Synology RT2600AC Router Review

In today’s high-tech world, just about every household has at least a couple (or more) smart devices that require an internet connection.  Such widespread use of smart devices has shifted the focus back on the router, which has now become a hub for wireless connectivity and an essential gadget in most modern homes.

It is no surprise that manufacturers are taking the game to the next level with solutions tailor made to enhance the user network experience and make it as simple and intuitive as possible. This year, tech gadgets and innovations from manufacturers indicate how 2017 could be the year where the once-humble router can finally take the spotlight.

Synology, a manufacturer known best for their high quality NAS products, is kicking off the New Year with its newest router, the RT2600AC. Building up on the foundations from last year’s router line, the RT2600AC is a welcome addition that boasts enhanced performance, serious hardware upgrades, and improved wireless functionality.

Down to its core, the router works with the SRM (Synology Router Manager). The operating system provides a desktop-like UI for users to easily manipulate the router in a number of ways. These include management of firmware, configuration of network settings, and analysis on intrusion logs. Newer apps or functionality can be applied to the router by means of the Package Center.

Synolgoy RT2600AC Review – What’s in the Box?

The package consists of the following:

  • 1x RT2600AC Gigabit Wireless router
  • 4x detaching antennas
  • 1x power adapter
  • 1x installation guide
  • 1x Ethernet cord

The Product

The Synology RT2600AC – Powerful and Extremely User Friendly

The Synology RT2600AC is armed with four detachable antennas. Its body is plastic-based and covered with a matte black finish. A majority of the router’s surface contains ventilation holes that allow for cooling. This is a noteworthy design since a majority of today’s routers tend to run hot/warm for longer periods.

At the front edging, an SD card port can be found to the left which allows for you to install a standard SD card. Unlike some SD card slots seen in other models, the RT260AC ensures the SD card goes all the way in instead of leaving the card half sticking out.

At the far right, the model number of the router can be seen.

On the left side of the router is the USB 3.0 port. Beside it is an eject button. An LED indicator is plastered on the button that shows the status of the storage media(s).

On the right side of the router are buttons that toggle Wi-Fi connection (works as a power switch) and WPS. An LED from the Wi-Fi button will light up whenever Wi-Fi is powered on.

At the rear of the router is a power button, a reset button, a power port, a USB 2.0 port, WAN ports, and LAN ports. Take note, the LAN-1 can be re-configured to make it a WAN-2 for active-passive and active-active WAN support.

As previously indicated, the antennas can be detached from the router. If needed, the antennas can removed and replaced with higher-gain versions.

At the base are mounting holes, ventilation slots, and a sticker that displaying product details.

A pointed stand situated at the top portion of the corners can be found. Unlike last year’s line, the stand can no longer be removed.

Product Features

The RT2600AC has evolved from last year. It’s way more robust and is aimed for professional use. It’s a router with dual-band functionality operating on 5GHz and 2.4GHz frequency. The Synology RT2600AC is powered by a great piece of operating system known as SRM. SRM is similar to that od the Synology DSM software used in their NAS products for those that are familiar with them. Its processor is more powerful than ever thanks to its dual-core chip clocked at 1.7GHz.

MU-MIMO Technology

The RT260AC is armed with MU-MIMO technology to help enhance Wi-Fi speeds for any quick devices it detects. It can reach a blistering speed of 2.5GB on both frequency bands at the same time.

Through MU-MIMO technology, the RT2600AC is able to segregate devices into groups. Each smart device can scale the highest speeds possible. That’s like having multiple highways where traffic is separated so fast-moving cars can have their own lane and not be hampered by slow-moving vehicles.

This is essential in a wireless network where devices are in harmony with each other regardless of speeds be in desktop PCs, laptops,, smartphones, smart TVs , tablets, and etc…

The router also contains a USB 2.0 and a USB 3.0 port for connecting printer functionality, adding shared network storage, and others.

Smooth Gameplay and Video Streaming

The router’s network traffic controls and bandwidth priority are easy to utilize. That means users get to experience smooth and fast online gaming as well as low latency.

Video playback can also be enjoyed without buffering when streaming 4k video regardless if it’s from a subscription service or from an external storage played directly from a media player or a DLNA-compatible TV.

Fast Transfer Speeds and Beamforming

With the RT2600AC, sharing of documents and files can be done swiftly with anyone thanks to its upgraded processor and improved signal emission.

Older routers are capable of broadcasting wireless signals from all direction regardless of where a user’s smart device, desktop PC, or laptop is situated. Through Beamforming Technology, the RT2600AC is capable of concentrating its wireless signals to several devices at the same time. This helps minimize latency and power consumption while enhancing wireless range.

