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Synology RT6600ax Review: A Wi-Fi 6 Router That Has (Almost) Everything

Synology’s first router in years, the RT6600ax, is finally available today. And, like the Ubiquiti UDR, it’s a near-perfect Wi-Fi 6 machine that does not have a lot of love for Multi-Gig users.

For the rest, the new router is as good as can be. And its support for the last 5.9GHz portion of the 5GHz spectrum is the icing on the cake.

If you’re in the market for a standalone Wi-Fi 6 router, the Synology RT6600ax will likely be the best $299 you’ve ever spent. In fact, get a few units if you want to build a serious Gigabit mesh network.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on December 2, 2021, when the RT6600ax was announced, and updated it on May 11, 2022, to a full review after thorough hands-on testing.

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 5
The new Synology RT6600ax Wi-Fi 6 router is quite large

Synology RT6600ax Wi-Fi 6 Router: A (late) beginning of a new exciting chapter

The RT6600ax was long in the making.

To put things in perspective, this is Synology’s only new router after the MR2200ac that came out in 2018. I was still an innocent teenager at the time…

Fast-forward to now, the new router does come with an exciting novelty. It’s the first that supports the last 5.9GHz portion of the 5GHz spectrum — more below. (The Asus GT-AX11000 Pro will soon follow suit.)

Still, to put it mildly, the RT6600ax is a bit late to the Wi-Fi 6 game. Since late 2021, the world has moved to Wi-Fi 6E and is now eyeing Wi-Fi 7.

But for those looking to upgrade their current Synology routers, namely the MR2200ac, RT2600ac, or RT1900ac, this new router is welcome news.

And it sure is worth the wait. Let’s start with what we’ve come to expect from Synology: the firmware.

RT6600ax: The first router to get Synology Router Manager version 1.3.

Synology Router Manager (SRM) is a Linux-based operating system similar to DiskStation Manager (DSM) used in Synology NAS servers.

Synology RT6600ax Running Multiple Apps
Here’s the web user interface of the Synology RT6600ax running SRM 1.3. Note the multiple windows being open simultaneously, the desktop area with icons, and the taskbar running at the top with various items it holds.

You still use the web user interface to manage the router, but the webpage itself is similar to the GUI of a native operating system. You have a desktop, a taskbar, a Control Panel, etc., and can run multiple apps simultaneously, each in a separate window.

In short, SRM is easily one of the most, if not the most, comprehensive firmware for Wi-Fi routers. Among other things, you’ll find all that you’d need in networking configurations, both wired and Wi-Fi, with it.

In fact, for home users, the OS can be a bit overwhelming though not to the degree of the Ubiquiti UDR. (Hint: opt for the DS Router mobile app instead! — more below.)

SRM 1.3 is an incremental upgrade to the existing version 1.2 and is first available to the RT6600ax — Synology told me that the RT2600ac and MR2200ac would also get this version later in 2022.

SRM 1.3 has a couple of major new features geared towards business and pro users, including:

  • 802.1q VLAN tagging: A networking standard helpful to business-related applications and Quality of Services (QoS).
  • Multiple advanced virtual networks and SSIDs: Users can create up to 5 virtual networks and SSIDs(*) and distribute them to all endpoints across different subnets to achieve network isolation and customize firewall rules.

(*) The virtual SSIDs were only available when the bands worked separately in my testing. They were not applicable when SmartConnect is in use. Synology later confirmed this to be the case. Future firmware might change this.

Those are on top of what you can already with SRM 1.2, now also with incremental improvements, including:

  • Mesh Wi-Fi configurationโ€‹: Additional Wi-Fi points automatically broadcast all SSIDs associated with their respective network.
  • Safe Accessโ€‹: Built-in online protection and Parental Controls for the entire network based on Internet access rules.
  • VPN Plusโ€‹: Users can decide which network remote devices should connect to, and more.
  • Add-on apps via the Package Center.

Generally, SRM is for advanced users. And if you have used a Synology router or a Synology NAS server before, you’ll feel right at home with SRM 1.3.

If you’re new, keep in mind that this firmware allows you to set up a Synology router like any standard router with a web user interface. So, if you have worked with a router web interface before or are fluent with any operating system, you will be able to figure out the SRM relatively pronto.

Read this  Home Wi-Fi Router Setup and Maintenance: You Can Do It!
Synology RT6600ax SRM 1.3 Packages
Part of SRM’s power is in the add-on apps. Here are the apps currently available to Synology RT6600ax. Note the Package Center, which allows users to add/remove apps.

By the way, if you use an existing Synology router and want to upgrade to the RT6600ax, you can load the backup file of SRM 1.2 to the new router. It’s best to set up a router from scratch, but this universal restoration can save time if you have lots of settings.

Still simple QoS feature

It’s worth noting that SRM 1.3 has no improvement in Quality of Control. Its support for QoS — via its Traffic Control section — remains the largely same as SRM 1.2, which is rather simplistic.

Synology RT6600ax QoS SRM 1.3
Synology SRM 1.3’s QoS feature, called Traffic Control, could use some sophistication.

Users will need to configure the settings manually to set prioritization at the client level, and only up to three clients can be on the priority list.

This feature will work out in most cases but compared to other routers that can prioritize based on applications and services, the RT6600ax is quite modest on this front.

New Synology DS Router 2.0 app

With the RT6600ax, Synology also overhauled its DS Router app to version 2.0. That’s the first update to this app since late 2020.

