As the cheapest draft-n router on test, the Zyxel has an immediate advantage in this Labs. But, unlike the D-Link, which costs just $38 more, the NBG-415N doesn’t have a quartet of Gigabit Ethernet ports – it provides only Fast Ethernet.
It has three high-gain antennae, the middle of which is removable. The rear panel is almost identical to Trendnet’s, with a handy Wi-Fi on/off switch and colour coding for the LAN and WAN ports. The USB port is the main difference, but it isn’t for a printer – it’s simply for copying SSID and security settings onto a USB flash drive.
Menus look different from those of the Trendnet, but contain an identical selection of options. These include good quality of service options (both routers use Ubicom’s StreamEngine) and wizards to step you through WAN, wireless and security settings. A WPA-Enterprise option lets you use a RADIUS server to authenticate users.
Given that the Zyxel is noticeably cheaper than the Trendnet, we were disappointed to find that it couldn’t keep up in our performance tests. Using our Centrino laptop, the NBG-415N was faster at 1m and 15m, but refused to connect at 25m. With the matching NWD-170N PC Card, plus the latest drivers and firmware, we saw only 12.2Mb/s at 1m and couldn’t establish a connection at 15m, let alone 25m.
Ultimately, even overlooking the connection problems, the Zyxel can’t compete with the D-Link DIR-655, which doesn’t cost too much more, yet offers Gigabit Ethernet and superior coverage.