ZyXEL WAP3205 – Not Recommended

Last Fall, I got it into my head that I needed to upgrade my home network’s wireless access point (WAP).  I’d been using an old, but trustworthy, Netgear WG602V2 since around 2001-2002, and while it worked, I was hoping to get something with a bit more range, that supported 802.11N and various newer features.  I decided to try out the ZyXEL WAP3205.

The ZyXEL started out OK, although it did not seem like much of an upgrade over the Netgear.  The range and data throughput weren’t noticeably better.  The problems started after a few months, when I upgraded my Macbook Pro to Mountain Lion.  When I woke my laptop from sleep mode, the wi-fi would no longer automatically re-connect.  I had to manually re-join the network every time.  A pain, but not a show stopper.

The next problem started when I began playing around with AirPlay/AirPrint, both of which use Apple’s Bonjour service, which uses multicasting.  With the ZyXEL, Bonjour was flaky at best: sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.  I couldn’t figure out any rhyme or reason to it, other than that the WAP was definitely the culprit, as Bonjour services worked fine over wired connections.

I read on a web site somewhere that the latest firmware on the WAP3205 addressed some issues with Bonjour.  I was skeptical, because the firmware release notes didn’t mention anything about Bonjour, but I went ahead and updated anyway.  This turned out to be a disaster.  Not only did the new firmware not fix the Bonjour issues, it also messed up the networking on the WAP somehow.  After upgrading, the wired ethernet interface on the WAP started randomly freezing up.  The wireless was still active, but the WAP stopped responding to pings.  This happened a couple of times.  Another time, the interface stayed up for several hours, then froze up my entire LAN.  None of my wired devices could connect to anything else on the LAN.  When I unplugged the WAP3205, LAN connectivity instantly came back.  Word of warning to WAP3025 owners: don’t install firmware version 1.00(BFR.7)C0 (released November 2012).  This is the version that caused the instability with the LAN interface.  I’d recommend waiting until a newer firmware revision is released before updating.  Caveat Emptor.

After the LAN freeze-up, I ditched the WAP3205 and went back to my old Netgear.  With the Netgear, Bonjour works great, I’m able to use AirPlay/AirPrint without any issues, and when my laptop wakes from sleep, the wi-fi reconnects without any problems.  The Netgear isn’t perfect, though.  I’m not able to get AirPlay mirroring working.  The mirroring starts up and works for a few seconds, but then it shuts itself off.  I had the same issue with the ZyXEL, so I’m not sure if the WAP is to blame for this or not.  Searching the net hasn’t turned up a good explanation for this behavior so far, but I’m going to keep looking for a fix.

In short: If you need a reliable wi-fi access point that works with Bonjour, stay away from the ZyXEL WAP3205!

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29 thoughts on “ZyXEL WAP3205 – Not Recommended

  1. Same issues here with the WAP3205 and BFR.7 firmware. Have 3 access points at 3 different sites, upgraded same, within 4 hours the 3 networks all went down. Seems to be that the firmware caused contention over the gateway IP address on each network. Not sure how or why but Zyxel needs to improve their coding skills. A botched firmware like this should never, ever be released. Rolled back to BFR.6 and all has been well again.

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  2. For future reference… Had issues with a Zyxel MWR-222 not supporting Bonjour and had an extended exchange with tech support during the July 2012 timeframe. The end result is that Zyxel had heard from a lot of people about not supporting Bonjour in some of their products, and while the MWR-222 had reached it’s end-of-life and there were no plans to update the firmware, their current products were going to be Apple friendly.

    I recently purchased a WAP3205 expecting that it would support Bonjour, since it is a new product, and was very disappointed to find that it didn’t…which is how I found this post. However…

    I can happily report that as of firmware version 1.00(AAEX.1) released on Jan 8th, Bonjour is working. It seems that they finally fixed the issue.

    Reply
    • That’s good news. My WAP3205 has been sitting collecting dust since I wrote this article. I’ll try upgrading it and see if it fixes any of the other issues I had with the BFR.7 firmware. Thanks for the info.

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    • Firmware version 1.00(AAEX.1) is only available for WAP3205 v2, isn’t it. Will it work on WAP3205 (v1)? I would doubt it, unless you can confirm that it does actually work on the older WAP3205, as well.

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  3. I too updated WAP6205 (Very reliable Access Point) to firmware 1.00(BFR.7)C0, and after using it, it brought down my whole LAN. After disconnecting Patch Connection to WAP3205 the network began to function. I originally installed WAP3205 for our iPhones, and have deployed them in about 10 other client sites. Historically WAP3205 has worked well with Apple’s iDevices (I have MAC OS-X issues), but this firmware update hosed my whole LAN (not sure how it corrupted the wired network). I just rolled back to 1.00(BFR.6)C0, since I have used it for about 1 Year. During my tests yesterday I noticed there are no settings just for 802.11n (you have to use b/g/n mix). I discovered not only is it best to disable QOS., but set WAP to 80211.g protocol only. My router is a ZyXEL NBG5715 which has poor WiFi distance, hence the WAP is used as an Access Point. There is a known bug for 1.00(BFR.7)C0 (see release notes):

    When user change to AP mode, the LAN will change to “User Defined LAN IP Address”

    Well I used a fixed IP address in a different subnet, that sits outside the DHCP pool. I will not be updating any of my customers to firmware 1.00(BFR.7)C0 after this fiasco (and precious loss of time). I hope this is resolved soon, looks like ZyXEL is updating to WAP3205v2 in some countries, but I need the original unit to work with Bonjour services for my Apple Clients.

