Zyxel SCR 50AXE WiFi 6E Security Router Review: Alternative to the more expensive Zyxel gateways?

Pages: 1 2

At 5 feet, I saw an average of 589Mbps up and 437Mbps downstream, while at 45 feet, I measured an average of 152Mbps up and 90.8Mbps downstream. At 70 feet (-84dB), the throughput was somewhat usable: 19.2Mbps up and 11.1Mbps downstream, but the most important factor was that the phone saw the signal – it usually does not connect to access points or routers so far away.

UPDATE: Zyxel has made available the 160MHz channel bandwidth on the 5GHz radio so I had to see how well it performs. As you can see from the graphs, it is pushing very close to 1Gbps even at about 30 feet away from the router. But, do keep in mind that these are single-client tests and do not really reflect what you may see unless you have a single client device doing one task and almost no interference. For this reason, I do currently prepare a multi-client stress test and will re-test the Zyxel SCR 50AXE once more to show the results that I got.

Zyxel SCR 50AXE vs Zyxel NWA220AX-6E vs EnGenius ECW336 – 80MHz – 5GHz – 5 feet – Upstream

The Wireless Test (2.4GHz)

To check the wireless performance of the 2.4GHz radio, I connected only three client devices, the WiFi 6 one and the two WiFi 5 clients. This way, while the AX200 was connected to the 2.4GHz band (40MHz), I managed to measure an average of 358Mbps upstream and 311Mbps downstream (-33dB), which is impressive for this particular WiFi standard.

Zyxel SCR 50AXE – Wireless Test – 2.4GHz – WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 client devices – Upstream
Zyxel SCR 50AXE – Wireless Test + Signal Strength – 5GHz & 2.4GHz – WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 client devices – Upstream

The throughput remained excellent even at 45 feet, where upstream, it was 130Mbps and 114Mbps downstream; at 70 feet (-70dB), it was still very much possible to run most apps and only software considering the 50.4Mbps up and 42Mbps downstream. The Intel 8265 laptop also did well, and I have measured an average of 180Mbps at 5 feet, 84.6Mbps at 45 feet and 55.1Mbps at 70 feet, all upstream.

The Pixel 2 XL performed at a lower level, which is normal for this device. At 5 feet, I saw an average of 133Mbps, while at 45 feet, it was 28.1Mbps and at 70 feet, the point where most devices no longer connect, the Pixel 2 XL still delivered an average of 5.7Mbps up and 4.7Mbps downstream.

Zyxel SCR 50AXE – Wireless Test – 2.4GHz – WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 client devices – Downstream
Zyxel SCR 50AXE – Wireless Test + Signal Strength – 5GHz & 2.4GHz – WiFi 6 and WiFi 5 client devices – Downstream

The Installation Process and the Bugs I Encountered (Which are now fixed)

Usually, when setting up any Cloud-managed Zyxel device, things went smoothly, but I did initially experience some weird behaviors when installing and configuring the Zyxel SCR 50AXE. Before anything else, know that the wireless router is Cloud managed, so there is no dedicated interface that will allow you to configure the device offline. You can check its status by accessing the IP address (in my case, it was, but overall, it’s so limited, it’s barely worth mentioning.

Then again, it can help a bit when the Internet connection is down and there is no communication with the Cloud. To set up the Zyxel SCR 50AXE, I could either download the Nebula app or just configure it via the web browser – I went with the latter. The wizard asked me to set up the TimeZone and then it immediately tried to access the Internet – if there’s no cable connected, you’re stuck here since there’s no way to progress without access to the Internet (mhm..).

Setting up the SCR 50AXE.

After connecting the Internet cable to the WAN port, I decided to go with DHCP, since my alarm system raises a ruckus when I disconnect the main router from the Internet. With the initial firmware, I encountered the issue where the LAN ports did not work. I (weirdly) assumed that maybe the router didn’t like that it was daisy-chained, so I made a direct connection to the modem, set up PPPoE and I got a link. For a couple of minutes because afterwards, it dropped again.

And then it returned and dropped, so I got back to DHCP which suddenly started working and remained solid ever since. That’s when I started to think that maybe it wanted to communicate with the Cloud all along which is why I got all this weird behavior. The aforementioned issue has been solved with the newest firmware upgrade – I checked it and now it works flawlessly. The registration part is straightforward and painless – if you went the same route as I did, then enter the Serial Number and MAC address into the Organization-wide > License & inventory > Add section.

Local management – very limited.

