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

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

Legend:

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

Legend:

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 Zyxel Model Multy X (WSQ50)
IEEE 802.11 Standard a/b/g/n/ac Class AC3000
Speed (Mbps) 3,000 (400+867+1,733) CPU processor Quad core 717MHz
Frequency Tri band (2.4GHz+5GHz+5GHz) RAM memory 512MB
Ethernet ports 1 Gigabit WAN; 3 Gigabit LAN Flash memory 4GB
USB ports 1 USB 2.0 (no network storage) Guest Wi-Fi Yes
Antennas 9 Internal (2x2 on 2.4GHz, 2x2 on 5GHz-1, 4x4 on 5GHz-2; 1 Bluetooth 4.1) Parental controls Yes
Spatial streams 2 (2.4GHz); 2 (5GHz-1); 4 (5GHz-2) MU-MIMO Yes
Modulation 256-QAM 5/6 Beamforming Yes
Security WPA2, firewall (NAT) Setup App only
Size (in.) 9.3 by 7.0 by 2.0 Weight (lbs.) 2.0
Approximate coverage per unit (sq. ft.) 2,500 Home automation hub No
Alexa support Yes Additional features Remote access, Multi-hop when using 3 or more units, Dedicated 5GHz backhaul channel

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