This app, the user-friendly mobile alternative to the web user interface, also works with routers running SRM 1.2 but has more to offer to those running SRM 1.3.

Specifically, users can now configure Internet connections and manage VPN connections directly from the mobile phone. What’s more, essential functions like port-forwarding, multiple SSID management, and traffic control are also included within the app.

Synology RT6600ax DS Router App
Though not as comprehensive as the web user interface, the DS Router 2.0 mobile offers quick and easy access to many aspects of the Synology RT6600ax, including its Parental Controls feature.

The app also has other improvements in user interface and accessibility. It now comes with a better-thought-out design that includes four tabs, including Overview, Device, Safe Access (that includes Parental Controls), and Settings. Each will take the users to specific parts of the network.

I believe Safe Access will make many parents happy, though this app is much more than just Parental Controls. You can use it to manage many security and privacy aspects of the network, including adblocking. Most of that is available via the DS Router app, but certain in-depth settings of the feature require the web interface.

If you choose to block ads at the router’s level, which is the default when you pick the “Child” blocking profile, remember to make a note of that and add certain sites to the allowed list when necessary. Adblocking can cause webpages and services, including those of this website, not to function as expected. And it can be frustrating if you’re not aware of the cause.

Safe Access worked very well in my trial. It proved to be one of the most comprehensive features of its type, and it’s free.

It’s worth noting that, just like the web user interface, you can use the DS Router app locally or remotely — when you’re out and about. In the latter case, you can opt for the easy route via a login account with Synology and use QuickConnect — privacy risks implied — or via Dynamic DNS.

Read this  Synology QuickConnect vs Dynamic DNS: Tips on NAS Servers' Remote Access

The DS Router app worked well on my Pixel 6 for the most part. It did crash a few times, likely due to first-release bugs but not to the point that caused concerns. I have no doubt Synology will work out the kinks via future updates. On top of that, I’m a fan of the web user interface, anyway.

During my partially pre-release trial, the interface had minor bugs, too, which was normal for a new router. Generally, it’s a good idea to wait for at least one incremental firmware update before expecting the hardware to be fully functional.

Besides the Router app, SRM 1.3 comes with a few other mobile apps to manage its many add-ons that you can install via the Package Center, as mentioned above.

Synology RT6600ax: Hardware specifications

The Synology RT6600ax is a Tri-band 4×4 Wi-Fi 6 router with a top speed on the 5GHz-1 band of up to 4804Mbps. The other two bands, the 5GHz-2 and 2.4GHz, cap at 1200Mbps and 600Mbps, respectively.

NameSynology RT6600ax Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 Router
ModelRT6600ax
Wi-Fi TechnologyTri-band AX6600
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs2×2 AX: Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs 4X4 AX: Up to 4804 Mbps
Upper channels
(20/40/80/160MHz)
5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs2×2 AX: Up to 1200 Mbps
Lower channels
(20/40/80MHz)
5.9GHz SupportYes
Backward Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac
AP ModeYes
Mesh-ready Yes (Synology Mesh)
Gigabit Port3x LAN, 
1x WAN (permanent)
Multi-Gig Port1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN
Dual-WANYes (WAN + 2.5Gbps or cellular)
USB1x USB 3.0
Firmware Version
(at review)
SRM 1.3-9193 
Mobile AppAndroid and iOS: DS Router, VPN Plus, DS cloud, DS file,
Android-only: DS Get (Download)
QoSYes
(client-based only)
Parental ControlYes
Processing Power1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 256MB Flash
Built-in Online ProtectionYes 
(Threat Prevention add-on App)
Dimensions
(antennas up)
16.9 x 12.6 x 7.9 in 
(175 x 320 x 200 mm)
Weight2.65 lbs (1.2kg)
Power SpecsInput: 100-240V 50/60Hz
Output: 12V 3.5A
Power Consumption
(per 24 hours)
โ‰ˆ 280 Wh
Release DateMay 11, 2022
Price
(at launch)
$299.99
The Synology RT6600ax’s hardware specifications

Entry-Level Multi-Gig support, no Link Aggregation, a bit rigid port configuration

As you can see in the table above, the RT6600ax is the first Synology router with Multi-Gig, but it’s quite modest on this front.

Read this  Multi-Gig Explained: Why You Should Start Caring about It

Indeed, the router has just one 2.5Gbps port that can work as a LAN (default) or a WAN. As a result, there’s no way to have a full 2.5Gbps connecting through the router — you need two Multi-Gig ports for that.

While the 2.5Gbps port can work as a WAN port, that’s only applicable in a Dual-WAN setup. There’s no way to make it the router’s only WAN port and set the original Gigabit WAN port as another LAN port.

In other words, if you choose to use the 2.5Gbps port as your WAN, applicable for those with Gigabit or faster broadband, you’ll have no use for the original WAN port — unless you have a real Dual-WAN setup which is rare for most homes.

Also, the lack of support for 10Gbps means this router is not suitable for those with a 10Gbps broadband connection. And that’s such a shame.

And finally, there’s no Link Aggregation support. That’s not a huge deal, but it sure makes the new router inferior to its Asus counterparts.

Read this  Dual-WAN vs Link Aggregation Explained: Practical Real-World Tips

While the RT6600ax is better than the Ubiquiti UDR on the port speed front — the latter has no Multi-Gig port but two PoE ports — it still gave me the same fleeting feeling of disappointment.

