The QHora-301W Dual 10G wifi 6 AX3600 SD-WAN router — the very first Wi-Fi broadcaster from QNAP, a known NAS server maker — is intriguing. As the name suggests, there are things about it you might have never heard of before.
OK, this is the first consumer-grade Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster that comes with two 10Gbps BASE-T (RJ-45) network ports and features software-defined WAN (SD-WAN). It has a lot of potentials.
On the downside, the new router’s Wi-Fi specs are relatively modest, and so are its features and network settings. In fact, its most valuable feature, namely SD-WAN, can only shine when you use multiple units at different sites, something most home users don’t need and only a few businesses do.
That said, at the current cost of around $350, the QHora-301W is pricy for what it has to offer. But if you’re looking for a router with some particular enterprise-class features, it can be a great purchase.
For everyone else, its reliable performance will prove to be valuable. But compared to the current top Wi-Fi 6 home routers on the market, this Wi-Fi box still has nothing to qualify as a must-have.
Dong’s note: I first published this review on December 7, 2020. In early 2021, QNAP upgraded the router via firmware to, among other things, supposedly open up the support for the 160MHz channel width and add a QoS feature. This updated review, published on June 4, 2021, is to reflect these changes.
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QNAP QHora-301W: Plenty of what you (probably) do not need, little of what you sure do
I was very excited when QNAP pitched me the QHora-301W. Among other things, it’s like the Wi-Fi 6 router Synology hasn’t cared enough to make.
What does Synology have to do with this, you might ask?
Well, I can’t talk about QNAP without thinking of Synology. The two are direct competitors in NAS servers. (I have to admit that I’ve been leaning Synology on the NAS front, but the two vendors have a lot of similarities.)
And for years, Synology has had excellent Wi-Fi 5 broadcasters of its own, including the mesh-ready RT2600ac and MR2200ac, which are still on my list of best Wi-Fi 5 routers. But so far the NAS maker hasn’t shipped any Wi-Fi 6 machine yet, nor has it those with multi-gig ports.
So, the QHora-301W now dropped with a bang. QNAP’s first router seems to have everything a Synology fan would wish for. Or does it? We’ll find out below.
But up to this part of the review, QNAP deserved a round of applause for taking the initiative. I’ll remember the excitement while taking the QHora-301W out of the box.
QNAP QHora-301W: Detail photos
A standard router with sub-standard local network settings
Well, the excitement was short-lived. The QHora-301W’s hardware didn’t turn out to be consistently cutting-edge. And its software was also a bit underwhelming.
Out of the box, the QHora-301W is a bit mundane. It’s a standard rectangle networking box with internal antennas, ports on the back, and status LED on the front.
That’s not a huge issue and I like the fact you can set it up the way you do any standard router via the web interface which is available at 192.168.100.1.
Note: The router’s default IP above is the same as that of most Cable modems. So, in many cases, it’s a good idea to manually that to something else — I used 192.168.50.1 for this review — before connecting it to an Internet (WAN) source. Else, you might run into issues.
And there’s more to the router’s WAN connection. But first let’s check out the hardware.
QNAP QHora-301W: Lopsided hardware specifications
Despite the impressive port speeds and high processing power, the new router can be disappointing when you look at its Wi-Fi specs.
For one, at launch, it didn’t support the venerable 160MHz channel width. Originally QNAP says it would in the first quarter of 2021 via new firmware.
On January 27, 2021, the company released firmware version 1.3.6.0001 build 20210126, which supposedly added the 160MHz channel width and QoS support. Alas! That wasn’t the case, I tried that firmware version plus the latest version (1.6.4.0001 build 20210521 released on May 25, 2021), but neither allowed for 160MHz channel width.
Interestingly, the company now claims that when using the 160MHz, the router function as a 2×2 broadcaster. In other words, its 5GHz band caps at 2400Mbps no matter what.
