Synology RT660AX Review, Part 3 – SRM 1.3 Software, 5.9Ghz & Verdict


 

Synology RT6600ax Router Review Chapters

Synology RT6600AX Review, ALL Parts - HERE
Synology RT6600AX Review, Part 1, Unboxing & Design - HERE
Synology RT6600AX Review, Part 2, Connections & Internal Hardware - HERE

Why is the Synology RT6600ax Router’s use of the 5.9Ghz band such a big deal?


It is a valid question. Synology has talked a big game about their new RT6600ax supporting the 5.9Ghz band and 160Mhz channel support, but what do they mean in real terms to the end user? To get to grips with this, we first need to understand what prevented 5.9Ghz use till recently. Whenever we broadcast anything, it needs a way to get from point A to point B. When delivering goods, the mode of transportation is a truck. When delivering information, the mode of transportation is the airwaves. The same can be said of wireless radio frequencies and especially those that we now use in our homes every day for wireless internet/network connectivity.



Radio frequency is broken down into spectrums from 30 Hz to 300 GHz. Spectrums are further broken down into sections called bands. Governments regulate those bands and spectrums by allocating them for specific uses. For example, the 30-300 MHz spectrum is used for radio and television broadcasts. The extremely high frequency of 30-300 GHz is for stuff like radio astronomy and directed-energy weapons. The point of regulating frequencies is to make sure no band or spectrum is congested to the point of rendering it useless.



Currently, most Wi-Fi devices communicate using the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands. The lower bands deliver farther, whereas the higher band travels faster. That’s why there will need to be more transmitters for 5G cellphones, for example. For the past two decades, the entire 5.9 GHz spectrum (5.850-5.925) was reserved for intelligent transportation systems like C-V2X. Meaning, that only devices for transportation-related purposes have been allowed access to that spectrum. Now that most of the bands in that spectrum are accessible to devices like prosumer routers and the Synology RT6600ax is one of the first to take advantage of this, that is what makes this very special router indeed right now. 160Mhz frequencies are a factor here as this is the frequency when you will get the best performance out of WiFi 6 but until the 5.9Ghz band was opened up for use, it limited the range of shared bandwidth afforded to WiFi 6 and the total volume of 160Mhz frequency that could be used is increased (as well as the potential for increased smaller channels). Let’s discuss SRM 1.3 inside the RT6600ax router.


Synology RT6600ax Router Review – Software


The Synology RT6600ax arrives with SRM 1.3 (Synology Router Manager), the latest version of the brand’s popular router management system software. I don’t think it would be a tremendous overstatement to say that more than half of the price tag of the RT6600ax goes towards this software and, fair play to Synology, SRM is by FAR the best router management software that I have ever used. The brand has already produced one of the best NAS management platforms in the market in DSM and you can clearly see that ALOT of the logic, methodology and attention to the customer UX has been applied here. SRM has been around now for a good few years and despite my high praise, it is also worth highlighting that the platform has generally received fewer significant updates and feature improvements compared with DSM 6>6.1>7>7.1 in the same time frame (though regular security and database updates have been reliably constant).



Pretty much ALL routers arrive with a software GUI that you can access via your web browser (that includes your free IS router too) and from here you can manage the connections, security settings, ports and users on the system. So, what is it that makes Synology Router Manager any different? Well mainly, it is in how easy it is to comprehend the controls and the extent to which you can configure and customize the system to your own network needs. SRM 1.2 always had this and it would take a long time to go through the full range of services and features of SRM (which is why I made a FULL review of SRM 1.3 HERE that covers everything new and old) but for this review of the RT6600ax I will just focus on the new additions, as well as the standout features that continue to impress.



One of the new features of SRM 1.3 on the RT6600ax that arguably should have been there much, MUCH sooner was the option to create vLAN (i.e virtual networks) that can exist inside the router system for sub-networks that can be separated/connected as needed to the wider system network – such as for IP cameras, VOIP systems, or collected users in a single network. This is something that is more often associated with network switches than routers, but is still an available option on many premium router systems for a few years. There is also the means for priority of the incoming internet connection to go towards VOIP or IPTV services if needed.



vLANs were sadly not available in SRM 1.2 and it’s arrival in SRM 1.3 is very useful, but still massively overdue (see below). These virtual networks can be customized in several ways in their identity and address, but also can be bonded to a specific network interface (LAN) port, which is useful if you are going to attach a switch to one of these ports for connecting a bunch of other network devices. These virtual networks can also be attached to existing wireless SSIDs or even have a new SSID created specifically for that network.



