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ZyXEL LTE and Wi-Fi solutions overview: LTE7460-M608 street router and WAC6553D-E access point

Modern 4G network is not inferior to the speed of wired connection, and in some places even ahead of it, so if before to connect a country object to the Internet it was necessary to pay for the laying of the cable, now you just need to choose a good tariff of the mobile operator. Today we will consider two solutions of ZYXEL company for the organization of fully wireless connection: LTE router ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 with mobile Internet speed up to 300 Mbit/s and Wi-Fi access point, WAC6553D-E having 6 antenna sockets for 3 spatial streams. Both devices are designed for outdoor installation, including the mast, they are not afraid of water or snow, and are positioned as a solution for country offices or for outdoor events.

ZYXEL LTE7460-M608: backup or primary channel via LTE

Model LTE7460-M608 is a device that is designed to reserve the main Internet channel through 4G network. ZyXEL emphasizes that the main purpose of the device is to be the second source of WAN to ensure continuous operation of applications or office jobs. It supports the most modern version of LTE - 3GPP release 10 category 6, providing a speed of 300 Mbit/s per input and 50 Mbit/s per output, that is higher than the typical 2018 100-megabit wired WAN connection, which is not even issued by every provider. In addition, 3G/2G DC-HSPA+ networks are supported at speeds up to 42 Mbps per reception and 5.76 Mbps per transmission.

This high speed allows you to completely abandon the wired connection and use ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 as the main and only Internet gateway in hard-to-reach places, including transport, in hotel complexes, in mobile laboratories and in various field events. As they say, there would be money for the mobile Internet.

Just want to note that ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 - a device such as “Converter wired to wireless”, that is, some software functions for load balancing, switching between wired WAN to LTE or traffic distribution between the wire and the radio, it does not: it is assumed that your main router is so able. But there is a built-in bridge mode for communication of several offices through a network of mobile operators.

Equipment and design of the ZYXEL LTE7460-M608
The device comes complete with a PoE injector and mounting kit that allows you to mount the router on a wall or on a mast or bracket, while providing a setting of the seat angle from -50 to 50 degrees.

Externally, the ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 is a large box of radio-transparent polymer on an aluminum panel. In the lower part of the case there are sockets for LAN/PoE network cable, console RJ45 (only for device control), as well as a slot for SIM-card, hermetically sealed plug.

The device supports only one SIM-card, and it’s strange: it costs nothing to parallelize the second slot for the SIM card and switch them programmatically, giving you the opportunity to reserve a mobile operator and change the SIM card in the development of all “unlimited” traffic. These features are also present in the less expensive LTE routers, and duchemosnos there demand nothing less than the Chinese smartphones. And the slot for the SIM card is inconvenient: the slot is too deep, and it can be difficult to push the card with your thumbs.

The manufacturer claims that the ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 has an antenna with a gain of up to 8 dB, and verification shows that two PIFA printed on a PCB are used here. In General, 8 dB is not so much for an outdoor antenna in a 3G/4G device, home models for USB modems have a similar gain, and for cellular communication there are now flat “panels” with a gain of 12-15 dB, but only ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 with external antennas does not work.

There is no built-in Wi-Fi access point, and for use in small installations, such as Internet access for a store or a house in a hotel complex, this is a significant disadvantage. But if you build a large network with distributed hotspots, it does not matter, because the access points so make up a large part of the budget and are placed closer to the user, and not closer to the point at which the best signal from the base station.

For the work meets 4G LTE module D19QD-SKU2 Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron Neweb Corp with PCI Express interface. Detailed information about this device could not be found.

Software

The configuration of LTE7460-M608 is similar to working with a very simple router: there are only basic parameters, such as DHCP server, static routing, basic protection against DoS attacks and switching mode (bridge or base station).

Zyxel_LTE7460-M608_soft1

In the same as for the radio module, you can select the channel of the LTE, to switch the operating mode of the modem (Auto/4G/3G/2G) to configure the bandwidth and bandwidth of the wireless channel.

Zyxel_LTE7460-M608_soft2

The device has a simple phone book and the ability to send SMS-messages and service codes.

Zyxel_LTE7460-M608_soft3

A huge advantage of LTE7460-M608 is the support of bridging, in which you can transfer the IP address assigned by the LTE provider to the device connected by cable, which is most likely a full-fledged router, or a stand-alone access point. It should also be noted built-in VPN support - a prerequisite for the corporate network.

In the advanced connection information, you can see parameters such as “signal/noise” and signal strength factors for accurate positioning of the device to the base station. If it is too difficult for you, in the upper left corner of the Web-interface, there is a communication indicator, as in modern mobile phones. By the way, testing has shown that it is useless. LTE module D19QD-SKU2 of Taiwanese manufacturer Wistron Neweb Corp with PCI Express interface. Detailed information about this device could not be found.

Testing

I will start with the power consumption: in a typical operating mode, it is only 1 W, so the cost of electricity in the calculation of TCO in this case can be neglected.

As for the quality of communication - in our test conditions, MTS provider provided no more than 60 Megabits per second for 4G, and being in the same place, Chinese smartphones Oppo A83 and Oppo F5 showed the maximum signal, and ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 - the minimum signal with 4G icon. I did not notice any advantages of the router’s large antenna: the quality of communication, speed and stability of network retention were the same as in smartphones. In this case, the only advantage of using ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 will be the ability to strengthen it high on the mast and heading towards the base station. You can’t do that with a smartphone.

Speed testing 4G:

  • Upload: 19.15 Mbps
  • Download: 42.47 Mbps

Let’s look at the speed results when connecting via 3G.