However, the router is still not mesh-ready, the way Synology Wi-Fi 5 counterparts are. On top of that, more things didn’t turn out as I had hoped.
|Full Name||QNAP QHora-301W |
Dual 10G Wi-FI 6 AX3600
|Wi-Fi Technology||Dual-Band AX3600|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||4×4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 1182Mbps|
|5GHz Wi-Fi Specs||4×4 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 2475Mbps |
2×2 Wi-Fi 6: Up to 2475Mbps
|Gigabit Ports||4x Software-Defined Ports|
|Multi-Gig Ports||2x 10GBASE-T WAN/LAN|
|Dual-WAN||LAN 1 and 1Gbps LAN1|
|USB||2 x USB-A USB 3.0 for storage |
(FPT-only, no SAMBA support)
|Special Features||SD-WAN and QVPN|
|Processing Power||Qualcomm IPQ8072A Hawkeye 2|
Quad-core 2.2 GHz 64-bit CPU,
4GB Flash, 1GB RAM
|Dimensions||9.84 x 7.07 x 1.89 inc |
(250 × 180 × 48 mm)
|Weight||4.19 lbs (1.9 kg)|
|Antennas||8 Internal 5dBi Antennas|
|Power Consumption||12V DC / 24W|
|Suggested Price (U.S)||$399.99|
The QNAP QHora-301W reminds me of the TP-Link Archer AX3200 in hardware specs. Both are routers with multi-gig ports yet modest Wi-Fi.
By the way, the router has an internal speaker that makes high-pitch beeps to respond to certain user inputs or power status. Trust me when I tell you that I was delighted to find out I could turn these audio alerts off via the web interface.
The SD-WAN effect
The most noticeable feature of the QHora-301W is its SD-WAN. The router itself doesn’t come with a hardware WAN port. Instead, you can use any of its two 10Gbps network port, or the LAN 1 port, as the WAN port.
Out of the box, any of these ports will work as the WAN if you plug it into an Internet source (such as a modem.) But if you connect any of them to a local device, such as a computer, it’ll then work as a LAN.
To be safe and save time, though, you should not connect any local device to the LAN1 port during the setup process, which will help you designate which port to work as WAN. And you can change that at any time. All via the router’s web interface.
But the flexibility of picking a WAN port is just a small part of SD-WAN. This is an industry standard that allows for connecting multiple local networks with ease via the Internet. It’s like a mesh network at the WAN level.
I’d take QNAP’s word for this since the only way to test SD-WAN out is to use multiple QHora-301W units at multiple sites. Most of us only have home and of those lucky few with more, chances are there’s no need to link them together via the Internet.
In other words, you will unlikely see the benefits of the router’s SD-WAN at all.
Some unique enterprise-class settings
What you sure can take advantage of, however, are some enterprise-class settings and features.
These include the support for Virtual LAN (VLAN), a powerful programable Firewall, and a flexible VPN feature. Again, these are great in case you need to link multiple offices together or if you need to manage VPN or remote connections to a specific device.
The QHora-301W also comes with three sets of virtual Wi-Fi networks. You can turn on just one (default), two, or all three at any given time. With each, you can make the band work in the Smart Connect mode, which combines both bands into a single network name (SSID), or separating them, and even schedule each SSID’s availability.
In all, if you want to segment your home network, the QHora-305W has a lot of options.
Responsive but primitive interface, lacking in common features/settings
The QHora-301W’s firmware, called QuRouter, is totally different from QTS, QNAP’s NAS servers’ operating system. (That can be a good thing since QTS is quite messy and bloated, in my opinion.)
(Again, I draw these parallels since Synology’s router firmware called SRM, or Synology Router Manager, is very similar to that of its NAS operating system, which is DSM or DiskStation Manager.)
Unfortunately, in this case, there’s barely anything good. QuRouter has a relatively primitive web interface and is sorely lacking in features and settings. Those that are available all lack depth.
That said, if you have a top-tier router from Asus, TP-Link, or Netgear before, chances are you’ll run into some unpleasant surprises with the QHora.
Here are a couple of most disappointing examples.
Pseudo Dynamic DNS support
With the latest firmware update, the QHora-301W now has a DDNS feature. Unforatenly, it’s not a generic one. Instead, it’s tied to QNAP’s account, making it useless. This is a major shortcoming since DDNS one of the most powerful features of a router that opens up many WAN applications.
Instead, you can hook the QHora-301W to a QNAP account for VPN and remote management. But then, well, the system is now part of QNAP’s server. (By the way, you will need this account if you choose to use its SD-WAN and QVPN features.)
Sure, you can still use the router with a third-party DDNS host, but you’ll need a device within the network to maintain the domain association. The point here is most home routers, even a low-end one, have this feature built-in.
No compatibility-favored Wi-Fi settings
With the latest firmware, the QHora-301W now switches its Wi-Fi approached. You now can set each band to work in 20MHz, 40MHz, or 80MHz, but there are no longer the settings that support all three, which it had at launch.