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  4. I had the same problem with the WAP3205 freezing up after the upgrade to firmware version BFR.7. Following the advice in this column, I went to version BFR.6, and everything works fine again. Thank you for the useful information.

    David

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  5. I have a similar problem with the WAP freezing after a couple of days. Then I can’t connect with the WiFi or access the webinterface via LAN. I hope this roll-back solution works for me too…
    Thank you!

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  6. We have two of these WAP3205 now in the bin. Concur with all the comments about freezing up and wifi randomly disconnecting. No more Zyxel anything for me.

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  7. Not just me then – I have two WAP-3205 units and they’ve been bulletproof! But I bought a new music player and it’s not connecting reliably to its client – someone suggested the WiFi f/w might be an issue so I downloaded and installed the newest available… and now my entire network freezes up most days. Oddly, this didn’t happen whilst I was away on holiday so I wonder if there’s something on my laptop, phone or tablet which “triggers” the strange behaviour, but since I’m back, oen or the other AP freezes up most days and blocks out the wired lan. Since one of them is connected directly to the LAN port of the firewall, that kils my whole internet conection. Except sometimes it only blocks out certain machines. I can see no pattern. Most annoying.

    Waiting on feedback from Zyxel.

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  8. I downloaded the BFR.7 seeing that I was on BFR.6. Glad I found this web page and didn’t try upgrading. I’m just worried that Zyxel will not fix the issues with BFR.7.

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  9. Confirmed! My 3205s (i have two at opposite ends of the house) started to feeze out the wired LAN at random intervals after putting BFR7 on.

    I can’t speak to the Bonjour problem, I have no apple kit, but I was trying to get a uPNP media player working and tried upgrading the f/w on the WAPs to this aim. Still not working, though at least everything else is right again now we’re back on the previous version. But it seems likely the problem with the Apple protocols is probably in the same department as the uPNP multicast traffic I need to work to make my renderer work.

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  10. I bought two WAP3205 v2 and upgraded to firmware (WAP3205v2_V1.00(AAEX.2)C0.bin) and my units started to freeze after a few days.

    I rolled back to (V1.00(AAEX.0).bin) will wait and see if this firmware freezes.

    I will post again in about a week to let everyone know if it freezes.

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  11. News on v2.

    The problem with the uPNP device turned out to be unrelated – turns out it also needs Multicast which needs configuring on the *router*, not the access point. The suppliers were not fast to understand that the WiFi AP and routers were separate devices so it took a while to get to thebottom of it.

    I’ve swapped the v1 box for a v2 box, Smaller black plastic box with taller antennae – sadly the latter doesn’t appear to have improved the range any but it covers the areas i need it to.

    However, after it’s been running for a week, it starts to misbehave. I still appear to have a live connection but it won’t pass traffic. Have to drop and reconnect the client connection, which gets it back. After a couple of days, this starts happening so often, then rebooting the AP is needed.

    I’ll be raising this with Zyxel UK.

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  12. Same issue here. I have two WAP3205’s. I upgraded to firmware BFR.7 on BOTH WAPs and overnight my main 3205 froze my entire LAN! I have my second 3205 located about 200′ away from my home via Cat5e which is hardly every used. It has yet to cause a problem. So it appears that just having the firmware on the box doesn’t lead to it freezing the entire LAN but when in use (which is the case for most people obviously) possibly depending on the amount of use, it eventually freezes everything.

    I’ve have nothing but good performance out of my 3205’s until this firmware update.

    Rolling back now.

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    • My experience exactly, Jason. I upgraded to BFR.7 in August – just to have my WAP3205 freeze my entire LAN up. That’s how I found this thread – looking for possible solutions. After rolling back to BFR.6, my WAP3205 has been stable. I wouldn’t say it’s a great box, but with BFR.6 it seems to be what it is in a stable way…

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  13. Just to update… as of April 10th 2014 BFR.8 is out for the WAP3205 and it’s as bad or worse than BFR.7. Don’t waste your time and effort. So again I stay on BFR.6. Zyxel… anyone home?? I have a pair of WAP3205v2 units and the AAEX.2 firmware on them is pretty crappy too… Lots of dropped or non working connections.

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    • Thanks, William, for sharing your experience. Saves me the trouble of trying the new version. Luckily, BFR.6 appears to be stable, so I’m going to stay at that version. I do find it puzzling, though, that Zyxel are either unaware of the instability or unable to fix it. I mean, BFR.7 – which I’ve tried – messed up my network after just minutes. I find it unbelievable that Zyxel are not aware of it. Makes me sceptic to anything with the Zyxel label.

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      • I’ve got two WAP3205 v2. One of them running for 86 days, the other 8 days. Both on V1.00(AAEX.0) firmware. Honestly, I’m afraid to upgrade the firmware, for fear of breaking my network.

  14. OK , just bought the same unit , and I’m experiencing the Airprint problems. When I set it up it was working fine , after a couple of days it just stopped working.
    Has anyone tried the 1.00(AAEX.3) firmware that is the newest one ?

    Reply

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