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Synology 2022 Event Review – EVERYTHING Covered in SRM 1.3, Routers, Mac Support, DSM 7.1, New NAS, C2, Photos and Surveillance

6 décembre 2021 à 13:33

Review of the Synology 2022 Event – Everything Synology Revealed

It’s that time again, almost as regular as clockwork, with the return of the annual Synology event. Synology has been extraordinarily business and enterprise-focused throughout this year, with numerous significant updates in services on their C2 cloud platform, Cloud assisted services and (of course) the release of DSM 7 in the summer. The ‘Synology 2022 and Beyond’ event took a similar form to that of last year’s event, with the reveal of an annual summary video, followed up by several YouTube videos that featured key personnel across their global divisions to discuss the companies performance throughout 2021, as well as where they are going with their software, hardware and services in 2022. As we expected, the primary focus appeared to be on software and the C2 cloud platform, but there was the odd mention of things that are brewing in software. The full range of videos can be found on their official YouTube channel here, however, if you are interested in learning the highlights, I have covered the best bits below. This article will be live a short while after the event, but will be regularly updated over the next few days. Alternatively, the most interesting things that are shown at Synology 2022 and Beyond will be added over on the NASCompares YouTube here. Let’s discuss what Synology revealed.

The Highlights of the Synology 2022 Digital Event

Below is a breakdown of the most important or interesting things we learnt at Synology 2022 and Beyond. Several of these are hardware, software or services that are already available (but with further updates), are ones that have formally been in beta or are brand new features from Synology for 2022. Let’s take a look.

Synology DSM 7.1 – Early Features Revealed

As covered in a much, MUCH bigger article HERE, during the initial keynote speech of Synology 2022 and Beyond, Mike Chen went into details regarding the development of the next sub-update of DSM 7, discussing features that will even launch in DSM version 7.1, in more granularly as updates arrive individually. These included the following areas covered:

Upcoming Synology DSM 7.1 Reveals

  • Active Insight GUI Improvements
  • Improved Integration of Application in Active Insight overview and management (Hyper Backup demonstrated)
  • Support of GFS (Global File System), HTTP/3 security and an additional cache-warm-up feature
  • Further Rolling out of Out of Band management support in 2022 devices onwards
  • Improved Multi-file server/storage access and control via a single portal
  • Improved Remote Domain control with Read-Only Support
  • Scale-Out Storage (Future Projects)
  • Full Synolgoy NAS DSM Backup and Restoration

As mentioned, the article from last week covers each of these new features and services for DSM 7.1 in much more detail, so if you want to learn more about it you can read it by clicking the post below or just watching the video:

Synology DSM 7.1 Video Synology DSM 7.1 Article

Synology RT6600AX WiFi 6 Mesh Router

That’s right, it’s taken a long, LONG time but we are finally going to see an 802.11ax ready Synology router. The Synology RT6600ax is their newest solution in their router series and the first to embrace the significantly higher bandwidth WiFi AX connection, as well as Synology highlighting that it will support true 160Mhz frequency (the 5.9Ghz band). Information on the Synology RT6600ax arrived across the primary introduction video that featured the founder of Synology (Phillip Wong) and a network dedicated video on the official Synology YouTube video shortly afterwards. Further details on the SRM 1.3 big update next year were also covered, but let’s first focus on what we learned about this new router.

Synology RT6600ax Router Hardware Highlights

  • Planned to arrive in H1-2022 with SRM 1.3
  • Tri-Band WiFi 6 Support
  • 6 x High gain adjustable antennae (4×4 MIMO antennas)
  • 5.9Ghz / 160MHz channel Support
  • Four 1GbE (Gigabit Ethernet ports) (1x WAN 3x LAN)
  • 1x 2.5GbE LAN/WAN Port
  • 6600Mbs Bandwidth Potential
  • Multi-Network creation in SRM 1.3
  • Improved DS Router Mobile Application and Browser GUI in SRM 1.3 in 2022
  • Mesh Support with future AX devices
  • No word on USB Support, but almost certainly going to be featured

