Routers are probably some of the least exciting PC accessories money can buy, but they play an important role at home or in the office. Acting as a bridge between devices and the outside world, it’s important to choose the right router for your needs so you can get everyone online without any performance bottlenecks.
Synology is renowned for the best NAS enclosures produced by the company, but it also makes routers on the side, and the Synology RT6600ax is the latest networking tool. This is a Wi-Fi 6 router supporting the latest 5.9 GHz band, providing extra bandwidth for all your wireless gear.
This review will walk you through all the features and specs of the Synology RT6600ax, along with some tests to see if it’s one of the best Wi-Fi routers for your needs.
Price, availability and specifications
The Synology RT6600ax costs $299.99, which puts it in line with other high-end Wi-Fi 6 routers. This is the third router we’ve seen from Synology, replacing the RT2600ac and introducing new features, namely support for the 5.9 GHz band. The rest of the router specs are impressive.
|RAM||1 GB DDR3|
|Antenna||4×4 MIMO Omnidirectional High Gain Dipole (5GHz)|
|2×2 MIMO Omnidirectional High Gain Dipole (2.4GHz/5GHz)|
|LAN Ports||3x 1 GB (dual WAN), 1x 2.5 GB|
|WAN Ports||1x 1 GB, 1x 2.5 GB (dual WAN)|
|USB sockets||1x USB-A 3.2 Gen 1 (5V, 0.9A)|
|Wi-Fi standard||IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax: 5 GHz-1: 4800 Mbps, 5 GHz-2: 1200 Mbps, 2.4 GHz: 600 Mbps, 4×4 160 MHz, Simultaneous tri-band Wi-Fi|
|encryption||WPA/WPA2-Personal, WPA/WPA2-Enterprise, WPA2/WPA3-Personal, WPA3-Personal/Enterprise, Wi-Fi Enhanced Open (OWE)|
|Dimensions||175mm x 320mm x 200mm|
This router packs enough power and bandwidth for a busy office or home. The Synology RT6600ax is also backed by the company’s two-year warranty.
Synology RT6600ax: design and features
As mentioned above, routers are usually not the most attractive products you can buy. However, this does not prevent manufacturers from giving them a design touch or little. Synology’s RT6600ax is no exception. While it might be a simple black plastic slab, there are plenty of vents and no RGB lighting for a sleeker finish.
On the front are seven status LEDs for activity and diagnostics, followed by subtle Synology branding. The right side houses the WPS and Wi-Fi mode toggle buttons. On the back, you’ll find three 1Gb LAN ports, a single 2.5Gb WAN/LAN port, a single 1Gb WAN port, a single USB-A 3.2, one DC input and reset and power buttons.
Synology RT6600ax has a total of six adjustable, but non-removable antennas, which can be positioned for maximum signal strength and coverage throughout your home or office. As a tri-band AX6600 router, this device is capable of reaching data transfer speeds of up to 4,800 Mbps and 600 Mbps on the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands, respectively. There is a second 5 GHz channel which also has a capacity of 1200 Mbps.
Synology has included various features with the RT6600ax. You’ll find the usual Wi-Fi 6 features like Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA), 160MHz channel bandwidth, MU-MIMO data simultaneous streaming, WPA3 encryption, and bundles for improved performance. There is also support for 5.9 GHz channels.
The features don’t stop there as the Synology RT6600ax runs the company’s exceptionally good SRM (Synology Router Manager) operating system with version 1.3 available for this model.
Synology RT6600ax: setup and management
The process of setting up the Synology RT6600ax for the very first time couldn’t be easier. You have the choice of installing the router using the SRM web interface on a PC or via the DS Router mobile app (available for iOS and Android). Both will give the same results and should be used whichever device is most easily accessible.
Similar to the DSM operating system loaded on Synology NAS enclosures, SRM offers a desktop operating system-like interface that should look familiar to anyone using Windows, macOS, or Linux. It’s a fantastic piece of kit that makes managing the RT6600ax a painless process, from managing network connections to setting up your own VPN.
Profiles can be created for different people, which opens up the ability to filter the web and configure parental controls. Network Protection is a great feature that not only lets you see how long a client has been online, but also blocks access to known malicious websites and protects you from malware attacks.
Synology RT6600ax: performance
For maximum performance with any router, you’ll want to use RJ45 ports, whether 1 Gbps or 2.5 Gbps. Synology’s RT6600ax has only four LAN ports (with an extra reserved for WAN use) and only one is capable of handling up to 2.5 Gbps. By testing both connections I was able to reach the maximum allowed by either standard.
This makes the Synology router ideal for intensive local use, for example with one of the best Synology NAS boxes. For wireless use, I tested bandwidth using an app on my iPhone 12 at 1 meter, 5 meters, and 10 meters (indoors and outdoors). Results were solid with 834 Mbps playback up close and personal and 287 Mbps in the backyard.
|10 meters (indoor)||339Mbps||57Mbps|
|10 meters (outdoor)||287Mbps||52Mbps|
The results are pretty much in line with what you’d expect from a high-end 802.11ax router. The Synology RT6600ax would trade blows with competing hardware like the Netgear Nighthawk AX6600 RAX70. Everything inside the router is powered by a quad-core processor running at 1.8GHz with 1GB of DDR3 RAM to play around with. There is also a considerable amount of flash memory for application storage.
Synology RT6600ax: Competition
There are many brands of routers and selecting models can be daunting, especially if you’re not sure what you need. For a Wi-Fi 6 router, the competition is strong against the Synology RT6600ax, including the excellent TP-Link Archer AX6600. Synology has better performance, but TP-Link has better port selection.
There are many other high-end 802.11ax routers out there. Netgear’s Nighthawk AX6600 RAX70 is a stunning router with similar performance, port array, and price. Whichever router you choose, you’ll have a blazing-fast wireless LAN.
Synology RT6600ax: Should you buy it?
You should buy it if…
- You want a powerful, inexpensive Wi-Fi 6 router
- You want full coverage of your entire home/office
- You plan to take advantage of the latest 5.9 GHz band
You shouldn’t buy it if…
- You have more than four devices to connect using cables
- You want to take advantage of link aggregation
- You don’t want to spend $300 on a router
You should consider buying the Synology RT6600ax if you plan to use wireless channels extensively. I’m talking about multiple consoles, phones, tablets, PCs, and other smart home devices. If you have an array of technologies that require internet access, the RT6600ax will be more than happy to bring it all online.
It’s not the most powerful router on the market, and it won’t win any performance awards. What Synology has managed to design is a solid foundation for a powerful home (or business) network. The built-in parental controls are excellent, as is the operating system, making network and router management an absolute breeze.
Synology is considered one of the best NAS manufacturers, thanks in large part to its excellent DSM operating system and its router equivalent is equally good, which makes the web admin panels of some of the most popular brands established completely outdated. The Synology RT6600ax is an excellent router you should consider for your next LAN upgrade.
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The RT6600ax is pretty much what everyone expects from a high-speed Wi-Fi 6 router. It supports the new 5.9 GHz band and has a fast processor and some robust specs, but it’s let down by a limited number of LAN ports.