What You Need to do to Mesh Your RT6600ax, MR2200ac and/or RT2600ac Routers Together
As you may have already heard, Synology has rolled out the Release Candidate of SRM 1.3 for all their router devices, now available on the official download pages (HERE for the MR2200ac and HERE for the RT2600ac), as well as a slightly tweaked update for the RT6600ax (which already arrives with SRM 1.3). The result of this (which is great news to many) is that alongside the benefits of SRM 1.3 in vLANs, tagging, SSID creation, improved GUI and layout, you can now MESH YOUR SYNOLOGY ROUTERS! This was one of the few software limitations that the new Synology RT6600ax WiFi 6 Router had at launch, especially when many buyers were considering the RT6600ax as a replacement for the RT2600ac router that was in the middle of their existing mesh system. So, today I want to guide you through a few of the ways that you can update your older Synology RT2600ac and MR2200ac routers in order to allow you to mesh them with your brand new RT6600ax device.
Important Note About Using MR2200ac as a Mesh Node for the Synology RT6600ax Mesh Router
IMPORTANT #1 – The SRM 1.3 Firmware update for RT2600ac and MR2200ac Router is still a ‘release candidate’, which means that although it is pretty much was the final version of what the software update will be when it is eventually released (likely in August or so), it is still not a ‘final’ release, so be sure to backup your router configuration in the control panel if you choose to proceed with this update. Additionally, SRM 1.3 will not be available to the RT1900ac router series.
IMPORTANT #2!!! If you are running an RT6600ax WiFi 6 Router and want to add a batch of new/factory restored MR2200ac Mesh Points, you will need to go through the process of updating each node from SRM 1.2 to SRM 1.3. However, unlike Synology NAS systems during initialization, there is no point in the first-time setup of the MR2200ac/RT2600ac to upload a firmware file or the system search for the latest firmware online. This is only possible AFTER the router is initialized and from there, you will need to download the latest firmware (SRM 1.3), allow the system to reboot, THEN reinitialise the MR2200ac/RT2600ac so it can enter a ‘find’ status (when the LED on the system is a single, flashing blue light). From THAT point, you can find the MR2200ac/RT2600ac in the WiFi Access Point Search of your RT6600ax Router and add these nodes successfully. So:
- ALL Synology MR2200ac Mesh Routers will need to be updated individually to SRM 1.3 before attempting to connect with an RT6600ax Router Network
- SRM 1.3 Update can be downloaded from the Synology site OR from the MR2200ac initialization (coming soon, after Release Candidate and final release are made public online)
- First-time initialization and setup in 1.3 has been updated, so the initialization of a Router with SRM 1.3 on board is much simpler and more user-friendly
- If you try to connect your RT6600ax to an MR2200ac mesh node without updating that mesh node to SRM 1.3, it will SEE the MR200ac, but it will not be able to connect it due to firmware incompatibility between SRM 1.2 and SRM 1.3
It is worth highlighting that from then onwards, your primary router will be able to push updates to the nodes individually (much as the RT2600ac pushes updates to the MR2200ac mesh router points). No doubt as time goes on, this method of updating with be considerably easier and as newer routers go through manufacture, they will have SRM 1.3 onboard by default.
IMPORTANT #3! – If you are migrating from an RT2600ac to an RT6600ax Router, make sure to update the RT2600ac to SRM 1.3 first, then backup your router configuration in the control panel by heading to Control Panel > System > Update & Restore > Backup Configuration. From here you can create a config file that you can store locally on your computer, which can then be used to reinstate your configuration on the new RT6600ax. SRM 1.2 configurations cannot be used on an SRM 1.3 Router
First of all, upgrading to SRM 1.3 is much the same as typical firmware updates in Synology products IF you already have the device setup and can log in to the GUI.
Updating an MR2200ac or RT2600ac via the GUI
Log into your Synology MR2200ac or RT2600ac and head into the control panel, then select System, then Update & Restore, then select Manual SRM Update.
From here browse your local machine and find the .PAT file that you downloaded from Synology.com in the download area of the RT2600ac or MR2200ac, then select it and choose to install this update
You will be greeted by a pop-up that states that this update may change or remove some features of SRM 1.2 in line with SRM 1.3. Additionally, it will stop backup configurations you have made of SRM 1.2 from working in this new revision of the software. From here you can click confirm to proceed
The system will start uploading the SRM 1.3 pat update file to the MR2200ac or RT2600ac router
You will then be informed that in order for the update to take effect, then you will need to restart
During this installation and completion of the SRM 1.3 update, the router and its services will not be accessible.