Then, simply appoint it to a site. I mistakenly added it to a site that already had a gateway and Nebula gave me an error asking if I wanted to remove the previous gateway in favor of the new one. I then manually removed the previous gateway (USG Flex 100) and tried to manually assign the Zyxel SCR 50AXE to the site. It took a couple of minutes and it finally worked.

The Nebula Cloud management experience and other Bugs I encountered

After adding the Zyxel SCR 50AXE to the Nebula Cloud platform, I had to wait a bit until the WiFi networks got propagated and the main area of interest is the Configure > WiFi SSID settings. Here, you need to make sure that you set up the 6GHz SSID and that it’s enabled.

Setting up the SSID + a weird behavior.

Then, go to Configure > Security router and Radio Settings. Scroll down to the list of Access points (it will include the Zyxel SCR 50AXE) and select each radio band to set up the channel bandwidth (make sure that the 6GHz uses the 160MHz). These are settings that pertain to this specific router and will override the general values. I have encountered some issues while setting up the SSIDs and the radios – the 2.4GHz SSID duplicated itself and its clone would only use the 5GHz radio. I deleted the SSID and I created a new 2.4GHz network.

All went well up until I saw that the deleted SSID still persisted, not as a clone, but as a ghost. I can still see an SSID1 network being broadcasted, despite not existing in the Cloud management. This doesn’t seem to have been fixed by the new update since I still see the ‘ghost’ SSID1. Another weird behavior that I encountered was in Devices > Security router where the Port section said that all my Ethernet ports, including the WAN are disconnected – sometimes the port icons would become green, but often times they did not.

LAN and WAN disconnected? Not really.

Additionally be aware that while changing a setting on a regular router takes a few seconds to apply, that’s not the case on the Zyxel SCR 50AXE. No, these changes need to occur on Zyxel’s servers and then applied to the device which can take a while – sometimes it took a few seconds, other times, at least 3 minutes.

There was talk that the Zyxel SCR 50AXE is a security router, so what does it offer by default, without any additional subscription? If you go to Configure > Security router > Threat management, we can see that Zyxel offers Ransomware / Malware Prevention, Intrusion and Dark Web blockers, as well as Stop mail fraud and phishing. I also saw the Block ads and VPN Proxy options there which I am sure many users will appreciate very much. It’s also possible to create an Exception list, as well as add Allowed or Blocked Domains.

Some of the security features.

There’s also the Traffic Management but which keeps the Content filtering under a subscription. Other sections include the Firewall, the Site-to-Site VPN, as well as the SSID advanced settings. You can change pretty much all the options here (overwriting the default values), but know that a few features are locked behind the Pro Pack – Dynamic personal PSK, Voucher.
I have been using the Nebula controller for a long time with lots of Zyxel hardware (access points, switches, gateways) and it always worked well, so I can only assume that it is a new type of device that’s added to the platform and it does not properly communicate with the servers yet.

Some things have been ironed out with the new firmware update, but there is still work to be done (hopefully by next month). I have mentioned it several times over the article, but understand that this is a Cloud security router meant to work with other Zyxel devices. So it’s pretty much an alternative to the more expensive gateways from Zyxel, but, if you decide to use it as a home router, know that you are dependent on the Nebula servers.

Setting up the dedicated settings of the security router

The Conclusion

I think that the Zyxel SCR 50AXE is a more budget-friendly alternative to the regular Zyxel gateways in a smaller office where the extra cost would not be justified. And you do get most of the expected security features, plus a few more if you’re willing to go with the Pro pack (includes Real-time threat intelligence powered by Trellix and web filtering). But the most interesting feature is the support for WiFi 6E which, despite being limited by a Gigabit connection, still performs spectacularly, as expected.

I have encountered some issues which seem to have been fixed by the latest updates, so in its current state, it’s a well-rounded WiFi 6E router. which I blame on the miscommunication between the router and the Cloud platform, some of them were fixed with the newer updates, others still have the work-in-progress status, so there are apparently some growing pains. Also, the Zyxel SCR 50AXE is a Cloud-only router, so it requires a continuous connection to the Nebula servers in order to be able to be configured and monitored.

Pages: 1 2

Zyxel SCR 50AXE













  • The 6GHz radio
  • Very good wireless performance across all three radio bands
  • Security features


  • I have experienced some weird issues when setting up the router
  • The SSIDs would behave weird (despite being deleted, the main SSID still remained active)
  • Gigabit limitation
  • No local management tool

Leave a Comment