The network has become one of the most important and primary infrastructures, from enterprises to small home offices. And as technology advances, more and more internet devices, what we call IoT including mobile devices come into the picture. One issue that is faced among enterprises and in small offices, is when the number of devices connected to a single point increases. Which results in decreased performance and erratic bandwidth sharing among connected devices. To counter such issues, Wi-Fi 6 has been introduced. The major benefit of Wi-Fi 6 is that it resulted in increased access point capacity along with much larger channel width and much more efficient bandwidth sharing among the devices.
When we talk about wireless networking in any enterprise, access points are not new. Access points are best utilised in an environment where your wifi router (even the expensive one) creates blind spots within your enterprise or SOHO. Imagine moving from your work desk to a meeting room along with your laptop to continue the client’s video call in private, but to your dismay the call drops in between due to the wifi disconnection. Either you can be wired to your desk for an unhindered network connection. Or, have a distributed multiple router setup across the office for a seamless network transition, which will be a cost intensive project. Alternative to a multi-wireless router setup is an access point device that extends the wireless range for a network and is budget friendly.
Zyxel NWA50AX for a seamless wifi coverage
One such device that will fit in the budget for most organizations is Zyxel NWA50AX access point. Being an entry-level 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 access point it does not lack anything in performance or features. With the support of IPv6, this access point comes with high-speed wireless connectivity. It has a dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz, MU-MIMO antenna configuration, and can deliver up to 1.2 Gbps data rate in the 5GHz band and up to 575Mbps data rate in the 2.4GHz band. With dual radio bands and channels, the device can support up to 256 simultaneous users without any drop in performance. With WPA and WPA2 personal encryption types, it also supports WPA3 Personal security. This device also comes with rogue AP detection. This device supports upto 8 SSIDs, which is great in case you have multiple SSID running in the same building or compound. This way you can avoid having multiple access points for multiple SSID, and hence save on costs.
The Zyxel NWA50AX is elegantly designed to merge with the surrounding ambience and not to appear as a jarring device. One practical feature that Zyxel engineers have added to device is of Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) capability. Rather than powering the multiple access points from the wall sockets, you only need a PoE compliant switch that can carry both power and data through the LAN cable.
Also, design-wise the Zyxel NWA50AX access point adopts the front-and–back thermal panel design to avoid the device from running too hot to ensure stability and prolong its service lifetime, making it a suitable choice for all access point placements – be it a ceiling, wall, or even a desktop, the performance will be optimal.
Easy Cloud-based configuration
Setting up this Zyxel access point is smooth and easy. There are two different ways to set it up, one is the classic way i.e., through the default IP address on your browser, user id, and password. The other way is to use Nebula Cloud which is easy, and yet different in a lot of ways. First you need to install the Nebula app on your mobile device. You need to login into the app to proceed any further. In case you don’t have a user account, then you need to create one. Once a user account is created then proceed to log in to the app. Next set the site name and the location of the setup you will be doing. Then with the help of the installed app, scan the QR code that is given on the side of the box. Once the device is added to your device list then proceed further to register the device. Now, connect power and the uplink cable to setup the access point. Then set the Wi-Fi name and password that will be required to connect by the mobile devices. And that’s it, Zyxel is all set up and ready to connect. Now let’s see how this device performed on our real-life testbed.
In our testbed, we configured an iPerf3 server on an Intel i7 machine. IPerf3 is a network tool for the measurement of achievable bandwidth on any IP network. Then, we set up a client of IPerf3 on an android mobile phone. To be on the safe side we made sure that no other Wi-Fi signal was present at the time of the test. Initially, we started the test on a 2.4 GHz band and to our surprise, the test gave us a maximum achievable bandwidth of 143 Mbits/s with an average of 131 Mbits/s. Next, we repeated the same test on the 5GHz band and we got a maximum achievable of 695 Mbits/s with an average of 668 Mbits/s. All these tests we ran 10 times on each band. The distance of the mobile device from the Zyxel Wi-Fi 6 access point was 10 feet.
Upon testing, we give this device a big thumbs up. As it performed well in all the tests and if we compare this with the usual access point one would see a great performance jump. This device is a must-buy for small businesses who are looking to future-proof their wireless network with Wifi 6 with ease, and is budget friendly.
Why go for it: Support 8 SSIDs, Wifi 6 Support, Nebula Cloud Management, Competitive pricing