Internet operators in Spain have always offered their clients routers that stand out for their low Wi-Fi coverage and speed, however, cable operation has always been quite correct. Although the technical characteristics of wireless routers were quite good at a theoretical level, in real life users had to buy their own routers and even WiFi Mesh systems, because the operation of the wireless network was insufficient, and they had low coverage. and even network outages. What happens to the routers that operators are now providing for their 10Gbps modes with XGS-PON?
The new routers of the operators for XGS-PON
The new WiFi routers that operators such as Orange or Digi have presented for their new 10Gbps FTTH connections are high-end. On paper, they should have a performance very similar to that of routers from brands like ASUS or NETGEAR, although logically the firmware does not have as many configuration options as these last two manufacturers.
The model that Digi is marketing is the Zyxel AX7501-B0 , a device with simultaneous dual band and AX6000 class Wi-Fi 6 (up to 1148Mbps in the 2.4GHz band and up to 4804Mbps in the 5GHz band), it has a port 10Gbps WAN, a 10Gbps LAN port and four Gigabit Ethernet ports, in addition, it also has a USB 3.0 port and the corresponding RJ-11 ports for analog phones. A router with these characteristics from manufacturers such as ASUS or NETGEAR costs between 400 euros and 500 euros, therefore, we are talking about a very high-end router.
As for Orange , the router it provides for its 10Gbps FTTH fiber is the Livebox Infinity , the best router currently provided by an operator in Spain. This model has simultaneous triple band and Wi-Fi 6E class AX10700 (up to 860Mbps in the 2.4GHz band thanks to its three internal antennas in MU-MIMO 3×3 configuration, in the 5GHz band we can achieve a speed of up to 4.804Mbps thanks to its four internal antennas in 4×4 MU-MIMO configuration, finally in the 6GHz band we can achieve a speed of up to 4804Mbps, by having another four internal antennas in 4×4 MU-MIMO configuration).
This equipment has all the Wi-Fi 6E technologies, including WPA3 for security among others. The rest of the hardware consists of four Gigabit ports for LAN, one 10Gbps port for LAN, one 10Gbps XGS-PON port, two RJ-11 ports, and also one USB 3.0 Type-A port. As for the processor, it has a Quad- Core at 1.5GHz and 1GB RAM.
In the case of the Orange router with the new Livebox that has Wi-Fi 6E, an equivalent model would be the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000, a model that currently costs about 600 euros. Therefore, we can say that the operators are beginning to catch up in terms of specifications, and also in terms of the performance that they are able to provide to users.
What should operator routers incorporate?
Today the most critical thing in an operator router is the WiFi part, and in these cases there are many problems of both coverage and real speed. This is the first thing that should be improved with the firmware of the equipment. Of course, they should also focus on this firmware and provide more features that any router today incorporates, here are some features that we consider essential in a router:
- Gamer-oriented QoS , to prioritize game traffic on the local network.
- Parental control based on time and also on content.
- Possibility of forming a Wi-Fi Mesh network to expand wireless coverage, it is currently possible to do so with some operator equipment, but not all allow it.
- Services to use the USB 3.0 port that we have available, mainly Samba and FTP server , although it would also be advisable to use DLNA for multimedia content.
- Advanced configuration options for Wi-Fi and local network.
- VPN server to connect remotely to our local network, integrating the OpenVPN and/or Wireguard protocols.
As you can see, it is not only important that a router has very powerful hardware, but that the firmware is also very complete, something that manufacturers such as ASUS, AVM, D-Link or NETGEAR, among many others, have learned very well. Lastly, it would also be desirable to give users the freedom to choose their own router, allowing the connection to be put into bridge mode without much difficulty, so that the public IP has the neutral router connected behind it.