Synology Router RT2600ac Review

The Synology RT2600ac wireless Gigabit router is the latest addition to Synology’s router family. It is the successor to the RT1900ac. At the core of the RT2600ac is the Synology Router Manager (SRM) operating system. SRM offers an intuitive desktop-like interface for users to manage various aspects of the router like network settings, firmware management, reviewing intrusion logs, etc. New capabilities or applications can be added to the RT2600ac via Package Center.

Hardware Acceleration Engine offloads the CPU from more intensive Layer 7 features like Quality of Service.

The Synology RT2600ac is an AC2600 class WiFi Gigabit router capable of delivering contents wirelessly up to a combined speed of 2.53 Gbps. It adopted the 802.11ac wave 2 standards and comes with 4×4 MU-MIMO Quad-Stream and Beamforming features. It also comes with a Hardware Acceleration Engine to offload the CPU from more intensive Layer 7 features like traffic control/ Quality of Service.

Storage media(s) can be attached to the RT2600ac via the SD card slot and/ or USB ports to boost its storage capacity for features like Intrusion Prevention or simply to turn the RT2600ac into a Network Attached Storage (NAS).

Key Components of the Synology RT2600ac WiFi Router
ProcessorQualcomm IPQ8065 (dual core 1.7 GHz)
Memory512 MB
Flash8 MB
Storage4 GB eMMC
SwitchQualcomm Atheros QCA8337 (10/100/1000 Mbps)
Radio2 x QCA9984
Data rates up to 2.53 Gbps (1733 + 800 Mbps)
Wireless Standards 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
WAN Port 1 x Gigabit WAN or 2 x Gigabit WAN (Dual WAN)
LAN Ports 4 x Gigabit LAN or 3 x Gigabit LAN (Dual WAN)
External Ports1 x USB 3.0
1 x USB 2.0
1 x full-depth SD Card Reader (SDXC, SDHC)
Size (H x W x D) 77 mm x 280 mm x 169 mm (without antenna)
Weight 0.7 kg
Mischttps://www.synology.com/en-global/products/RT2600ac
https://wikidevi.com/wiki/Synology_RT2600ac
Suggested Retail Price: S$365

Unboxing the Synology RT2600ac

The Synology RT2600ac, like the most of the Synology products, came in a iconic brown package.

The front of the box. Simple and just a sticker stating the product and capabilities
The back of the box with a sticker showing the capabilities of the RT2600ac
The RT2600ac wireless router, power adapter, Ethernet patch cord and Quick Installation Guide

The package comes with the following:

  1. Synology RT2600ac Gigabit Wireless router;
  2. Four detachable antennas;
  3. Power adaptor;
  4. Ethernet patch cord; and
  5. Quick Installation Guide.
The power adapter is rated 12V 3.5A

The power adaptor is rated 12V 3.5A.

Looking at the design of the RT2600ac

The RT2600ac wireless Gigabit router itself. It comes with four detachable antennas.

The Synology RT2600ac comes with four detachable antennas. The body itself is made of plastic with matte black finish. Most of the router’s surface have ventilation slots for passive cooling. This is great as most routers nowadays run a little hot/ warm to touch.

Ventilation slots on the body of the router. This is great as most wireless routers run pretty warm/ hot nowadays
The SD card slot on the left and RT2600ac model number on the right

On the front edge of the RT2600ac, you will be able to find a full-depth SD card slot on the left. It allows a normal-sized SD card to be inserted fully into the slot. This is unlike the half-depth SD card slot found previously in the Synology RT1900ac where half of the SD card sticks out of the router. On the right is where you will find the model number of the router – RT2600ac.

A USB 3.0 port and eject button on this side of the RT2600ac

On the left edge of the RT2600ac is where the USB 3.0 port and (storage) eject button are located. The eject button has a LED indicator on it to display the status of (attached) storage media(s).

The WiFi on/off button and WPS button on this side of the RT2600ac

On the right edge of the RT2600ac are the buttons for toggling WiFi connectivity (switching on/ off WiFi) and WPS. The LED on the WiFi button will be lighted up when WiFi is enabled.

The power button, power port, reset button, USB 2.0 port, WAN port and LAN ports

On the back edge of the RT2600ac are the power button, power port, reset button, USB 2.0 port, WAN port and LAN ports. One point to note is that the LAN-1 can be reconfigured to become WAN-2 for active-active or active-passive WAN support.

The antennas are detachable in case you have better (higher gain) antennas

As mentioned earlier, the antennas are detachable so the stock ones can be replaced with higher gain antennas if required.

