A year or two ago, the Synology WRX560 would have been an awesome router.
But considering the current ubiquity of Wi-Fi 6E and the upcoming Wi-Fi 7, Synology’s latest router, first announced in late October 2022, seems awfully dated. Though excellent, as it proved in my testing, this one is still a middling Wi-Fi 6 broadcaster.
The new router does have the UNII-4 novelty but that’s pretty irrelevant considering it’s a piece of Dual-band Wi-Fi hardware, and there’s no client supporting this portion of the 5GHz band.
The bottom line is this: If you’re happy with Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 — and in most cases, you don’t need anything more than that — the Synology WRX560 is an excellent router. It’s more than worth its current street price of $250. I’d even call it the best among its peers.
But getting it means you’ll miss out on a lot, including top-tier Wi-Fi 6 specs and the 6GHz band, which is a major part of Wi-Fi’s future.
The WRX560 is a bag of mixed feelings. To buy or not to buy is the question.
Synology WRX560: A solid mid-tier and opportunity-missed Wi-Fi 6 router with a 2.5GbE WAN port
The WRX560 is both families yet different. It shares the same firmware as the rest of Synology’s routers — except for the old RT1900ac that’s stuck with the older firmware version — yet comes in a new design and some novelties.
Nice but somewhat impractical design
Out of the box, the WRX560 looks nice. It’s larger than I imagined — almost as large as the RT6600ax though significantly lighter.
Designed to work in a vertical position, the new router has a few status lights on the front and network ports on the back. These ports are a bit recessed, making it tricky when you need to remove a network cable — there’s no room to press down the cable lock.
On the other hand, the USB 3.0 (5Gbps) port is on the side of the router, causing the whole package to be a bit awkward when you plug in a portable drive.
But overall, I like the Synology WRX560’s design.
What I had a hard time with was figuring out the intention behind the new router.
So, the WRX560 is late to the game. Truth be told, I thought the Ubiquiti Dream Machine would be the last Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router I’d ever review.
And compared with the latest Wi-Fi routers, including Synology’s recent Tri-band RT6600ax, the new router is modest as a standalone machine and doesn’t make sense as part of the Synology Wi-Fi mesh ecosystem.
With that, let’s check the tech of this “latest” router and its detailed photos.
Hardware specifications and power consumption: Synology WRX560 vs RT6600ax
The WRX560 breaks from the RTxxx naming convention, and as a Dual-band device, it’s not the Wi-Fi 6 version of the Tri-band Wi-Fi 5 MR2200ac, despite sharing a somewhat similar up-standing design.
Compared to the RT6600ax, Synology’s first Wi-Fi 6 router that came out in May 2022, the new WRX560 is much lesser in hardware specs.
|Model||Synology WRX560||Synology RT6600ax|
|Wi-Fi Bandwidth||Dual-band AX3000||Tri-band AX6600|
|2×2 AX: Up to 600Mbps|
|2×2 AX: Up to 600Mbps|
|2×2 AX: Up to 2400Mbps|
|2×2 AX: Up to 1200 Mbps|
|3rd Band |
|None||4X4 AX: Up to 4804 Mbps|
|5.9Ghz (UNII-4) Support||Yes||Yes|
|Gigabit Port||3x LAN|
|3x LAN, |
|Multi-Gig Port||1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN||1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN|
|USB||1x USB 3.2 Gen 1|
|1x USB 3.2 Gen 1|
(when hosting an external drive)
|EXT4, EXT3, FAT, NTFS, HFS+||EXT4, EXT3, FAT, NTFS, HFS+|
|Access Point Mode||Yes||Yes|
|SRM 1.3.1-9346 Update 2||SRM 1.3-9193|
|Processing Power||Quad-core 1.4 GHz, |
512 MB DDR4
|1.8 GHz quad-core CPU, 1GB RAM, 256MB Flash|
|Power Input||100V – 240V 50/60Hz||100V – 240V 50/60Hz|
(per 24 hours)
|≈ 225 Wh|
|≈ 280 Wh|
|Dimensions||9.2 x 7.63 x 2.6 in|
(233 x 194 x 66 mm)
|16.9 x 12.6 x 7.9 in |
(175 x 320 x 200 mm)
|Weight||1.66 lbs (752 g)||2.65 lbs (1.2kg)|
The WRX50 has relatively lower power consumption, which is always good. It uses less energy than most routers of similar specs I’ve tested.
Synology WRX560: Detail photos
The impractical novelties
As you might have noted in the specs table above, the Synology WRX50 has two things of note: The 2.5GbE Multi-Gig port and the support for the UNII-4 portion of the 5GHz band.
Unfortunately, neither will prove significant in real-world usage.
That lonely Multi-Gig port
The WRX560 has just one 2.5GbE LAN/WAN port. And that’s a big missed opportunity. Things would be much different if it had a second Multi-Gig LAN port.
Like the case of all single-Multi-Gig-port routers, you can’t have a Multi-Gig connection out of it — you need another port for that.
Consequently, the WRX50 can host a Gig+ broadband connection or a fast computer (or a NAS server.) Either way, you’d only get around Gigabit on the way out via the router’s Gigabit ports or its mid-tier 5GHz Wi-Fi bands.
What is Gig+
Gig+, or Gig Plus, conveys a speed grade faster than 1Gbps but slower than 2Gbps. So, it’s 1.5Gbps, give or take, and it’s not fast enough to be qualified as Multi-Gig or multi-Gigabit.
Gig+ generally applies to the sustained speeds of Wi-Fi 6 or 6E — via a 2×2 at 160MHz connection which has the 2400Mbps theoretical ceiling speed — or Internet speed and is not used to describe wired network connections.
And this single Multi-Gig port also means there’s no option for a Multi-Gig wired backhauling if you choose to use multiple WRX50 units in a mesh Wi-Fi system either.