The big focus of the course is the support of WiFi 6 (AKA 802.11ax), as this has become widely adopted by modern wireless client hardware manufacturers in place of WiFi 5 a/c/n etc. From New-gen consoles and computers, to even Amazon Fire TV and Virgin ISP routers, WiFi 6 is very much an established thing and hence why people have been counting the days till Synology and its SRM equipped Routers jumped on board with the RT6600ax router. Alongside this, the RT6600ax will also feature the 6 antennae setup that was featured on the RT2600ac before it. This will allow a tremendous degree of coverage and shared frequency bandwidth of up to 6000Mbps. There is more to learn about the RT6600ax in the video and article linked below:

Synology RT6600ax Video Synology RT6600ax Article

Updates to Synology Router Manager in SRM 1.3

Of all the software platforms that Synology have for their hardware, one very popular, heavily featured, prosumer YET lesser updated in features is the Synology Router Manager (SRM) platform. Alongside the reveal of the new WiFi 6 Router RT6600ax system, there are also additional improvements coming in SRM 1.3. The main two featured were as follows.

Improved vLAN/Multi-Network Services and Multiple SSIDs in SRM 1.3

Despite the clear love for SRM from many, one oddly absent feature for the longest time has been the ability to create multiple sub/simultaneous networks. You could always create a low-access/controlled Guest Network, but that was about it. FINALLY, it will be implemented in SRM 1.3 I will be looking forward to seeing the GUI for this, as that has often been a stumbling block for router providers (the topography and a single viewpoint of ALL the active networks at once is a tricking balancing act that few get right to the satisfaction of lesser tech-head users). Likewise, the support of multiple SSIDs in SRM was always an oddly slimmed back/absent feature (depending on the depth of what you wanted/needed) and is finally arriving in a larger and established form in SRM 1.3. Synology detail that support of multiple SSIDs will hit 10x on dual-band systems and up to x15 on triband models (such as the RT6600ax), but it will require that you disable Smart Connect to use.

Improvements to the Design and Utility of the DS Router Mobile Application

One early plus of the Synology router series was that they featured a huge amount of control compared with most off-the-shelf routers (as well as some top-end parental control and family/team management of connectivity and devices). That said, the mobile application for Android and iOS (DS Router) lacked a lot of the important control options of the web browser GUI (and the ones it did have were a little ill-placed at times). The Improved DS router app comes with various management including creating new wireless networks, configuring parental control or web filtering, setting traffic control schemes, etc. right from the dashboard.

Synology Photos Updates at Synology 2022 and Beyond

When Synology first merged the Synology Moments and Photo Station applications into a single tool, Synology Photos, most people were quite enthusiastic about it. When DSM 7 was fully released back in the summer of 2021, the initial reception was a little cooler. A big part of this was that some felt that key features of the previous generation photo applications had features, functionality of services that were absent in Synology Photos. Fast forward to now and we are now starting to see a number of those services be implemented into Synology Photos, as well as new one arriving too. It still doesn’t seem like the complete package yet, but the few extras that were shown at Synology 2022 did leave me hopeful to see those older features returning in a new and intuitive way. The features mentioned were those below.

Faster Permission Configuration on the fly

Something that very much falls into the bracket of professional photographers and users with a significantly larger user base on their NAS server, Synology Photos now has much faster and intuitive permission and access controls built into the GUI of Synology Photos. You could always give general users or authorized team members a degree of access or permissions to your files, folders and albums, however, it was always in a less than user-friendly way in Synology Photos – either at the DSM Control Panel level or somewhat awkwardly provided at the folder config level in photos. The next Synology Photos update contains much easier and faster on the fly access controls built into browser GUI, as well as improvements to the mobile control too.

Improved Photo Collecting and Pooling

Alongside the improved on the fly control and changing of album access that Synology Photos will shortly feature, it will also improve the ability to create shared spaces for multiple users to pool their collections into a single album. Certainly of use at bigger events (as we hope for the post-pandemic ‘new normal’ to kick in any day now) when you want to ensure that every attendee’s experiences are in one place. Likewise, the tailored access privileges and even new/non-signed user sharing controls will make this a useful tool for those big social events.

Synology Photos (finally) has Map View Mode

Although this was NOT the big Synology Photos update I was waiting for (that being Subject-recognition to finally be re-instated after its disappearance after Moments) it is still an often requested feature – Map view. With the bulk of typical users taking their photos via mobile phones (or exporting from Google Photos etc), these images will contain useful meta-data that will contain (alongside the camera, timestamp, light, ISO, etc) the geo-locational data of where the photo was taken. For those that travel ALOT, this means that you can finally use Synology Photos to view a map and see where your photos were taken, grouping different collections into new albums, based on their country, county, town or more). Though it was only highlighted as being added in the Mobile GUI and app, I am sure this will be carried over to the web-based GUI.

