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Zyxel WBE660S PoE++ Access Point Review: A Promising 1st Wi-Fi 7 Upgrade

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If you have a home network—with a dated Wi-Fi standard or no Wi-Fi at all—and want to upgrade it straight to Wi-Fi 7, the Zyxel WBE660S BE22000 Wi-Fi 7 Triple-Radio NebulaFlex Pro Access Point would be right up your alley.

This first Wi-Fi 7 access point on the market has everything for a super-fast network. You can use one as a standalone unit or get a couple and mesh them into a Wi-Fi system.

The latter would require a cloud-based Xyzel Nubula account and will likely be a topic for another post. This review focuses mostly on the access point as a single broadcaster.

In either case, be prepared to invest a good amount of cash. While the $600 retail price is friendly enough—it is already significantly lower than the $850 MSRP—you need more than that to turn this access point into action, namely a 10Gbps-ready PoE++ switch or equivalent injector.

That's not to mention a 10Gbps-ready router, preferably a non-Wi-Fi one. But if you have all that, the Zyxel WBE660S will give you a formidable Wi-Fi network. So consider one today!

The ZyXel WBE660S comes in a business packaging
The Zyxel WBE660S comes in practical business packaging and includes only mounting accessories.

Zyxel WBE660S: A solid Wi-Fi 7 multi-Gigabit access point

The WBE660s is like no other standard Wi-Fi access point I've seen. Out of the box, it feels super solid, with a metal base and a hardened plastic top. The AP is oval-ish with four rounded corners and seems so tough that I originally thought it was built for the outdoors until I saw "Indoor Use only" on its underside. That was a bit of a letdown.

What makes it unique, at least for now, is that it includes a 10Gbps BASE-T PoE++ LAN port and features 320MHz Wi-Fi 7 inside. There's also a Gigabit LAN port to host a wired device for the network, such as a network speaker.

It's safe to say the WBE660S is the most souped-up member of Zyxel's NebulaFlex product line. But as part of the family, it's similar to the previous access point, including the Wi-Fi 6 WAX630S I reviewed over a year ago.

At the least, neither includes a power adapter or a PoE injector. And in the case of the WBE660S, you'll need a PoE++ unit that's 10Gbps-capable, and that can be pricey. Alternatively, you'd need an equivalent PoE switch, such as the Zyxel XS1930-12HP, which is even more expensive.

The table below shows the differences between the two. It's not a fair comparison.

The ZyXel WBE660S is a large and heavy access point
The Zyxel WBE660S is a large and heavy access point. In case you don't already know, that's a large hand.

Zyxel WBE660S vs. WAX630S: Hardware specifications

Zyxel WBE660SZyxel WAX630S
NameZyxel WBE660S BE22000 Wi-Fi 7 Triple-Radio NebulaFlex Pro Access PointZyxel WAX630S AX3000 Wi-Fi 6 Dual-Radio NebulaFlex Pro Access Point
ModelWBE660SWAX630S
Wi-Fi StandardsBE22000AX3000
Broadcasting PowerUS (2.4GHz/5GHz/6GHz): 29/28/23dBm
 EU (2.4GHz/5GHz/6GHz): 19/25/22dBm
US (2.4GHz/5GHz): 23/28 dBm
EU (2.4GHz/5GHz): 19/25 dBm
6 GHz Speeds
(channel width)
4x4 BE: Up to 11530 Mbps
(20/40/80/160/320MHz)
None
5 GHz Speeds
(channel width)
4x4 BE: Up to 8646 Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
4×4 AX: Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80MHz). Or
2×4 AX: Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80/160MHz)
2.4 GH Speeds
(channel with)
4x4 BE: Up to 1376 Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2×2 AX: Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
Number of SSIDs8
(single or multiple bands)
Operating ModeStandalone or via
Controller/Nebula Cloud-managed
(Nebula account required)
Roaming StandardPre-authentication, PMK caching and 802.11r/k/v
Backward Compatibility802.11/axe/ax/ac/n/g/a/b802.11ac/n/g/a/b
Power over Ethernet (PoE)802.11bt (PoE++)802.11at (PoE+)
PoE Power Draw41W19.5W
Injector IndudedNone
DC inputUSB PD 15 VDC 3 A
(USB-C port)
12V DC at 2 A
Adapter IncludedNone
Multi-Gig port1 x 10GBASE-T PoE++ Multi-Gig LAN1x 2.5GBASE-T PoE Multi-Gig LAN
Gigabit Port1 x 1 Gbps LAN
Wireless Security MethodsWEP/WPA/WPA2-PSK/WPA3
AuthenticationIEEE 802.1X/RADIUS
Access ManagementL2-isolation/MAC filtering/Rogue AP detection
Mobile AppZyxel Nebula
Dimensions (W x D x H)12.21 x 7.01 x 2.21 in
(310 x 178 x 56 mm)
7.09 x 7.09 x 1.54 in
(180 x 180 x 39 mm)
Weight3.11 lbs (1412 g)1.17 lbs (530 g)
Operating EnvironmentTemperature: 0°C to 45°C/32°F to 113°F
Humidity: 10% to 90% (non-condensing)
Temperature: 0°C to 50°C/32°F to 122°F
Humidity: 10% to 95% (non-condensing)
ProcessorQualcomm 4-Core CPU
Release DateOctober 17, 2023March 15, 2022
US Price
(at launch)
$599.99$380
Hardware specifications: Zyxel WBE660S vs. WAX630S
ZyXel WBE660S Under SideZyXel WBE660S Underside with mouting accessories
Here's the underside of the Zyxel WBE660S with and without the included mounting accessories. This metal base is dubbed as the heatsink to keep the AP cool.

