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Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR (UniFi Dream Router): A Pair of Solid Rivals

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The Synology RT6600ax and Ubiquiti UDR (UniFi Dream Router) appear to have nothing in common. They have distinctive looks and belong to two approaches regarding home/(semi-)professional networking.

But I couldn’t help thinking of the latter while testing the former, which arrived later in the Wi-Fi 6 game — both were kind of late.

This Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR matchup will explain that sentiment and when though, and you might realize that the two turned out to have more common than they do in differences.

In any case, make sure you read their in-depth reviews for more.

Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR 3
Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR: The two routers can’t be any more different in terms of design.

Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR: The potentially common experience in two different Wi-Fi approaches

From the photo above, it’s safe to say you can’t mistake the Synology RT6600ax for the Ubiquiti UDR or vice versa. One looks like a smart speaker, while the other has the traditional design of a typical Wi-Fi router.

Ubiquiti: UniFi vs AmpliFi

UniFi and AmpliFi are two major networking product lines from Ubiquiti. They serve two demographics and therefore have different architectures and separate mobile apps and web user interfaces.

The UniFi family — represented by the Dream Machine (UDM), UDM-Pro, UDM-SE…, or the Dream Router (UDR) — aims at business/pro users. They are comprehensive routers that can also function as the central controllers of various products.

On the other hand, the AmpliFi family, represented by the HD Wi-Fi system or the Alien, is for the home environment. They are simple Wi-Fi routers, ease-to-use but with a limited feature set.

The UDM is the first UniFi product that also works well as a home router, thanks to the friendly design. In a way, it’s a bridge between the two product lines. And the UDR further solidifies that approach.

Still, Ubiquiti’s UniFi products can be overwhelming and overkill in many cases. Generally, home users should go with AmpliFi instead of UniFi.

But they are different on the inside, too. Let’s check out their hardware specs.

Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR: Hardware specifications

NameSynology RT6600ax Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 RouterUbiquiti UniFi Dream Router
ModelRT6600axUDR
Wi-Fi TechnologyTri-band AX6600Dual-band AX3000
1st Band
(2.4GHz)
2×2 AX
Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2×2 AX Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
2nd Band
(5GHz)
4X4 AX
Up to 4804 Mbps
Upper channels
(20/40/80/160MHz)
2Γ—2 AX
Up to 2.4Gbps
(20/40/160MHz)
3rd Band
(5GHz)
2×2 AX
Up to 1200 Mbps
Lower channels
(20/40/80MHz)
None
5.9GHz SupportYesNo
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac802.11a/b/g/n/ac
AP ModeYesYes
Mesh-ready Yes (Synology Mesh) Yes
Additional RoleMini NAS serverHardware Controller
Other Hardware SupportUSB drives (as NAS storage)
Other Synology Mesh Routers (as satellites)
Network: Up to 15 UnFi APs or extenders as mesh satellites.
Plus one of the following:
Protect: Up to 4 HD cams or one 4K cam. Or
Talk: Up to 25 IP phones. Or
Access: Up to 50 doorbells
Gigabit Port1x WAN (permanent)
3x LAN
1x WAN
4x LAN
PoE PortNone LAN1 and LAN2
(802.3af)
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LANNone
Dual-WANYes (WAN + 2.5Gbps or cellular)No
USB1x USB 3.0None
Firmware Version
(at review)
SRM 1.3-9193 OS version 2.4.9
Mobile AppAndroid and iOS: DS Router, VPN Plus, DS cloud, DS file,
Android-only: DS Get (Download)
UniFi
QoSYes Yes
Parental ControlYesYes
Processing Power1.8 GHz Quad-core CPU, 1GB RAMDual-Core Cortex A53
1.35 GHz CPU,
2GB RAM
Internal Storage256MB FlashInternal 128GB Flash, 
SD card slot for a 128GB larger card
Internal FanNoYes
(Very quiet)
Built-in Online ProtectionYes Yes
Dimensions
(antennas up)
16.9 x 12.6 x 7.9 in 
(175 x 320 x 200 mm)
4.33-inch (110 mm) wide
7.25-in (184.2 mm) tall
Weight2.65 lbs (1.2kg)2.54 lb (1.15 kg)
Power Specs100 -240V AC100 -240V AC
Power Consumption
(per 24 hours)
β‰ˆ 280 Whβ‰ˆ 228 Wh
Release DateMay 11, 2022April 26, 2022
Price
(at launch)
$299.99$199
Hardware specifications: Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR

Differences that make them a similar experience

From the table above, you’ll see that the UDR is of lesser Wi-Fi specs. It’s a Dual-band AX3000 router vs Tri-band 6600ax in the case of the RT6600ax.