When the installation of the first part of the SRM 1.3 update is completed, the system will reboot and a clock will count down. If the router GUI does not reappear in the browser after this time, it may well be because the router was on a dynamic IP setting and has changed it’s address. Use the Synology Assistant tool to find your Synology MR2200ac or RT2600ac’s new address.
When the system reboots, it will book back into the login GUI, but now it will be the improved and further polished SRM 1.3 login screen. From here you can log in as normal and enjoy SRM 1.3 with new features.
Next, lets discuss what you need to do in order to add existing MR2200ac and RT2600ac routers to a mesh network with the RT6600ax Router.
Adding a Synology MR2200ac or RT2600ac Router to the Synology RT6600ax Router as a Mesh Point
In order to add a Synology MR2200ac or RT2600ac to your RT6600ax Router as a mesh point, you will need to ensure that they are running SRM 1.3 as their firmware. In the case of the RT2600ac, this will be REALLY easy, as you can access the main SRM 1.2 GUI and update to SRM 1.3 as the software appears on the Synology Download section. However, in the case of MR2200ac nodes (which are rarely used as a primary router) you are going to need to update each node with SRM 1.3 before they are seen by the RT6600ax. If you have them connected with an RT2600ac, it is easy to push the update to SRM 1.3 across the whole existing network. However, if you only have the RT6600ax and 1 or more MR2200ac mesh routers, each one will need to be updated to SRM 1.3 using the steps in the guide above THEN formatted to factory settings.
If your MR2200ac is on SRM 1.2, follow the guide above to upgrade it to SRM 1.3. If you have updated your MR2200ac to SRM 1.3, you now need to restore it to factory settings here:
Doing so will result in the device deleting all data and settings – so be sure that this is what you want to do. Proceeding with this will result in the device taking 5-10 minutes to complete.
Alternatively – you can reset your MR2200ac router by using the reset pin on the rear of the router. However, this will not allow you to make any configuration backups and is irreversible.
Next, head over to your Synology RT6600ax Router and head into the WiFi Access Tab to start adding WiFi points/Nodes
You will be asked which connection method your nodes will be connected by. I STRONGLY recommend selecting both ethernet and wireless connections
The reason I recommend this is that it is about 100x easier to set up a smaller mess network of around 5-6 nodes by bringing them all together and connecting via LAN to the RT6600ax, then later disconnecting them and positioning them where you need them to be. It IS worth remembering that later on when you get them up that their distance from the primary router will affect the strength BUT (crucially) when a Synology mesh router is connected with the RT6600ax primary router, it knows the wifi identity and security credentials of the node and will connect wirelessly with the MR2200ac etc as soon as it is within range (even if the primary connection was via wired ethernet).
Note, if you are connecting the nodes (temporarily for setup or long term) via ethernet, you need to ensure that the MR2200ac or RT2600ac has cable connected to the WAN port and into a LAN port of the RT6600ax. Otherwise, the connection/host-client communication will not function correctly. Again, later on, after the node is set up, you can move these nodes away and the wireless connectivity will also function between the mesh points.
After this, there are a few steps to highlight the best places to set up a mesh node (in terms of proximity and multiple points), but also a note that you need the mesh mode in the correct LED lit configuration (that single blue flashing light)
When the RT6600ax scans the local network for the other Synology router to extend the mesh network, it will list the router(s) it has found and then invite you to enter the secure pin code that is printed on the back of all Synology routers (8 digits, numerical, cannot be changed)
After that, the RT6600ax Router will begin setting up the new mesh WiFi point (testing the strength of connection, copying over the SSID configuration and establishing the backhaul). This will not take more than a minute or so per node and (unless the mesh node has been obstructed, powered down, or has not been updated to SRM 1.3) should connect to the RT6600ax network.
And that is it. Now the MR2200ac or RT2600ac are part of your RT6600ax Mesh router system. They will no longer appear on the Synology Assistant tool and their SRM GUI cannot be accessed – they are now connection nodes to the larger RT6600ax router system and can be managed and adjusted in the SRM 1.3 GUI of the primary router. You can also power down the mesh router nodes and move them to new locations in your home or office for greater coverage. When they power back on, as long as they are in the coverage area of the primary router, they will re-join the RT6600ax/Primary router network automatically. If they are in a weak area of coverage/distance, the system will let you know and recommend which ones need to be brought closer.
If you are still unsure about the benefits of SRM 1.3 and debating whether purchase a Synology Router (or maybe you have one and you are unsure whether to upgrade from SRM 1.2 > 1.3), you can use the video and article below where I fully reviewed SRM 1.3 on the RT6600ax Router.
|Synology SRM 1.3 Video Review||Synology SRM 1.3 Video Review
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