Ventilation vents on the base of the RT2600ac. Near the top are mounting holes

On the base of the RT2600ac are the mounting holes, (more) ventilation slots and the usual sticker with product information.

The pointed stand at the top corners of the RT2600ac (in the above picture) are no longer removable like the ones in RT1900ac. With the non-removable (pointed) stands, I am not sure how I can mount the Synology RT2600ac to vertical surfaces like walls or cabinets. There are also no mounting brackets included in the package.

Previously for the RT1900ac, there is an additional stand that can be attached to the router (via the mounting holes) to allow the router to stand upright like in the picture above. Perhaps Synology can include a stand to allow the RT2600ac to stand upright on tabletops.

The RT2600ac and RT1900ac on the left and right respectively. Look at the size of the RT2600ac!

Lastly, the RT2600ac is physically bigger than the RT1900ac. The RT2600ac would take up a fair bit of table space considering that it cannot be placed upright like the RT1900ac.

Understanding MU-MIMO, AC2600, etc.

At this juncture, I guess most of us are confused over the terms like AC2600, 4×4 MU-MIMO, Quad-Stream, etc. Lets go through some of these terminologies and understand how does it affect the performance of your wireless router (like the Synology RT2600ac).

The performance of the wireless router depends on a lot of things, some of them are:

  1. Combined wireless speed (i.e. AC1900, AC2600, AC5200, etc.);
  2. Number of spatial streams;
  3. MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) support; and
  4. Wireless clients’ compatibility.

The Synology RT2600ac is a AC2600-class router and it supports up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 1733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, making a combined wireless speed of 2533 Mbps (2.53 Gbps). It is also a quad-stream (4 stream) MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple Input Multiple Output) router.

Combined wireless speed

This is the figure you often see on the boxes of the routers’ box or how they are advertised on posters. The figures (AC1900, AC2600, AC5200, etc.) are the combined wireless data transfer rate of both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. For a AC1900-class router, it is actually the combined throughput of 600 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band.

The RT2600ac is a AC2600-class router and it supports up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 1733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, making a combined wireless speed of 2533 Mbps (or 2.53 Gbps).

Number of spatial streams

Currently, the Wireless-AC standard supports up to 433 Mbps on a single stream. So for a router with single spatial stream to support multiple wireless clients, each client device takes turns to to utilise the stream. This takes place in quick succession so it looks like a solid stream of data to each devices.

However, for routers that support multiple spatial streams like the AC2600-class routers. They support up to 4 streams (4 x 433 Mbps) up to a maximum (combined) speed of 1733 Mbps. So if you have a client that supports 4 streams, you will be getting the full speed (1733 Mbps).

The RT2600ac supports 4 spatial streams.

MIMO (Multiple Input Multiple Output) support

MIMO actually refers to the way bandwidth is split up by the router and pushed to individual client devices. MIMO is actually further divided into SU-MIMO and MU-MIMO.

SU-MIMO (Single User, Multiple Input Multiple Output) routers are only capable of pushing data to a single client at any given time. That means that if there are 2 clients streaming videos concurrently, one of the clients will get priority to stream a few bits of data before the other starts stream. The clients take turns to stream.

In the case of MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple Input Multiple Output) routers, each client will have their own spatial stream (up to the maximum allowed by the router). In the case of a 4 spatial streams router and 4 clients, each client will have its constant stream of data without compromising the speed of the other clients at any time. However, if a 5th client comes into play, it will have to share a stream with another device in the same way a SU-MIMO router would. Lastly, in order for MU-MIMO to work, both the router and client must have MU-MIMO capability.

The RT2600ac is a MU-MIMO router.

Wireless clients’ compatibility

As you read through the above points, you would have realised that the wireless client will need to be compatible in order to reap the maximum wireless speed. It will need to have a matching number of supported spatial stream and MU-MIMO capability. However, client devices and wireless adaptors are usually not as capable as their router counterparts.

Other than technical specifications/ capabilities, the environment which the wireless router is deployed in also plays a huge part in its performance. Excessively reflections/ multi-paths, noise, blockage from furnitures, etc. all affects its wireless performance. So, don’t be dismayed when you can’t attain the maximum wireless speed.

So the Synology RT2600ac is a …

The Synology RT2600ac is a AC2600-class router and it supports up to 800 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz and 1733 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, making a combined wireless speed of 2533 Mbps (2.53 Gbps). It is also a quad-stream (4 stream) MU-MIMO (Multiple User, Multiple Input Multiple Output) router.

Setting up the Synology RT2600ac

Let’s do a quick run through of the set up process. To set up the RT2600ac for my Internet Service Provider is easy, I just have to connect the ethernet cable from the optical network terminal (ONT) to the WAN port of the RT2600ac. What’s left is just to click through the guided set up process.

