Synology’s first entry into the router game is a strong one with the RT1900ac. It’s a high-speed, 802.11ac dual band router with speeds up to 1900 mbps. And it’s managed using Synology’s brand of award winning, intuitive operating systems with excellent parental controls and mobile app support. Check out Synology’s RT1900ac now for $149, which is a great value!
Built on the Broadcom BCM58622 chipset, the RT1900ac features a dual-core 1GHz processor and 256 MB DDR3 RAM. The three removable antennas are MIMO Omni-directional high-gain dipole (2.4GHz / 5GHz). The RT1900ac includes four Gigabit LAN ports and one Gigabit WAN port along with a USB 3.0 port and an SD card reader. On the exterior of the router, you’ve got a power button, WiFi on/off button, and a WPS button.
The 2.4GHz wireless signal supports speeds up to 600 Mbps while the 5GHz wireless signal supports speeds up to 1300Mbps. And in real world testing, Synology claims that the RT1900ac can support up to 70 concurrently connected devices. And 40 of those devices were concurrently transmitting data!
The RT1900ac supports Beamforming technology, and dual guest networks. Beamforming is a cool new technology that, with compatible gadgets, the router can aim the wireless signal towards the client hardware to create a stronger, faster connection. Unfortunately, none of my Apple products support Beamforming at this time. Dual guest networks are nice, although I never felt like I needed a guest network. I would trust anyone I invite into my house for an extended period of time with my WiFi password and access to my home network.
Synology’s router is managed by Synology Router Manager (SRM) which is an operating system extremely similar to Synology’s award-winning DiskStation Manger (DSM), which is used for their Network Attached Storage systems. SRM can be easily accessed by any computer on the network by visiting router.synology.com. SRM offers the ability to control all aspects of your WiFi router, including intuitive status dashboards, the ability to change/manage passwords, enable/disable guest networks, access parental controls, managing firewall settings, and much, much more. You can even set up notifications via email or text message when there are status messages or errors with your system. You can even choose whether the LEDs blink and set a schedule for the times the LEDs are allowed to be lit.
Within SRM, there’s an app store called Package Center where you can download 5 apps to customize your router. Your options are Download Center, Media Server, VPN Server, DNS Server, and RADIUS Server. These are a great way to do things like download files to your networked NAS system, or host files through your WiFi network. SRM also comes with free software upgrades as new features or bug fixes become available. Using SRM, you can even set individual limits for individual devices, like setting time limits for kids’ tablets.
There’s also a free iPhone or Android app available from Synology called DS Router, which is an extremely easy way to manage your WiFi network from your phone or tablet. DS Router can assist you in the initial setup, but it’ll also help you manage your WiFi network every day by accessing parental controls, traffic control, or firewall settings.
My experience with Synology’s RT1900ac has been overwhelmingly positive. The install took a total of 15 minutes, including the time it took to climb up on top of our living room entertainment center, uninstall our Apple Airport Extreme, install the Synology RT1900ac, access the SRM software, and complete the setup. Setup through SRM was extremely simple, as SRM guides you through the process with direct and intuitive menus to set your administrator password, WiFi name, WiFi password, etc. After you’re all set up, you can access SRM itself and all of the management options it offers.
With my previous setup, I was using an Apple Airport Extreme in our living room and an Apple Airport Express in our bedroom on the other side of the house to extend the WiFi signal. We aren’t power users by any means, so this setup worked just fine for us. I was skeptical to see whether the RT1900ac would meet our expectations, and was glad to see that it passed with flying colors.
Not only did Synology’s RT1900ac meet my expectations, it actually had better range than the Apple Airport Extreme I had been using previously. As a test, I unplugged the Airport Express in our bedroom to ensure equal testing conditions. Before installing the RT1900ac, I speed tested the Airport Extreme both in the living room as well as in our bedroom across the house. Then, once the RT1900ac was up and running, I speed tested it in both the living room and bedroom. Check out the results below, with some location and IP information removed for privacy.
As you can see from the speed test results, the Apple Airport Extreme only gave me about 500 KB/s download speed in the bedroom while the Synology RT1900ac gave me 3,762 KB/s download speed. Obviously both routers are meant to give you high speeds, but this makes it clear that the Synology RT1900ac has much better range than Apple’s Airport Extreme.
If you’re in the market for a high-speed router and can use the simple management features that SRM and DS Router provide, you have no excuse but to check out the Synology RT1900ac. It’s a great value for the money and it performs like one of the big boys, even though it’s Synology’s first router offering. Although from a design standpoint, it’s lackluster, but who cares? It’s a router. Yes, Apple’s Airport Extreme is a nice-looking white column, but that only matters if you plan on showing it off. Most routers are tucked away and the design isn’t too much of a concern. If you’re looking for nice-looking router, you’ll probably want to look elsewhere.
Source: The Synology RT1900ac was a manufacturer supplied review unit.
What I Like: Intuitive setup; High speeds; Great broadcast range; Dead simple user experience with free mobile app; Expandable experience with add-on packages.
What Needs Improvement: It’s a rather standard router design.