I knew I’d not use it for myself right out of the box, considering my new 10Gbps broadband. But this new router has a ton, if not everything, to offer to those happy with the Gigabit speed grade.

The first router with the 5.9GHz band support

The RT6600ax is the first router that supports the entire 5GHz spectrum — where that’s possible for Wi-Fi. It can broadcast signals using the last UNII4 portion.

Read this  5.9GHz Wi-Fi 6 Explained: How UNII-4 Is Exciting and When You Can Use It
Synology RT6600ax 5.9GHz Channels
The Synology RT6600ax has lots of options for its Wi-Fi bands. Note the extra 5.9GHz channels (169, 173, 177).

You can read more about UNII4 in this post, but for decades, this controversial portion of the 5GHz spectrum was reserved for other applications. In late 2020, FCC approved it for Wi-Fi use and made it available for unlicensed use in early 2021.

This 5.9GHz part of the spectrum opens up new possibilities — for the first time, there’s a clean 160MHz channel on the 5GHz. And that makes the 5GHz band comparable to the new 6GHz band of Wi-Fi 6e in reliability, without the innate reduction in range.

The 5.9GHz portion of 5GHz  Wi-Fi 6 Band
The 5.9GHz portion of the 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 band

Unfortunately, there was no supporting client during my testing for this review, but I’ll come back when they are available, hopefully later this year. But even without them, the RT6600ax’s performance proved excellent — more below.

Extra: Wi-Fi 6’s pre-UNII4 channel allocations

This portion of extra content is part of the posts on Dual-band vs Tri-band vs Quad-band.

5GHz band: Channels allocation, DFS vs Non-DFS

Generally, a dual-band Wi-Fi broadcaster (2.4GHz + 5GHz) has two distinctive sets of channels. One belongs to the 2.4GHz band and the other to the 5GHz band.

Depending on your locale and hardware, the number of available channels on each band will vary.

This post takes the perspective of the U.S region. Here, the 2.4 GHz band includes 11 usable channels (from 1 to 11) and has been that way since the birth of Wi-Fi. Things are simple in this band.

On the 5GHz frequency, things are complex — we have DFS and regular (non-DFS) channels. On top of that, the last portion of the band — the 5.9GHz section — is generally reserved for other applications.

(DFS channels can be problematic and are the main reason we now have Wi-Fi 6E.)

The 5GHz Wi-Fi channels and their positions on the spectrum.
Here are the 5GHz Wi-Fi channels and their positions on the spectrum in the US. The gap in the middle of the DFS portion, between channels 64 and 100, is reserved exclusively for Doppler RADAR and the portion beyond 5.8GHz is generally unavailable — it belongs to UNII-4.

Here is the breakdown of the channels on the 5GHz frequency band at their narrowest form (20MHz):

  1. The lower part of the spectrum includes channels: 36, 40, 44, and 48.
  2. The upper part includes channels: 149, 153, 161, and 165.
  3. In between the two, we have the following DFS channels: 52, 56, 60, 64, 100, 104, 108, 112, 116, 120, 124, 128, 132, 136, 140, and 144. (Channels from 68 to 96 are generally reserved exclusively for Doppler RADAR.)

In a dual-band (2.4GHz + 5GHz) broadcaster, the 5GHz band gets all the channels above (#1, #2). It’ll also get #3 if the broadcaster supports DFS.

In a traditional Tri-band broadcaster (2.4GHz + 5GHz + 5GHz), the first 5GHz band (5GHz-1) will get the lower channels (#1), and the 2nd 5GHz band (5GHz-2) gets the upper channels (#2).

If the broadcaster support DFS then the 5GHz-1 gets up to channel 64, and the rest (100 and up) goes to 5GHz-2. If it supports the new 5.9GHz portion of the 5GHz spectrum generally has four additional channels to its upper part, including 169, 173, 177, and 181.

The splitting of the 5GHz spectrum ensures that the two narrower bands (5GHz-1 and 5GHz-2) do not overlap each other.

As a result, while the total bandwidth of the 5GHz spectrum remains the same in a traditional Tri-band broadcaster, we have the option of using two portions of this band simultaneously.

In return, each portion (5GHz-1 or 5GHz-2) has fewer channels to choose from. Consequently, their performance might not be as good as when the 5GHz spectrum is used as a single band.

Synology Mesh-ready

Supporting Synology mesh, the RT6600ax’s new 5.9GHz band is an excellent backhaul in a wireless mesh configuration. That’s the case when you use multiple units together.

However, in this case, its 5GHz-1 band is only available to 5.9GHz-ready clients (which weren’t available at this review.) So for practical reasons, it’s best to use one of the lower channels on this band for the job. Or better yet, use a network cable as the wired backhaul.

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 8 1
The Synology RT6600ax comes with six non-detachable antennas. You need two hardware units to form a mesh system.
Read this  Synology Mesh Review (vs Asus AiMesh): A Home Way to Create a Pro Wi-Fi System

By the way, Synology mesh is the only real rival to Asus’s AiMesh. Both allow multiple standalone routers to form a flexible mesh system with lots of customizability.

For now, you can only use multiple RT6600ax together, but soon, when existing routers, namely the MR2200ac and RT2600ac get SRM 1.3, you can use a mix of them.

