Synology is still a newcomer to the home router market. They tried to shake things up just over a year ago by releasing the RT1900AC, their first router featuring expandable packages their award-winning interface. Synology produced a router that wasn’t the fastest but was certainly the smartest. The technology was good, but wireless speeds have moved on with competitors releasing ever faster routers. In this rapidly changing market can Synology keep up?
We revealed Synology’s latest answer when we covered the FCC release for the upcoming RT2600AC – an updated model featuring the award-winning interface and Synology know-how, teamed up with an uprated CPU and AC2600 Wireless technology. Today we get an in-depth look at what this router offers.
The RT2600AC is a significant upgrade and at the heart of it beats a dual-core 1.7 GHz processor teamed up with 512 MB of RAM. On paper, this offers almost twice the performance of the RT1900AC. The wireless technology has also seen a significant bump, now featuring 4×4 AC2600 MU-MIMO WiFi that offers 1733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band and 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band. These improvements should keep the power-user happy and allow the development of more advanced apps for the Synology SRM ecosystem.
One additional change is the price. This has also seen a significant bump, with the new model retailing for around £250/$230. This puts it in the same category as the ASUS RT-AC88U or Linksys EA9500 and significantly more expensive than the Linksys WRT3200ACM or Amped Wireless ATHENA RTA2600.
A few things have stayed the same, including the excellent firmware and SRM interface, integrated SD card slot and USB expansion, the uninspiring case, and more disappointingly the barebones five Gigabit Ethernet ports.
The SRM interface deserves a separate mention – this is one most advanced firmwares available and of the slickest ways of interacting with your router. It isn’t as easy as some smartphone-only systems (if you want, you can always just use the smartphone app, DS Router, to get simplicity) but the interface does a great job of simplifying all the possibilities on offer. You can do basic router setup, advanced application-based monitoring and QoS, or install additional apps for sophisticated network intrusion protection. As we’ll see later, you can even install third-party apps, or develop your own for a truly customisable router.
What’s in the box?
The Synology RT2600ac comes packaged like other Synology products, in a sturdy brown box with stickers detailing the various features.
Open up the box and you are presented with the main RT2600ac router. At first sight this looks similar to the RT1900ac, but taking it out you realise that it’s a lot bigger. Underneath it you’ll find the power adapter, basic Ethernet cable, and four detachable antennas that appear identical to those on the RT1900ac.
The top of the router features the main indicators beneath the Synology logo and surrounded by prominent air vents.
Underneath the front edge you have the SD card slot and round the left side is one USB 3.0 port and an eject button to unmount the SD card before you remove it.
On the opposite edge are two buttons for WiFi on/off and WPS toggle.