Synology RT1900ac High Speed Wireless AC Router Review
Introduction and Specs
You read the headline correctly – this is not a review of a Synology NAS, but instead a wireless router. If this sounds unusual to you, you are not alone. Synology is a Network-Attached Storage (NAS) company, or at least it used to be, as it's now taking all its networking expertise and jumping into the router market, and the black beauty you see below is its maiden attempt. Plainly named, the Synology RT1900ac Router, the company’s fledgling entry into this crowded market, is a dual-band AC unit. As you might have guessed, it’s capable of 1,900Mb/s of bandwidth across its 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, offering up to 600Mb/s on the 2.4GHz spectrum, 1,300Mb/s on the 5GHz spectrum and is 802.11ac compatible and compliant. It uses the second-gen Broadcom BCM58622 chipset, which sports a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 processor running at 1GHz, along with 4GB of flash and 256MB of on-board DDR3 memory.
Though that all sounds pretty good, but it's also basically the same level of performance you'd likely get from other AC routers, as many use similar chipset technology and comply to the same standards. However, Synology isn't looking to innovate in this market on the hardware side, but rather on the software side, as the company is offering its router with a totally new interface powered by its NAS software IP that's unlike anything we've ever seen before, for a router at least.
Just like its NAS units, the Synology Router comes with its own operating system named Synology Router Manager, or SRM for short. Though it runs in a browser window just like you've seen with other routers, it offers a level of control and granularity along with the ability to install add-ons that marks a first for the wireless router world.
Before we dive in, let's take a look at the specs.
|WiFi Band||Simultaneous Dual-Band WiFi - 2.4GHz + 5GHz|
|Beamforming||Implicit & Explicit Beamforming for 2.4 & 5GHz bands|
|Ethernet Ports||Five (5) 10/100/1000 Mbps Gigabit Ethernet ports: 1 WAN & 4 LAN
|USB Ports||One (1) USB port: 1 USB 3.0|
|Security||WEP, WPA/WPA2-Personal, WPA/WPA-2 Enterprise encryption, Mac filtering, SPI Firewall, DoS Protection, SSL certificate, Security Advisor.|
|Processor||Dual core 1GHz processor|
|Memory||256MB DDR3 DRAM|
|Physical Specs||Dimensions: 2.5 x 8.1 x 602in (66 x 206 x 160mm) - Weight: 1.12lb (.51kg)|
|Package Contents||RT1900AC Router
Quick install guide
|Price ||$149.99 currently on Amazon|
As you can see, the specs are pretty typical for an AC router, though there are some interesting design decisions here in terms of hardware. First, it has just one USB 3.0 port, which is somewhat rare since most routers have one for external storage that is USB 3.0, and one for a printer that uses the slower USB 2.0 interface. We think it was a cost-cutting measure, but regardless you can only hook up one device. However, there is an SD card slot, which is something we've not seen on a router before, so that's a first and potentially even more useful. The thinking is you can put your SD Card in the slot and let everyone on its network access photos and video. With those two curious specs out of the way, let's take a closer look at this router...
Back-side: Four Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port, as well as an on/off switch and power connector. The three antennae are removable.
The left-side has a button for WPS and a handy Wi-Fi on/off switch. Note the canted stance of the unit.
The right side shows off the SD card reader and lone USB port.
But again, the hardware isn't the real story here, but instead the software. Like with its brethren Synology NAS, the RT1900ac includes a fully functional operating system with modules, the ability to download packages, application level QoS, parental controls, and overall granular control of almost every aspect of the router's performance. It's really quite an interesting approach to router management, and one we'll dive into on the following pages.
As far as pricing goes, the router is listed at Amazon for $149, making it competitive with other AC1900 routers, but much less expensive than tri-band AC3200 routers. It also includes a solid two-year warranty.
With the basics out of the way let's dive into how we got this puppy set up.