Synology even hinted that SRM 1.3 would also allow the RT2600ac to work as a satellite instead of only in the router role as it has always been. That’d give Synology mesh more options in terms of hardware, though still really far behind AiMesh.

Synology Mesh Setup
The Synology RT6000ax automatically uses its strong 5GHz-1 band as the backhaul in a wireless mesh configuration.

I did try the two RT6600ax units in a mesh setup briefly, and they worked well. I plan to keep testing this and update the post on Synology Mesh later with more information.

Synology RT6600ax: Detail photos

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 10
Like a business product, the Synology RT6600ax comes in an environmentally friendly box without plastic wraps. I love this type of packaging.

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 8
Out of the box, the Synology RT6600ax includes a standard power adapter (100-240V) and a network cable.

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 13
The Synology RT6600ax is quite large.

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 15
The Synology RT6600ax’s first LAN port is a 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig port that can also work as a WAN.

Synology RT6600ax Wi Fi 6 Router 9
The underside of the Synology RT6600ax — note how it’s wall-mount-ready.

Synology RT6600ax power adapter
The Synology RT6600ax comes with a power adapter with a flexible connector to work anywhere.

Synology RT6600ax vs RT2600ac 1
Old vs new: The Synology RT2600 Wi-Fi 5 router (left) is next to the new Wi-Fi 6 RT6600ax. Note how the former has removable antennas.

Excellent free add-on apps (packages)

As mentioned above, SRM allows the additional app to run within the router, and the RT6600ax support seven apps by default. These are Linux applications (or packages) that add more functionality and features to the hardware.

You can run some apps using the router’s built-in storage. Others will require plugged-in storage, namely a portable drive. It’s generally recommended that you have an external storage device to run multiple apps — the router has limited flash storage. I used one for the testing.

Synology RT6600ax Download Station
The Synology RT6600ax’s Download Station app works very well and allows users to quickly search and download shared files.

I tried all of these apps, and they worked as intended. What I loved the most were the Download Station and Threat Prevention.

The Download Station is the same app found in Synology NAS servers that allows users to search for items they need and download them. You can also enter the download link manually. It then works by itself. It’s an excellent tool for computer-less downloading.

Download Station also has a mobile app, the DS Get, which allows you to manage downloads from anywhere. So you can start a download when you leave work, and the file will be ready for you when you get home.

When coupled with the router’s network-attached storage feature — more below — and the Media Server app, the RT6600ax can function as one of the best router-based mini NAS servers. It’s the closest experience to a real Synology NAS server.

Synology RT6600ax Threat Prevention
The Synology RT6600ax’s Threat Prevention app has a world map showing where threats come from.

Threat Prevention, on the hand, is a comprehensive online protection app that detects threats in real-time and blocks them based on user-defined policies. It’s an excellent tool for those wanting to keep tabs on their network’s security.

Overall, the add-on apps add tremendous value to the router, and they are all available for free. Remember, though, that its’ a router you’re using — it has limited resources. It is best to use only the apps you need — don’t use all of them just because you can.

Synology RT6600ax: Stellar performance

I tested the Synology RT6600ax for over a week — almost 10 days, in fact — and it exceeded all expectations. A couple of things to note:

  • I couldn’t test its 5.9GHz portion of the band since there was no supported client yet. I’ll come back to this when possible, though the result will likely be the same. (*)
  • I tested all of its bands separately, and in the case of the 2.4GHz, both with the router’s USB port working in USB 3.0 and 2.0 modes.
  • This review is mostly on the RT6600ax as a standalone router. I will cover its mesh function in a separate post.

(*) I was able to connect the 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 test client to the router’s 5GHz-1 band via a 160MHz connection (at 2.4Gbps). As mentioned above, this negotiated speed would also have been the best possible had I been able to use the 5.9GHz portion.

Update, May 21, 2022:

During extra testing for the post on Synology Mesh, I used a second RT6600ax solely as a wireless client and connect a Multi-Gig computer to its 2.5Gbps port, effectively turning it into a Multi-Gig media bridge.

With this setup, I was able to test the router’s sustained Wi-Fi speeds and ranges via a 160MHz connection using the 5.9GHz portion. As expected, they were similar to that of any other 160Mhz channel of the band.

In short, this new portion of the band is only significant when you live in an area where the use of DFS channels is problematic — as mentioned above — or when you want to use the 5GHz-1 band as the wireless backhaul of a Synology Mesh setup.

An excellent Wi-Fi machine

As a 4×4 Wi-Fi router with a 2.5Gbps LAN port, the RT6600ax delivers excellent Wi-Fi speed in my testing. My 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 test client indeed got Gig+ sustained speed from it.

Synology RT6600ax 5GHz AX Performance 1
The Synology RT6600ax’s performance when hosting a 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 client

In fact, its 5GHz-1 (upper channels) was one of the fastest Wi-Fi 6 routers to date. Again, note that I tested this band using regular channels. However, per the standard, its 5.9GHz bands will deliver similar sustained throughputs — it’s just more reliable.

Its 5GHz-2 band is of modest specs but faired well among its tiers.

Synology RT6600ax AC 5GHz Performance
The Synology RT6600ax’s performance when hosting a 5GHz Wi-Fi 5 client

On the 2.4GHz band, the RT6600ax performed about the same as its peers. This band has always been slow in my testing across the board.

