Have you ever experienced weaker WiFi signals in certain parts of your home or office? If yes, you’ve come into contact with a “dead zone”, which most often occur because of walls, doors, or structures blocking the WiFi signal. Many consumers opt for solutions such as WiFi repeaters – which pick up and retransmit WiFi signals to extend their range – but that may not help the situation much, depending on their placement which is also largely limited by the locations of the available wall sockets.
If you’re looking for a solution that helps improve connectivity and your overall quality of life, you may want to consider investing in a mesh router. For the uninitiated, mesh routers are a series of routers that work together to broadcast WiFi from multiple areas, extending the coverage of your wireless network and effectively eliminating any ‘dead zones’ in your location.
Mesh routers have been around for years, and their popularity is on the rise. To add to the growing list of mesh routers designed for home use, Synology recently released the MR2200ac – their first foray into the mesh router space.
Contrary to the complicated nature of its name, the setup of the router is meant to be simple and easy enough to follow for the average person. Setup starts with the installation of their dedicated app or a browser, and from there you can connect the main router to your modem and start the setup process.
Once you are on the app, you will be given the option to set up your new router. The steps detailed in the setup process are clear and detailed, as well as being relatively fast to complete. Even for those that aren’t tech-savvy, setup should not be a conundrum.
Another thing to point out about the app is how sleek the user interface is. The app features a very minimalist design, sporting simple but easy-to-understand icons that go along with an aesthetically-pleasing colour.
Setup of your other routers (or ‘nodes’) is even more straightforward. The primary router that you have already set up will locate the other MR2200ac routers that were placed around the house, allowing you to add them in one go within the app.
Once your mesh network has been set up, you can manage everything through the Synology Router Manager on a browser. The manager itself features many customisable options to fulfil the needs of a variety of people.
Users can do highly-customised profiles for different mesh networks, such as for their family or workplace, creating schedules which include time allotments for internet usage, as well as defining ‘safe search’ settings that filter out explicit search results from popular sites like YouTube.
Beyond that, there is also a multitude of configurations available for Internet traffic that can be set, such as assigning devices that require more traffic (e.g. a gaming computer) to be a higher priority for bandwidth. Likewise, bandwidth for other less important applications can also be limited. Traffic reports can also be generated and emailed for review at a later time, if required.
There is a surprising amount of depth in its customisation options. While not all of the features will be used by everyone immediately, they are definitely very good bonuses to have.
Now, let’s look at how the more advanced features stack up.
Performance-wise, Synology claims to be able to achieve about 650Mbps download and upload speed about a metre away using a single router, with a gradual decline to lower speeds of 255/147 Mbps (download/upload) at 85 metres away.
Using a second MR2200ac router placed 7.69 metres away, we have achieved about 641/511 Mbps (download/upload) to the first router while the second router gets about 640/419 Mbps (download/upload) – a fairly consistent speed.
Supporting WPA3 out of the package, users can rest easy knowing that their mesh routers come with the most up-to-date WiFi security available. 802.11k/v/r support is there as well, but it is worth mentioning that many clients don’t support them anyway. On a sour note, the routers do not support Wi-Fi 6; only Wi-Fi 5.
For iPhone users, Siri is also supported, with functions like voice command enabled for various shortcuts such as accessing internet usage. Unfortunately, Android users will miss out on the accessibility as there is currently no support for Google Assistant, though Synology did announce that there might be plans of implementation in the future.
Overall, the Synology MR2200ac Mesh Router is a commendable router. Though it lacks support in a few features, it makes up for it in its customisation and ease of use. If you are looking at possibly extending the area of Wi-Fi connectivity in your home or office, the MR2200ac is a good option to choose.
Photos by Soloman Soh of the DANAMIC team. Visuals courtesy of Synology.
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