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Zyxel Multy X Mesh Wi-Fi System (WSQ50) review: Zyxel's Multy X mesh system provides reliable Wi-Fi coverage

Zyxel's Multy X is great for people new to mesh Wi-Fi and provides reliable coverage in a large home.

dan-dziedzic
Dan Dziedzic
dan-dziedzic
Dan Dziedzic Associate editor
Dan has been a professional writer for more than a decade and now specializes in routers and networking devices. Originally from Chicago, IL, Dan studied comedy writing at Second City and worked as a Chicago sports journalist for a number of years. With a background in physics, he spends his spare time learning about the intricacies of the universe.
5 min read

The Zyxel Multy X is an affordable AC3000 mesh Wi-Fi system that should give you very good coverage in a medium to large home. For $300 (which converts to about £220 in the UK or AU$400 in Australia), you get two units that cover up to 2,500 square feet each and talk to each other through a superfast dedicated backhaul channel, giving you consistent speeds throughout your home. This is similar to one of our top-rated mesh Wi-Fi systems, the Netgear Orbi.

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7.5

Zyxel Multy X Mesh Wi-Fi System (WSQ50)

The Good

Affordable price for reliable coverage on 2.4GHz and 5GHz, even at long distances. It has three gigabit LAN ports on each unit and supports Alexa.

The Bad

The app is the only way to manage your settings, so advanced users won't be able to customize their networks as much as they'd like. Each Multy X unit has one USB 2.0 port, and they don't support network storage.

The Bottom Line

The Multy X provides reliable Wi-Fi coverage and average speeds for a large home. The price is on point at $300, and it's very easy to set up.

The Multy X isn't perfect -- its top speeds could be better, and it's missing a few features, like USB network storage. That said, at this price point, it's well worth it. It's competitive with high-end Orbi systems and less expensive than the new Eero mesh system. I'd definitely recommend this expandable system as a good introduction for anyone new to the mesh Wi-Fi world.

Perfect fit for anywhere in your home

The Multy X is a little bulkier than most mesh devices, but it has a nice all-white design and is worth keeping out in the open, which should also give you better coverage. The two units are interchangeable, so you can use either one as your main router, unlike the Netgear Orbi. Zyxel recommends using up to four devices in total, but each additional one will set you back $200 (about £150 or AU$265). There's also one USB 2.0 port, which doesn't support network storage, one gigabit WAN port and three gigabit LAN ports for wired devices on each unit -- which is more than you normally get on mesh devices.

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The Multy X looks pretty cool and should fit in anywhere in your home.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Overall, Zyxel kept with the standard for mesh Wi-Fi in looks, adding sleek, arrow-shaped status lights on top. The additional LAN ports are nice, and everything is easy to access. I give the company credit for making a functional networking device that also looks good in your home.

Easy app setup, but no web interface for management

Setup was relatively easy with one major caveat. Your only option is to use the Multy X app. In fact, Zyxel doesn't even offer a browser-based interface to manage your settings. This is disappointing if you really want to customize your network. This is the main reason I recommend this as a starter system for people who just want a set-it-and-forget-it network.

The other issue I had with the setup is that you often have to wait while it boots up, restarts and so on. New users should check Zyxel's product guide so you know what the blinking and solid lights mean during setup. 

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The app gives you helpful tips when setting up your router, but be prepared to wait.

Dan Dziedzic/CNET

It does have a nice feature that tells you when a satellite unit isn't in an ideal position but you will have to wait three or so minutes to try again. I found the sweet spot to be about 30 to 35 feet away from the main router. Your setup may differ depending what obstacles and interference exist in your environment. Also, make sure you're in the same room as the device you're setting up. Most mesh systems I've tested are fickle if your mobile device is too far away during setup.

The app is your only means of managing your network, so make sure to enable Bluetooth on your mobile device before setup, and then familiarize yourself with where everything is on the app. A few clickable menus may be hard to find at first glance.

You can change the Wi-Fi password, test the speed and signal, set up a guest network, or give the 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks the same name and password to allow band-steering, which will help your devices choose the strongest connection. All the main settings are there, along with a few advanced ones for notifications, parental controls, port forwarding and bridge mode. The app also can also tell you when a firmware upgrade is available.

Featuring almost everything you'd want

The features for the Multy X are really a mixed bag. It does have some high-end ones, but it's missing a few as well. It doesn't offer USB network storage for backups or advanced network prioritization for choosing which types of traffic receive more bandwidth.

