The worst router and brand Zyxel AX7501-B0 I've seen in 35 years @ Cédric Walter | Monday, Jan 8, 2024 | 5 minutes read | 898 Words | Update at Monday, Jul 8, 2024

Zyxel is a company known for producing networking equipment, including routers, switches, and other network infrastructure devices.

warning

UPDATE 2024.07 I stopped using the Zyxel AX7501-B0 WIFI (5 GHz:4800 Mbit/s, 2.4 GHz: 1147 Mbit/s) all together getting frequent cut off in Airplay (1.75m away from Zyxel-AX7501!!), slow Sonos update to the stream. In fact I’m now using an old Synology RT2600ac (5 GHz:1733 Mbit/s, 2.4 GHz: 800 Mbit/s), slower on the paper and the differences are so huge that it is ridiculous. The Zyxel AX7501-B0 is definitely good at … nothing and pure garbage! Shame on you Zyxel!

I can not dump the Zyxel because of internet provider and lack of alternatives, but I would immediately.

10GB XGS PON

The future is OpenWRT-One or its successor, all these router must be oopen source to avoid having another Xyzel!* https://docs.banana-pi.org/en/OpenWRT-One/BananaPi_OpenWRT-One

Security Warning: Avoid Purchasing and Using This Device

List of known vulnerabilities https://www.opencve.io/cve?vendor=zyxel&product=ax7501-b0_firmware

Obtaining updated firmware proves challenging, if not impossible

Zyxel portal is a nightmare, AX7501-B0 return ZERO results try https://www.zyxel.com/support/download_landing.shtml

Official forums indicate firmware availability depends on the supplier, urging users to consult their ISP for AX7501-B0 updates.

A security advisory discovered via Google highlights firmware version V5.15(ABPC.0)C0 as outdated, with no straightforward means to access the latest firmware.

This situation would have been acceptable in 2000, but in 2022, it’s unacceptable. The 10GB speed isn’t worth compromising security.

Firmware updates? good luck getting one

  • ISPs customize images, leading to varied support experiences.
  • Purchased from a retailer? Contact Zyxel for potential assistance.
  • Provided by Swisscom, Salt, etc.? Customized firmware from your provider poses security risks.
  • Acquired from Init7? Applying C0 (default Zyxel firmware) is a fortunate option.

Obtaining new firmware remains challenging, with outdated versions for Swisscom and Init7, each with its unique hurdles.

The latest firmware, V517ABPC3D0 (2023.4), addresses some issues but contains outdated software elements, including the Samba daemon, Linux kernel, and OpenSSL.

Broadcom chipset FOSS support is shit

Despite claims of Broadcom compatibility, the device doesn’t run really OpenWrt smoothly and relies on a modified OpenWrt 14.03 version (OpenWrt older than October 2014!) with butchered and magical Broadcom binaries. see https://forum.openwrt.org/t/zyxel-ax7501-with-xgspon-sfp-10gb-fiber-router-support/157738 Source code can be obtained but code is so old, has broadcom binary, that there is no easy migration path to 23.x

Zyxel Official forums answers:

“For the new firmware, it may depends on your supplier. If your AX7501-B0 comes from ISP, you may need to check with your ISP for new firmware version.”

Found a security advisory by PURE luck in google, yes I have the wrong one V5.15(ABPC.0)C0 (default) support.zyxel.eu/hc/en-us/articles/360019108619-Zyxel-securi… And again NO EASY way to get access to the firmware.

Would have been acceptable in year 2000, not any more in 2022. Having 10GB is not worth the security risk.

Huge Firmware mess

Your ISP customize the image: why?, how much?, where is the protocol of changes? where is the SBOM? at best you get the formware in an emaail, or from a google drive folder!

Bought in a shop like digitec.ch

You can contact xyzel and hope they will help you, but depending on the provider you still have to contact the provider’s support.

You received the router from Swisscom, Salt, …

You have to use another customized firmware from your provider Security wise a nightmare, all of these provider are behind the curve regarding security and patches.

Swisscom: ftp://[email protected]/AX7501-B0/OBM/V517ABPC1C0.bin login: zyel pwd: zyxel

You received the router from Init7

You can apply C0 (aka default Zyxel firmware), Init7 still customize the firmware.

https://nextcloud.init7.net/s/xaq42XkH8wjt9zc (Passwort: ANbrM7BLG5)

In all cases you have to install an unsigned firmware from your provider ☠️

If you can… some units are locked, you may need to root it first https://th0mas.nl/2020/03/26/getting-root-on-a-zyxel-vmg8825-t50-router/

warning

Again they ask you to DISABLE the firmware ID check with SSH (zycli fwidcheck off) before the update is installed! No word if disabling is persisting after the reboot. What a joke Zyxel do not whitelist and let provider sign a firmware. This company is not serious about security.

ssh 192.168.1.1 -l admin

zycli
zycli modelcheck
zycli modelcheck show (Result : "ret:0")
zycli modelcheck off
zycli modelcheck show (Result : "ret:-17")

zycli fwidcheck show (Result : "ret:0")
zycli fwidcheck off
zycli fwidcheck show (Result : "ret:-17")

exit

What is good in this router?

  • Maybe 5GHz speed in Wifi 6 4800MBit
  • You can request the firmware source code but not do anything with it. Outdated and with binaries whose API can not be upgraded

What is bad in Zyxel AX7501-B0 ?

  • Issues persist with 5GHz connectivity for Mac mini and Apple TV 4K, compelling some users to revert to 2.4GHz.
  • Firmware updates present a challenge due to ISP modifications.
  • Lack of automatic updates or alerts.
  • User interface complexity even for IT professionals.
  • Unstable 5GHz Wi-Fi.
  • Zyxel’s Software Bill of Materials (SBOM) is not public, but revealing outdated and end of life packages.
  • Zyxel neglects security concerns, evident in the absence of SHASUM, untrusted FTP.
  • Inability to disable status LED.
  • Unexplained binary updates from Zyxel.
  • Reliance on a modified OpenWrt version 14.03 instead of the latest 22.03.

I would go as far as to say that this company must be out of business and not supported. Zyxel’s network devices can not be recommended.

Their only solution is to adopt the latest OpenWrt and promote automatic warning or update of their firmware.

if only Apple or Synology would again produce fiber router…

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Cédric Walter is a French-Swiss entrepreneur, investor, and software engineer based in Zurich, Switzerland. He spent his career developing software applications for Swiss insurance companies to handle billions of dollars in premiums. He cofounded Innoveo AG and as the software architect developed the no-code platform designed to reduce the manual coding that powers many software apps. As an active participant in the European hacking community, he works on many open source projects including blockchain. Cédric is a winner of multiple hackathons. His expertise include designing back end, event-based, and blockchain systems. Cédric is also the founded Disruptr GmbH, a software development company that offers full spectrum of services for businesses of all sizes.

JAVA full-stack developer since 2000, in Blockchain since 2017, Certified Scrum Master 2012, Corda Certified Developer in 2019, Ethereum smart contract expert in the SWISS Blockchain Security working group

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  • SBHACK19 – LendIt winner of Swiss biggest Blockchain Hackathon. On chain insurance and ledger for agricultural land soil.
  • Member of the Bitcoin Association Switzerland and Cryptovalley association Switzerland,

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