Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac

At the end of 2016 the company Zyxel decided to please fans of its products the release of two new models of wireless routers series Keenetic – Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II. Both models are positioned in the growing popularity of the mass segment AC1200.

They are equipped with two access points: 802.11n in the 2.4 GHz band with a maximum connection speed of 300 Mbit / s and 802.11ac 5GHz with a maximum connection speed 867 Mbit / s. At the same ports for connecting wired devices are designed to work at speeds of 100 Mbit / s. In Zyxel Keenetic Air there are only two such ports, and Keenetic Extra II has five ports, and is also equipped with a port USB 2.0, significantly expands the capabilities of the device. Both the router running the original firmware NDMS 2.0. It has a user-friendly interface, flexible configuration for the provider and a lot of additional services that are in demand in our market.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra: Contents of delivery

Routers are available in boxes of sturdy cardboard. At first glance, they are too large for the budget segment, but have a small thickness. Compared with the previous version, they obviously become more convenient due to the lack of dust jacket.

Registration is also changed – used corporate colors and a new logo. Traditionally, this manufacturer on the package provides a lot of useful information about the devices, use cases, key features. So the place is not wasted.

Inside the box there is a special form of paste, which placed a router, an external power supply (9 V at Zyxel Keenetic Air and 12 in Keenetic Extra II), network patch cable yellow, detailed printed manual. It is a standard option for the budget segment. However, in routers, oddly enough, considering the price of top-end models, the user is offered very rarely advanced delivery option.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra: Appearance

For new devices the company used for completely new color design and shape of the body. Dimensions excluding antenna is 16 × 11 × 3,5 cm. The antennas are located on the sides and rear, so that in any case, the real space is required at least more than two centimeters from these parties. Maximum dimensions in the “wide” version – 51 × 29 centimeters.

All non-removable antenna and have joints with two degrees of freedom. The length of the moving part – about 17 centimeters. The distribution by bands chosen correctly: one antenna on the side and the back side. In addition, the manufacturer is not disingenuous when using such large towers for antennas – are inside the board is full-length.

The body consists of two parts: white glossy cover with an unusual texture in the form of a grid of small dots and black matt base. For placing on the table the four rubber feet are provided, and when mounting two special hinges used on the wall.

This model can be hung with the connector oriented in any direction. In addition, at the bottom there is an information sticker, QR-code which can be used to configure the wireless connection on your smartphone. Additionally, we note that the weight of the routers have very little.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac

The top cover has a button, which feature can be configured through the web interface (with three options keystrokes – short, long, double, and by default, it allows you to start WPS on and off Wi-Fi), and the four green LEDs – Power, internet connection, two for two Wi-Fi ranges from Zyxel Keenetic Air or Wi-Fi and USB at Keenetic Extra II. During operation, the LEDs are not annoyed by excessive blinking and almost invisible in bright ambient light. The beta versions of firmware software provides indicators off.

On the right side there is only ventilation grille and a single antenna. On the left hand Zyxel Keenetic Air are all exactly the same, and at Keenetic Extra II installed a USB 2.0 port and the second button (action for it is also possible to customize the firmware, such as a safe drive shutdown).

Zyxel Keenetic Air rear has a hardware mode switch, two antennas, one WAN port and LAN with indicators of activity (blinks during data transmission), the power supply input and the hidden reset button. In Keenetic Extra II except antenna input power and reset buttons have one WAN port and four the LAN, but not the mode switch.

Some of the “flavor” design gives the original look of the front panel with chrome router manufacturer’s logo.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra: Hardware configuration

Routers are based on SoC Mediatek MT7628N, having a single processing core, clocked at 580 MHz. The volume of operational / flash memory in Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II is 64 / 16MB and 128/32 MB respectively. Note that the current version of the firmware, even in its maximum configuration, occupy less than half of the formal scope of flash memory installed, as the company plans to continue to implement the scheme with the storage of two images for a safe flashing.