Navigating the browser interface of SRM 1.3 is really, really easy and if you have ever used an operating system such as MAC OS, Windows or Android (which clearly you have if you are reading this!) then you will typically find that all the configuration and options for navigating SRM on the RT6600ax are exactly where you would expect them to be. Leaning ever so slightly more towards the Mac side of design and placement (Synology has always had a lot of Mac branding influence, even if their support and compatibility of services always seems to end up with Windows users first – blame Apple I guess), the main desktop can be changed in a few lite ways, as well as desktop shortcuts and additional applications can be downloaded and installed easily from the App Center.

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As touched on earlier in the review, the USB port on your router is hugely useful to the SRM 1.3 platform, with it allowing use of several Synology NAS-generation applications that you can install in SRM that including File Station, Download Station, Media Server and more. Additionally, it is recommended that in order to fully utilize the database software to catalogue remote threats and potential intrusions, you have a USB drive installed to maintain those databases.



One key element of using SRM 1,3 and the RT600ax to their fullest extent is in how the system is deployed in your network environment. You can choose to deploy the router either as your primary internet access point or operate the system as your secondary router with another router/modem (such as one provided by your ISP in between.



If you use the RT600aX and SRM as a secondary later, a number of the security and network management features will be absent, but if used as the main management point for your internet connection, the full range of services will be available to customize. This configuration can be easily changed on the fly at any time.



The coverage and network connectivity of the three bands of wireless coverage of the RT6600ax can be monitored and adjusted very easily on the RT6600ax, with the extent of their maximum bandwidth and frequency changed easily.



When testing of the Synology RT6600ax router started, we decided to test the wireless 160Mhz WiFi connection with the Killer AX m.2 802.11ax adapter AND connect to the router via its 2.5Gps connection over wired LAN. Straight away, windows reported both connections as 2.4Gobs and 2.5Gos respectively. This still left ample wireless connectivity on the 80Mhz and 160Mhz bands to share and in both cases, we were able to fully saturate the ethernet connection with ease.



Of course, one of the biggest draws of the Synology Router systems is their support of intelligent profiles and management. Alongside the ability to create user profiles for all connected users, you can connect individual devices to those users and then spread access rules to be applied to that user’s devices easily and borderline instantaneously. This extends to creating website access rules, internet access rules that are shared between devices and preset rules that allow you to impose access conduct configurations in around 3 clicks that are tailored towards friends, family or professional colleagues.

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Despite the usability and ease of use that SRM 1.3 brings in the RT6600ax, it is worth highlighting that, at least at the time of writing, mesh router support of this system in conjunction with existing MR2200ac mesh router systems is not supported until they roll out an SRM 1.3 update. Until then, you can only utilize mesh router deployment with the use of other RT6600ax routers, which is arguably less than ideal. This will no doubt be addressed soon, but for those looking at replacing the RT2600ac in their mesh system set up with an RT6600ax, it might be worth sitting on the fence a while longer.



SRM 1.3 is arguably not a huge upheaval from SRM 1.2 on the RT2600ac and MR2200ac, adding only a few extra features and tweaking the GUI. That said the improvements in Synology DS Router 2.0 for Android and iOS (as well as the utilities of SRM generally) result in by far the easiest to use router management software that I have ever used. For more information on the software and services included with SRM 1.3 on the RT6600ax router, I recommend that you read the massive FULL router manager software review below:

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 3, Network Management - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

Alternatively, you can watch the FULL review of Synology’s SRM 1.3 Router Software on YouTube via the link below:


Synology RT6600ax Router Review – Review Conclusion


The Synology RT6600ax IS a very, very good router. So many users will never graduate from their ISP router and never understand the benefits of a premium solution, gauging the Synology RT6600ax as something of an indulgence. However, as WiFi 6 continue to rise in popularity, more client hardware arrives with 802.11ax support and adapters to upgrade towards AX wifi over PCIe and USB appear, the RT6600ax is something that family/business users are going to want to consider to monitor and customize their own networks. That said, although the hardware the RT6600ax arrives with is a big jump up compared with the RT2600ac and MR2200ac, the software is a tad less ambitious and given that SRM 1.2 will likely upgrade towards 1.3 on those legacy devices, the Synology RT6600a is less appealing as an immediate upgrade over the RT2600ac right now. Ultimately, if you were a first-time adopter of the Synology 6600ax router, you cannot fault the software and hardware right now and it more than justifies the price tag for its software alone. Add to that the increased bandwidth potential of 5.9Ghz and greater 160Mhz support and you are getting a tremendously future proof product. That said, if you are already an owner of the RT2600ac or an existing MR2200ax mesh router owner, you might find that recent improvements in virtual networks and SSID creation are not enough to justify the upgrade (unless you are already well into your WiFi 6 environment upgrade). The RT6600ax is EASILY the most powerful and capable router that Synology has ever produced and with great software to boot. Even if it is slightly overshadowed by WiFi 6E, it still stands tremendously proud in the existing prosumer router solutions in the market right now, despite its higher price tag.

PROs of the Synology RT6600ax Router CONs of the Synology RT6600ax Router
SRM is still top-notch and easily still one of the best (if not THE best) router software in the market in 2022


2.5GbE port for your WAN or a LAN excellent (shame there is only the one though)


Huge degree of user profile and device clustering options to create an intelligently controlled by still user-friendly network


LAN/WAN failover Support (including with a SIM Dongle or Phone tethering)


USB Drive Support is treated exceptionally well with several Synology NAS class applications available


vLAN is now available


5.9Ghz Band utilization adds a good degree of future-proofing to the device + more 160Mhz connections at one time


The inbuilt threat prevention database deserves more credit/attention than it seems to


I am ashamed to admit it, it is really easy on the eye!

Mesh Support with MR2200ac still not available (planned for H2 2022)


5.9Ghz band use is good, but client hardware uptake is still early


A single USB Port limits the use of both an External storage drive AND 2nd mobile SIM failover connection at once


Quite expensive given more affordable WiFi 6 routers in the market and 6E making a name for itself

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Synology RT6600ax Router Review Chapters

Synology RT6600AX Review, ALL Parts - HERE
Synology RT6600AX Review, Part 1, Unboxing & Design - HERE
Synology RT6600AX Review, Part 2, Connections & Internal Hardware - HERE

Alternatively, you can watch the FULL review of the Synology RT6600ax over on YouTube below:



My FULL review of the Synology DS Router application will be available on NASCompares shortly. You can find the video below:


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    62 thoughts on “Synology RT660AX Review, Part 3 – SRM 1.3 Software, 5.9Ghz & Verdict

    1. Ill agree to a Great rewiew, and you have mentioned a lot of things which are really helpfull (not for me) but for other sure.
      What i want to comment on, is your surprise that the RT6600ax comes with the SRM 1.3 and the older devices are still SRM 1.2, well this is what synology was presenting from the “Day One” when the RT6600 was presented by end of 2021 so no surprise for me here, the SRM 1.3 for the RT2600 and MR2200 will be or according to synology should be in June so we need to wait for this one as well.
      What im glad and really glad that the support for the MR2200 and the mesh is there, and also with another RT6600, which you cannot do with a RT2600 so a huge step forward i like, AAAANND well if you do a MESH then you will have TWO USB ???? Ports, the question is if the can be used but i think this is an alternative for those who will be having a MESH network.
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    2. Amazing review. Thanks a lot for your effort. It’s almost like we’re dealing with a Nas Station here. In terms of user experience anyway. I think if they added Plex, a lot of basic users wouldn’t have bought a Nas Station anymore, so I think is is a selling strategy here. Anyway, great review, I am considering buying an unit after watching your video. Well done mate! Keep up the good work!
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    3. Looks fantastic. As mentioned previously, I am using a net gear R9000 which to be fair has been working brilliantly. I flashed it with DDWRT recently using my iPad Pro, it took an absolute age to login but finally it worked. I am registered as a blind person but enjoy fiddling around with technology. I am waiting for your video next week for The router shootout vid but, am quite taken with the RTÉ 6600.
      Thank you for all of your videos they are very helpful
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    4. Synology does produce nice devices but it’s all fine when you have warranty. When it’s over and your device will stop working, synology won’t repair it even if you could just pair for the repair. They just dont give a f**k. Think twice before you buy an synology router.
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    5. This looks like an unboxing, not an actual review. You’re holding a device that is capable of sophisticated beam-forming, but we don’t have any speed tests / comparisons / ping results for a typical wood-frame house for example. I like the new features, but I was really into that I’d just set up a pfSense box, or a UDM pro. Why would I buy this thing instead of a cheaper WiFi6 AP/router? Why would I buy it instead of a UDM pro + AP? I had an ac2200 before and I returned it, because SRM is a far cry from DSM, and here they are cramming features into a device with just 1GB of RAM. If you’re saying that it strikes the perfect balance, I’d like to see come figures proving that. Otherwise the video should be titled either “unboxing” or “first impressions”.
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    6. When the videos get this long ( which I do very much appreciate ), I head straight to the conclusion. If you conclusion is positive, I generally go back to the beginning. That’s what I’m doing here. Your opinion at the end is exactly what some of us need. I currently have an RT2600ac but now I will buy a new 6600 model and use the 2600 as an access point in the upstairs of my home. Many thanks for all of the time that you put into these reviews.
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    7. That’s for a great review. Worth watching it all. Look forward to future videos on this router.

