The wireless AP is disabled by default and supports the full range of security options with 256-bit WEP, WPA, 802.1x authentication, MAC address filters and even a local user database. A unique feature is ZyXEL’s OTIST (one-touch intelligent security technology) which enforces WPA encryption with ZyXEL’s wireless PC Cards.
Initially we tested the G-162 on a 1.6GHz Fujitsu Siemens LifeBook but the card failed to install correctly under Windows XP SP2 with Device Manager displaying a Code 10 error. We tried this on a second XP notebook and found it worked but only in the lower slot. OTIST makes light work of setting up WPA encryption as the router uses a key entered manually which should match that entered at the PC Card utility. The router then generates a passphrase and automatically sets up a WPA encrypted connection with the PC Card. Performance results weren’t overly impressive with Iometer reporting an average raw read throughput of 35Mbit/sec with an open connection at two metres and 32.5Mbit/sec over WPA-PSK – noticeably slower than MIMO equipped products.
Some vendors can be a bit sluggish in releasing updates but ZyXEL seems to be on the ball as it added support for ADSL2/2+ in the 660HW over six months ago. The latest firmware release doesn’t really add much more than a few bug fixes but from our experiences we recommend extreme caution before you upgrade. We opted to upgrade our review unit with the latest PE.10 firmware but when the router was back in action we had lost our ADSL connection. In fact, the router no longer acknowledged there was even a physical connection with our line. Easy enough to revert back to the previous version except that in our smugness we hadn’t previously downloaded it leaving us in a Catch-22 situation. Fortunately, we were able to use another router to regain Internet access to download the file but many others won’t be so fortunate.
The 660HW looks to offer a good value bundle with the free wireless PC Card included, but we encountered problems installing the latter. Wired and wireless security features on the router are extensive but wireless performance is average and be very, very careful when upgrading the router’s firmware.