Smart WAN and Smart Connect

Users who want an uninterrupted network connectivity will benefit from the router’s Smart WAN technology. The technology lets the router directly connect to the internet by two network interfaces. If one connection is offline as a result of internet-related or ISP problems, traffic will failover on the other interface.

In addition, load balancing can evenly spread traffic on both interfaces according to the customized settings. This routes traffic via a certain interface based on a source/destination address.

If a user has no idea which frequency band to connect a certain smart device to, the router’s Smart Connect will automatically connect a user’s device to the right band. This results to an optimal Wi-Fi experience without going through any technical details.

QualysGuard Security Scan and Dual Guest Wi-Fi

Synology is working hard to ensure a secure software experience for all users. With assistance from QualysGuard, a trusted vulnerability scanner in today’s market, system scans and remediation can be done thoroughly.

A user can make dual guest Wi-Fi networks, which allows visitors to connect to the internet temporarily. At the same time, it limits them from gaining access to local resources, like local files and sensitive data. This is particular handy for businesses or organizations who want to provide visitors with a Wi-Fi connection while keeping sensitive resources out of reach.

QuickConnect and Network Tools

The QuickConnect service is one simple way to access the RT2600AC if a user happens to be away from the office or home. The user can register a customized QuickConnect ID to gain access to the router as well as its linked storage devices. That means doing anything anywhere (as long as an internet connection is present).

The USB port enables the sharing of a printer across a user’s wireless network. Simply plug any USB drive in and anyone connected to the network can make the most of a centralized printer within the network. It’s basically using the printer without adding more wires.

Using It

Setting up the RT2600AC to an ISP (Internet Service Provider) was simple. It’s a matter of connecting the Ethernet cable from the optical network terminal directly to the router’s WAN port.

The process is as follows:

  • Locate the RT2600AC within the network by visiting this site: http://router.synology.com. This can be done in any compatible web browser. If the site can’t be accessed, the following alternative address can be used: http://192.168.1.1.

  • Setting up an admin account is required.  Pick a username and password.

  • Set up a Wi-Fi network via SmartConnect.

  • Select the “operation mode.” Set it as “Wireless Router.”

  • Another viable option is to have the router set up as a “Wireless AP” if the router happens to be already in place. Other options include setting it up as “Auto IP,” “PPPoE,” and “Manual IP.” A manual setup can be done if a pre-configured ISP Profile can’t be found.

  • The router will then apply the configuration. A notification will appear prompting a successful configuration.

Performance

WAN-LAN Test

Based on this test, the RT2600AC was able to clock around 934 Mbps and 939 Mbps for uploads and downloads respectively.

5GHz Wireless Spectrum Test

Within the 5 GHz wireless spectrum, the RT2600AC clocked at 398 Mbps on uploads and 472 Mbps for downloads.

2.4GHz Spectrum Test

Based on the 5 GHz wireless spectrum test, the RT2600AC clocked at a respective 157 Mbps on uploads and 119 Mbps on downloads.

The thing that made the RT2600ac stand out compared to other routers in the market is its Linux-sourced OS known as the SRM (Synology Router Manager). The SRM software is similar to Synology’s DSM (DiskStation Manager) OS this is utilized in all of the manufacturer’s NAS servers. If the user had previous experience with a Synology NAS server, the router’s UI will appear familiar.

Even if a user has zero experience with any Synology router, the SRM is easy to navigate. The router’s UI can accessed from any browser and looks somewhat like computer operating system seen in a Mac OS or Windows OS. As a matter of fact, it’s an extensive interface for a router with items linked and managed in an intuitive manner.

Software

One big factor that pits Synology’s routers from the competition is their built-in software. The manufacturer’s SRM drew its inspiration from the changing and adaptable DSM software. This gives Synology routers as sleek and easy-to-navigate interface that’s robust and versatile.

After logging on to the SRM, the UI has a desktop-like design instead of an overly complex and unorganized configuration page. Digging deep into the software, the network can be monitored and comes with a comprehensive and intuitive interface.

Inside the interface, a plethora of settings are available for configuration. These settings include QoS, parental controls, file sharing, security settings, and others. What makes the SRM unique is its Package Center which can host added software to extend the RT2600AC’s functionality.

The SRM 1.1 is an OS powering the Synology Router. Thanks to its user-friendly UI, managing network and Wi-Fi settings is easy to do while offering a set of tools for novice and professional users. The latest version contains advanced traffic tools not seen in conventional routers. Restricting bandwidth use, halting malicious content, and tuning how data travels at home or at the office can be manipulated.