Furthermore, the RT6600ax is the first router on the market to support the 5.9GHz portion of the 5GHz band, making it the first complete Wi-Fi 6 router.

But that’s the only area where the Synology is decidedly better.

(More) differences in hardware

On the network port front, the Synology has a 2.5Gps port, but the UDR uniquely supports PoE. Both are different in nature but are equally significant in applications.

The RT6600 has a USB port and can work as a mini NAS server when hosting an external drive. And in this case, it’s the next best thing after a real Synology NAS server.

Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR 4
Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR: THe two routers are also different in their network ports.

On the other hand, the UDR, while having no USB port, comes with 128GB of internal storage and an SD card slot to host even more — it doesn’t need no USB, so to speak.

Most importantly, apart from a Wi-Fi access point (or extender), it’s also the native controller and the network video recorder (NVR) for a large selection of other hardware, including IP phones, security cameras, smart doorbells, etc.

Differences in firmware

The Synology R6600ax runs Synology Router Manager (SRM) version 1.3, which is one of the best, if not the best, standard firmware for routers. SRM is Linux-based and functions similarly to a native operating system within its web user interface.

Synology RT6600ax DS Router App
Here’s the interface of the DS Router mobile app used for the Synology RT6600ax

The OS allows for half a dozen add-on packages that add more functions and features to the router. Some of these packages have a mobile app of their own, making the RT6600ax the most versatile Wi-Fi router.

Regarding management, the RT6600ax doesn’t require a login account, and users can manage it remotely via Dynamic DNS. On top of that, the router also features Synology’s QuickConnect as an option.

The Ubiquiti UDR, on the other hand, runs Ubiquiti’s proprietary firmware that requires a login account to work, both via the UniFi mobile app and the web user interface.

Ubiquiti and your privacy

All Ubiquiti’s UniFi hardware requires a login account to work via a mobile app or a cloud-based web interface.

The AmpliFi family also uses a mobile app that requires a login account. However, there’s an option to let users set up select routers using a standalone local web user interface. Unfortunately, this interface is very simple and doesn’t include all the features and settings.

In short, opting for Ubiquiti means you’ll generally have to face potential privacy risks. Generally, online privacy and security are a matter of degree. Different companies handle their users’ data differently. Here’s the link to Ubiquiti’s privacy policy.

Nonetheless, the firmware is enterprise-grade and has a unified approach to the UniFi ecosystem. As a result, if you have used an Unifi device before, you’ll be at home with the UDR.

Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Router App
Here’s the UniFi mobile app interface used in the UniFi Dream Router.

Most importantly, no matter how many hardware units or types of hardware you choose to use with the UDR, you only need a single UniFi mobile app to control them all in one place.

And when you get hardware of the same family, things will just work. The firmware is very well-designed and proved to be very easy to use despite the complexity of the UniFi ecosystem.

Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR: Performances and ratings

Both the RT6600ax and UDR are excellent performers of their Wi-Fi specs. And the two also enjoy equally high ratings among all Wi-Fi 6 routers I’ve tested.

Synology RT6600ax's Rating

9 out of 10
Synology RT6600ax Wi-Fi 6 Router
Performance
9.5/10
Features
9/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Fast and reliable Wi-Fi with the support for 5.9GHz UNII-4 spectrum, mesh-ready

Robust, comprehensive yet user-friendly SRM 1.3 firmware with excellent web interface and DS Router app

Lots of useful built-in settings and networking features, helpful add-on packages with accompanying mobile apps

Can work as a full-featured NAS server

Practical design, wall-mountable

Cons

Only one 2.5Gbps port

No Link Aggregation, awkward Multi-Gig WAN, rigid default WAN port

Only client-based QoS, 5.9GHz clients are scarce

Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR UniFi Dream Router Wi Fi Performance
Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR (UniFi Dream Router): Wi-Fi performances.
The numbers shown are from the best-case scenario. Specifically, the UDR was tested with its Threat Detection turned off and the RT6600ax with USB 2.0 mode.