The Synology RT6600ax passed our days-long stress test with no disconnections at all. It always worked as expected.

Synology RT6600ax Router 2.4GHz AX Performance
The Synology RT6600ax’s performance when hosting a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 6 client
Note how its performance on this band changed with the USB port working in 2.0 mode (USB 3.0 disabled).

The range was excellent, too. It’s always hard to gauge this, but the RT6600ax has about the same coverage as any high-end Wi-Fi 6 router I’ve tested, like the Asus GT-AX6000 or the TP-Link Archer GX90.

Generally, my experience suggested that this router could cover a home of some 2000 ft2 (186 m2) when placed in the center. But your mileage sure will vary.

Synology RT6600ax Internet Performance via Wi Fi
The Synology RT6600ax’s best-base-scenario real-world Internet speed via its (5GHz-1) Wi-Fi 6 when hosting a 10Gbps broadband connection

As for real-world Internet speed, the router’s 2.5Gbps port proved capable of delivering Gig+ broadband in my anecdotal testing, as you can see in the screenshot above — chances are the 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 connection was the bottleneck.

The Internet speed tests were done with the router’s only 2.5Gbps port working as a WAN port, instead of as a LAN during the Wi-Fi tests above.

If you have Internet speeds up to 1.5Gbps, the RT6600ax is your safe choice. Any faster speed grade will require a router with multiple Multi-Gig ports — preferably with faster-than-2.5Gbps speed grades — since you can only experience that via a wired connection, for now. (I detailed the reasons in this post on super-broadband.)

A viable mini NAS

Synology is a known NAS server maker, and that showed via the RT6600ax.

When coupled with an external storage device — I used a WD My Passport SSD — connected to its USB 3.0 port, the router can work as an excellent NAS server.

Synology RT6600ax NAS Performance
The Synology RT6600ax’s NAS performance when hosting portable SSD

Apart from hosting shared folders with advanced user management, the router can also stream media and work as a download station, as mentioned above. Most importantly, it has the performance to match.

Indeed, in my testing, the throughputs were excellent. Clearly, to make it work as a mini server, you’ll need to use the USB port in the USB 3.0 mode and sacrifice a bit of the 2.4GHz band’s performance. I tested the router in that setting, and it did very well, as you can see on the chart.

Synology RT6600ax USB Ports
For the Synology RT6600ax to work well as a mini NAS server, you need to uncheck this box (which is checked by default) and sacrifice a bit of performance on the 2.4GHz band.

If you’re looking to dabble in the world of network-attached storage, the RT6600ax is the next best thing besides a real Synology NAS server. For causal network storage needs, just get a nice, spacious portable SSD (or hard drive), and you’re all set.

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

Conclusion

For the most part and most users, the Synology RT6600ax is worth the wait.

It’s an excellent Wi-Fi 6 router that meets or exceeds what you’d expect from Synology, with similarly well-designed firmware, a rich feature set, and stellar reliability. It’s worth every penny of its reasonable $299 suggested retail price tag. And it’ll become even better over time via updates. So, you should get one today!

On the downside, the lack of a second Multi-Gig port and 10Gbps ports means the RT6600 will forever remain behind in the wired speed curve. While that doesn’t affect the general audience, advanced users and hardcore geeks will find this shortcoming rather painful simply because the RT6600ax is so close yet too far to be that perfect router.

And I speak from experience.

Want to know how the new router performs as a member of a mesh system? Check back by late May for updates in the post on Synology Mesh.

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84 thoughts on “Synology RT6600ax Review: A Wi-Fi 6 Router That Has (Almost) Everything”

  1. Great article, thank you for writing it!

    I had the RT2600 and just got in the RT6600. I also have a AX200 wifi card in a new laptop. I unfortunately can’t get the 6600 to use the 149-177 range for the 160mhz channel (when I try to use 149 it just gives a 80mhz channel from 149-161). I checked this with some 3rd party software. However I can get a 160mhz channel if I set it to 100, and it uses 100-128 successfully. But all of that is kind of a secondary issue.

    The primary issue is even with it using a 160mhz channel, and sitting 3 feet from the router, I can’t get any better speeds than I did on my RT2600 on 5ghz AC. Can you share your 6600 SSID advanced options, and the Radio settings? Did you adjust any windows wifi adapter settings?

    Your test showed you got about 1645Mbps in your close test. I’m getting half that with my AX200. I’m hoping I can find some way to get better performance, as I really don’t want to return the 6600.

    Thank you for the help and your time!

    Reply
  2. Superb review mate, thanks.
    I have a Netgear Nighthawk with which I am very disappointed, and I want to get something better, in particular, stable.
    Internet is 350 mb which is plenty for my needs.
    My question about the Synology is, would it take both my drobo NAS stacks, which are USB 1, given it only has one USB port, by using a USB hub? If so, what impact would that have to speed, and would it create any stability issues with accessing those units.
    The Netgear is horrible with NAS, as it frequently loses access to the units, and I need to restart and respec them.
    Finally, which router do you consider the best for uses like downloads, browsing, gaming, NAT handling. Do you have a Top 10 somewhere on the page?

    Thanks in advance

    Reply
    • The Drobo is by far the absolute worst storage device you can get, Y. Other than that, it’ll likely work with this router — chances are you might have to reformat it though there’s a chance it will work right away. Note, though, that you might want to wait for a firmware update. Any new router will likely be buggy with the initial firmware. I’ve run into a few with the RT6600ax, but they are minor.