Network Center

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Control Panel

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Synology Help

Application Layer QoS

Backed by its deep packet inspection engine, the software’s Application Layer QoS (Quality of Service) helps a user get a glimpse of bandwidth consumption from each device and active application. If someone within the network is taking up too much bandwidth on unimportant apps, bandwidth restriction can be imposed for a certain application without directly affecting bandwidth for other apps.

Security Advisor and Intrusion Detection System

This diagnostics tool assists in the optimization of security settings for a certain environment. By carrying out an extensive analysis on network preferences, system settings, and security strength, Security Advisor will significantly minimize security breaches. It also shields the RT2600AC and the user’s entire network from malicious attacks.

Furthermore, standard security tools such as firewall management and DoS, the RT2600AC has the necessary tools in protecting a network from external attacks.

The Intrusion Prevention add-on boasts an IDS (Intrusion Detection System) and an IPS (Intrusion Prevention System) capabilities that actively shields a user’s devices and network from harmful third parties.  IDS makes an analysis on traffic and sniffs out intrusion happening within the network. Thus, improving security to curb security issues. On the other hand, IPS checks network packets to prevent suspicious traffic and requests from making its way into the user’s network.

The RT2600AC works as a highly advanced router. Its NAS functionality makes it even better whenever a connection is made with a USB or external hard drive.

File Station

FileStation is a useful file explorer that shares and organizes files on storage devices linked to the RT2600AC. Files can be uploaded from a computer by means of dragging and dropping them into the user’s browser and sharing them to others by sending out a link.

Cloud Station

Cloud Station allows for setting up a private file sync server to syncing documents and multimedia files between the RT2600AC to desktop PCs, laptops, or mobile devices. Whenever a file on a mobile device is modified, it gets updated automatically in other already-connected devices, allowing for easy movement and manipulation of the file anytime and anywhere (as long as internet is available).

Cloud Station Backup

Cloud Station Backup allows for easy backing up of files from a user’s Linux, Windows, or Mac computer to a storage device linked to the RT900AC. Its file version history allows a maximum of 32 copies for every file. This is more than enough to go back and recover files that were deleted by accident or overwritten.

VPN Support and RADIUS server

The RT2600AC can be converted into a personalized VPN server, RADIUS authentication server, round-the-clock multimedia/download hub, or other useful features for office and home use.

With VPN Plus, a user can have a wide range of network traffic management permissions and tools for optimization and viewing.  There’s guaranteed VPN Plus support with other VPN protocols since it works seamlessly with OpenVPN, PPTOP, SSTP, and L2TP over IPsec.

The software doesn’t lag behind and works incredibly well with the router’s hardware. The RT2600AC can both function as a wireless Access Point with advanced router capabilities.

Other Applications

Another favorable aspect with the router is its mobile applications. It’s easy to control and be informed of the router’s timely state thanks to its wide range of applications that can be installed in smartphones and tablets. Synology is making it better for users by allowing the installation of mobile apps free of charge.

The RT2600AC can be configured and monitored via the DS Router app. It’s currently available for both Android and iOS devices. The app allows for swift monitoring of network traffic, making parental control modifications, managing firewall, tweaking QoS setting changes, and a whole lot more.

Conclusion

All in all, the Synology RT2600AC Router is a high quality product that does what it says on the tin. While it may not possess next generation specs seen in other models, it’s a robust item that can please both home and business users for the long term. Its software package has so many features to easily blow competitors out of the water.

There’s no other router in today’s market with a software capable of bringing in a wide range of functionality such as parental controls, traffic monitoring, IDS/IPS, media hub, and others in a sleek interface that’s easy to navigate.

What completely pits the RT2600AC ahead of its competitors is its manufacturer’s excellent track record when it comes to software updates. While a majority of routers are content sending out a few updates over the course of time, Synology‘s own DSM is made for its DiskStation NASs. That means, newer software updates on the latest routers are also made available in older models.

In addition, whenever newer packages are available, functionality could easily be extended to older routers. The features are readily available at the time the router is purchased.

The RT2600AC can be bought in retail stores or online at around $399AUD. The price may seem a bit high to some people but its excellent performance and easy usage more than makes up for this. It’s able to give home and business users a wide range of capabilities not seen in other router brands.

Where to Buy

If you are interested in picking up the awesome Synology RT2600ac head on over to the official Synology page for more information.

For users who desire a robust and reliable router with an excellent software package, then look no further than the RT2600AC. With its incredibly simple to user interface there is no reason why the Synology RT2600AC router should not people on peoples shopping lists.
Design
Features
Performance
Usability
Value
4.4
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