Synology DVA1622 Surveillance 2-Bay with KVM Output

Although this is not the first deep video analysis NAS system from Synology, till now it has always been a fantastically enterprise solution that was of interest to most but out of their scale or budget. The newly revealed DVA1622 is a much more compact version of this product line that is coming in the first half of 2022. This new surveillance NAS system has a few of its hardware specifications confirmed below:

Highlights of the DVA1622 Surveillance NAS

  • Supports upto 16x IP Cameras
  • Supports upto 2x AI-Powered Tasks
  • Arriving with Surveillance Station 9.0 by default
  • Supports H.265 Format/Compression
  • USB Ports, but full KVM support TBC
  • Stylised on the DS720+ Chassis4K HDMI Enabled
  • AI Deep Video Analysis Features Inc. People and vehicle detection, People counting Face recognition, Intrusion detection and Deep motion detection
  • Expandability (DX517?) TBC
  • Details on inclusive camera license TBC

Alongside a few other pieces of hardware that were revealed during the Synology event, there are also improvements in the GUI and services of Surveillance station in its new 9.0 version, coming next year.

Synology Surveillance Station 9.0 Details

Synology’s surveillance station platform has always been an exceedingly strong arm of the company and alongside the reveal of the DVA1622 NAS hardware, they took the time to show off their upcoming big update to their NVR software, Surveillance Station 9.0. These updates focused on improvements to the user experience (i.e UX design changes). the scalability of your recordings and security enhancements. Let’s go through the highlights of Surveillance Station 9.0 at Synology 2022.

Surveillance Station 9.0 and Monitor Center

Originally, when accessing your surveillance setup, the display of real-time camera feeds and accessing recordings/alerts in a dynamic and interactive way was spread across two applications – Live View and Timeline tools. In Surveillance Station 9.0, these are being combined into a single tool called Monitor Center, Combing the bank of live camera feed and historical recordings into a single GUI. This also includes the addition of adding surveillance devices (such as IP Speakers and IP controlled door locks) into the wider control GUI window of Monitor Center. This means a much wider and more customizable control deck on a single screen. Alongside this, when alerts (based on movement, light, defined lines, etc) are triggered, these are also accessible and visible on the same panel and when viewed, can shink the existing feed dynamically to allow the alerts into this single screen easily. Combinations of events that are triggered can be consolidated into smaller collections for alerts/display to the end-user. Finally, the time bar at the bottom of the monitor center feed will allow you to bookmark or capture a user-defined clip in 2 clicks, as well as allow scrolling through past recording at multiple speeds be possible, whilst live camera feeds and controls on the wider Monitor Center feed remain live.

Overall, it does seem a much more customizable feed layout in the web-based GUI and unlike my feeling on when Photo Station and Moments were combined into the Synology Photos application in DSM 7 (it’s getting there!), combining all of these elements of control for your surveillance setup makes a huge amount of sense and I am genuinely looking forward to getting to grips with this new NVR tool.

Dual Recording with Synology C2

Having a selection of cameras in your home or business environment that are recording feeds 24×7 is a business-must and in most cases, these cameras will be sending their feeds to a Synology NAS on a network directly connected to the physical NAS (or an offline/non-internet network that is branched into the NAS system. Records are kept in that NAS with numerous backup and sync options built-in, but what if an intruder breaks into your premises and destroys/steals the NAS? Live synchronization of the NAS to an offsite NAS or discreetly hidden 2nd server will only be as useful as the speed with which the duplicated recording data can be sent. Burglaries are FAST operations and there is every possibility that the time for an alert recording or completed recording block being sent to the 2nd storage location won’t be fast enough – therefore the capture of a break-in will be lost. This is a problem that has been raised before and now with Synology’s improvements to their C2 cloud platform, a solution has been presented in the form of Dual Recording.

Duel recording will allow records from your camera feeds to be sent to BOTH the NAS server AND an area of C2 cloud storage (not THROUGH the NAS). This recorded footage will be accessible through the Synology C2 Surveillance portal, which will allow much, MUCH smaller loss of recording time compared to a backup and/or sync operation previously.

