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ZyXEL NBG6716 review

Richard Easton
7 Nov 2014
Expert Reviews Recommended Logo
ZyXEL NBG6716 front angle
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
88
inc VAT

The ZyXEL NBG6716 isn’t the prettiest router but its wireless speeds are excellent for the money

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Specifications

Modem: None, Wi-Fi standard: 802.11ac, Stated speed: 1,300Mbit/s, USB ports: 2x USB, Wall mountable: No

Even by the not-sky-high standards of routers, the ZyXEL NBG6716 is pretty ugly, so those looking for home networking equipment that will fit in with their decor might be immediately dissuaded. It's an upright design that angles the router back slightly, and it doesn't have wall mounting points. The router's antennas are all internal, so there's nothing protruding that will break up its slab-like design. The router's face is dominated by a seashell-inspired texture, apart from at the top-left corner where the status indicators live. There’s a button on the side to turn off the indicators, which is a nice touch we don’t see often with routers. This is useful if you find the blinking lights a distraction. 

The NBG6716 has no built-in modem, so you'll need to plug in a cable or fibre modem, or another router, to its Gigabit WAN port to get the internet up and running. There are also four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and two USB ports for storage sharing. You can configure SMB, FTP or DLNA sharing, and you can enable read-only or read/write access, which is handy. There are also buttons for ejecting your connected storage drives on the router itself so you won’t need to dive into the web interface every time you want to disconnect, which is handy. You can’t use the USB ports to share a printer over your network, however. 

The NBG6716 can operate simultaneously on the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, and both wireless networks are turned on by default. They’re uniquely named, but it’s not immediately obvious which SSID relates to which network until you look at the web interface. Both networks have a password turned on by default and you'll find these passwords on the base of the router. You can turn the wireless off using a switch on the side of the router, and there’s a WPS pairing button as well. 

The web interface doesn’t have the cleanest design we’ve seen.  It's divided into two modes: Easy and Expert. Easy Mode restricts you to the most-used settings such as Wireless Security, Firewall and Parental Control. Oddly, there’s only an on or off toggle for Parental Control, and you’ll need to go into the Expert Mode to enable any actual rules. Expert Mode provides access to more advanced features like port forwarding, dynamic DNS and managing USB media sharing.

The router has a theoretical wireless throughput of 1,300Mbit/s on 5GHz and 450Mbit/s on the 2.4GHz band. When we started testing we encountered particularly poor speeds using our test laptop’s built-in 802.11n wireless. However, performance increased significantly after we updated the router’s firmware, so make sure you do this out of the box. 

On the 2.4GHz band we saw a poor 19.8Mbit/s at 10m and a better 13.1Mbit/s at 25m. Things improved on the 5GHz band, however. At 10m we saw 167.8Mbit/s, which is very fast, and 88.3Mbit/s at 25m is similarly impressive.   

We also tested Zyxel’s NWD6605 802.11ac adaptor (£40 from www.dabs.com) with the router set to both 802.11n and 802.11ac modes on its 5GHz wireless network. In 802.11n mode we saw a super-fast 209.7Mbit/s at 10m, dropping to a still-respectable 109.9Mbit/s at 25m. In 802.11ac mode we saw 256.3Mbit/s at 10m and 167.8Mbit/s at 25m; both excellent scores for a not-particularly-expensive router. 

The ZyXEL NBG6716 may be ugly, and its 2.4GHz performance is poor. However, 802.11n 5GHz and 802.11ac speeds are very strong indeed. As long as you're not looking for fast wireless speeds with older devices, it's an excellent choice. 

HARDWARE
ModemNone
Wi-Fi standard802.11ac
Bands2.4GHz, 5GHz
Stated speed1,300Mbit/s
SecurityWEP, WPA, WPA2, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK, WPS
Upgradable antennaNo
WAN ports1
LAN ports4x 10/100/1000Mbit/s
USB ports2x USB
Wall mountableNo
Size214x74x165mm
SOFTWARE
Guest networksNone
Media serverSMB/FTP/DLNA
USB servicesNAS
DDNS servicesDynDNS.org, Regfish.com, No-IP.com, EuroDynDNS.com
BUYING INFORMATION
Price including VAT£88
WarrantyTwo-year RTB
Supplierwww.dabs.com
Detailswww.zyxel.com
Part codeNBG6716