The Synology RT2600AC router is often overlooked as it does not come with the level of brand recognition that NETGEAR and Asus have in this market.
However, that is a mistake that you should avoid as the RT2600AC is an impressive wireless router that comes with a flush of decent features and is designed to deliver excellent internet performance in terms of speed and stability.
What's more – the Synology RT2600AC router is significantly more budget-friendly than most of the high-end routers in the market.
Of course, the question that needs to be answered is whether the lower price equates to fewer features and lower quality performance in comparison to its competition. How does the RT2600AC stack up?
Is it a worthwhile investment for heavy internet users who are on a tight budget? Let us find out.
Dual-core 1.7GHz processor
Simultaneous dual-band Wi-Fi (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac)
Theoretical speeds of 1.73GBps (5GHz) and 800Mbps (2.4GHz)
512MB RAM, DDR 3
X4 Gigabit LAN Ethernet port and X3 Gigabit Dual WAN port
X1 Gigabit WAN port and X2 Gigabit Dual WAN port
Comes with a USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 port
MU-MIMO technology and Beamforming+ 4 x 4 antennas
Classic Packaging and Traditional Design
With a size dimension of 3 x 11 x 6.6 inches (HWD), the Synology RT2600AC takes a pretty standard appearance compared to other, much larger, modern wireless routers.
The design of the RT2600AC also takes a more traditional approach with a practical and conservative appearance that does not aim to take anyone's attention.
That said, every aspect of the RT2600AC's design is implemented with a sense of purpose. One of the most prominent physical attributes of this router is the detachable antennas that can be placed on the back end of the unit.
Checking the device itself, you will notice a bevy of ports such as four Gigabit LAN ports, two USB ports (3.0 and 2.0, respectively), a WAN port, and even an SD card slot.
Additionally, there is one LAN port that can double as an additional WAN port and as a support 2Gbps WAN connection.
Over on the left side of the unit are the Wi-Fi and WPS button. Over on the back, along with the numerous ports, are the power and reset buttons.
Synology did not exactly try to reinvent the wheel when it comes to the RT2600AC's design, and that is perfectly fine.
Why mess with a proven effective (aesthetic) formula?
Instead, Synology mostly focused on improving the performance side of the router, and in that regard, they achieved their goals. The RT2600AC's unassuming appearance is just the tip of the iceberg, and it hides a wealth of excellent features underneath the surface.
You will find the LED status indicators on the front side of the unit underneath the Synology logo. With its black matte finish, the unit's surface can avoid fingerprints and other stains.
The ventilation of the RT2600AC router is increased via the bottom feet that raise the router by 1.5 inches. This gives the unit enhanced airflow compared to flat-lying devices.
The larger router feet at the bottom are non-detachable which, considering the powerful processor used, is an excellent idea to help keep this wireless router as well-ventilated as possible.
Simplicity in Installation and Setup
The Synology RT2600AC router is incredibly quick and easy to set up. Expect to take around 10 to 15 minutes tops, unboxing included, to set up your Wi-Fi network fully.
Make sure to find an open space, preferably in the middle of your home, as the RT2600AC's primary placement. Once you have found the best spot in the house, plug in the router to the power outlet and wait for it to boot up.
Then, please connect to the router via your PC desktop and head onto its official web portal. You can find the address on the instruction manual as well as the default login credentials.
Once you are in, you will be taken to the setup wizard which we recommend you use unless you are well-versed in setting up routers.
This process will take just a few minutes and once done; you will be prompted to change the SSID and password for your Wi-Fi.
You will also be asked to choose the operation mode; you can go with 'Auto IP' if you are unsure how to go about this task.
Functionalities and Features
Packed with Well-Rounded Features
The RT2600AC is a quad-stream router, as is the case with all AC2600 routers in the market.
While the RT2600AC does seem like a run-on-the-mill router in terms of appearance, it is equipped with a unique OS that helps it stand on its own and distinguish itself from other AC2600 routers.
The RT2600AC also features dual-band wireless connectivity. The ceiling throughput speeds of each are 1,700Mbps for the 5GHz and up to 800Mbps for the 2.4GHz band.
Keep in mind that these are theoretical numbers and are the optimum speeds that can be achieved with the placement, location, and ISP considered into the equation.
A Unique OS and Router Interface
We noted earlier that the Synology RT2600AC router is equipped with a unique operating system. This OS is called the Synology Router Management or SRM for short.
What makes this particular router OS unique is how it is delivered. Unlike most router OS that features a primitive and basic interface, the SRM takes cues from a popular OS like Windows.