      The “best” is subjective. That depends on your needs and expectations. Here’s my “best” router page.

      Reply
      • So would it accommodate both my USB drobos? How would that best be achieved.
        Also, out of curiosity, is there another mix-and-match NAS that is better than drobo? If so, I am not aware of one.

        Reply
        • I don’t know if this router will work with your Drobo, Y. I said it’d likely work, but I don’t know. Also, the router has just one USB port. If by “mix and match,” you mean a device that’s both a NAS and a USB external storage, there aren’t many because that’s a terrible idea. Other than that, more on NAS in this post, including mix-matching drives of different capacities. No more questions relating to Drobo, please, I made myself quite clear on that brand. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Reply
          • Let me generalize the question then. Can 2 USB drive units to into a router’s single USB? Will the router be able to manage them. It is a general protocol question rather a brand compatibility one.

          • Thanks.
            With that sorted, I am now reading some of your Synology NAS reviews, and see why you love them so much. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I have known them for years, of course, but I did not know they do mix and match now. That makes them very interesting to me as my whole home office depends on NAS, and I have been looking for something that is faster than the drobos, but still allow that disk replacement flexibility with sizes. Again, much appreciated.

          • That’s a good choice! Have fun with it! Just FYI, I changed the link to my affiliate one.

  3. Dong,

    Would it make sense to use the 2.5Gbps Ports for wired backhaul in a mesh config if your internet doesn’t exceed 1Gbps?

    Then you would have faster local throughput and still no issues with your internet speed.

    Reply
    • It would, Colin, but that doesn’t make much of a difference. The port is mostly for those with Gig+ broadband and wants to get all of that collectively on multiple devices. Or you can use a Multi-Gig local server with it.

      Reply
  4. This looks like a nice, reliable router! I’m currently using an ASUS GT-AXE11000 with Wifi 6E and have been facing a bunch of reliability issues with the router after a year (I’m just about to send it back to ASUS for RMA after going back and forth on troubleshooting and sending feedback logs).

    Let’s say I was looking for a more stable solution. Would this Synology RT6600ax be worth considering? And how silly would it be for me to wire up the ASUS GT-AXE11000 as a secondary AP just to use the 6E frequencies? (i.e. use the Synology for 2.4GHz and 5GHz, and use the Asus for 6GHz)

    Reply
    • Yes, Joe. And sure you can use the Asus in the AP mode, that doesn’t hurt but, as you already stated, the idea is quite silly. Soon, I believe there’ll be ways to add 6GHz to your existing router.

      Reply
  5. Great review! I’m struggling to understand need some help, are tri-band wifi 6E routers faster than this wifi 6 router with 5.9 spectrum? Thanks!

    Reply
  6. Please do an Asus RT-ax86u vs Synology RT6600ax comparison review. I want to control and give priority to my Xbox Series X with Ethernet port when online gaming to get better Pings Latency for online games with 30 Mbit download and 30 Mbit upload fibre internet. .
    while the rest of my family watched Netflix or YouTube on their devices or TVs.
    Also will have Synology 920+ for family photo video backups (not media streaming of plex)

    Reply
      • Thank you for the reply.
        People like me don’t have big houses but have big family of 4 to 8 with multiple devices.
        So One router is all we need like 90% of the population.
        That is why Tri-band or the third band wont matter, as Mesh is secondary thing for us.

        It is like set it once and forget it.

        Devices my house has:
        Family of 6.
        1 Xbox Series X (on Ethernet)
        2 iPhones
        1 iPad
        2 Android Phones
        2 Samsung Smart / Android TVs (mostly watch Netflix, Amazon Video, or Youtube)
        1 Sonos Beam Gen 2 soundbar
        1 Apple TV (on Ethernet)
        2 Macbook Pros
        1 Windows Laptop
        1 Windows PC (on Ethernet)
        4 Security (2 wifi Wireless camera, 2 Wired)
        1 Synology 920+ (on Ethernet)

        Asus RT-ax86u vs Synology RT6600ax what i have in mind, because when i’m on Xbox playing FPS games such as Apex Legends or Counter Strike GO on PC, the Latency matters a lot. All i want is when i Turn On my Xbox or PC.

        I want is:
        Priority 1 to Xbox (also assign 15 mbit upload and download speed of my whole 30mbit Up and Down Internet connection which is 50% to my Xbox)
        Priority 2 to PC
        Priority 3 to Wireless Security camera
        Priority 4 to Wired Security camera
        Priority 5 to Samsung Smarts TVs and Apple TV
        Priority 6 to iPhones and iPad
        Priority 7 to rest of devices

        Reply
        • No matter what router you get, Ryan, it WON’T work considering your Internet speed and what you want/have. Get faster Internet or cut down the number of devices — especially those security cameras — and tune down on what you want to get done. There’s no magic. You’re looking at the wrong area to solve your problems. You can start with this post. Make sure you read and follow the related posts. Most importantly, keep in mind that the Internet and Wi-Fi are two different things.

          Reply
  7. Synology is so much behind with the smartphone app feature.

    The DS router app is totally pointlessโ€ฆ if the app canโ€™t do what the full web portal doesโ€ฆ then why I need it?!

    It is a stable router, if you want free web filter with kids access management, this is pretty good but if you are looking for a new home router, I would not suggest this brand. {spam removed}

    Reply
  8. Hi Dong, just found your site and really appreciate all your well written and useful info!