This access point SoC implemented for the 2.4 GHz band that supports 802.11b / g / n protocols that can provide speeds of up to 300 Mbit / s. Furthermore, the boards present on the basis of external radio MT7612E chip capable of operating with 802.11a / n / ac 5 GHz with a maximum connection rate 867 Mbit / s. Thus the device is maintained in the range of 16 channels, allowing it to ogranizovat four disjoint frequencies networks. So if suddenly you have neighbors with similar equipment, you do not have to share with them the air.

Printed circuit boards are identical devices. On Zyxel Keenetic Air absent related to the implementation of the three USB and LAN ports of the circuit, but there is a hardware switch operation. Pike accurate, PCB manufacturer is clearly not saved, so that all elements are available.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac

The main processor is a small radiator. The same heat sink, but on top of a metal screen and have a radio chip for the 5 GHz band. During operation under high load routers body heat, but no adverse effects it causes. The cables from the antennas for 5 GHz are connected via connectors, and for 2.4 GHz soldered. The board offers a place to install the console port.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra: Setting and opportunities

Like other topical models of wireless routers Zyxel Keenetic, New running NDMS 2.0 proprietary firmware. We wrote about it many times, so it makes no sense to repeat in detail in this article. Submitted for review unit worked with version v2.07 C2, which we spent most of the tests.

NDMS firmware taking into account local market needs and characteristics of the work of our providers. In particular, there is a flexible configuration modes of connecting to the Internet, working in the majority of cases “out of the box» IPTV services, Internet filters and SkyDNS Yandeks.DNS, Ping Check service for the convenience of working with channel redundancy, the organization secure remote access via PPTP and IPSec protocols , guest wireless networks, the speed limit for customers, blocking access to the internet and much more.

More recently, the company implemented its own support dynamic DNS – KeenDNS, supporting work including through the cloud with the availability of only “gray» IP-address. In conjunction with or separately can also use the program to configure and manage mobile devices My.Keenetic.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac

Also recall that the devices are able to work not only in router mode, but also as an access point, or power adapter. For Keenetic Extra II switching is performed via a web interface, and Zyxel Keenetic Air has a hardware switch and independent configuration for each mode.

For Keenetic Extra II fully presented associated with a USB port services: storage support with access for SMB, FTP, and AFP, as well as control of access rights, work with USB-printer connected to the Internet via 3G / 4G cellular modems and Keenetic Plus module DSL, built-in stand-alone download files based on the Transmission of the program, program support Time Machine on OS X, the DLNA media server, support for the open package management system opkg, telephone exchange on the basis of Keenetic Plus DECT module. Note that if you want to work with several external devices you can use USB-hub.

At the time of the article version v2.08 A12 it was also available, which have been implemented new features that will be included in the official update after the emergence of devices on the market. In this discussion of the firmware, which is already available for other models as well as its function being to forum.keenetic.net public portal. In particular, there you can read the change log and to make suggestions for the development of the project.

In particular, this version has support for scheduling, which is expected by many users. For each schedule, you can specify any number of intervals to the nearest minute, and taking into account the day of the week. Manage schedules provided for the channel in the Internet, wireless access points (including a guest), the rules of firewall rules and broadcasting ports, customers Internet access.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra: Testing

Testing routers by our standard procedure on a special stand. Given that routers are almost identical in terms of hardware platform, we checked Zyxel Keenetic Air only first test – on the routing speed. Differences from Keenetic Extra II were negligible, so to save space, we fully test the only high-end model.

Despite the fact that SoC Mediatek MT7628N the NAT does not have the hardware, it is quite cope with the routing at speeds up to 100 Mbit / s inclusive in all modes of Internet connection. Some performance degradation is observed only in the most complex scenarios to meet that in practice it is unlikely.

No comments and to the scenario of simultaneous access to the resources of the provider’s network and the Internet in a mode using VPN technology.

Basic testing of wireless access points performed using adapters Asus PCE-AC68. Of course, in this case, they do not correspond to the class of routers, but that we use them in all materials for ease of comparison. In addition, once again recall that under consideration are equipped with wired router ports that support speed of 100 Mbit / s, which is quite normal for the budget class. At first glance it may appear that the installation of wireless access points 300 and 867 Mbit / s in this case looks like an odd decision, but there are reasons for this choice. Firstly, they are different technologies and make a perfect match is not possible: in any combination that is a better – the wire or Wi-Fi. Secondly, as used SoC and an external radio unit already used by two antenna configuration and external elements savings can be significant. Third, if there was a single antenna for 2.4 GHz, in most real customers maximum speed would be limited to about 30 Mbit / s due to work with only one channel. Fourthly, the installation of two antennas enables a wider area steady operation. Fifth, in an unpredictable air it is always useful to have a reserve. And of course plays a role marketing – consumers love big numbers, but not everyone knows the exact characteristics of your client devices.

