Networking hardware is far, a lot more compared to the sum of its parts. For example, on the box, the Synology RT2600AC appears like almost almost every other router. It offers four Gigabit Ethernet ports as well as the WAN port. It offers 2.4GHz and 5GHz networks with 802.11ac speeds as high as 800Mbps and 1.73Gbps respectively, it includes a few USB ports for storage and peripheral sharing. And, as a nicety, it includes a Sdcard reader – but more on all that in a bit.

These specs look great out-of-the-box, but we’ve seen similar before, and it was not good.

But, we’re just likely to stay this immediately – the $199 Synology RT2600ac router gives strong Wi-Fi rivaling mesh systems we’ve installed. The 4×4 MIMO antenna and the router hardware will be able to incorporate the two 2.4GHz and 5GHz radios beneath the same network name and let devices join the air that provides the very best signal.

Nearly every esoteric option you could want when it comes to network settings is available – which actually is great, rather than just being truly a confusing jumble of features.

and all of the LEDs, including WAN1 and WAN2

Synology, historically speaking, is not a consumer router company. Their history is to make network attached storage, or NAS products. Here, they’ve modified the operating-system they ship on the NAS products, added network interfaces for routing, and made something super-flexible, appropriate as a gateway for home or small company.

Network Center covers the essential routing functions

Many recent routers try to make things easy by giving setup wizards, basic and advanced modes, or they strip out features, or make setup possible from a cellular phone software only – and Synology hasn’t gone that way. Synology’s RT2600ac works with the business’s DS Router mobile software making initial setup easy.

After setup, this software is more for monitoring connections and making a few small configuration changes, or scheduling hours when devices can get access to the Internet. The higher versatility in configuration is performed via the browser – a welcome go back to “standards.”

The web software is a desktop and icons metaphor

The interface for the Synology RT2600ac, similar to the NAS products, appears like a desktop operating-system that just is actually running in the browser. It has it’s own menu bar, desktop icons, and a good light App Store, called Package Center. This is often a little daunting if you have never create a network connection without assistance from a setup wizard, but it isn’t difficult once you get the hang of it.

Package Center may be the application store

Network configuration is performed in the sensibly named “Network Center.” Here, you can configure the wyour Web connection from your own ISP – your “wide-area network” – whether that’s just DHCP like you’d use with a cable provider, PPPoE like you’d get from some DSL providers, DS-Lite (dual stack, IPv4 packets encapsulated in IPv6), configure your neighborhood network, port forwarding, quality of service, security, and procedure modes.

It is possible to set the router as an access point, too.

A credit card applicatoin named “Wi-Fi Connect” controls a number of the same settings as in Network Center, but it’s here that settings like scheduling a guest network, or establishing a mesh point system can be carried out. It also enables you to create a captive portal for a guest network.

A Guest Network can have a captive portal page, which is nice

Connectivity
Like we said, the Synology RT2600ac includes a USB3.0 port, a USB2.0 port, and an Sdcard reader appropriate for SDXC and SDHC. You can hook up storage devices and utilize them for file sharing in sort of network-attached-storage-lite way, hook up a printer, and even set that printer up as a Google Cloud Printer. When you hook up a storage device, you can make utilization of it with the DS File mobile app, via the net browser, or FTP/SFTP.

The USB 3.0 port could be set to have slower speeds to be able to not impact Wi-Fi.

For those folks who skip the Apple Time Capsule, Synology enables you to use the linked storage for Time Machine backups by checking a box in the “Control Panel” application under File Services. There’s a checkbox for Bonjour Printer Services aswell, that will advertise the USB-connected printer to the Mac – nonetheless it lacks AirPrint services.

Note enough time Machine settings under Mac File Services, and Bonjour Printer Sharing

Adding features to the router
In the “Package Center” application, it is possible to download a few extensions to the router’s functionality. Media Center turns the router right into a DLNA server, that may allow it serve media to a PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One or Samsung TV. That is just a little less interesting to us as Apple TV fans unless you’ve committed to a DLNA app, but it’s there should you have among these other devices and want to play files to it.

In the event that you install Media Center, it creates the storage designed for DLNA media sharing

Another application in the Package Center is Download Station. Download Station supports BitTorrent, HTTP, FTP, NZB, QQDL and eMule. If you enter a key phrase and choose a file, it’ll download it to the linked storage, allowing for an area, and self-hosted cloud setup. There’s a search field to find files from BT trackers, and it’s possible to include an Feed containing links and also have the router download all of the files in the feed.

It’s interesting that Synology tend to include this application.

Also in the Package Center are networking applications. Threat Prevention is supposed to avoid the router from infection and data compromise, with Safe Access adding parental controls, web filters, and time quotas. The highlight of most it is the VPN Plus Server application allowing usage of WebVPN or a customer application to gain access to the server through a variety of protocols, including SSL VPN, Remote Desktop, SSTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPsec, PPTP, and site to site.

On the trunk of the RT2600ac may be the WAN1 port, USB 2.0, and the four port gigabit switch.

The router has the capacity to turn the first port of the LAN 4 port gigabit switch right into a secondary WAN port for multihoming across two ISPs. If you had Online sites from both a cable and a DSL provider, for instance, you could hook up them both and also have the router set to failover gracefully should among the two connections fail. Or, you could utilize among the USB ports with a 3G/4G LTE modem and use that for failover service.

Here, you can configure the next WAN interface, and set VLAN and port priority for this under IPTV settings

The Synology RT2600ac is probably the most flexible routers we’ve seen. It is not always easy and simple to configure for a few strange edge case uses, but practically every option appears to be there. We used the IPTV settings Synology provides to configure the WAN port on VLAN 2 with medium priority for Quality of Service (QoS), and could actually replace the network box modem our Internet service agency requires. We could actually hook up the router right to the fiber jack, something other routers haven’t had the opportunity to accomplish without another device in the centre. Admittedly, this is esoteric and specific to your ISP, nonetheless it shows precisely how adaptable the Synology RT2600ac is to a variety of situations.

The mobile iphone app is pretty flexible, too.

What’s never to love?
We’ve a few wishes and comments. It’s great that the Mac printer sharing feature supports Bonjour. We wish in addition, it supported AirPrint for iOS devices.

We wish that it included a version of Video Station, the application form Synology includes on the NAS products, which works together with their DS Video iphone app on AppleTV and iOS devices. That might be so superior to DLNA.

Lastly, when these devices needs a reboot, normally it takes up to full ten minutes to turn off orderly and get back to life. From a cold power on, it requires at least 4 minutes for this to be ready. This is simply not an easy booting router, but once it’s booted, it’s excellent.

The Synology RT2600ac has great range and Wi-Fi performance. It has a tiny number of applications in its Package Center to improve features, and it covers from parental controls and threat prevention to downloading files, acting as a light NAS, and a VPN server. It’s relatively simple to setup, and doesn’t eliminate advanced user’s options by firmly taking away features.

There’s too much to like here, in fact it is well known AirPort replacement router up to now.

Score: 5 out of 5.

Where to buy
The Synology RT2600ac is designed for $199.99 at both Amazon and B&H Photo, the latter offering free expedited shipping within the contiguous U.S. for all shoppers.