Correctly setting up a wireless routers involves more than just turning it on. As well as connecting it to your broadband modem, the wireless network will need securing, since it will be open for anyone's PC, laptop, or smartphone within range to connect to it. The password to access the administration pages should also be changed, as by default it's left at ‘1234' most of the time.

On many routers, the on-board software is badly designed, which makes it harder to find the right settings to make these changes. Thankfully, the Zyxel NBG4615 is refreshingly simple to use, since as well as supporting WPS to set up the wireless network securely with a few button presses, the user is clearly reminded to make these changes as soon if they log into the router over the network.

See also: Group test: what's the best wireless router?
 
The Zyxel NBG4615 router's standard administration page uses graphical menus to let the user change settings for the router's wireless security, prioritising bandwidth, and blocking any URLs from the network. The advanced settings page clearly presents all the information about the router to the user, and separates network, security and router management settings with a clean layout and menu structure.

As well as being easy to set up, the Zyxel NBG4615 delivers nippy performance too. At short range, a 1GB test file transferred wirelessly to a laptop at 94 Mbps, which is far quicker than many other routers we've used. It's no slouch at long range either, since it still could provide 32 Mbps even through two solid walls.

Although the Zyxel NBG4615's boring appearance, with its plain white plastic casing and two external antennas does nothing to distinguish this router from countless others, its design is at least compact. The nine status LEDs look a bit silly, although having that many can be useful for troubleshooting. There's one for each of its four Gigabit Ethernet (1000Mbps) ports and another for the WAN port. Then there's one for the device's status, one for the wireless network, another for your broadband connection, and another two for the pair of USB 2.0 ports built onto the side.

The USB ports can be used for sharing storage, turning the Zyxel NBG4615 router into a sort of NAS, or connecting USB printers. A switch at the back lets you disable the wireless network manually, and there's another to turn off the router itself. Power saving is supported too, with an option to disable the wireless network at set times, such as overnight.

Zyxel NBG4615: Specs

  • 802.11 b/g/n wireless networking
  • IPv6
  • NAT
  • Universal Plug and Play
  • Dynamic DNS server
  • RIP
  • Bandwidth Management
  • SPI firewall
  • Content filter
  • WEP, WPA, WPA2 security
  • dimensions: 162mm x 106mm x 28mm
  • weight: 237g
  • Wireless Distribution System (WDS) support
  • Wireless protected setup support
  • 802.11 b/g/n wireless networking
  • IPv6
  • NAT
  • Universal Plug and Play
  • Dynamic DNS server
  • RIP
  • Bandwidth Management
  • SPI firewall
  • Content filter
  • WEP, WPA, WPA2 security
  • dimensions: 162mm x 106mm x 28mm
  • weight: 237g
  • Wireless Distribution System (WDS) support
  • Wireless protected setup support

OUR VERDICT

It might not look it, but Zyxel's NBG4615 is a powerhouse of a router. Although it lacks the ability to create 5GHz wireless networks, there are few other desirable features missing from it. Its performance is among the best we've seen from a router which costs less than £100 and should be worth considering for anyone who needs to upgrade.

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