Going to the official web portal of the Synology router will display a streamlined page wherein you can open several windows and tabs at the same time. This makes navigating the router's interface relatively easy.
SRM even has a nice transition effect which is unlike the barebone and 'rough around the edges' presentation of most router interfaces.
One aspect of the SRM that we welcome is how it is designed to be clear and understandable to anyone who has used a computer before. This OS also raises the question of why others haven't followed suit with this type of router interface.
Everything is in order and streamlined making router setting adjustments, and it also avoids appearing bloated, which is the most common issue when using your average router interface.
Additionally, the Synology RT2600AC also comes with its mobile app, the DS Router. The DS Router allows users to manage their router anywhere from their home at any time. The DS Router is also compatible with Android and iOS devices.
Notable Extra Features
In terms of going a step beyond, Synology offers the Package Center feature. The Package Center is quite similar to your standard app store – except this one is designed so that users can enhance their router's functionalities.
For example, you can install the VPN Package if you wish your router to include VPN features. If you want to boost your home network's security further, you can install the Intrusion Prevention Package.
Also, we recommend you get the Download Station which allows for important files to be automatically downloaded by the router.
At the moment, Synology offers eight free apps with more along the pipeline so expect this wireless router to provide further improvements in performance and convenience soon.
Fortunately, the router does support programs from third-party developers, so you are not limited to what Synology has available in their store. And if you ever feel like you don't need a particular package, uninstalling is as easy as the installation process.
Now, if you think that the free apps that are available in the Package Center are low quality and buggy, you are entirely wrong there, my friend.
All the apps available for download are polished and provide excellent flexibility when it comes to their functions.
A perfect example of how comprehensive these free apps are is with the Download Station program. This app can handle downloading from various sources such as FTP and DHCP servers.
It can also download files from P2P services such as BitTorrent! I would also like to note the Intrusion Prevention Package, which is an advanced security system that strengthens your overall network security.
I also like how this security program can detect the location where blocked threats originated from as well as give highly detailed reports regarding scan results.
Comes with an SD Card Slot
You might think that this is a strange inclusion to a router. Still, you have to understand that the Synology RT2600AC router does not come with built-in storage space, so you will likely need to connect either an external hard drive or an SD card if you wish to take advantage of the Package Center.
Goes A Step Beyond
The RT2600AC router comes with a flexible selection of tools that can help users optimize their network for various uses.
Utilizing these management tools are all relatively easy, and with wireless technologies such as the MU-MIMO and Wave 2 Wi-Fi, the RT2600AC can meet and exceed expectations.
As a mid-range router, the Synology RT2600AC is one of our most recommended in the market. While it is slightly more expensive than most of its competition, this also gives it an edge with additional features, namely the SRM OS.
Thanks to Synology adapting the Wave 2 Wi-Fi features, it manages to surpass the typical limits of mid-range routers.
The addition of MU-MIMO technology also helped its cause as it can support multiple devices without experiencing a downtrend in its throughput speeds.
As you might probably be aware by now, the speeds marketed on the box are just the theoretical speeds and are usually not real-world numbers. Fortunately, after testing the Synology RT2600AC, I can honestly say that it is pretty close to what it advertises.
Testing the 5GHz band and putting it through a speed test, the RT2600AC managed to hit 610Mbps.
The router takes the tools available to it and maximizes it to deliver excellent throughput speeds that are pretty uncommon to find in the mid-range router market.
The MU-MIMO lends a considerable amount to the top-tier performance of the RT2600AC due to its ability to support multiple devices while keeping internet speeds stable on all fronts.
The Synology RT2600AC Router dwells within the mid-range market and is currently available with a price range of $200.
This router has been around for quite some time, so it has depreciated from its initial price tag. That said, it can still easily match up to some of the newer routers in its price bracket, and it is also slightly more affordable.
For its current price tag, with its excellent features and unique OS, I would say give the Synology RT2600AC a shot if you are looking to upgrade to a well-rounded wireless router,
The Synology RT2600AC is a reliable wireless router. While it may not have the brand recognition of NETGEAR and Linksys, it manages to stand on its own by improving upon the basics and optimizing the synergy between the features that it offers.
This results in a surprisingly high-performance wireless router that exceeds expectations.
The RT2600AC also gives users a wealth of customization options to fully optimize their network while keeping its user-friendly interface in tow.
The range is also quite good and makes this router an ideal choice for small to mid-sized homes.
That said, its overall throughput speeds are pretty much what you would expect for a router with this price tag.
It is also designed to be a "Jack of all Trades" so power gamers and heavy internet users might find this router lacking.