Predict the maximum results when tested between WLAN and LAN segments simply – they will be limited to exactly the speed of a wired port.

As close to perfect conditions, when the client is located in the same room at a distance of four meters from the router, we get about 90 Mbit / s when operating in one direction and 130-180 Mbit / s in full duplex mode. In general, all as expected.

Let’s try to find the benefits of configuration with two antennas in the scenario data between two wireless clients.

The greatest effect was deservedly received two devices operating in the 5 GHz band. Speed ​​between them amounted to 200 Mbit / s or more. Also useful was to use the hardware platform and the exchange of data between connected to different ranges of customers. And yet for the presence of 2.4 GHz to 300 Mbit / s access point enabled to show speed in 60 Mbit / s and higher. If there was only one antenna, the results would be substantially lower. In addition, we recall that in the data exchange scenarios between two devices via Wi-Fi on a single access point in a certain sense they are fighting for broadcasting and with each other, so that as shown in the test results can be considered well within the specification of the access points.

The following graph presents the results of using Zyxel Keenetic Air as a wireless client to Keenetic Extra II. Conditions for this measure – as in the first test, Wi-Fi. Since computers, between which there is data exchange are connected to a wired port, the maximum speed and is limited.

In general, Zyxel Keenetic Air here proved himself better than separate adapters based on its configuration. So if you need to wirelessly connect to your home LAN network TV, game console or Extender, where there is no Wi-Fi controller, or it is something not satisfied, Zyxel Keenetic Air can easily perform the function Mediamost. Incidentally, in this mode, it is available, both wired ports for connecting customers, which can be useful.

The last two routers to test the quality of the coating were carried out with a smartphone Zopo ZP920 +. Its built-in wireless module has a single antenna, supports two ranges and protocols 802.11n and 802.11ac. Formal maximum connection speed, they comprise 150 and 433 Mbit / s, respectively. Smartphone located in three locations apartment – four meters line of sight to four meters across one wall and eight meters through two walls. The air was attended by several dozen networks in the 2.4 GHz band, so that the quality of communication in the third point in this mode does not allow us to get consistent results, so they are not available on the chart.

In the 2.4 GHz band, in spite of the difficult conditions, we can expect a rate of about 50-60 Mbit / s, which is not bad. The third point is the 20 Mbit / s. So to view websites and online videos that will be enough.

But in the 5 GHz band picture is quite different – the maximum speed of data transmission and reception is about 90 Mbit / s. However, it does not depend on the measurement point, which confirms the correctness of the chosen configuration for routers and quality of the installed antennas.

Let us now look at the possibility of devices for remote access to your home network. On both models, you can set the PPTP server, a built-in client for which there is in most modern operating systems, including mobile. Recall that this scenario implies the presence of the router “White» IP-address. Testing was carried out for the four configurations of Internet access to the main router. The measurements were made for the reception scenarios, transmission and simultaneously receive and transmit data between the client and the remote computers in the local network. For the convenience of the chart is the average in these scenarios result.

In the absence of the encryption speed is from 60 to 90 Mbit / s depending on the type of connection to the Internet router. Enabling encryption reduces performance to about 30 Mbit / s. In general, excellent results can be called a segment under consideration. Working with the IPSec protocol for performance differs little from the PPTP – we managed to get him 20-35 Mbit / s, depending on the protocol settings.

By Keenetic Extra II can be connected to an external storage device into the USB port and provide network access to the data on it via SMB and FTP. Of course there will again limit for wired ports, but for some problems, and it will be enough, in particular, to work with the media library. Let’s see what speed you can expect here. The test was conducted with a file size of 1 GB.

