There may be no shortage of broadband routers that do everything except make the tea but if you don't need all these features then they're just a waste of money. Zoom has been around for what seems like ages and has traditionally focused on the simpler broadband and wireless solutions with a keen focus on value.
The Zoom ADSL X6 5590 is a classic example as this router provides an integrated ADSL2/2+ modem, firewall plus a wireless G access point and all for a shade under forty quid. The 5590 is a solid lump of black plastic sporting four switched Fast Ethernet ports at the rear along with a DSL port and a single fixed wireless aerial.
A simple display is provided at the front with status indicators for power, WLAN, DSL line and Internet connection. Note that only one indicator is provided for the Ethernet switch so you can't see which ports have devices attached to them.
The Install Assistant aims to make light work of initial configuration and runs through physically wiring up the router's DSL and network ports. An auto-detect function attempts to identify your DSL connection type and to save time, you should enable the Vista Telnet client and ensure that your PC has picked up an IP address from the router.
Don't worry if you haven't done this as the routine shows you how to enable the Telnet client and once it's found the modem it asks for your account details. We had no problems with our BT Business Broadband connection and were up and browsing in a matter of minutes.
There's more as the Assistant offers to enable wired and wireless QoS (quality of service) as well. This is more basic than many other routers as it prioritises traffic based on the network port rather than the application. Essentially, if you're using applications such as VoIP or gaming then give that port a higher priority and make sure all the related systems and devices are connected to it.
The router's web interface may not be very pretty but it does provide easy access to each function. It opens with a basic setup screen where you can change your DSL settings or fire up the auto-detection wizard. The System Status screen provides a complete rundown on all network ports, the wireless access point and clients that have received an IP address from the router's DHCP server.