    I just got a RT2600ac as was sorely disapointed to find that there’s no way to get notifications when new (or any – for that matter) devices (MAC) join the network. I rely on this feature with me Deco M5 setup.

    Also, was disappointing at the lack of web history logs with time stamps. It only lets you see time stamps in the “real time” monitoring, but not the in the history. It only shows domains listed in order of most frequently connected to.

    Is the router you’re testing running SRM 1.3? And if so, does it have these features?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    • Most “real” routers don’t have that notification-laden feature, Isaac. (It’d drive me nuts — I think cutting down on notifications is the way to go in life in general). SRM has apps that expand more functionality but I’m pretty sure what you’re looking for is not a priority. If you want stuff like that, stay with the Deco. Or you can get an add-on firewall device, like the Firewalla Blue/Gold.

      Reply
      • Thanks for the response! I figured as much.

        The notifications are opt-in, and they are only for “new” devices that haven’t connected to the network before. It’s a nice alternative to having a MAC whitelist that I have to update whenever a new devices comes into the home.

        The Deco system is becoming too slow and it’s too limited in other ways, so I’m looking for something more robust. I was just surprised to find so many features missing that I was used to having.

        I’ll look into an add-on firewall device.

        Also, I’ll probably return the RT2600ac to amazon and get the RT6600ax when it hopefully comes out this week…

        I’m also eyeing the Asus RT-AX86U as an alternative.

        Reply
  9. Hopefully this does better then RT2600ac. My eMMC card in there went bust and Synology gave zero support, not even offering a discount on a replacement. I’m not the only person this happened to. Looks like they last about 3 years then tend to die.
    I did put an SD card in mine to use for log storage, etc. but that didn’t seem to help.

    Reply
    • I think that’s because the eMMC (which is solid-state) will run out of life (endurance) at some point. Hopefully, the newer type will help. But generally, if you want to run apps, it’s a good idea to use an external USB storage device with the router.

      Reply
      • Of course. Which is why I used an SD card for that purpose. Its bad on them to design it in such a way that the eMMC goes bust. I’ve had other routers for a decade without issue. This is the only one I had die due to a design flaw.

        Reply
        • It could be that particular one, too. I’ve been using half a dozen Synology RT2600ac and MR2200ac for years. They’re still running well.

          Reply
          • Even so having better service in the US would help. Buying a premium router and being told there is nothing to do but throw it away is a real problem.

          • I’ve never heard of this before and it got me curious as to what the issue is, if any, and what the purpose is of the sd and usb ports on the rt2600ac.

            Is it an issue with the quality of sd cards used on the rt2600ac or the actual memory on the rt2600ac?

          • The issue isn’t the SD card. They have apps that can run on the router and for those you need external storage(SD card or USB drive).
            The issue is they setup the OS in such a way that it wears out the eMMC (the main storage) prematurely. And when that goes the router dies.
            Their routers are premium products but you may be spending hundreds of dollars and end up with a brick if this happens to you.
            Funny how this never happened with Dlink, Netgear, asus, etc. I really want to love their product but this just sucks.

          • I dug a bit and found what you were talking about. Iโ€™m wondering if this is truly a problem or as the author of this article said, itโ€™s somewhat designed as such?

            Iโ€™d hope not as I really love my Synology rt2600ac and my other Synology gear.

            {disallowed link removed}

            Did you ever contact Synology about this directly?

          • There’s a risk of getting a lemon in all products, no matter how cheap or expensive. That’s said, here’s the list of the currently best routers you can pick from.

            It’s worth noting, though, that Synology’s SRM firmware is the only one that’s like a real OS, meaning it requires writing to the storage more often. Most others use ROM to hold the OS and some flash storage for the settings, features, etc. So the RT2600ac might have been a bit too advanced for its time. And it’s been excellent in my extensive experience. Still, hope this new one will have improvements on this front.

          • Mitty – I contacted Synology directly over phone. I asked directly and clearly if they could:
            1. Fix it
            2. Repair it(I would pay)
            3. Offer me a discount on a replacement(any token amount to show they care).
            All were shot down and I was told there was nothing they could do. That being said I was out of the warranty window. The router was only 2 years old at the time. I pulled out my 10 year old dlink and saved the say. I want to love them but this stung

    • The Synology firmware is generally MUCH more comprehensive, Raj. As for the effectiveness, it’s impossible to find out but I’d say both work.

      Reply
  10. a typo

    Together with the RT600ax, Synology also overhauled its DS Router app to version 2.0.

    i guess this should be RT6600ax ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Fixed. Thanks, Chris. Next time you can highlight the text and hit the red box to the right of the screen. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  11. But will this allow better management of bufferbloat with SQM settings with FQ-CoDel and/or Cake? My 2600rt doesn’t do well with bufferbloat and causes latency in gaming.

    I’ve got a UDM-Pro at home now that I bought to fix this issue (latency). But I’m not sure now since I love how the synology handles parental controls (safe access package).

    Decisions, decisions, decisions.

    Reply
      • Hi Dong

        Interesting router, but it seems rather incomplete without a WiFi 6/5.9Ghz equivalent of the MR2200ac, I’d say.

        Reply
          • Two units means spending full prices just to use the AP function of one of the routers.

            It’s not clear why these situations are being placed on clients.