The speed of 3G

  • Upload: 2.36 Mbps
  • Download: 0.54 Mbps

Considering that the router in the conditions of the local LTE worked at 1/6 of the possible speed, it is impossible to make any results on productivity of the equipment. Well unless except that it gives 50-60 Megabits on the wireless channel already today, and will give even more tomorrow. It is possible that there, at higher speeds, a large antenna will reveal its capabilities and show a tangible difference in front of the smartphone, but given that all 4G/LTE technologies are created for mobile phones, I do not think that the difference will be significant. Much more important here is the connection via Ethernet and the ability to set the LTE router as far as you need to catch the signal of the mobile operator in an environment where mobile phones lying on the table are useless.

Go to the next device, the outdoor access point.

ZYXEL WAC6553D-E

The next device, which we will talk about - this is just an external access point ZYXEL WAC6553D-E, which today is one of the top models of the manufacturer, available on market. This is an IEEE 802.11 ac hot spot with a 3x3 antenna group with three spatial streams giving a total speed of 900mbps. It is designed for outdoor installation, has a built-in heater and PoE power supply with a budget of 25W.

The access point does not have built-in antennas, and what’s more, it comes without them at all, but it gives you the opportunity to save on internal installation in large concrete buildings.

If you install Wi-Fi in large buildings with thick concrete walls, then you will have a choice: to buy a lot of hot spots and place them literally in every room, or to put several access points, and the distribution of the signal on the floors is already carried out by remote antennas. This solution can save from 30% to 50% of the budget for wireless equipment. Of course, this will not give the maximum speed you expect from 802.11 ac, but will give flexibility and budget savings, especially where Wi-Fi is required “for show”: in hospitals, railstations and other public institutions.

The access point has 6 antenna sockets of type N (N-type), and the company offers a full range 2T2R antennas for different installations: office ceiling, ANT1310, pie ANT3315 aimed ANT3316, simple pin omnidirectional ANT2105 (kit comes with 2 pieces) and others. It is with pin antennas that this access point came to us for testing.

The performance of the antenna ANT2105:

  • Polarization - linear vertical
  • HPBW/horizontal - 360 degree
  • HPBW/vertical - 15 degree
    • 2.4 GHz gain: 4.5 dB
    • 5 GHz gain: 7dB
  • Maximum permissible wind speed - 216 km/h
  • Case material: ABS plastic

ZYXEL WAC6553D-E can be mounted on the wall without the possibility of adjusting the position of the device, or on the mast with adjustable seat angle from -15 to 15 degrees. If you use pin antenna ANT2105 that do not have the inclination, consider the setting of the hotspot that is on the bracket.

Externally ZYXEL WAC6553D-E is a box of ABS plastic (resistant to UV radiation not stated), on each side of the housing is a pair of antenna connectors: 2.4 and 5 GHz. There are only two network ports: one Gigabit Uplink with PoE support and one console for out-of-band hot spot management. There is no PoE injector included, so please note that the presence of a built-in heater already requires support for the IEEE-802.3 at fourth class power standard (25 W), although modern PoE switches already support such voracious devices.

We used a 5-port gs1200-5HP switch for testing, which allows you to monitor the current power consumption on each PoE port, and I must say that in typical mode, the power consumption of the hot spot is 4-5 W, as in conventional “civilian” access points. But if the access point is frozen, the heating of the case will automatically turn on, and the power consumption will be 19 watts.

All connectors are hermetically sealed to protect against rain and snow (class IP66), even the n-type antenna connector has a rubber gasket to prevent moisture from entering the contacts.

Soft

From the software point of view, the WAC6553D-E model repeats the NWA1123-AC Pro we discussed earlier, and the settings of ZAC and ZYXEL One Network programs are supported in the same way, which simplifies the installation of a fleet of devices from one manufacturer.

Well, it’s time to move on to testing.

Testing

For testing, we installed ZYXEL WAC6553D-E with 6 ant2105 antennas at a height of 50 meters in urban areas. By setting the maximum power level of the radio transmitters in the settings of the access point, the distance at which an ordinary Oppo A83 smartphone catches a Wi-FI signal was measured. In the immediate vicinity of the access point, the phone showed a connection speed of 135 Mbit/s, which is its hardware “ceiling”, but we know that for the mobile phone is more important than the distance of stable signal reception than some theoretical speed under good coverage.

The results for Omni antennas were impressive:

  • At a distance of 100 meters, the connection speed on the 5 GHz channel was 40 Mbit/s.
  • The maximum range of Wi-Fi was 440 meters. At this distance, the connection speed was 6 Mbit/s and periodically failed to 1 Mbit/s.

Thus, it can be said that when mounted on a mast, even with pinned omnidirectional antennas, the ZYXEL WAC6553D-E covers the territory of a school with a stadium, two or three kindergartens or any sports facility.

Summary

Today, most of the projects are built on monobrand solutions, and the vendor is required not only to provide all the necessary range, but also to ensure its management of general software, facilitate configuration and maintenance through its own services, as well as to build a range so that one device complements the others. All the ZYXEL already have a wireless router LTE7460-M608 is one of these blocks in the common wall of the network equipment. At the moment, ZYXEL LTE7460-M608 looks significantly overestimated: there are much more affordable external LTE routers on sale, and even with support for two SIM cards and built-in Wi-Fi, but not all of them support speeds up to 300 Mbps.

But the access point WAC6553D-E is the locomotive on which the wireless infrastructure is built - PoE power with built-in heater, very good quality coverage even on the simplest Omni-antennas, SNMP support, load balancing and roaming.

It is an ideal solution for outdoor sports facilities and country hotels.