Synol­ogy MR2200ac

THE POP­U­LAR NAS-MAKER’S THIRD ROUTER ADDS MESH BUT LOSES SOME HARD­WARE FEA­TURES.

TechLife Australia - - WELCOME - [ DAN GAR­DINER ]

TAI­WANESE NAS-MAKER SYNOL­OGY has slowly been build­ing it­self a re­spectable rep­u­ta­tion in the router mar­ket, re­leas­ing three models in as many years, with this tri-band, Qual­comm-pow­ered MR2200ac the lat­est ad­di­tion to the fam­ily. Like its for­bears, the RT1900ac and RT2600ac, this is an­other highly-ca­pa­ble and fea­ture-packed unit where the real star is theOS. Sim­ply named ‘Synol­ogy Router Man­ager’ (or SRM), the lat­ter takes its cues from the com­pany’s NAS op­er­at­ing sys­tem, com­bin­ing a very easy-to-use desk­top-like in­ter­face (which you ac­cess via web browser) with fea­tures that are fre­quently more ad­vanced than you get from longestab­lished router man­u­fac­tur­ers.

The MR2200ac dif­fers from its pre­de­ces­sors in that it’s geared for mesh net­work­ing. Al­though it can work fine on its own as a stan­dard modem­less broad­band router (al­beit a fairly sim­ple one, hard­ware wise – there’s only two Eth­er­net ports in back, one of which can only be used for WAN con­nec­tions), Synol­ogy’s real in­ten­tion is for you to buy at least two of these and then pair them into a mesh net­work to seam­lessly ex­tend Wi-Fi to wher­ever you need it. If you want a more sub­stan­tial router for your main de­vice, Synol­ogy’s also en­abled this mesh func­tion­al­ity in the older RT2600ac via an OS up­date, so you can use it in con­junc­tion with one or more MR2200acs.

In­ter­nally, this new model runs a quad-core, 717MHz Qual­comm CPU and pairs that with 256MB of mem­ory and 4GB of on­board stor­age for in­stalling ad­di­tional op­tional apps. In the wire­less depart­ment, you’re get­ting 2x2 MIMO 802.11ac with two 867Mbps 5GHz ra­dios and one 400Mbps 2.4GHz ra­dio. In mesh mode, one of those 5GHz chan­nels is switched to be­come a ded­i­cated backchan­nel for node-to-node com­mu­ni­ca­tion, mean­ing you shouldn’t get bottlenecks.

For this re­view, we tested with two MR2200acs and found wire­less per­for­mance was gen­er­ally first rate, reach­ing 60MB/s when con­nect­ing to the pri­mary node and, with the sec­ondary node two rooms and 10m away, we hit 25.7MB/s reads and 38MB/s writes – su­per com­pet­i­tive for writes and good for reads.

Po­si­tion­ing mesh nodes can al­ways be tricky, but Synol­ogy’s ac­tu­ally made this eas­ier by in­clud­ing built-in speed test­ing in the router OS, as well as three-bar sta­tus lights that in­di­cate how strong a sec­ondary node’s sig­nal is back to the main one. On the down­side, the 1.2m power ca­ble on the MR2200ac’s frankly a bit short, which lim­its your place­ment op­tions.

The big­gest new fea­ture, soft­ware wise, is a re­design of the SRM OS’s parental fea­tures, which are now best-in-class, let­ting you fil­ter con­tent us­ing a huge num­ber of pos­si­ble vari­ables and pre­sets (as well as man­ual cus­tomi­sa­tion) and even man­age in­ter­net time al­lowances on a per-user ba­sis – so it’ll track lit­tle Timmy’s web use on the tablet as well as the lap­top and tally a to­tal from the two.

This is an­other great-per­form­ing, high­ly­cus­tomis­able router from Synol­ogy that’s per­fect for those who want a lot of op­tions of how their net­work op­er­ates.

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