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