A standard access point

Despite the multi-gigabit specs, the WBE660S is a standard PoE access point. When you have a PoE++ injector or switch, you can set it up just like any PoE device. Specifically, here are the two simple steps for the hardware:

  1. Mount the access point to where you want—the included accessories make this an easy job.
  2. Use a long network cable to connect its 10Gbps PoE port to the existing network via an injector or a PoE switch.

That's it. The hardware installation is complete. After that, you have two options to make the access point work: its local web user interface or Zyxel Nebula cloud management.

If you only use a single unit as a standalone broadcaster, the web user interface is the way to go. In this case, you can use the access point completely independently from the vendor. However, if you have two or more units, including previous Nebula-enabled access points, cloud management, which requires a login account, is the only way to mesh them into a single Wi-Fi system.

It's important to note that you can use either of the two. If you have already set up the WBE660S using the local web user interface, you must reset it—via the interface or the reset button on its underside—before you can link it to the Nebula Control Center. The other way around, you must first remove it from Nebula, which will automatically reset it.

As mentioned, this review treats the access point primarily as a standalone broadcaster.

ZyXel WBE660S SideZyXel WBE660S Ports
The top and bottom of the Zyxel WBE660S's port side

Self-explanatory but intimidating local web user interface

You access the WBE660S's local web user interface via its IP address. This address is given out by your router—it changes. It's fairly easy to figure out the IP address of a connected device, but if you're not familiar with the process, this post on the IP address will explain it in detail.

After that, from a local computer, navigate a browser—Chrome, Safari, or Edge—to the IP address of the access point. In the example screenshots below, that IP is 192.168.88.16. Yours will likely be something else of a similar format.

Tip: Since it's a local web user interface, you can ignore the security message and proceed to access the IP address. The AP's default username and password are admin and 1234, which you'll be prompted to change immediately.

Once logged in, you'll be greeted with a standard yet comprehensive menu-based web interface that's self-explanatory for anyone who's worked with a similar interface before. Still, as an advanced access point, the WBE660S has lots and lots of settings—likely all those available in enterprise-class access points—which can be intimidating for the uninitiated.

For most situations, however, you only need to care about the SSIDs—the Wi-Fi networks. The WBE660S supports up to 8 SSIDs. You can manually make each SSID to handle all three bands (2.4GHz + 5GHz + 6GHz) or just one or two bands. Generally, it's best to use one SSID for each band. But that's generally a personal preference.

And after that, you can leave the rest alone. The Wi-Fi network is now ready.

Zyxel WBE660S Web Interface WidgetsZyxel WBE660S Web Interface Wi-Fi Settings
The Zyxel WBE660S has a comprehensive local web user interface with lots of options in Wi-Fi settings.

Nebula cloud-based management is a viable option

While using Zyxel's Nebula cloud-based management is not necessary if you have a single access point, it can be a good option. Nebula comes in two flavors: free and Pro. The latter requires a 39.99/year per device subscription, though the former is more than enough for any home or small business.

The idea of Nebula is that the web interface is now tied to a Zyxel login account, which allows you to manage the Wi-Fi network from anywhere in the world. You can also manage multiple networks at different geographical locations—with the option of pinning on a world map—in one place. Each network has different network profile(s) (SSIDs and other settings). Once added, a new access point automatically picks up the profile(s) and works with existing APs, if any, to form a unified mesh system.

Additionally, with Nebula, users have the option to use the mobile app of the same name, which makes adding access to the network and remote management more convenient.

Overall, Nubula is similar to the TP-Link Omada or EnGenius FIT but geared more toward enterprise applications. For this reason, it can be overwhelming for home or small business users.

ZyXel WBE660S in action vertical
Here's the Zyxel WBE660S in action. It can be mounted horizontally, vertically, or placed on a surface.