Most of the results show a maximum value of about 11 MB / s. Only where there are, depending on the file system on the disk – a record for the SMB protocol. There is a slight reduction in speed for file systems family EXT, and win NTFS and FAT32, what great merit of programmers.

It is also interesting to see what will be the results when accessing the NAS via Wi-Fi. In this test, we checked the work only with NTFS. Client performed computer with a wireless adapter, Asus PCE-AC68, in the above tests.

In general, the results can be considered good. We note only that in this scenario, when operating in the 5 GHz band is inferior to 2.4 GHz, which is probably caused by an external radiochipa and significant CPU cost for this problem.

Since FTP can also be used via the internet, as the stress test, we decided to check out and the script access to that server for different variants of the network connection. Drive in this case, working with NTFS.

For IPoE and PPPoE speed external access virtually identical to the work within the local network. In here working through PPTP and L2TP it is slower, although not critical in most cases.

In the current tests used for firmware embedded client download files Transmission has set limit on the download speed and impact at the level of 3 MB / s. Testing confirmed that the popular problems he is quite able to show such a result. At the same router interface remains responsive, and with the appearance of traffic from other applications priority is automatically given to them, so that access to the internet work file system load affects slightly.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra: Conclusion

Despite the fact that the line Keenetic Internet centers today has more than a dozen current models, Zyxel company decided to add to them a couple. The reasons for such a decision, in our opinion, can be found just a few. First, companies need to maintain the image of the first-tier manufacturers announce new models. Secondly, from the earlier devices in the 5 GHz band to work relatively few models, including in the mass segment with some stretch it gets only one. Thirdly, having a strong development team and excellent software, transfer it to a new hardware platform is relatively easy.

Meeting new routers left a very positive impression. Everything worked exactly as expected, that today is found, unfortunately, not as often as we would like.

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II positioned in the mass market dual-band AC1200-class devices. As we have repeatedly said, today work in the 5 GHz band, and especially with 802.11ac, is perhaps the most popular and useful in practice, a step forward from the simplest representatives of home routers. Of course, it is worth to take into account that the user clients that operate in this mode. But it’s a familiar situation “chicken and egg”, so here you already can decide where to start the movement. The main thing is that the proposals on the market there. Incidentally, we note that the formal characteristics of the wireless module device data does not differ from the top range models.

Testing has shown that in terms of wireless modules at the new products very well. Yes, they did not beat the record Gigabit AC-devices, but ensure you are comfortable while using the Internet from smartphones, tablets and laptops are quite capable. And – thanks to high-quality antennas and obvious stock in the data blocks a platform – not only when placed in ideal conditions in the same room as the router, but at a considerable distance. With regard to the basic routing problem, there is enough to note that the devices work on the popular Mediatek platform. Its performance is not enough just to make effective use rates up to 100 Mbit / s inclusive, but also for the implementation of additional services, including remote access server and the associated USB port application Keenetic Extra II. Help to cope with the task and optimization in the firmware, so that even at high load responsiveness to any comments no devices.

Zyxel Keenetic Air is the most simplified model for those users who require predominantly a wireless internet connection. At the same time the existing one LAN port can be used to set-top box or even a backup channel connection. In addition, this device can act in the roles of access point, wireless bridge or repeater, which compensates for the absence of the manufacturer selected models in the local market to meet these challenges. Keenetic Extra II compared to its predecessor “lost” Gigabit ports, but got faster Wi-Fi in the 5 GHz band and supports all USB ports usage scenarios. It could be argued for the selected title, but it does not affect the actual use of the router.

In conclusion – a few words about the new buildings. Perhaps, the company decided to make a small restyling for additional attention to their products. From a practical point of view, to find fault here is not what – ports are available, the indicators do not irritate, wall mount provides no overheating, color and design of the universal. In any case – for this class of devices is quite decent and convenient option.

That the routers are expected to go on sale early in the year, and the approximate retail price is $47 and $57 per Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II respectively. They not only fit well into the existing line Keenetic, but also look good from the competition.

Source: zyxel

Zyxel Keenetic Air and Keenetic Extra II Review dual-band wireless routers with support for 802.11ac was last modified: December 27th, 2016 by Casey Rembrandt