As a better-specced router, the Synology RT6600ax easily beats the Ubiquiti UDR in wireless throughputs. However, considering the UDR is the controller of many hardware types, Wi-Fi is just one of its many functions.

Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Router (UDR)'s Rating

9 out of 10
Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Router
Performance
8/10
Features
10/10
Design and Setup
9/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Built-in support for all of Ubiquiti's business hardware segments (Network, Protect, Talk, and Access)

Reliable Wi-Fi performance, excellent range, mesh-ready

Tons of useful networking features, comprehensive web user interface, and mobile app

Compact and beautiful design, two PoE ports

Comparatively affordable, quiet operator

Cons

No Multi-Gig, Dual-WAN, or Link Aggregation; middling Wi-Fi specs and modest processing power; only one additional app (Talk, Protect, or Access) is supported at a time

Security feature reduces Wi-Fi 6 speed, Power over Ethernet doesn't support PoE+ or PoE++

Requires an account with UniFi, not wall-mountable, internal fan

Conclusion

The Synology RT66000ax and Ubiquiti UDR represent two different approaches to networking.

Synology is learning standard and open. It gives users more control over the hardware, especially in local and remote management.

Ubiquiti, on the other hand, is going fully proprietary. Users have less control over what hardware to use, but within the ecosystem, they just work.

Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR 7
Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR: You can pick either, but the two won’t work well together.

Strictly in terms of (home) Wi-Fi routers, though, I’d pick the Synology RT6600ax over the Ubiquiti UDR. However, as networking hardware, I like both equally — the UDR can do much more than just a simple Wi-Fi broadcaster.

In any case, these two are excellent networking devices, well worth their costs, and possibly even more for suitable needs.

In any case, you only need one. If you get both, they will not play nice together in any meaningful way.

Hard to choose: More Wi-Fi solution matchups

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16 thoughts on “Synology RT6600ax vs Ubiquiti UDR (UniFi Dream Router): A Pair of Solid Rivals”

  1. Hi Dong,

    Thanks for great reviews!!

    Can you please suggest me a router for a cafe that needs to connect 10 hd poe ip cam + nvr, 10 sonos wifi speakers, 25 wifi tablet (menu + pos system), 10 wifi sensors and about 50 wifi customer devices.

    My priority are:

    – Connect Β±150 devices simultaneously
    – Guest-customer wifi management
    – Security (Vpn..)
    – Good performance (cpu, ram, hd, antennas, speed)
    – Mesh
    – Wan

    My wishes are:

    – Sim card slot for backup
    – USB for nas
    – Multi Gig, dual WAN

    Do you think I should get a Synology, Ubiquiti or some other brand? Which model works best for me?

    Thank you

    Your help is much appreciated..

    Reply
    • It’s very hard to have the correct answer, Davide. You need to hire a local professional for real consulting. But here’s my one-time general suggestion:

      1. Get a Synology NAS to host the IP camera (via Surveillance Station) and network storage. A 2-bay like the DS220+ will do.
      2. Run network cables — this is a given considering you want to use PoE cams.
      3. Use a router of your choice (Synology, Ubiquiti or Asus is fine) but then use a business-class access point. There are incentives in this case if you want to go with Ubiquiti Unifi since the router is also the controller of the APs. But you can also use APs from other vendors, such as Netgear or Zyxel.
      4. I’d forget about cellular backup, it never works, not for a network that large. You better off going Dual-WAN with two broadband connections (Cable + Fiber-optic).
      5. Use a Multi-Gig switche, some are PoE, but for the cams, you can also get an affordable a Gigabit PoE switch.

      Reply
      • Thank you very much Dong. I’m actually in Thailand and sometimes language issues with local professionals make me research some confirmations online. I already have the cctv system including the POE nvr with 2HDD.
        Just to confirm, Synology, Ubiquiti and Asus router can suit for my needs. All of these have guest wifi setups?
        If you have to choose with which model you will go?