You can easily locate the RT2600ac on the network by visiting http://router.synology.com using your web browser. Alternatively, it should be at http://192.168.1.1.
The very first step is setting up an administrator account. You are free to choose the username and password. For simplicity sake, I left it as “admin”.
The next step is setting up the WiFi network (smart connect).
Choosing the operation mode. I am setting it up as a ‘Wireless Router’.
The other option is to set up as a ‘Wireless AP’ if you already got a router in place.
My Internet Connection requires me to set it to ‘Auto IP’.
Other options include ‘PPPoE’ and ‘Manual IP’.
The available ISP Profiles.
Other available configurations as part of ISP settings.
If you can not find a pre-configured ISP Profile. You can set up one manually too.
That is all to the set up. The RT2600ac starts applying the changes and will prompt you when it is done.
The set up is done and it is time for some introduction to the Synology Router Manager (SRM).
Welcome introduction to SRM.
The quick tips.
The quick tips.
The quick tips.
The quick tips.
The quick tips.
Last bit of the set up. I urge you to sign up for a Synology Account for DDNS and various features. Do also enable periodic update for SRM.
A new firmware update was released on 12th January 2017. Doing my due diligence to update before proceeding with the review.
Updating the firmware of the Synology RT2600ac.
Yeap. That’s all to the SRM update. It will be back after the reboot.
The RT2600ac will be updated to the new firmware version after the reboot.

Running through the SRM on the RT2600ac

I did a quick (video) run through of some of the set ups within the Synology Router Manager pertaining to network configurations, system settings, etc. Hope it helps you to get an idea of how intuitive and desktop-like the user interface is on the Synology RT2600ac.

In fact, it remains pretty similar to what we saw in the Synology RT1900ac previously.

Speed Test

iperf3 was used to measure the throughput of the Synology RT2600ac on wired, 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz. The following iperf3 parameters were used for the tests:

Test Command
Uploadiperf3 -c -w 640k -P 5 -t 60
Downloadiperf3 -c -w 640k -P 5 -t 60 -R

The following equipments were used for the speed test:

Type Equipment
Router Synology RT2600ac on 1.1.3-6447
AC2600 (2.4 GHz: 800 Mbps, 5 GHz: 1733 Mbps)
iperf3 server iperf3 server docker container on Synology DS1515+
iperf3 client iMac 27" (mid-2011) with D-Link DIR-890L as wireless client
Wireless Client DIR-890L on dd-wrt
AC3200 (2.4 GHz: 600 Mbps, 5 GHz: 1300 Mbps + 1300 Mbps)

The iperf3 server is connected to the WAN/Internet side of the Synology RT2600ac while the iperf3 client is on the LAN side of the Synology RT2600ac. The wireless client is placed 3 meters away from the Synology RT2600ac.

The speed test for wireless on 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum will be limited to 600 Mbps and 1300 Mbps. Hence, the results will be better with a matched wireless client.

Using the DIR-890L as wireless client

Using the D-Link DIR-890L as a wireless client for 5 GHz (1300 Mbps) and 2.4 GHz (600 Mbps).

As I do not have a compatible wireless client for the testing, I decided to make use of the DIR-890L as a wireless client instead. So my testing client is hooked up to the 1 Gbps LAN port for the entire wireless test.

WAN-LAN (wired without Traffic Control)

In this test, the Synology RT2600ac managed to clock 940 Mbps and 942 Mbps for upload and download respectively. This is also a baseline test to ensure the testing endpoints do not bottleneck the speed test.

The RT2600ac managed to upload at an average speed of 940 Mbps on wired connection.
The RT2600ac managed to download at an average speed of 942 Mbps on wired connection.

WAN-LAN Speed Test (Traffic Control Enabled)

The RT2600ac’s throughput is unaffected even when traffic control is enabled. Great!

Packet filtering or Traffic Control often impacts the throughput as it needs to inspects the packet or limit the flow rate according to some configured rules. Hence, traffic control was enabled to see if the RT2600ac is affected in terms of throughput.

I am glad to know that the RT2600ac’s throughput is not affected even when traffic control is enabled. It managed to clock 940 Mbps and 942 Mbps for upload and download respectively.

With Traffic Control enabled, the RT2600ac managed to upload at an average speed of 940 Mbps on wired connection.
With Traffic Control enabled, the RT2600ac managed to download at an average speed of 942 Mbps on wired connection.

WAN-LAN Speed Test (with Intrusion Prevention System enabled)

Intrusion Prevention System (IPS) is one of the packages that you can add to the RT2600ac via the Package Center. There are two modes of operations – ‘Detect’ or ‘Prevent’.

