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Question ZyXel Router Broke, what to replace with?

Jul 2, 2020
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Forgive me in advance for my lack of technical expertise.

I bought a home a year and a half ago from a guy who founded some tech startup company and was pretty tech-savvy. He had the whole house hard wired with ethernet ports and a combo firewall/router hooked up to 5 different wireless access points throughout the home. The router is a ZyXel USG210. The WAPs are all ZyXel WAC6103D-I units. The access points give great wifi to the whole property including basement, first and second floors, back and front yard. Plugged into the router were two switches, one being a 24 port Netgear ProSafe 24 port gigabit switch and another being a 48 port ZyXel GS1920-48HP switch. These switches run cables to all of the hard-wired Sonos Amps (9 of them), hard-wired ethernet ports, and other connected devices throughout the home. Most rooms have ethernet ports in the house. The internet is coming in through Comcast using an Arris Surfboard modem.

Yesterday our whole neighborhood had an internet outage, but when it was resolved (and all the neighbors internet was functional) I noticed ours wasn't working. The ZyXel USG210 seems to have died - the timing seems strange, as to why it would suddenly die after working fine before the ISP outage. The power lights won't come on, and I verified the plug works with other hardware. All of the access points are still functional, so my devices can see the wifi but can't obtain an IP address. I thought maybe it was just the lights on the box not working and it still had power, but I can't access the router via it's IP address when I connect to the wifi with my windows 10 laptop. I have reached out to ZyXel to troubleshoot but haven't heard back yet.

This router seems to be more than any house needs, in my opinion. The company's website shows it being used for large businesses where tons of people are expected to be connected to the network at once. To buy a new one it's north of $600. Each of the wireless access points also run anywhere from $150-300. So we're talking about an expensive set-up.

If the router is indeed dead, I'm wondering if I try to replace it with the same kind (again, north of $600), or something similar that is more user-friendly. When we bought this house I had to pay someone to come and reconfigure the whole setup because it was too advanced for me, and he (working for a large IT company that services my business) had a hard time figuring this one out. I don't know if I were to buy a different router if it still would work with the ZyXel access points - they are very sleek and blend in well throughout the home, and they do provide broad coverage for the whole property. And if I were to buy another ZyXel USG210 I don't think I'd be able to set up the whole thing from scratch without help.

I've also wondered about getting something more user friendly like the various mesh wifi routers out there such as Nest Wifi, Eero, etc. I am not sure if I would be able to connect the two switches and their 72 ethernet ports to one of these though. I noticed the Nest Wifi and Eero, for example, only have 2 ports, one for the modem and one other that could connect to a switch. Also, with the whole house already being wired I guess a mesh network would be unnecessary. But I'm assuming these kinds of networks are very user-friendly.

Any feedback would be appreciated. Thanks.
 
Hopefully there is nothing fancy like multiple networks behind the current router. Even if you replaced it with the same unit you would have to know how to configure it.

Don't get scammed by the marketing guys. Mesh is just a fancy name for wifi repeater. What you have is massively superior. Mesh is for people that connect between the router and the remote radios via wireless. You have ethernet cables to accomplish this. Don't believe the so called seamless roaming. Wifi was never designed to do that and the end clients not the network control it.

Assuming the network is setup simple with your switches and all your devices all on one network you need nothing special. Pretty much any router will work just plug the switches into the lan ports of the router and you are good. Since your wifi is provided by you AP you really don't need anything fancy. I would be sure you have gigabit wan and lan ports. Even the cheapest routers can pass traffic wan/lan at gigabit speeds. You may want to look at a ubiquiti edge route. This does not have wifi and has some more advanced feature but is still very inexpensive.

Now the big catch is if your current router was doing more just simple NAT. Things like firewall rules or vpn or traffic filtering use the CPU in the router. To get high speed you need more expensive devices. Most home routers for example can not run more than say 30mbps of vpn traffic.

Hopefully you know some basic stuff like what IP are being used. You want to set the new router to use the same lan range and make sure you set the dhcp to not overlap any static ip currently assigned.
 
Jul 2, 2020
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Thanks for replying. Right now I plugged the internet into my Linksys WRT AC1900 that I used to use in my old house just to get wifi going while I figure this out. It does have 4 gigabit LAN ports. I remember when the guy came to help me set up the router that's now dead, he reset the whole thing and got all of the access points set up with it and it took him a long time to do it. That's the part I'm not sure I could manage. Should the ZyXel WAPs work with any router? Also as for setting up the router to use the same LAN range, etc that is above my knowledge level.
 
Generally AP are pretty stupid. Your issue with the ip addresses say the AP has IP 192.168.0.100 but your router uses 192.168.1.1 then they are on different subnets. The AP itself will work but you can not log into it to manage it. The other case lets say your router uses 192.168.0.1. Now they are on the same subnet and you can manage them but your router may also give out the 192.168.0.100 ip to another device.

In both cases the AP will allow devices to connect and get ip from the router. The problem is the IP assigned to the AP itself causing issues.
 
Jul 2, 2020
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Thanks for replying. So I just plugged both switches into my older Linksys router and everything in the houe is working again. Should I expect issues with this? The Linksys is certainly more user-friendly. I bought it back in 2016. Do you foresee any issues w/ continuing to use it, or should I think about upgrading to something newer/better to use with the ZyXel access points?
 
It will work fine if all you need is the simple router function. The device you had before was a fancy firewall but if you were not using any of the features a consumer router is just as good....well better for novice since it doesn't have all the extra junk to confuse you.

The only concern will be duplicate IP addresses. The AP likely have fixed IP assigned. If your router gives one of these to a end device you can get issues on that device. If you do not know the IPs used by the AP try one of the lan ping scanners and see. Your router may or may not also see these devices. If you find nothing everything will work but you will likely not be able to log into the AP and make configuration changes until you find the IP they use.
 

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