Geekzone: technology news, blogs, forums
Welcome Guest.
You haven't logged in yet. If you don't have an account you can register now.
Synology RT2600ac router review
Posted on 6-Sep-2017 19:50 by M Freitas | Tags Filed under: Reviews



Synology is a well-known brand thanks to its storage solutions. One of the main strengths is an expandable operating system, the DSM. The company brought this concept to the network with its router lineup, and has designed a router that is built from the ground up for performance and usability.


With its own network-focused RSM operating system, the Synology router is a powerhouse. With a 1.7GHz dual core processor, quad-stream dual-band WiFi (2.4GHz 800Mbps and 5GHz 1733 Mbps) with 802.11ac wave 2 support - including MU-MIMO, beanforming - and a maximum of 100 connected devices, the Synology RT2600ac is a great router for home and small/medium offices.


Setup is as easy as we would expect from a Synology NAS device: plug the router to your modem (for xDSL and cable connections) or ONT (for fibre connections), point your browser to it and you are just a few minutes away from being online. The entire experience is a complete GUI (Graphic User Interface) implemented inside the browser. This means you will be able to open a configuration dialog while having a network utilities dialog open inside the same browser window.


The Synology RT2600 comes with a dedicated LAN port as well as four ethernet ports. You can also use the first ethernet port for failover or load balancing (traffic spreading) capabilities. You can even pair traffic routing based on destination or source addresses.


The router works with New Zealand ISPs that require VLAN tagging for its traffic (mostly fibre services) and this can be easily enabled at configuration time thanks to the pre-configured settings that come ready to use. You can also manually change this setting if needed, depending on your ISP's requirements.


Application Layer quality of service (something you might need if your Internet service has some speed constraints) can be implemented on a device or service basis and is handled by a hardware-based acceleration engine. This means QoS management should impact minimaly on other network activities.


You also have a SD card reader, plus USB 3 and USB 2 ports. This means you can add an external USB 3 high speed drive for shared storage or a USB mobile data device - which can be used as your failover option or even as the main Internet access (I haven't tested this option).


when adding an external USB 3 drive you have access to a subset of the Synology NAS platform. You can create users, create home folders, share folders and use the router as a fully-fledged network storage device - albeit without the redundancy you often find in multi-drive NAS devices. The Synology RT2600ac supports EXT4, NTFS, FAT and HFS+ filesystems, with a special write cache for EXT4 - which should be your preference here if using storage. LAN-side networked devices can access this storage using a variety of protocols including CIFS, AFP, FTP/FTPS and WebDAV.


Although you can create users with access to the storage sub-system, there's only one administrator in the system.


Like its sibling DSM, the RSM allow you to install software packages, albeit with a limited range when compared to the NAS platform. You do have a VPN server, RADIUS and DNS applications, a download (torrent) manager and a synchronisation server called Cloud Station Server (this one with a client that allows you to sync data from computers in your network to the storage, as a redundancy plan). You also have the option for a DLNA-based media service application. Some third-party repositories exist with additional packages.


The VPN server is very easy to setup and use, and with a load of different options - PPTP (seriously, don't use this as it's an old protocol), L2TP/IPSec, OpenVPN, SSL VPN, and WebVPN. I found both the L2TP and OpenVPN very easy to use - although if you want your VPN connections to be able to access LAN resources and not only an encrypted path to the Internet then you might opt for OpenVPN since this one has an option to access gateway resources. I use the VPN while away from home so that all data I use is encrypted in the network I'm using - very handy at conferences, hotels and cafes. If you have a fast Internet connection and minimum latency then you will have security with minimal speed impact.


You can also enable a SSH service and access the router via a CLI - the user name can be either admin or root and in both case the admin password is the same as the one defined for the admin user.


I was also able to install Let's Encrypt certificates to make the router even more secure to use via HTTPS instead of the standard HTTP.


In terms of security you can define port forward and firewall rules, with options to automatically DENY traffic if a rule doesn't exist, even in case of port forward. You can also create rules parental controls including scheduled access as well as website category filtering - even without using a specialised DNS service such as OpenDNS. You can also schedule WiFi radios and turn those on/off at certain times - as well as phisically turn the radios off using a button on the side of the router.


One of the best features though is the OS update. Synology has delivered quite a few RSM updates this year, addressing kernel vulnerabities as well as new features and bug fixes.


Having said all this, one feature that impacts performance is the Intrusion Detection System package. If you install this you have the option to run it in either detection or active mode. In detection mode it will report on suspicious network activity while in active mode it will actually drop connections based on these detected activities. Rules are automatically downloaded and you can enable or disable rules based on your environment - no use for a rule that applies to a hosted website if you don't have any webserver in your network. This means you need to do a bit of work to get this fine tuned. In my tests, running with all default rules can severely impact speeds - I have a gigabit fibre connection and with IDS fully deployed the traffic speed can drop from 1,000 Mbps to 40 - 50 Mbps. So the advice is here: a more secure network will require you to carefuly plan the rules deployment. Also consider that IDS requires external storage so the faster the better - in my case I have a USB 3 Crucial SSD attached and still saw that impact.


Synology support is perfect - when I first received the router it wasn't yet in use in New Zealand (it's now available in the country) and I found a problem with VLAN tagging. Support remotely diagnosed the problem, created a patch and tested it - incorporating the patch to the mainstream OS release the month after. I can't fault the whole experience.


Click the images below for larger sizes:


Click to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full sizeClick to see full size


comments powered by Disqus
Trending now »

Hot discussions in our forums right now:

Google Maps monthly bill goes up from $1000 to $30000 for Metlink Wellington
Created by freitasm, last reply by Aredwood on 19-Jun-2018 21:33 (26 replies)
Pages... 2

AT and rail transport in Auckland - fail.
Created by kryptonjohn, last reply by kryptonjohn on 19-Jun-2018 22:34 (49 replies)
Pages... 2 3 4

Things to do in San Francisco?
Created by sonyxperiageek, last reply by CJC on 19-Jun-2018 16:26 (80 replies)
Pages... 4 5 6

Gaming Disorder
Created by Fred99, last reply by coffeebaron on 18-Jun-2018 20:09 (20 replies)
Pages... 2

Advice on 10GBE between switches, server & 2 x Workstations...
Created by fritzman, last reply by fritzman on 19-Jun-2018 17:12 (16 replies)
Pages... 2

Password management
Created by DamageInc, last reply by ratsun81 on 19-Jun-2018 16:24 (39 replies)
Pages... 2 3

Costco to open a NZ store within a year.
Created by Aredwood, last reply by eracode on 20-Jun-2018 00:33 (66 replies)
Pages... 3 4 5

On call savings accounts (high interest)
Created by dunnersdude, last reply by mattwnz on 20-Jun-2018 01:10 (27 replies)
Pages... 2