The settings used for the IPS in this test are:

The Intrusion Prevention settings used for the test.
The signature rules enabled for the test.
The signature rules enabled for the test.

In ‘Detect’ mode, the Synology RT2600ac clocked 302 Mbps and 599 Mbps for upload and download respectively. The CPU and memory utilisation was observed to be higher during the transfer. The CPU utilisation, in particular, was almost maxed out while memory usage hovered around 60%.

On IPS ‘Detect’ mode, the router managed an average upload speed of 599 Mbps on wired connection.
On IPS ‘Detect’ mode, the router managed an average download speed of 599 Mbps on wired connection.
On IPS ‘Detect’ mode, the CPU usage spiked up during the speed test.

In ‘Prevent’ mode, the Synology RT2600ac clocked 49 Mbps and 71.3 Mbps for upload and download respectively. The CPU and memory utilisation was also observed to be higher during the transfer. The CPU utilisation, in particular, almost maxed out while memory usage hovered around 60%.

On IPS ‘Prevent’ mode, the router managed an average upload speed of 49 Mbps on wired connection.
On IPS ‘Prevent’ mode, the router managed an average download speed of 71.3 Mbps on wired connection.
On IPS ‘Prevent’ mode, the CPU usage spiked up during the speed test.

Wireless on 5 GHz spectrum

As mentioned earlier, the speed will be limited by the wireless client (limited to 1300 Mbps).

On the 5 GHz wireless spectrum, the Synology RT2600ac clocked 406 Mbps and 485 Mbps for upload and download respectively.

The RT2600ac managed to upload at an average speed of 406 Mbps on 5 GHz.
The RT2600ac managed to download at an average speed of 485 Mbps on 5 GHz.

Wireless on 2.4 GHz spectrum

As mentioned earlier, the speed will be limited by the wireless client (limited to 600 Mbps).

On the 5 GHz wireless spectrum, the Synology RT2600ac clocked 161 Mbps and 125 Mbps for upload and download respectively.

The RT2600ac managed to upload at an average speed of 161 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.
The RT2600ac managed to download at an average speed of 125 Mbps on 2.4 GHz.

Speed Test Summary

Test Upload (Mbps) Download (Mbps) Notes
Wired940942
Wired (Traffic Control enabled)940942
Wired (IPS enabled – 'Detect')302599
Wired (IPS enabled – 'Prevent')4971.3
Wireless 5 GHz406485 Wireless client is limited to 1300 Mbps
Wireless 2.4 GHz161125 Wireless client is limited to 600 Mbps

Unlike the RT1900ac, the Synology RT2600ac‘s throughput is unaffected when traffic control is enabled. Now, it is possible to rate-limit certain clients without impacting the overall throughput.

5 thoughts on “Synology Router RT2600ac Review

  • January 16, 2017 at 5:58 pm
    Permalink

    Hello. What is performance with IPS on?

  • January 19, 2017 at 10:18 pm
    Permalink

    Have updated the speed test with intrusion prevention system enabled in either ‘Detect’ or ‘Prevent’ mode.

  • February 7, 2017 at 9:27 am
    Permalink

    So I upgraded to the RT2600ac based off this review. My WAN to LAN performance with traffic control enabled on the 2600ac is cut around 80mbps when enabled (download speed only, upload is not effected).

    Traffic Control Off: 360mbps download, 24mbps upload
    Traffic Control On: 280mbps download, 24mbps upload

    That’s setting my max download speeds to 350mbps (43750 KB/s) and 24mbps upload (3000 KB/s). Any ideas why I am seeing over a 20% drop in download speeds due to traffic control? I had the same problem with the RT1900AC router and was hoping this new version would alleviate my issue.

  • February 7, 2017 at 6:56 pm
    Permalink

    I think the line speed setting on the RT2600ac could be slightly off. If you set it at a higher value (e.g. 51200 KB/s) you will notice that you should get it at near line speed on the RT2600ac. However, if you were to do this on your former RT1900ac, it would be limited by the hardware of RT1900ac.

    If your intention is to limit a particular client to certain speed limits then set a higher value (i.e. 51200 KB/s) in the overall traffic control setting and set the speed limit (i.e. 8000 KB/s) on the client.

    My advice for you would be to log a ticket with Synology to look into it further as they would probably need to further tune the QoS scheduler on the platform.

  • October 21, 2017 at 9:13 pm
    Permalink

    Has there been any performance improvement for IPS “prevent” mode? I really want upload speed to be more than 50Mbps. I saw in the release note that Suricata has just been updated to the app, can anyone check if speed is different.

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