We recently reviewed Synology’s new router, the RT2600ac. This powerhouse improves on Synology’s former RT1900ac by including better wireless tech, an upgraded CPU and more RAM. While these are great improvements, the excellent Synology Router Manager (SRM) firmware and interface remain, and this is where the real power of the router lies.
Synology Router Manager allows for the installation of packages (apps) from a variety of sources. Synology provides a great range of cloud and security focused packages but also allows you to install third-party packages. This is where the magic happens.
Plex provides a package that’s designed for installation on Synology’s range of NAS devices, but they don’t provide one for Synology’s routers. With a simple change to the package, we managed to get Plex server installed and running on the RT2600ac. This isn’t the only router we’ve seen running Plex (see our review of the Netgear Nighthawk X10), but this is the first one that we’ve seen work with an add-on package.
At the moment this remains unsupported, but I’ve tested it and been running a Plex server for a few weeks without a problem. There are a few caveats: you need to install an SD/USB drive for storage space, the RT2600ac isn’t powerful enough for transcoding, and you are unlikely to get any help if things go wrong.
You can read more about the RT2600ac and how to modify and install Plex in our full review here. For those of you who just want to get straight to the command line, continue reading.
To get Plex Media Server working on the Synology RT2600ac router, I had to download the latest Synology Plex Media Server package from https://www.plex.tv/downloads/. You must choose the ARMv7 version.
The downloaded file is a tar archive file with an “.SPK” extension. You can expand this file (simply double click the file in MacOS Finderand have a look around inside – here you’ll find an INFO file that’s the one we need to modify. The file I downloaded was named “PlexMediaServer-188.8.131.5285-b46e0ea-arm7.spk”. I renamed this to “PlexMediaServer.spk” for simplicity, and moved it into an empty directory. On MacOS/Linux you’ll have the required tar program, if you’re running windows you can use Cygwin, 7-Zip or TarTool.
To expand this archive I opened up a terminal window and typed in:
tar -xvf PlexMediaServer.spk
You can also simply double click the file in MacOS Finder. This unarchives several files, including the one that we want to modify – the INFO file.
The INFO file contains a list of supported platforms, we need to add the ipq806x platform to this line. You can edit this file using TextEdit on MacOS (don’t try to open it through Finder, launch TextEdit first and use the File/Open… command), or nano in the terminal. The file should look something like this:
Save the file before moving onto the next step – re-archiving the files.
At this point we are done with the original PlexMediaServer.spk and need to move it from this folder or delete it (otherwise it’ll get included in the package we are about to build). The command to archive everything into the package is:
tar -czf PlexMediaServerRT2600ac.spk *
This creates the PlexMediaServerRT2600ac.spk package that you can now install on the RT2600ac.
You are now ready to install the package on the Synology RT2600ac. To do this you need to open up the Package Center and change the settings to allow for installation of packages by any publisher.
Once this is done you install the package using the Manual Install button.
After a few minutes thinking Plex shows up as installed and running with a link to the Plex Server. You can then follow the usual Plex setup wizard to add your libraries from the attached storage. The path to your storage will be something like /volumeUSB1/usbshare/@sharebin/ – slightly more convoluted that I’m used to, but it works all the same.
Hopefully, this works out well for you – we’d love to hear your comments. I suspect this won’t be the Plex Server powerhouse that most of our readers are looking for, but it might be a useful backup or secondary server. It certainly shows the flexibility of the RT2600ac and the Synology platform. Read more about it in our full review.