And mentioned above, there’s still no support for the 160MHz channel width. Chances are there never will. So, it’s safe to say, you won’t see amazing Wi-Fi 6 speeds out of this router.
No SAMBA or NTFS support for USB
Considering QNAP is a NAS maker, I was having high hopes that the QHora-305W will dub as a serious mini NAS server when hosting an external storage device via its two USB ports. Boy, was I disappointed.
Even with the latest firmware, the router doesn’t support popular file systems, including NTFS (Windows), or HFS+ (Mac). Instead, it only does the ancient FAT16/32 or Linux-only ones, such as ext2/3 or 4.
If that’s not bad enough, there’s no SAMBA support, meaning you can not share the storage the traditional way, locally to your Windows or Mac computers. There’s no local media streaming or data sync support, either. Instead, the only way you can access the storage is via FPT, which is inconvenient, to say the least.
(Again, to put things in perspective, Synology routers are excellent when it comes to hosting a storage device.)
Pseudo QoS, shallow Parental Controls
Similar to the case of DDNS above, with the latest firmware, the QHora-301W now has a QoS feature. However, it’s still part of QWAN, meaning you can’t use it unless you use the router as a part of an enterprise network.
It does have a Parent Control feature, but it’s quite lacking, even with the latest firmware. All you can do is block the entire network from certain websites and apply safe search to popular search engines.
QNAP QHora-301W: Reliable and fast but only at a short range
I was too thrilled with the QNAP QHora-301W’s performance the first time around. In this second round of testing, I was disappointed. The router showed no improvement at all, especially in the range where it really fell short.
The QHora did well in my testing in performance numbers, mostly thanks to its multi-gig ports. For a router that doesn’t support the 160MHz channel width, it did well in the short range tests.
Specifically, my test clients registered real-world speeds of 630Mbps and 900Mbps within the range of some 40 feet (12m) away. When I used two clients and transferred data from one to another, the sustained rates now reduced to between some 350Mbps and 385Mbps.
On the 2.GHz band, the router did quite well with the sustained speed of 150Mbps and 230Mbps at 40 feet (12m) and 10 feet (3m) ranges, respectively. These numbers were similar to most other Wi-Fi 6 standalone routers.
The QHora also did well with Wi-Fi 5 clients. At a close range (<10 feet), my 4×4 device registered almost 880Mbps. Farther out, at some 40 feet (12m), a 3×3 device got close to 700Mbps.
What the router didn’t impress me, however, was its range. It had almost the shortest I’ve seen for one of its price point — just about the same as low-end routers, like the TP-Link AX10 or eero 6. It’s hard to quantify a router’s range, but if your home is larger than 1500 ft2 (139 m2), it’s probably not a good idea to get this one.
The QNAP QHora-301W passed my weeks-long stress test with flying colors, however. During this time, there was no disconnection at all. So, it’s definitely a reliable Wi-Fi 6 machine for a small home.
QNAP QHora-301W's Rating
Reliable Wi-Fi performance
SD-WAN and other enterprise-class features
Responsive web interface
Two 10Gbps network ports
Expensive for the modest Wi-Fi coverage
Some common settings are missing
No real Dynamic DNS, QoS, and Parental Controls
Useless USB-related features
Other than the name, the QHora-301W Dual 10G Wi-Fi 6 AX3600 SD-WAN router has nothing to show that it’s a product from a known maker of NAS servers. On this front, QNAP’s first router is far behind Synology’s Wi-Fi 5 counterparts.
In fact, as a Wi-Fi 6 machine, the QHora-301W remains behind most I’ve reviewed, even some six months later with the latest firmware. Sure, it’s a reliable one, and the two 10Gbps are tempting at first. But in daily needs, you’d likely be more upset about what it doesn’t have than happy about what it does.
So, consider the QHora-301W only if you care no more than reliable Wi-Fi for a small home or if you need the enterprise feature it has to offer. Most home users should consider another standalone router instead.
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25 thoughts on “QNAP QHora-301W Review: Reliable but (Still) Sorely Lacking”
I am using this router since 2 days and so far I am impressed. The WiFi 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz signales are perfect throughout my flat. Before I used a fritzbox and a mesh repeater and that was working so so. Also that this thing has 10GbE is nice, even though my PC only has 2.5GbE. I do like that the software isn’t overly complicated but I understand this might be lacking for business uses. For home, it’s a nice device alas pricy.
