ZyXEL Communications Corp is a Taiwan based networking hardware manufacturer officially founded in 1989. by Dr. Shun-I Chu.

Dr. Shun-I Chu, Founder of Zyxel

Prior to that, in 1988 he rented a separate apartment in his hometown of Taoyuan which he remodeled to be used as a laboratory. In this space Chu started engineering an analog modem. First headquarters were established in Hsinchu Science Park, based in Taiwan in 1989.

In 1990 the modem on which Mr. Chu worked a year before was successfully developed, given the name U-1496.

Commercial version of the ZyXEL U-1496 high speed modem

Soon after ZyXEL started to push out a number of innovations in the networking/communication technology, starting with an integrated modem/fax/voice device in 1992. This breakthrough set the pace for the next decade and further, becoming a staple in the kind of business practice ZyXEL holds to this day.

In 1995 ZyXEL was honored to be given the responsibility of powering the Taipei National Museum of History with WiFi hotspot, putting it in Asia’s top 10 wireless hotspots of that era. That same year ZyXEL developed the world’s first ever A/D ISDN modem, named Elite 2684.

In 1996 ZyXEL established first abroad headquarters, based in United States. One year later ZyXEL was certified by ISO9001, which made it easier for them to aim at new markets and products.

First European headquarters were established in 1998, located in Denmark. That same year ZyXEL released a new router with built-in VPN (Virtual Private Network) capabilities, in the Prestige 128+ model. This dramatically increased the speed and security of customer’s data exchange, both in homes and businesses. They were the first company to bring this technology to the average consumer.

ZyXEL Prestige 128+ Router featuring VPN technology

In 1999 ZyXEL signed an agreement with Sprint, starting their reputable long year partnership. At the same time, several new headquarters were established in Germany, Norway and Sweden. That same year, ZyXEL launched their website in its original shape and form on domain which they owned since 1997.

Snapshot of original ZyXEL.com website from 1997

In 2002 ZyXEL extended their partnership with commercial service providers, in this case it was Swisscom, Telenor and Deutsche Telekom. By gaining more market share, ZyXEL looked into further extending their networking hardware outreach, so it was decided to start on ethernet switches engineering and designed. Quickly after, first switches were announced for sale.

With innovation being a primary focus of this company and the driver of its development, it comes as no surprise that they released a first of its kind device at that time – an ADSL Security Gateway with 802.11g Wi-Fi and ISDN backup. As such, this was a compact yet very capable device featuring multiple integrations, which were quite useful for small to mid size businesses.

In 2005 more subsidiaries were established, this time in Ukraine, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Poland and Russia. A year later, Slovakia, Malaysia, Singapore, Costa Rica and Thailand became homes to ZyXEL as well.

ZyXEL continued their steady growth and expansion to more service providers as the decade came to an end. A series of “world’s first” devices were also prominent in this era, such as a compact personal firewall, Gigabit active fiber or UMTS 802.11ac tiny cell CPE.

Today, ZyXEL is one of the best networking hardware vendors, with Keenetic being a branch focused to smart home and integration of smart solutions in small to mid-sized businesses.


Editor’s note: This is an informative historical article, for any troubleshooting for your Zyxel product kindly refer to your model’s Zyxel user manual or check out our Zyxel modem troubleshooting category.