        πŸ™πŸ™πŸ™

        Reply
        • They all have support for virtual Wi-Fi VLAN. Guest is just a name and is explicitly available in the Asus — more here — for ease of use. I honestly don’t know which one is optimal for your case, I have to check things out, but any of those will work, that’s for sure.

          Good luck, Davide! And enjoy Thailand!

          Reply
  2. Just setup the UDR for our home with 1gig internet. I know many reviews out there says we won’t get gig speed with it but I am only getting about 300 mbs standing right next to the router on my iPhone 13. Wired I get somewhere around 650. This is with threat protection on.

    I have the synology on order. I want to get more speed since we are paying for gig internet. I like the idea of vlans to segment our network. Do you think I will get what I’m looking for with the synology?

    Reply
    • It was likely your iPhone’s fault, Andrew, but it could have been something else. Try it with a laptop using a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 adapter, you’ll get a better result. In any case, this post will help — make sure you really read it. Chances are you’ll get the same result with any router the way you test.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the reply Dong.

        With a M1 MacBook Air I also test around 200-300 mbps. With my old asus ac3200 router that recent died, I was getting very close to my 1gig connections on wired and about 700 on Wi-Fi. So that is why I thought there may be something wrong. I will give the article you linked a read tonight.

        The synology I ordered is on back order for a month so I still have some time to decide.

        Also, have you ever thought about doing video reviews again like you did on the cnet days? Was a fan of you since then.

        Thanks again

        Reply
        • Yeap, Andrew, with Threat Prevention on, the UDR’s Wi-Fi is significantly slower than specs, how slow depends on your traffic, so you might want to turn that off. But generally, it’s very hard to test its Wi-Fi using an Internet speed test, and 300Mbps is plenty fast. The Synology will be faster, but it’s still buggy right now (unless you really know what you’re doing). By the time you get it, chances are there’ll be better firmware.

          And thanks. I originally planned on doing videos this year, actually, and even built a little studio for it, but it seemed it wasn’t meant to be. More in this post. Things have been rough. πŸ™

          Reply
  3. Hi Dong,

    over on Reddit there are reports that RT6600ax users are getting poor wireless results.

    And yes, I know those are anecdotes, might be user error, etc, but the posters seem competent.

    Have you had any issues?

    Reply
    • As i mentioned in the review, Jim. Folks need to wait for the firmwares before counting on it. Give it a real read!

      Reply
      • Hi Dong,

        this review?

        https://dongknows.com/synology-rt6600ax-wi-fi-6-router-review/

        Hmmm, I missed it there too (and I do try to give things a good read!), but as you say, I would trust Synology to fix things in firmware.

        Ah, looks like they already have (from Wes’s post link):

        ***
        KH @khchen
        Synology Staff
        Jul 01, 2022

        Hello Pals,

        Our team had identified a similar performance issue internally and also has a solution now. If you have a performance issue, please kindly submit a ticket to us and let me know your ticket ID. We can provide a small patch for you.

        Thanks.
        ***

        Anyway, from charts and comments the RT6600ax looked very strong, and, looks like whatever that issue was has been fixed.

        Reply
        • Yes, Jim. Links to it are also everywhere in this post. And I knew they’d fix it over time. Like I said in the review, it’s generally a good idea to wait for a few rounds of firmware updates before you can really count on this router. You can use it right now, just don’t *count* on it.

          That was the case with both the RT2600ac and MR2200ac, by the way.

          Reply
    • I am one of those users. Synology has acknowledged it [https://community.synology.com/enu/forum/2/post/154168] and has a patch they’re releasing soon. If it’s not fixed soon I’m sending it back because 5ghz-1 is seriously borked and capped at ~150 up/down regardless of any channel/config with single device wifi 6 client testing. 5ghz-2 is also seeing bizarre down speeds ~200 down and 500-600 up (I’m on a fiber 1000/1000).

      This is coming from a die hard Synology fan and long time DS916+ user. I hope the performance issues are resolved soon! If not, I’m getting the Asus gt-axe16000.

      Reply
      • It’ll be worked out. This was the case of the previous routers. They were so long ago so we kinda forget. πŸ™‚

        Reply

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