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Wi-Fi and Networking Reviews
15,670 Reviews

ZyXel NBG318S review

£99 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Zyxel

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

The ZyXel NBG318S is a router that combines ethernet, Wi-Fi and powerline connectivity with HomePlugAV.

The ZyXel NBG318S is a router that combines ethernet, Wi-Fi and powerline connectivity with HomePlugAV.

Most routers give you two options for connecting a computer or printer to your network: ethernet and Wi-Fi. Ethernet is fast and dependable, but it isn't practical for going from room to room. Wi-Fi is slower and less reliable than ethernet. Neither is very good for transmitting internet-based multimedia content from a broadband modem at one end of your house to a TV at the other.

The ZyXel NBG318S offers a third option: HomePlugAV. The standard, three-pronged AC plug that powers the router connects it to other HomePlugAV devices in a building as well.

If you don't own any devices equipped with HomePlugAV, you can use an optional adaptor with a power plug on one end and an ethernet port on the other. In theory, you can plug such an adaptor into any ethernet-capable PC or peripheral and get a blazing 200 megabits per second (mbps) connection to the router.

When we first plugged the ZyXel NBG318S PLA-400 adaptor into a computer and connected to the router, it worked hassle-free at what felt like ethernet speed. But when we tried to set up HomePlugAV's built-in AES encryption (needed because the signal may be accessible from other units in your building), we hit a brick wall.

The router couldn't give the adaptor the information needed to allow them to talk to each other. Nor would the adaptor accept that information from me. A firmware update for the adaptor fixed the problem, but this experience shows that the technology is far from hassle-free.

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Something else that you should know about: HomePlugAV doesn't work with devices based on the older HomePlug 1.0 specification.

The ZyXel NBG318S lacks Wi-Fi Draft-N capabilities, but it doesn't stint on Wi-Fi; it supports 108mbps Super G (to take advantage of it, a client device must use a Super G chip, too). In fact, this is the only router without Draft-N to reach the far corners of our Wi-Fi-hostile home without a big drop in signal quality.

With devices in the same room, though, the ZyXel NBG318S falls a tad short. ZyXel gave the router only three LAN ethernet ports (plus the WAN port that connects it to your broadband modem). As a result, you can attach just three devices to the ZyXel NBG318S without messing with Wi-Fi or HomePlugAV. Most modems have four such ports, and some in the NBG318S's price range have five. There is no USB port, either.

NEXT PAGE: set up, ease of use and our expert verdict > >

ZyXel NBG318S Expert Verdict »

ZYXEL 54G ROUTR +PWRLIN reviews verified by Reevoo

ZYXEL 54G ROUTR +PWRLINScores 7.0 out of 10 based on 1 review
128-bit AES, WPA, WPA2
IEEE 802.11b/e/g Wi-Fi CERTIFIED
Ethernet, Fast Ethernet, HomePlug AV (HPAV), IEEE 802.11b. IEEE 802.11g
108 Mbps
DDos attack prevention
DoS attack prevention
Dynamic DNS server
Firewall protection
Media Bandwidth Management v2
NAT support
Quality of Service (QoS)
Stateful Packet Inspection (SPI)
Super G technology
Wi-Fi Multimedia (WMM) support
4-port switch
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

Does the ZyXel NBG318S make sense as a way to share multimedia? It isn't any less complicated than Wi-Fi, but it may be a better alternative in some situations.

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