      Three questions; Do you think Synology will release a WiFi 6 upgrade to the MR2200ac? Maybe an MR6600ax?

      Also, can devices be assigned a frequency? Orbi takes control of that an many times connects 5GHz devices (like FireTV) to 2.4GHz when only in the next room. ????????‍♂️

      Lastly, I’m sure the answer is yes, but I didn’t see it covered, can you assign static IP’s or reserve IP’s for devices?

      Thanks again! I really love the ability to create a VLAN that merges with an SSID to isolate my IoT.
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    8. The usual lan limitation of all router you have only one 2.5gbe port. Now a router should have at least one 2.5 gbe (Better 5gbe as in Italy a phone company started to sell a FTTH 5gbe fiber connection at a good price in selected city) wan AND one 2.5 lan port (better 5gbe) and let a multi-g switch to manage the signal. Also it should manage analog phone otherwise we must pay for the router that provider offer
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    9. Very interesting review so thank you. You say you will be reviewing the Asus RT AX series….will you be doing this one?
      ASUS RT-AX89X 12-Stream AX6000 Dual Band Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax Router
      Cheers
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    10. Felicidades, es un buen ejemplo.
      250 sentadillas son unos 4.FO/L-J27g1 muchas y un buen ejercicio.
      5:25 Se deja ver que hay muy buenos resultados ????????

      Saludos desde la Cd.. de world ????????????
      los mortales abian apreciado tan hermosa mujer.
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    11. Hey
      Thanks so much for this very informative Video! 2 Questions though:
      1. Can you connect the router to a VPN, so your whole home internet traffic is secure? If so, what VPNs can be used?
      2. As some might know, wireguard is a very simple, fast and secure VPN solution. Is it possible to run wireguard as a server or as a client on this router? If there’s a option to install packages, really one should be able to potentially develop or manually install the option for wireguard as a client and perhaps even as a wireguard VPN server…..

      Many thanks!
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    12. Great review – thank you. Is there any way to limit the internet bandwidth available to a specific user / device or IP range? I usually allocate only 80% of the available internet bandwidth to make sure that no single user or device hogs all the bandwidth and that my downloads always have bandwidth available without impacting anyone else.
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    13. I have a Net Gear r9000 x10, do you think this rt6600 would be a good upgrade? R9000 has started dropping Wi-Fi and kicking me out of plex, on paper they seem to have similar specs, although net gear have tried to kill the router with firmware numerous times.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    14. Just wondering. The new software disabled support for 4G dongle. But I noticed in your video around minute 31.45 that there is a mobile network section in the settings.

      I hope I can use my SIM with dongle. Been wanting to switch to Synology router for the longest time but couldn’t due to the poor support for SIM card.
      REPLY ON YOUTUBE

    15. Thanks for the thorough review but this is too little too late from Synology as an existing customer… I welcome SRM 1.3 VLAN and multiple SSID but these were promised and should have been out several years ago however they stalled SRM development to focus on DSM7. It has left a really sour taste in my mouth as I invested heavily with RT2600ac and 2x MR2200ac (along with multiple NAS) but have had to relegate the RT2600ac to just doing WiFi as an access point because of all bugs and the lack of development. I’m now using a PFsense router which is far more stable and has had better features, scalability and resilience for years. I’ll look at SRM 1.3 when it lands for my existing devices but when it is time to upgrade my mesh WiFi hardware I have no loyalty to Synology or confidence in their support for their network devices so i’ll be looking at other offerings.
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