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Wireless Reviews

Features

Since this is Synology's first router, I'll be taking an in-depth look at its features and user interface. The RT1900ac is a full-featured router with most of the features buyers would want from a router. The feature list below was compiled from Synology's published specifications, as well as a careful inspection of each screen in the user interface. Here's the rundown.

Internet/Routing/Firewall
  • Auto, PPPoE, Manual (static) only one DNS entry
  • WAN MAC address clone
  • IPv6 (Off, Auto, Manual, 6in4, 6to4, DHCPv6-PD)
  • IPv6 Tunneling
  • VPN Connection (PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec)
  • VPN Server (PPTP, OpenVPN, L2TP/IPSec) via installable package
  • RADIUS Server – via installable package
  • DNS Server – via installable package
  • Support for 3G & 4G dongles
  • Virtual Server entry for single ports with separate local and remote ports and TCP or UDP forwarded. Enable/disable for each entry. No preconfigured common service ports
  • Port triggering – can set individual or range of incoming ports. 9 preconfigured common applications
  • DMZ Host
  • DDNS support for 18 DDNS providers
  • Synology QuickConnect relay
  • Static Route
  • DoS (denial of service) enable/disable
  • VPN Passthrough enable/disable for PPTP, L2TP and IPSec
  • Browser logout timer
  • SPI firewall (always on)
  • Firewall rules (11 preconfigured rules) with individual enable/disable
  • Auto Block for failed login attempts for SSH, FTO, WebDAV Synology mobile apps, File Station and SRM
  • Certificate Center – create, renew, import or sign certificates
Local Network
  • Only four subnet masks supported (255.255.25.0, 255.255.240.0, 255.255.0.0, 255.0.0.0)
  • DHCP Server with lease time setting, IP start and end addresses, gateway and primary DNS. Forward known DNS (enable/disable), Enable Web Proxy Automatic Discovery
  • UPnP Enable/disable
  • UPnP client list with destination name and IP, source/destination ports, protocol
  • IPv6 Prefix, primary/secondary DNS, Stateless mode, Stateless DHCPv6 mode or Stateful Mode
  • DHCP Client list with MAC/IP and host name; Option pick from list to add address reservation
  • DHCP reservation (no pick list)
  • IPTV/VOIP profile with ISP profile
  • ICMP Snooping (enable/disable)
  • NAT (enable/disable)
Parental Control
  • Scheduled access control for each connected device
  • Three levels of Built-in DNS database blocking
    • Block access to known malicious websites (Basic)
    • Block access to know malicious and adult-only website (Protected)
    • Block access to selected categories and user entered block list
Admin / System
  • Set operation Mode (Wireless router, Wireless AP, Wireless Client)
  • Update Firmware (Manual, Automatic, scheduled installation day/time) all updates or important updates only
  • Firmware upgrade from downloaded file
  • Backup and restore settings
  • Restore Factory Default
  • Remote management port adjust (http:8000; https:8001 default)
  • Auto redirect HTTP to HTTPS
  • Enable/disable remote management
  • Enable/disable Windows network discovery
  • Enable/disable SSH and specify port
  • Enable/disable SNMP service
  • Enable/disable NTP server (to serve time on local network)
  • Time zone, NTP server, (no daylight savings time adjustments)
  • Set language for display, notification and code page
  • Ping and traceroute tools and Wake on LAN (In separate Network tools app)
  • Router reboot (from home page)
  • Admin password change (from home page)
  • LED control (all on, status only on, scheduled on/status on)
  • Online help (internet access not required)
  • Live graphs for upload/download statistics, CPU and memory utilization
  • Device list
Bandwidth Control
  • Settable maximum and guaranteed upload and download bandwidth per client
  • 3 clients can be set for high priority, 3 clients for low priority.
  • Up to six clients can be set for beamforming
USB features - All features controlled by separate Storage & Printer App
  • USB 3.0 port (1). Can be downgraded to USB 2.0 to reduce Wi-Fi interference
  • SD card slot
  • Format/eject options
  • Can set up new users with optional User home service
    • Apply password strength rules
    • Enable 2-step verification
  • Enable Windows File service including naming workgroup
  • Enable/disable SMB2 and Large MTU
  • Enable/disable Mac file service and time machine support
  • Enable/disable FTP/FTPS, set timeout, port number, enable/disable FXP, and FIPS cryptographic module
  • Enable/disable WebDAV, specify port, enable WebDAV HTTPS, enable/set speed limits according to a schedule
  • DLNA server – force re-index (not scheduled), Set conversion settings for thumbnail size, manage indexed folders
  • Set hibernation (for USB devices that support it) and optionally enable hibernation logs
  • Add, remove and manage printer
  • Google Cloud Print supported
Notifications (Network Center App)
  • Support for Email, SMS and Synology push service
  • Specify Email, SMS or Mobile for individual alerts
Logging (Log Center App)
  • Comprehensive logging app includes syslog send and receive functions
  • Log archiving to external storage
  • Log search
  • Supports BSD and IETF log formats
Wireless Features
  • WEP, WPA / WPA2 Personal and Enterprise (RADIUS) support
  • Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) support, pushbutton and PIN (2.4 GHz only)
  • Auto and manual channel set
  • SSID broadcast enable/disable
  • Enable/disable wireless (each radio)
  • Wireless Mode for each band
  • Configurable key rotation time
  • Channel width
  • Preamble (short, long, auto)
  • PMF (Disabled, enabled optional, enabled required)
  • High / medium / low transmit power adjust
  • Wireless client isolation (from each other)
  • Scheduled wireless enable/disable
  • IGMP Snooping
  • Guest network 1 per band (on separate IP subnet from LAN)
  • Allow local network access for guest network
  • Settable “Valid for” times