Zyxel WBE660S: Reliable coverage, real Wi-Fi 7 performance

I tested the WBE660S for over a week—with the help of a Zyxel XS1930-12HP on top of a 10Gbps fiber-optic line—and was happy with it. It was the second Wi-Fi 7 broadcaster, besides the Asus RT-BE96U, to offer "real" Wi-Fi 7 performance. Specifically, my test clients connected to it at around 3Gbps and sustained consistently over Gigabit.

Wi-Fi 7 is not yet fully ratified, and my testing method has also slowly evolved. I did more tests on the WBE660S than with previous Wi-Fi 7 broadcasters by using Wi-Fi 7 clients also on the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, and the result was quite interesting. Specifically, out of this Wi-Fi 7 broadcaster, I noted that:

  • on the 5GHz band, Wi-Fi 7 clients were not necessarily faster than Wi-Fi 6/E devices of the same dual-stream (2x2) specs.
  • on the 2.4GHz band, the speed was virtually the same no matter what clients you use, Wi-Fi 7, Wi-Fi 6, or Wi-Fi 4.

Like previous Wi-Fi 7 broadcasters, the WBE660S didn't support Multi-Link Operation or Automated Frequency Coordination—neither feature was yet available to the standard. For this reason, the access point worked like a simple Tri-band broadcaster.

Zyxel WBE660S Long Range PerformanceZyxel WBE660S CloseRange Performance
The Zyxel WBE660S' sustained Wi-Fi performance with different types of clients.

The Zyxel WBE660S passed my 3-day stress test with no disconnection, and it had excellent coverage, similar to that of the Asus RT-BE96U. If you live in a home of around 2500 ft2 (232 m2) without thick walls, place the WBE660S at the center, and it likely will blanket the entire place. Still, Wi-Fi coverage depends greatly on the environment, and your mileage will vary.

The access point has no internal fan—it seemed that way, but I didn't open it up to check—and it remained relatively cool during operation. It became only slightly warm when I touched its top, even during heavy operation. Its underside metal base was a bit warmer, indicating the fact it worked well as a heatsink.

Overall, considering the current unfinished stage of Wi-Fi 7, the Zyxel WBE660S proved to be an excellent broadcaster, performance-wise. Hopefully, things will only improve when the standard is finalized sometime next year.

Zyxel WBE660S Wi-Fi 7 Access Point's Rating

8 out of 10
ZyXel WBE660S Box Content
Performance
8 out of 10
Features
9 out of 10
Design and Ease of Use
7 out of 10
Value
8 out of 10

Pros

Wi-Fi 7 support with reliable Gig+ sustained performance; excellent coverage

10Gbps PoE++ network port, extra Gigabit port

Excellent design, ready to mount; full local web user interface; generous free-tier cloud-based management

Cons

No power adapter or PoE injector is included

Wi-Fi 7 performance could comparatively be better

Daunting amount of features; Nebula Control Center is sluggish and can be confusing

Conclusion

The Zyxel WBE660S BE22000 Wi-Fi 7 Triple-Radio NebulaFlex Pro Access Point makes an excellent one-stop upgrade for anyone who wants Wi-Fi 7 today.

It best fits those with a non-Wifi router but can also be a device to add to a network that currently has a 5 or older standard. Or you can turn off the Wi-Fi function of your existing router. And if you have a 10Gbps PoE++ switch at the current street price of $600, it's almost a must-have. Give it a try!

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10 thoughts on “Zyxel WBE660S PoE++ Access Point Review: A Promising 1st Wi-Fi 7 Upgrade”

  1. Hey Doug,

    Thanks for the detailed review as always. Do you know if the AP now supports MLO (with firmware updates?)

    Reading your review of the lower end model from the same manufacturer (Zyxel NWA130BE), it looks that that one does support MLO? (or perhaps that review just doesn’t mention/measure)?

    Would love an update / clarification.

    Thank You!

    Reply
  2. Hi Dong. I’m searching for 2 Zyxel AP to connect them to the Zyxel EX5601-T0 (with WAN and LAN 2.5 GbE ports) via two MG108 switches (my house has three floors). In this moment I recycled three Fritz AP/extender and I’m not satisfied. I’ve read your test on NEA220AX and this above, but I don’t know if there are better alternatives and not too expensive. Any suggestion?

    Reply
    • A connection depends on all parties involved and is limited by whichever slowest. So far, there are only 2×2 clients. Also, Wi-Fi has crazy overhead. More here.

      Reply
  3. Hey Doug,

    Any chance you could include latency performance in your future posts? I know it’s extra effort, but it could add some really interesting data for your readers!

    Appreciate your dedication,
    Woundman

    Reply
    • Thought about it, but it’s impossible to have a consistent, repeatable test on latency unfortunately. Without one, you’d always compare apple to oranges.

      Also, the name is Dong.

      Reply

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