Synology were keen to highlight that using the C2 Surveillance platform to create a 2nd recording path for your surveillance setup will allow only up to a 5 second recording loss at most, the ability to view recordings in the C2 Surveillance browser-based GUI, features end-to-end encryption to prevent interception/editing and (most important of all) the ability to share those recordings from your C2 Surveillance space securely (for the police or company-wide). Synology states that this additional surveillance feature will require a subscription service and there will be a tier for home users and another for business users. They are detailed as follows:

Basic Plan – $1 per Camera, per Month

  • Only Stores Triggered Events
  • Stored in up to 720p Resolution
  • Only held for 7-Days

Advanced Plan – Pricing TBC per Camera/Batch

  • Smart Continuous Recording (Full FPS in Events and 1FPS when Idle/Normal)
  • Stored in up to 1080p
  • Recordings are held for up to 30 Days

Although the pricing on the business tier is yet to be confirmed, Synology is saying that they want to keep this as cost-effective as possible. Personally, the basic plan at $1 per camera (when you think of your 2x camera licences with most Synology NAS) is a pretty small price and to ensure that 2nd recorded stream, a very attractive feature. There were several more innovations coming in Synology’s Surveillance Station 9.0 application revealed during the event. Find out about the by reading the article below or watching the video:

Surveillance Station 9.0 Video Surveillance Station 9.0 Article

Synology Drive Updates at Synology 2022 and Beyond

Synology Drive has been one of the most evolved tools in the brand’s line up, starting with what seemed like an application to simply create a single-portal access point to your data to simplifying how it could be viewed/accessed, it has transformed after every update into a newly equipped tool that has fast become one of Synology’s biggest applications for both home and business. The updates that were shown at Synology 2022 and Beyond, though mostly improvements to the user experience and GUI, also contained a couple of big features.

Mac on Demand Sync is (Still) Coming

It feels like this has been taking longer than DSM 7 itself did. When Synology drive first revealed the ability to create a native folder on your computer that could show the contents of the NAS (without taking up space), then allow you to dynamically stream or manually pin files on demand (as well as remove at your discretion for space) – it was a big, BIG feature. This was something that was a big selling point to Microsoft’s own OneDrive system and it was through cooperation with them that Synology was able to implement this feature for Windows Computers.

Though it is available on a few other platforms, one BIG one that did not have it was Mac OS – to the annoyance of many. Synology therefore was pleased to highlight that thanks to Mac developments and improvements in Synolgoy Drive alongside it, that this feature is coming for Mac users soon.

Improved Drive Mobile App Design and Versatility

Another area that Synology Photos is seeing improvements within is the mobile application and it’s multimedia handling. Synology was always designed to be the single portal access point for your data access (eg opening photos in an image viewer, but still open music in a music player and excel docs in a table/spreadsheet viewer). It still has this but now a few more filter controls and file specific options are being integrated (playlist controls, album creation, grouping, etc), as well as further improvements in the file pinning for files that you want to access when connectivity to your NAS is limited but you still want access to those specific files 24×7 locally)

2-Way Android and iOS Synchronization

Alongside the improvements to the mobile application, there is also the improvements to support on both Android and iOS Mobile devices with (much demanded) 2-way synchronisation now arriving. A feature that has seemingly taken longer than many feel it should have, this can be used to hugely speed up sharing files from multiple mobile devices (on-the-fly photo local folder destinations, multimedia, work files shared with teams) and its benefits to background backup operations native NAS file access to a greater team management storage area cannot be understated.

All these quality of life improvements are great to hear, but like many, I have been waiting on the support of a lot of on-the-fly streaming/pinning features to arrive for Mac and this is the third time it has been raised at these events, so I will be a great deal more enthusiastic when I finally see it.

Synology C2 Backup for Home and Business

Originally rolled out in early autumn of 2021, Synology C2 Backup is the brand’s answer to adding a cloud tier of backup and recovery of your PC alongside your existing physical Synology NAS (aka Bare Metal). The Synology C2 cloud platform has been up and running now for a few years and although it has arguably been of greater use to business users with large collections of desktop/portable PCs across their organization, some home users have been jumping on board too.

Synology C2 itself is the cloud space that can be integrated into the Synology NAS system and services (such as Hyper Backup, Active Backup and Hybrid Share), but C2 Backup (as the name suggests) is the service that is precisely aimed at whole system (or precise folder) backups. Now, this was always possible with your Synology NAS (with the applications mentioned), however, integrating a cloud element greatly increases access and utility of both fluidity of those backups and swiftness of recovery worldwide.