The one misleading thing about the system is its tri-band AC3000 rating. Don't be fooled -- this mesh system is different than an AC3000 dual-band router. The rating describes the combined speeds of all three Wi-Fi bands and networks on the mesh system. However, one 5GHz band is dedicated to wireless backhaul between Multy X units, offering speeds of 1,733 megabits per second (Mbps).

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The Multy X uses a dedicated 5GHz backhaul band so the satellite unit has a fast connection back to the main router.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

While it does provide a fast connection, the Multy X only uses this band to talk to other Multy X units -- meaning that if your mobile device is wirelessly connected to the main router unit, you won't use the backhaul directly. Your device will connect to either a 400Mbps 2.4GHz band or a 867Mbps 5GHz band. When you connect to a mesh satellite, your device still only uses these two bands while the satellite uses the backhaul band to send data to and from the main router.

This actually made for some interesting performance results, which I'll get into in more detail below.

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The app offers helpful features to test your speed and signal strength or access your network remotely.

Dan Dziedzic/CNET

A few nice bonuses with the Multy X include the previously mentioned extra LAN ports, remote access via the app and Alexa support. Alexa can test your internet speed and turn on and off your internet, guest Wi-Fi and LED router lights.

If you end up buying an extra satellite unit ($200) for wider coverage, you can also take advantage of Zyxel's multi-hop technology, which just became available with its firmware update in April. In a setup with three or more devices, this allows the satellite units to use each other to relay a signal back to the main router, if necessary.

Surprisingly fast coverage at far distances

The overall performance of the Multy X was good and in some conditions provided even faster speeds at longer distances. Its top speed could have been better, but the Multy X will give you plenty of bandwidth for a moderate number of connected devices.

The top speed on 2.4GHz only maxed out around 100Mbps, but it was consistent up to 25 feet away from both the main router and satellite unit. This is partially due to the superfast backhaul between the router and satellite unit.

2.4GHz Wi-Fi Performance

Zyxel Multy X AC3000 (Main) 99 98Zyxel Multy X AC3000 (Satellite 1) 104 98
  • 10 feet
  • 25 feet
Note: All speeds in megabits per second (Mbps)

Performance on 5GHz was a little inconsistent, but overall the Wi-Fi coverage was good. Speeds were actually faster at 25 feet away from the satellite unit than 10 feet away, but I've seen this before with other routers. I attribute it to beamforming, which focuses a signal on devices that are farther away. Top speeds weren't as fast as the Samsung Connect Home Pro (which I tested using a different method), but this two-unit system should give you above-average performance throughout a large home on 5GHz.

5GHz Wi-Fi Performance

Zyxel Multy X AC3000 (Main) 466 392Zyxel Multy X AC3000 (Satellite 1) 361 430
  • 10 feet
  • 25 feet
Note: All speeds in megabits per second (Mbps)

Should you buy one?

The Multy X is a powerful mesh system that can cover up to 5,000 square feet with fast, reliable Wi-Fi. The app has some customization options, but it lacks a web interface to really set up and manage your network how you want it. That being said, novice router owners will really like the ease of use. Its $300 price tag is reasonable for what you get, but I can see latency issues occurring if you have lots of devices with only a 20Mbps download internet connection. But if you have a large home and want a set-it-and-forget-it system, the Multy X is right for you.

Zyxel Multy X Specs

Brand ZyxelModelMulty X (WSQ50)
IEEE 802.11 Standard a/b/g/n/acClassAC3000
Speed (Mbps) 3,000 (400+867+1,733)CPU processorQuad core 717MHz
Frequency Tri band (2.4GHz+5GHz+5GHz)RAM memory512MB
Ethernet ports 1 Gigabit WAN; 3 Gigabit LANFlash memory4GB
USB ports 1 USB 2.0 (no network storage)Guest Wi-FiYes
Antennas 9 Internal (2x2 on 2.4GHz, 2x2 on 5GHz-1, 4x4 on 5GHz-2; 1 Bluetooth 4.1)Parental controlsYes
Spatial streams 2 (2.4GHz); 2 (5GHz-1); 4 (5GHz-2)MU-MIMOYes
Modulation 256-QAM 5/6BeamformingYes
Security WPA2, firewall (NAT)SetupApp only
Size (in.) 9.3 by 7.0 by 2.0Weight (lbs.)2.0
Approximate coverage per unit (sq. ft.) 2,500Home automation hubNo
Alexa support YesAdditional featuresRemote access, Multi-hop when using 3 or more units, Dedicated 5GHz backhaul channel
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7.5

Zyxel Multy X Mesh Wi-Fi System (WSQ50)

Score Breakdown

Setup 7Features 8Performance 7.5
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