What annoys me to no end… i have read maybe 20 reviews and not a single one including this one talks about wire throughput…just wifi. I am not interested in the wifi part. I have that covered. What i am struggling with is a wired router that will support 10G/nbase-t interfaces for wan. Why doesnt anyone benchmark the wired throughput?
I hear you, Paul. But that’s generally because wired speeds tend to be at the standard so it’s very boring to test, and this is a Wi-Fi router. But a quick answer for you, don’t use this one as a router for a Multi-Gig broadband connection. I tried that myself and it didn’t work out — more in this post.
I installed the QNAP QHora-301W today. I am using it for just the router with my AT&T 2Gig service and I have WiFi turned off. I use TP-Link Deco in Access Point mode with wired backhaul support. It works perfect. Maybe you had old firmware? I logged in, selected 10G-1 to be used as WAN, and boom! I was in business 🙂 No hiccups. No flaws.
I like the QNAP because it’s reasonably sized and doesn’t have ridiculous antennas. It fits nice in my drawer with my ONT and UPS. I can’t believe how small it is for having dual 10GbE.
One thing that was concerning was the firewall was not turned on by default. Yikes!
It didn’t work well with my 10Gbps Fiber-optic, Richard, and I couldn’t set up Dual-WAN with it — I used the latest firmware at the time. It might be better now, but still, the firmware is a bit too shallow compared with Synology’s SRM. Glad it’s working out for you, though. Thanks for sharing the XP. I might give it another try.
At this point I think people buy “nases” for fun haha
This router lacks a ton of settings. One that I specially need is mac cloning, which is the only thing that seems to work and get a new ip with comcast…
I thought, you know what? I’m going back to ethernet, just to find out that in 2021 our options are still pathetic…
I am thinking of buying the QHORA-301W if it can accomplish what I want to do. I would like to connect multiple ISPs to achieve faster than Gigabit download speed.
I currently have AT&T gigabit Fiber Internet. I have AT&T’s BGW320-500 ONT/router. It’s a 2 in 1 device. The ONT is built in. Fiber is running directly into the BGW-320. It has 4 Ethernet ports. I would like to connect the QHORA-301W to one of the available Ethernet ports on the BGW320 (the QHORA-301W would get a local IP address since the BGW320 does NOT have a WAN port.)
Next, I would like to signup for Spectrum cable Internet 400Mbps plan. I would like to connect the cable modem to a 2nd Ethernet port on the QHORA-301W.
Finally, I would then like to connect my desktop computer to one of the 10GbE ports on the QHORA-301W. My desktop has a 2.5GbE Ethernet port.
So my question: Can I combine Ethernet 1 and 2 on the QHORA-301W as a single WAN so my desktop computer could download around 1400~Mbps since the ISPs would be combined?
What you’re thinking is impossible, Richard. That’s like you want to get two cars and expect to go as fast at their top speeds combined — you wish!
You’ll at best get the fastest speed out of EACH WAN on TWO separate devices. That’s how Dual-WAN Load Balance works. The other option is High Availability (or Failover), meaning the secondary WAN sits there and kicks in only when the main one fails.
And why the hell do you want to have 1.4Gbps Internet speed that badly, by the way? More in this post. It’s not like there’s a unicorn at the top Mbps. 🙂
It’s not impossible. I’m surprised to hear you say that.
I go through about 20-30TB per month. I’m ready to go faster than gigabit, and if I can achieve it without having to go through Pfsense, that would be great!
You’re mistaking Dual WAN for Link Aggregation, Richard. The latter uses a single connection from the same ISP. That’s like opening up your driveway by merging it with your neighbor’s so your fast car can move in and out faster.
Oh, ok. So this QNAP doesn’t do link aggregation with the two WAN ports to achieve faster speeds? Do you know of any other router to accomplish this other than going Pfsense route?
Thank you for your time.
Nope, at least when I reviewed it. But almost all Asus routers can do Dual-WAN and/or LA, and so can many from Netgear. Check out their reviews here. I generally note that in the device’s hardware specifications.
I’m using QHORA-301W it in my office since it was launched. It’s impossible to use failover feature. When it’s connected to fiber internet WAN1 and to secondary WAN there is Teltonika RUTX14 connected with dual SIM (as failover) it always uses the mobile connection instead of cable. So the fail over does not exist here.
