcom BCM4706|
|FAT32 Write (MBytes/s)||13.5||15.2||15.0||9.0|
|FAT32 Read (MBytes/s)||11.7||19.8||16.3||9.9|
|NTFS Write (MBytes/s)||15.5||4.8||9.8||13.5|
|NTFS Read (MBytes/s)||12.2||13.5||12.2||9.4|
Table 2: File copy throughput (MB/s)
As a point of reference, the best USB storage performance measured to date is 37 MB/s write and 58 MB/s read with NTFS on the NETGEAR R7000 with a USB 3.0 connection.
Routing throughput was measured for the NBG6716 loaded with version V1.00(AAKG.4)C0 firmware using our standard test method. Results are summarized in the chart below.
|Test Description||ZyXEL NBG6716||TP-Link Archer C7|
|WAN - LAN Throughput - (Mbps)||232||854|
|LAN - WAN Throughput - (Mbps)||237||943|
|Total Simultaneous Throughput - (Mbps)||242||1,319|
|Maximum Simultaneous Connections||16,384||32,412|
Compared to all other AC1750 class routers, the ZyXEL's routing performance landed it squarely in last place for all three routing throughput tests. For WAN to LAN throughput, the D-Link DIR-868L topped the charts with 924 Mbps compared to the ZyXEL's 232 Mbps. For LAN to WAN and Total Simultaneous Throughput, the TP-LINK Archer C7 grabbed bragging rights with 943 Mbps and 1319 Mbps, respectively. The 16384 Simultaneous Connections placed the NBG6716 squarely in the middle of the pack - well above the 4096 connection limit achieved by both the Buffalo WZR-1750DHP and the NETGEAR R6300.
The IxChariot summary plot shows relatively low but also relatively steady throughput.
ZyXEL NBG6716 Unidirectional Routing Test ResultsSimultaneous up/download throughput turned in a relatively modest 242 Mbps. The IxChariot plot below shows that there was a significant amount of variation in the initial throughput for about the first 10 seconds or so, but thereafter, throughput was fairly consistent with the exception of an up spike in the WAN to LAN performance that coincided with a down spike in the LAN to WAN performance at about 28 seconds.