          • The prices of access points/similar are cheaper than those of WiFi routers, as expected, though. That is the case with the Synology and Asus brands at least.

          • Well, Synology doesn’t make WAPs, so far, so there’s that. But as I said, you got a point. ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Last release date now May11th according to blackvoid, whoever they are. Taiwan water torcher. Terrible customer service.

    Reply
      • Any idea when AT6600ax available on Amazon or BHPhoto?
        Are we optimistic about the soon 1.3 software for MR2200ac. Hate to buy AT 6600ax for a mesh setup when MR2200ac would fit my needs

        Reply
        • It’ll be available on Amazon very soon, Vincent, supposedly today, the links on the review will take you there. Older routers will get SRM 1.3 before the year is out, as soon as a month or two from now. Of course, I’m not the one who calls the shot on these, so don’t hold me accountable if they don’t turn out to be the case. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Reply
    • Just as excited as you are to see the release of the rt6600ax! Was hoping it would be out today but not yet. I’m sure that Synology is making sure things are vetted out fully before release ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  13. First time with a Synology nas and saw your review on the rt2600 the the RT6600ax. Having been through a slew of Netgear routers over the years, each wirh their problems and firmware updates that sometimes improve or remove features, Iโ€™m honestly excited for when the RT6600ax is released. Havenโ€™t heard a peep from Synology though and weโ€™re into Q2 now. Off hand would the RT6600ax work with other brand routers used as APโ€™s still or would Synology lock it to only work wirh their own hardware?

    Reply
    • I can’t say this for sure but chances are they will work together Mitty. Again, don’t quote me on it.

      Reply
  14. Dong,
    First off I love your site. Keep up the great work.
    Next, I have a Synology RT2600ac along with a MR2200ac connected as a (wired) mesh and they work great.
    I added in an Asus RT-AX89X mainly to take advantage of the 1200Mbps Internet and have a few of my newer devices connect with the faster wi-fi 6. I have the Synology devices on a separate SSID but it was for the kids when they were younger. I would like to have all the access points on the same SSID so there’s 1 SSID across the house. All points would be hardwired at gigabit or faster.
    How can I get this to work well? I don’t want to manage 2 SSID’s in the house any more, yet I want everything to work as efficiently as possible.
    I know neither one (Asus or Synology) would fully use their mesh software if I mix and match like this, but I’d hate to get rid of those Synology devices if I don’t need to.
    Any advice would be appreciated!

    Reply
  15. Hi
    Thank you for such informative material!

    RT6600ax/SRm1.3 does look interesting, especially the 802.1q support which is what I’m failing to find elsewhere. I’d really appreciate any pointers to satisfy these requirements (to replace very old equipment):
    – 802.1q VLAN support
    – Multiple SSIDs each linked to a VLAN (including more than one SSID to a particular VLAN)
    – only AP functionality required (external routers, firewalls, etc)
    – mesh with 2 broadcasters, wired backhaul
    – wifi 6

    I’ve got an open mind about vendor, but apart from this unit I haven’t found anything with the above combination of features.

    Thanks, Chris

    Reply
    • For that set of requirements, Chris, you should look into business/enterprise routers or those capable of running DD-WRT firmware. Home routers’ firmware tends to be simplified. Or you can wait for this one.

      Reply
  16. If they make a puck/ typical mesh designed Wifi 6 variant, with at least 2x 2.5gbps ports, I might be ready to switch out my 2x Nest Wifi routers. Having external antennas is not wife approved. Not me approved either. And what good is wifi 6 over AC2200 if capped to 1gbps ethernet (in a home at least, not that many wifi devices).

    Reply
    • Antennas are there for a reason, Olav, and a good (fast) router needs to be of a particular physical size. If the look is important to you, you’ll have to pick something mediocre in terms of performance or other aspects — like the one you have.

      Tell the lady that she can’t have a husband who works like a moose and yet comes with smooth baby-butt skin unless she’s extremely lucky. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Something has to give.

      Reply
  17. I am very excited about this announcement since running an RT2600ac since they hit the market (and you recommended it) five years ago.

    I hope Synology gives offers some sort of an upgrade path to those of us running a mesh with the MR2200s. I would hate to be put at a disadvantage due to my brand loyalty. Iโ€™d like to hang my MR2200s off the new router as soon as it is released.

    I also hope the add native WireGuard support for VPN+.

    Reply
      • I’m more excited about the VLAN feature than WIFI 6, to be honest…been waiting for so long!

        I probably will be holding off the 6600 and patiently wait for SRM 1.3 to hit my 2600 & 2200..

        Reply
  18. Great article ๐Ÿ™‚ That 5.9ghz band looks interesting. Hopefully it will have 10 gig ports but I kind of doubt we’ll see that. More likely 2.5 gbps. If it does come with two 10 gig ports like the asus ax89x does, that would make me want to get this unless tp link archer 206 comes out first. 2022 will be an interesting year for wifi with synology providing a kinda unique new wifi 6 router.

    Reply
      • Unfortunately confirmed: the RT6600ax has only 1x 2.5 Gbps port, WAN or LAN: the other 4x are bog-standard 1 Gbps.

        A sorely missed opportunity, especially releasing 5+ years after the RT2600ac.

        Not sure what Synology will price it at, but might as well add a 2.5 Gbps switch to its base price (with its own bottlenecks).

        Reply

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