You’re correct, Blaze. I didn’t get a chance to test it for the review but i mentioned that in the post on 10GbE internet.
I have a synology NASDS1819+ and added a 10GB card. my internet recently got upped to 1200mps and I’m using the rt2600. do you know of a solution I can use to improve my speeds overall using a 2.5gps second router/wifi or other solution? I thought this would be great, but upon reading your review it seems like i’m back to square one.
You need a router with a Multi-Gig WAN port and a Multi-Gig LAN, Jose. This Qhora-301W and the Asus RT-AX89X are the only two for now.
Just a PSA for others: this router does NOT support Jumbo Frames (MTU =9000)
There is no way to change the MTU on the 10gbe ports.
I assumed this device would support Jumbo Frames as they are necessary to utilize the full bandwidth of 10gbe.
I painfully realized this device does not, through trial-and-error. When I enable Jumbo Frames on my Synology NAS (1621xs+), I completely lose the connection to the NAS. I tried two different 10gbe adaptors for my Macbook (both with jumbo frames enabled) and couldn’t figure out what was going on. I thought the NAS had crashed. I had to reinstalled the OS (or so I thought, see below)
After weeks of troubleshooting, I then connected to a 1gbe port instead of the 10gbe port on the NAS and was able to connect!
I then direct-connected to the NAS, bypassing this router. And I was able to connect to the NAS, AND I was getting much faster speeds over 10gbe. (I was finally maxing out the connection over RAID 5, something I was never able to do over the router)
My return window has now closed, so I am stuck with either using this router that bottlenecks my NAS…or using an awkward setup where only one computer can direct-connect to the NAS over 10gbe. I thought a WiFi 6 router with 10gbe x2 at this price seemed to be too good to be true, sadly it seems I was right. Hopefully this saves others some pain!
Thanks for sharing, Andrew. There are more things than just the frame issue. Check out the Asus RT-AX89X.
Thanks for this review. I’m really interested in this line of routers as a current Synology RT2600ac user.
What would you consider the effective coverage of the WiFi for this router, in sq. feet? I’ve got a 2 bedroom apartment <1400 square feet. Compared to something like the Synology RT2600ac, would I notice poorer signal coverage?
The 2600ac is the best router I've ever owned in terms of UI/ease of use and broadcast strength, but it's also starting to show its age. The hardware hasn't been updated since 2017, the software seems to be in bug fix mode vs. getting new features, and they're still selling it for $300. The lack of RAM (512M max) makes it sluggish if you ask it to do too much (the network attached disk function is particularly unstable), and trying to use a secure traditional VPN protocol is right out since there's no hardware cryptography support. (Synology does provide their own VPN-as-a-Service over HTTPS, which works well, and you get one free license, but that ties you to their VPN service.) IPv6 support is there and works but is missing more modern features like ULA settings.
I'm hopeful the QNAP line will spur Synology to be more proactive with hardware and software refreshes for their router line. I see that QNAP has been extremely aggressive with software updates, and has now enabled 160MHz (2×2 mode only) in software, so they are definitely trying to compete. At minimum, it would be nice to have some indication from Synology of when they're refreshing the hardware.
You’ll prolly get the same coverage out of this one compared to the RT-2600ac, John. But it’s no Synology, which’s been quite tight-lipped on what’s next in its Wi-Fi routers.
Good to know about the coverage. Thanks!
At this point, I’d just like confirmation from Synology that they’re actually still IN the router game. I don’t mind waiting if I know what I’m waiting for, but the Unifi Dream Machine and this device both represent powerful competition that’s under active development.
(I actually need to buy a switch to get more hardwired ethernet ports so I can install a NAS unit. Not knowing what Synology has planned is putting me in a very annoying position as far as choosing companion hardware.)
Your guess is as good as mine. But the existing routers have been getting regular attention on firmware so it’s likely Synology is still in the game.
What would be your recommended strategy for adding more ports to a router of this class? This one only has at most 5 LAN ports depending on how it’s set up.
Put another way, is there a benefit to putting a managed or semi-managed switch behind a router like this, with relatively sophisticated port mapping/VLAN capability/etc. vs. just adding a brainless switch and using the router’s software to manage the new ports?
‘Hora’ means ‘Hooker’ in Swedish.
I’m sure it’ll be a great success in the stores (NOT)
You guys have such a beautiful word for hooker, Evert! 🙂