IT Pro Verdict
Wi-Fi 6E and 6GHz
Zyxel's WAX620D-6E access point is designed for businesses that want future-proofed wireless networks. Its integral BandFlex technology allows you to configure the AP for 5GHz operations and, when the time is right, swap over to the 6GHz spectrum.
This AXE5400 dual-band AP provides six spatial streams with 2 x 2 for the 2.4GHz band and 4 x 4 for the 5GHz or 6GHz bands, with the latter two both supporting the high-speed 160MHz channels. The main 2.5GbE port requires an 802.3at PoE+ power source, there's an extra gigabit LAN port for networking wired devices and the AP employs the same dual-optimized antenna array as Zyxel's WAX610D, which must be manually set for ceiling or wall mount placements.
Two management modes are available: the WAX620D-6E can be deployed in standalone mode or cloud-managed using Zyxel's Nebula Control Center (NCC) platform. Zyxel adds extra cloud appeal, as the price includes a one-year NCC Professional Pack license, which enables features such as email alerting, scheduled firmware updates, and a rolling one-year log-retention service.
Installation in standalone mode is aided by the AP's web console wizard, which guided us through setting the country of operation and changing the default admin password. The wizard creates radio profiles for the three bands and defaults to enabling 5GHz on the second radio, which you can change by assigning the 6GHz profile to it from the AP management screen.
Businesses deploying multiple APs will prefer Zyxel's NCC, as along with centralized remote management, it opens up extra features such as guest wireless networks with captive portals and meshing. We added the WAX620D-6E to our cloud account by using the Nebula iOS app on an iPad to scan the QR code on its base and choose the site from which it should take its settings.
The portal presents a customizable site dashboard with details of total wireless traffic, APs by usage, and all connected wireless clients along with their detected OS. Up to eight SSIDs per site are supported, with each one assigned its own encryption scheme along with a guest wireless network with captive portal, upload and download bandwidth restrictions, L2 isolation, and a walled garden.
For each SSID, you can choose from three band options. We elected to have one SSID presenting the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands and another for the 6GHz band with WPA3 encryption. The AP radio settings page has a handy BandFlex view so we could easily see which APs supported Wi-Fi 6E and, for the WAX620D-6E, we could quickly swap between 5GHz and 6GHz bands and choose the maximum channel width up to 160MHz.
With the AP hooked up to a Zyxel XS1930-12HP 10GbE multi-gigabit PoE++ switch, we tested 5GHz speeds using a Windows 10 Pro Dell workstation equipped with a TP-Link Archer TX3000E Wi-Fi 6 PCI-E adapter.
Using the 160MHz channels, large file copies between the client and a 10GbE-connected Windows server delivered impressive close-range speeds of 206MB/sec, dropping to 161MB/sec with the AP moved ten meters away into an adjoining room.
After reconfiguring the AP to the 6GHz band, we connected a Windows 11 Pro Dell workstation using a TP-Link Archer TXE75E Wi-Fi 6E PCI-E adapter. This produced a noticeable boost, with close-range copies now averaging 220MB/sec and falling to a very creditable 168MB/sec at ten meters distance.
The WAX620D-6E is comparatively expensive but will appeal to SMBs that want the option of moving to Wi-Fi 6E and 6GHz at a time of their choosing. Wireless performance across the board is impeccable, and Zyxel's NCC cloud platform delivers top-notch remote management and monitoring services.
Zyxel WAX620D-6E specifications
|Type||AXE5400 dual band 2.4GHz/5GHz or 6GHz 802.11ax|
|Aerials||2x2/4x4 MU-MIMO dual-optimized antennas|
|Power||2.5GbE LAN/802.3at PoE+|
|Dimensions (WDH)||180 x 180 x 42mm (WDH)|
|Warranty||Limited lifetime warranty|
Dave is an IT consultant and freelance journalist specialising in hands-on reviews of computer networking products covering all market sectors from small businesses to enterprises. Founder of Binary Testing Ltd – the UK’s premier independent network testing laboratory - Dave has over 45 years of experience in the IT industry.
Dave has produced many thousands of in-depth business networking product reviews from his lab which have been reproduced globally. Writing for ITPro and its sister title, PC Pro, he covers all areas of business IT infrastructure, including servers, storage, network security, data protection, cloud, infrastructure and services.