If you already own a Synology NAS, the Synology Router Manager (SRM) is going to look very familiar. The landing page is very sparse with only icons for Network Center, Package Center and SRM Help modules. SRM has a "desktop", multi-windowed user interface. The top "taskbar" behaves like MacOS and Windows, showing icons for active windows when they are minimized. Just click on an icon to open its window back up.

Synology RT1900ac landing page

Synology RT1900ac landing page

The left-most icon in the taskbar opens a page showing all installed apps.

Synology RT1900ac apps

Synology RT1900ac apps

The right-side menu bar icons are fixed and are used for the functions indicated below.

Synology RT1900ac taskbar callouts

Synology RT1900ac taskbar callouts

You can access most, but not all of the RT1900ac's configuration options through the Network Center. Along the left column are top level menu options. The right portion of the screen gives you a quick overview of the router showing basic information about the WAN and wireless networks.

Across the bottom of the screen, you can get real-time statistics for internet bandwidth usage, a list of active devices (including individual bandwidth usage), CPU and Memory utilization. The image below shows upload and download internet bandwidth utilization during successive runs of Speedtest.net's bandwidth measuring utility. Note that the screen below reports in KBytes/s, and Speedtest.net reports in Kbits/s.

Synology RT1900 Network Center

Synology RT1900 Network Center

The gallery below contains some additional images that highlight and describe some of the important features shown the feature list above. The screenshots were taken from the Network Center, Storage and Printer and Log Center modules.

The main thing that differentiates the RT1900ac from the rest of the AC1900-class routers is the ability to add features by installing packages. While many NASes support this feature, the RT1900ac is the first router I've seen with this feature. Other manufacturers like Linksys and NETGEAR extend their router feature set via Android and iOS apps that work with API calls built into their routers. At this time, the number of Synology'spackages is limited. But they add features that are missing in many routers that more advanced router users might like to have.

The image below shows the five packages currently available. These packages can be updated individually without requiring a firmware upgrade to the underlying SRM software. With the addition of the RADIUS server module, you could implement Enterprise wireless security. Similarly, you could use the DNS module to provide DNS services for your small business. The VPN server supports PPTP, Open VPN and L2TP/IPsec.

Synology RT1900ac Package Center

Synology RT1900ac Package Center

The Synology Router Manager features shown above are only available via browsers on Windows/OSX systems. For mobile platforms, Synology has released its DS Router app on Google Play and Apple's App Store. DS Router provides significantly more limited access to the RT1900ac's features. But you can perform such actions as:

  • enable/disable wireless networks
  • view internet usage statistics by connected client
  • change parental control levels for connected clients
  • dim front panel LEDs
  • eject USB attached storage
  • view and create port forwarding and firewall rules.

The user interface is similar for iOS and Android mobile devices. In addition, Synology's existing DS File mobile application (also for iOS and Android) also works for the RT1900ac router. It provides access to files stored on an attached USB storage device and/or SD card.

Synology's QuickConnect, originally released to enable remote access to Synology NASes, is part of SRM. You merely create an account and you have remote access. If you enable UPnP on the router, the appropriate ports will be opened so that you can directly access your router remotely. Alternatively, using the user ID that you created when setting up QuickConnect, you can access your router via Synology's relay service.

In my test environment, the RT1900ac router was configured behind my public-facing router. (double NAT). Using the relay service, I was able to connect seamlessly to the RT1900ac router from a public network in my local coffee shop.

I've included a short gallery below that shows a few screenshots from the DS Router app. The screenshots were taken from my iPad and a Samsung S5 phone.

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