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Wireless Performance

The NBG6716 is not Wi-Fi Certified. It defaults to Auto channel mode on both 2.4 and 5 GHz radios upon power-up. On the 2.4 GHz band, the channel width defaults to Auto 20/40 MHz and the 802.11 mode defaults to 802.11bgn. On the 5GHz band, the default channel width setting is Auto 20/40/80 MHz, but you have the option of setting 20 MHz, 40 MHz or 80MHz only. The default 802.11 mode defaults to 802.11ac. As noted earlier, the SSIDs of the wireless networks take the form of ZYXELxxxxxx where xxxxxx is the last six digits of the MAC address for the wireless networks.

WPS tests produced mixed results. When we tested WPS, the Win 7 test client prompted for PIN entry, but the router GUI showed that the PIN was disabled. No PIN was generated by default or listed on the router.

We also tested WPS using the pushbutton method to connect a WDTV Live media streamer. After pressing the WPS button on the WDTV Live, the WPS button on the front of the router was pressed for about 2 seconds. A WPS connection was then negotiated in about 15 seconds.

The Fat Channel Intolerant test passed with the NBG6716 immediately switching to 20 MHz bandwidth link rates when the bit was set. 40 MHz bandwidth was restored immediately when the bit was cleared. The NBG6716 also passed the 40 MHz coexistence test. It switched immediately to 20 MHz bandwidth mode when set to Channel 8 and switched back immediately when the router channel was moved back to Channel 6.

All tests were run using our new wireless test process and version V1.00(AAKG.4)C0 version firmware loaded. The router was first reset to factory defaults and Channel 6 was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 153 for 5 GHz. 20 MHz bandwidth mode was set for 2.4 GHz and 80 MHz mode was set for 5 GHz. The test client was connected using WPA2/AES encryption.

The router was positioned 8" from the chamber antennas in all test positions. The 0° position had the router front facing the chamber antennas. The benchmark Summary below shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations.

ZyXEL NBG6716 Benchmark Summary

ZyXEL NBG6716 Benchmark Summary

For comparison, I selected the Buffalo WZR-1750DHP, the TRENDnet TEW-811DRUv2, and the TP-LINK Archer C7. All three comparative routers have similar feature sets, USB 2.0 ports and are priced between $24 and $50 below the ZyXEL. To help make sense of all of the benchmarks, I created a summary comparison of these four units in the chart below. Cells highlighted in yellow indicate the best performance for the corresponding test in the left column.

Benchmark Summary Comparison

Benchmark Summary Comparison

The TP-LINK Archer C7 won all but three of the tests while the Buffalo WZR-1750DHP claimed top spot for the remaining three tests. The only tests in which the ZyXEL came close were the 5 GHz tests. But average performance only tells part of the story. Equally important are the Performance vs. Attenuation graphs. Attenuation simulates performance at a distance - the more the attenuation, the longer the range.

Looking at the summary above, it's not surprising to see the 2.4 GHz downlink performance graph for the ZyXEL shows relatively poor performance. Its throughput starts out well below the other three and, with a couple of exceptions, remains below the others throughout its range. The NBG6716 is the first to lose connection at 51 dB attenuation.

2.4 GHz Downlink Performance vs. Attenuation
2.4 GHz Downlink Performance vs. Attenuation

The results for 2.4 GHz uplink were similar to 2.4 downlink. The ZyXEL started out clustered with two of the other devices, but its performance plot remained below and to the left ot the other three devices. Again, the ZyXEL device was the first to lose connection. This would indicate shorter range than the other devices.

2.4 GHz Uplink Performance vs. Attenuation
2.4 GHz Uplink Performance vs. Attenuation

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