Large apartments and private houses often have a problem — a lack of Wi-Fi coverage. The old methods of solving this modern problem are often not very convenient and will require the vast majority of users to turn to specialists for setup. But network equipment manufacturers have greatly simplified the experience of using routers in recent years, and mesh systems are already powerful enough to “revive dead zones” in such homes without hesitation. In today’s review, we’ll see how the ASUS ZenWiFi XD6S handles it.
Assembly of ASUS ZenWiFi XD6S
Such devices do not require much to operate, so the contents of the box with routers are very simple – a router, a power supply, a short Ethernet cable and documentation. Mesh systems have the same set, but multiplied by 2, 3… according to the number of access points in the set (but the cable will still be one).
ASUS went a little further, so in the box with ZenWiFi XD6S there are two removeable “spouts” for power supplies for different socket standards, as well as dowels and screws for wall mounting, which is provided by the design of the devices. This is not very common, so it is worth paying tribute to the company for paying attention to small details.
Design and usability
ASUS ZenWiFi XD6S is produced in a familiar design, such models were with previous communication standards. But this time it was supplemented. Now a small tower of an elongated shape can take up space not only on a table or shelf, but also has a mount for installation on a wall. A rather important moment that was not there before. And although not every user wants to mount routers on the walls, those who install such a solution before the repair stage will be satisfied with the foresight of the manufacturer.
Well, the general appearance of these routers has practically not changed. The white plastic case measuring 130×125×59 mm (73 with wall mount) will easily find its place in any interior. Its weight is 425 grams. The devices did not receive any bold elements of decoration, so you don’t have to worry about it.
The only noticeable elements on the front are a small ASUS logo and a multi-colored status indicator below it. The latter can be turned off if it interferes.
There is a separate space at the back of the case where the power connector, Lan- and Wan-ports have been hidden. (The ASUS ZenWiFi XD6 model has more of them). The WPS and reset buttons are located at the bottom (so they are easier to get to if the router is mounted on the wall). And that’s all about the controls.
Yes, the design is quite concise. But, in my opinion, it is one of the most successful in its segment. At the same time, like many other similar systems, ZenWiFi XD6S did not receive external antennas, which will only help the device to “get lost” in the room more easily and not attract unnecessary attention from the owners and guests of the house. Well, such a case is easier to install on small shelves, where it will take up almost no space.
Functionality of ASUS ZenWiFi XD6S
As you can intuitively guess from the name, before us is a mesh system of the 802.11ax standard, which is hinted at by the number 6. The prominent inscription AX5400 on the box will also tell about this. So, in the 2.4 GHz band, the router promises a speed of up to 574 Mbit/s, and up to 4804 Mbit/s in 5 GHz. Not bad. To help spread the network have 6 built-in antennas. One router should be enough for 250 m², and two for 500.
You can connect two points to each other with a wireless channel in the 5 GHz band, or with a wired gigabit connection, if this is possible. At the same time, there is no “main” and “secondary” point in the set, they are identical. ZenWiFi XD6S supports OFDMA, 1024-QAM modulation and 160 MHz frequency. Adaptive QoS mode can work in the network, and there is also traffic analysis. In addition, the system can show one network on two bands, independently defining them for each client.
If necessary, it is possible to create three guest networks in each of the bands, even with different rules. ASUS standard parental control settings are also present. Protection against dangerous sites, notifications about configuration weaknesses, and other security features are still implemented with Trend Micro. The usual Firewall was also not forgotten.
As always, in the settings there is an opportunity to connect to a VPN or create your own (PPTP, OpenVPN or IPSec standards) with quick access from smartphones through the Instant Guard application. Also, for convenience, there is control of some functions via Amazon Alexa (enable guest network, update software, suspend Wi-Fi, etc.).
Among the administrative functions are the selection of the operating mode (router, access point, repeater…), automatic update check and reboot schedule, saving the configuration, feedback to the manufacturer, and more.
For basic settings, you can use the proprietary application for smartphones with iOS or Android. Through it, the system can also be connected to Google Assistant. Traditionally, the smartphone has been left with fewer settings, but everything you need is at hand, including remote access.
ASUS ZenWiFi XD6S performance
At the beginning of the review, I mentioned that networking equipment is becoming easier for users. In particular, this is expressed in the way of setting. Previously, the user had to go to the administrative panel after connecting and, in the best case, change the standard names and passwords of local networks. And for many it was a сhallenging task. Currently, this is already done through a proprietary application that finds the router via Bluetooth and guides the user step-by-step through the process of basic setup and connecting the second node. Specific requests will still need to be handled separately, but the initial setup is now much simpler.
After setting up, you could immediately measure the speed of the network. Unfortunately, there is no 250-500 m² in the “test two-room house”. But there is a gigabit connection. At the time of testing, the speed in the provider’s cable exceeded 900 Mbps in both directions. Approximately the same speed was already available with a wired connection through the main router.
ASUS Vivobook N7600P and ASUS ProArt Studio W7600H laptops were used as clients for speed tests. The latter with one connected router showed from 28/34 to 110/100 Mbit/s in 2.4 GHz, and from 575/342 to 632/534 Mbit/s in 5 GHz, depending on the distance to the router.
It could provide communication between clients on average from 43 to 64 Mbit at different distances from the router (the maximum at the same time was 74) in 2.4 GHz, and in 5 GHz — an average of 320 Mbit/s throughout the apartment (with a maximum in 382).
A similar test, but with one client connected over LAN, increased speeds to an average of 79-134 Mbps at 2.4 GHz, and 437-687 Mbps at 5 GHz (where it peaked at 857 Mbps).
With the second router turned on and placed as far away from the first as possible, Speedtest results of 103/93 Mbps in 2.4 GHz and 378/238 in 5 were obtained next to it.
With the connection of two clients to different points, laptops exclusively via Wi-Fi showed an average of 61 to 71 Mbit/s in 2.4 GHz, and from 200 to 235 Mbit/s in 5 GHz (where the maximum was 286 Mbit/s).
And clients connected via Ethernet to various points demonstrated significantly impressive averages: from 711 to 825 Mbit/s (where the maximum reached 864 Mbit/s).
The Speedtest measurement with this connection showed 686/635 Mbps on the second router.
For a week, this system worked in SmartConnect mode, supporting up to four laptops, five smartphones, a couple of home “smart” devices and AppleTV at the same time. There were no performance problems. Of course, the load on the 5 GHz band, where the routers have to communicate with each other, is better to avoid and if possible you should use a wired connection, which will theoretically increase the speed at the second point. But in the event that a simpler channel (100-200 Mbit/s) works at the apartment, it will not be particularly noticeable.