And finally, when you use the 2.5GbE port as a WAN port, you can’t turn the default Gigabit WAN port into a LAN — it’s still available as a WAN port in case you have a Dual-WAN setup. If not, it’s not used at all — a bummer for those with Gig+ broadband who need an extra LAN port!
And that brings us to the router’s second novelty that’s even more useless in real-world usage, which is the support for the 5.9GHz portion of the band.
The useless UNII-4 (5.9GHz) support
The WRX50 joins a short list of Wi-Fi broadcasters that features UNII-4 — the last portion of the 5GHz band. And that’s a good thing.
The bad, however, is the fact this portion currently has no supported clients. And since a band can work in one channel at a time, if you use the WRX560 in any of the UNII-4 channels, the router becomes useless to any existing 5GHz devices — they can’t connect or even see this band’s SSID.
And while we can use the portion of the 5GHz band in a Synology mesh(*), the 5GHz band will only work as the backhaul.
(*)Applicable only to the WRX560 or RT6600ax for the time being.
In short, the UNII-4 support only makes sense for hardware with two 5GHz bands. In Wi-Fi 6, that means a Tri-band broadcaster.
Until all existing 5GHz devices support this portion, which will never happen, this 5.9GHz portion on the Dual-bandWRX560 only means you might risk rendering the new router semi-useless. Don’t use it!
Synology WRX560: The familiar and robust SRM 1.3 firmware
And the WRX560 is far from useless. Running the latest Synology Router Manager (SRM) firmware version 1.3, it’s, in fact, the best Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router you can find.
Synology released SRM 1.3 together with the RT6600ax, and I talked about the new OS in detail in its review.
In a nutshell, SRM1.3 is similar to Synology’s DSM operating system for its NAS server. It’s a Linux-based OS you can manage within a web interface that feels and operate similarly to a native operating system, such as Windows or macOS.
Other than all the standard initial setup process — which is the same as that of any router with a web user interface — and common networking features, SRM 1.3 comes with a Package center that includes half a dozen of useful apps that you use can add to the router.
Half of these apps — including the PC-less Download Station and Media Server, which are similar to those of a Synology NAS server — require and are only applicable when you add some external storage to the WRX560 via its USB port, which will turn it into a robust mini NAS server.
Besides that, there’s the Synology Router mobile app that allows for controlling the router on your phone. In this case, you can manage the router remotely via QuickConnect or Dynamic DNS.
Overall, like all other Synology routers, the WRX560 has everything you’d need in a home router and possibly more. On this front, other than the new look, the hardware specs, and, subsequently, the performance, this new router is identical to the RT6600ax.
Synology WRX560: Excellent performance
I tested the WRX560 as a standalone router for over a week, and it worked very well.
Considering its middling Wi-Fi specs and the single Multi-Gig port, it exceeded my expectations. It’s as good as a Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router can be.
Fast Wi-Fi thoughts, excellent reliability, and extended range
The 2.5Gbps LAN port played an important role in my testing and helped the WRX560 top the charts among all mid-tier Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 routers.
Compared with higher-end routers it was, as expected, slower, though not by much.
The WRX560 passed my three-day stress test with no issues. It didn’t disconnect or slow down, and its Multi-Gig port seemed to deliver close to 2.5Gbps of total bandwidth.
The Synology WRX560 showed an excellent range in my trial, similar to the RT6600ax. It arguably has the best range compared with any mid-tier Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router I’ve tried.
And the router ran cool, too, even during extended tests with heavy loads.
It’s always hard to determine a router’s range, but if you live in a home of some 2000 ft2 (186 m2), give or take, when strategically placed, the WRX560 can deliver Wi-Fi to every corner. But your mileage always varies when it comes to Wi-Fi coverage.
I’ve tried the WRX560 briefly with the MR2200ac in a Synology mesh setup and it worked as intended. In a fully wireless setup, the Tri-band unit can use one of its 5GHz bands as a dedicated backhaul — just like the case when I used the RT2600ac as the primary router.
In any case, the mesh works best with wired backhauling when you’ll have a more flexible hardware arrangement.
I’ll keep testing the mesh function for a while, including the use with other routers, and will update the Synology mesh post if I run into anything noteworthy.
Good network storage performance when hosting a portable SSD
The WXR560 is one of a few routers that can give you real network attached storage (NAS) experience, thanks to the fact Synology is a known NAS maker.
Apart from hosting shared folders and flexible user management, you can set the router to download files on its own, stream media to local network streamers, and much more.
And the router did well in my speed tests, too, when hosting a portable SSD — I used a WD My Passport SSD.
I tested with its USB running in the 3.0 mode — and not the 2.0 mode which is suitable for its 2.4GHz band as mentioned above, and it delivers over 150MB/s in reading, not as fast as its 2.5Gbps port can do but plenty fast for more applications.
Synology WRX560's Rating
Fast and reliable Wi-Fi, 160MHz and 5.9GHz UNII-4 support, mesh-ready
Comprehensive and user-friendly firmware, excellent web interface, useful DS Router app
Lots of useful built-in settings and features, valuable add-on packages
Can work as a full-featured NAS server
Only one 2.5Gbps port, no practical UNII-4 application
No Link Aggregation or dedicated backhaul in a mesh setup, rigid WAN setting
Impractical port design, not wall-mountable
Add another Multi-Gig port or a third band — another 5GHz, or the new 6GHz — and the Synology WRX560 will be an excellent router today. Unfortunately, as is, its hardware is comparable to those released years ago. It feels dated and is limited.
But thanks to the robust firmware and excellent real-world performance — for its specs — the new router is still an excellent Wi-Fi broadcaster. If you’re still in the market for a Dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router, it’s easily one of the best, if not the best. Get one today!