Review: Synology RT1900AC Wi-Fi Router

Performance

Synology are used to providing performance networking products, but how does their first wireless router compare?

We Got Served tests network throughput using PerformanceTest’s Networking Test. This involves us connecting a “server” PC to the router with a wired Gigabit Ethernet connection and then connecting a second “client” PC to the router. First we connect the client with an Ethernet cable, then a 5 GHz wireless connection and finally a 2.4 GHz wireless connection. An ASUS AC-USB56 network adapter is used for the wireless client connections – it’s one of the fastest 802.11ac USB adapters available on the market today. In our wireless tests, the PC is situated close to the router to understand its best performance. For each test, data is sent between the client and server PCs and an average speed is calculated.

The Ethernet network throughput shows reveals the RT1900ac is a capable performer, managing to clock up a throughput speed of 934.7 Mbps. This is something that we might have expected from Synology, with their NAS devices always providing speedy wired access.

synology-rt1900ac-ethernet

The wireless 5GHz performance was more of a challenge, with the RT1900 clocking up a close-range speed of 422.7 Mbps. This puts it in league with the other AC1900 routers, but the Linksys WRT1900AC still leads the pack. 

synology-rt1900ac-5Ghz

The 2.4GHz performance was impressive, clocking up 140 Mbps just shy of our leaders.

synology-rt1900ac-2-4Ghz

Speed at a distance from the router was comparable to other 1900ac routers (Netgear R7000, TP Link Archer D9), but did not perform as well as the Linksys WRT1900AC.

Finally we tested how the Synology RT1900ac performed as a NAS. We connected a USB 3.0 drive and ran our NAS performance benchmark that gave a write speed of 49.41 MB/s and a read speed of 59.81 MB/s. I was slightly disappointed with this result, while it will be entirely fine for most tasks including backup and media playback, I had hoped Synology’s NAS heritage would translate into NAS-like speeds from their router.

Overall, the Synology RT1900ac offers capable Wi-Fi, and NAS performance, but is not the absolute fastest device in our tests.

Summary

Synology’s RT1900ac is a bit of a TARDIS, with the small and unexciting shell concealing an expansive and powerful core. It offers solid performance and it’s killer feature is the slick and attractive interface with expandable apps. Personally, I spend very little time in my current router’s interface, after the initial setup I rarely return unless there are problems to deal with.  Synology could change this, offering a lightweight home server that can manage downloads, network user authentication, security, file storage, and VPN access. However, until Synology or community efforts produce more apps, you are left with just the potential for more that the five initial apps.

The question that remains unanswered is whether Synology has done enough to become a player in the home router market. Is the RT1900ac good enough to buy it over an established brand such as Linksys/Dlink/ASUS/TP-Link/Netgear?

The router market is certainly becoming more competitive, and we are seeing real innovation in this space. Synology are obviously aware of this and have created a great router, but there are still some devices with better specs out there. Linksys has sported eSATA ports on their WRT1900ac, Asus doubles down on speed with the RT-AC5300 , and Google have a 13-antenna setup for maximising coverage.

Maybe we are getting to a point when specifications don’t matter so much. AC1900 is super speedy compared to Wireless-N, and it works well enough for the vast majority of households. I think the next front on the router battlefield will be the smart router, the router that does more than just connect wireless devices to the internet. If this is the case, Synology have made a great opening salvo with the RT1900ac, and the other sides would be wise to pay attention.

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16 comments

  1. interesting review but it would also be interesting where you got your router from and how much it cost 🙂 Perhaps you could add that information.

          1. lol that’s sad and what’s even sad is that it won’t be available for purchase until 2016

  2. Very disappointed at why you did not benchmark this against a competitors of its class (AC1900), for example, Asus AC68U, Netgear R7000, Linksys EA6900 or DLink 880L. Your list only had the WRT1900AC that is the same class, all other routers in your benchmarks are either a class above or below.

    You are reviewing a new product from a manufacturer with zero previous products, you should compare it to products of the same class from other manufacturers.

    You are NOT reviewing a range of products from the same manufacturer, which would actually make sense to review products from low to mid to high class range.

    1. We can benchmark against routers that are sent to us for review. If ASUS and D-Link want to submit their kit for review, they’d be included. FWIW we’ve requested review samples recently from both manufacturers, and have received no response from them.

      We can only pass an opinion on the products we see.

      1. Excuses, excuses.

        If you were serious about your review / article / website, you would use the advertising revenue you get from us readers, and you would go out there and buy those ASUS, DLink router 2nd hand, test them, benchmark them, and sell them back out 2nd hand. Heck, you can even borrow them from your tech friends, those are super popular devices.

        Saying you asked but didn’t get a response is the level of excuse I expect from my primary school child. A tech geek should have more problem solving skills than that….

        1. You greatly overstate the revenue most sites like this make. For most of them their revenue barely covers the cost of hosting the server and website with the necessary bandwidth. Your standard ISP is usually not too happy about using a home bandwidth plan for hosting a web site, etc.

  3. Erf, too bad there’s no Link Aggregation…. Which is kind of odd since they are making NAS with built in support of that….
    I don’t really know if it’s valuable then in my case ;

    But apps like Download Station and Media server would clearly ease the use of my old and brave 412+ ; So this may be something to look up.
    The task for media server is a bit CPU intensive ; Did you tried it with a NAS and compared those two (using it on a NAS and using it on the router) ? If so, is there a gap between those two ? or is it transparent enough to switch the task to the router instead of keeping it on the NAS ?

  4. Wondering if you tested the guest network function. Would you need separate VLAN’s as you would normally, or does this router somehow manage that itself?

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