C2 Backup is covering pretty much the entirety of existing mainstream windows platforms (11, 10, 7, Server, etc) and alongside huge integration with the Office 365 SaaS platform and bare metal NAS, means that access to your emails, files, docs and accounts data will still be accessible natively in the event of internet failure or when accessing remotely outside the network. Synology 2022 and Beyond highlighted a number of the services that have been rolled out already in C2 Backup for home and business, but presented them in a much more user-friendly way than previously demonstrated. C2 Backup also continues to be a subscription fee-based service (though with a 90-day trial available) but with unlimited connected system quantities still being available.

Now that C2 is fleshing itself out significantly since launch, expect a full review of this service here on NASCompares in 2022.

Synology C2 Transfer for Business

Synology C2 Transfer is the brand’s ultra-secure data transfer portal that adds numerous levels of encryption, tailored authentication, watermarking and management to file sharing. Sharing files from your NAS is not a new concept, but this has been done with a heavy degree of the responsibility of network/internet security falling on the end-user (many of whom overly rely on the ‘defaults’). The C2 transfer provides a management panel for these primarily C2 based shares and everything from the smallest file shares to the largest databases is delivered via end-to-end encryption and the live/active management panel allowing realtime viewing/control of active data movement from your Business C2 cloud.

As you might expect, Synology is targeting the particularly high-end user with a service like this and the Synology C2 transfer service lives within the C2 platform (and integrates Bare Metal of course to a degree) but is a separate subscription service starting at $49.99 for 5 users and can be expanded. It’s quite a steep price on the face of it, but for hugely secure, mission-critical and highly confidential information, a lot of enterprise-level users will likely be happy to pay.

Synology C2 Identity

Another indication of how much Synology is shifting a lot of their weight towards their C2 cloud platform is with increased remote access management in C2 Identity. Accessing the C2 cloud platform remotely for each of your individual teams and their client hardware is something that (as your user base grows) is going to be tough to manage. Then when you integrate connected SaaS platforms such as Google Workspace, Office 365 and Windows Servers, keeping an eye on access cloud-wide is going to be a big task. The Synology C2 Identity platform (free to home users and a subscription add on with expandability for business) is a single portal access point that allows you to monitor and manage active access by users (as well as the entire access eligible groups). Viewing connected users to your Synology NAS hardware is not new, but the level of live-control of those users has always been a little basic (disconnect and blacklist being the only real option). The C2 identity platform provides real-time monitoring via a browser admin console and provides a much more detailed breakdown of accessing users, their information and a variety of actions to engage with.

Protect all user credentials on C2 Identity with the Secure Remote Password (SRP) protocol and complex password requirements. Additionally, C2 Identity communicates with clients using SRP, a secure zero-knowledge password protocol. SRP generates a secure encryption key and provides authentication without ever sending password-equivalent data over the network, thereby protecting against man-in-the-middle attacks. Finally, the service also allows easy migration for users from an LDAP server, Windows AD server, Microsoft 365, Google Workspace, or by importing a CSV file. I am still the tiniest bit unsure about this as a service. Certainly not its security of utility (I am positive it will do exactly what Synology say it will do) but it is another continued move by the brand to innovate on their C2 platform that indicates them pushing harder for the enterprise level than the home and/or SMB tier.

Synology C2 Password

Let’s get one thing straight, password management software is NOT new! With an abundance of online digital services, website credentials, payment systems and data storage logins to stay on top of, Synology are not the first to come up with a single portal/app management tool to keep these all in one place (and encrypted). So although Synology has been talking about their C2 Password service, its true appeal should lie in its use with your Synology storage – not as a concept! As you might expect, it has the usual assisted login (i.e. login suggestion) support, cross-platform synchronization, unique password generator and secure storage of your patent details – so what makes this any different than  G Authenticator and/or just letting Chrome do it all?

Its key appeal outside of other platforms is that it can act as a unique security checkpoint for file/data sharing with your intended recipients. Password’s on your shared links is not new, but the C2 Password (and in conjunction with C2 Transfer) means that in-house security credentials and access can be enforced to a much higher degree. Additionally, the information that is stored in C2 Password is encrypted throughout and ONLY stored on the device with the tool (so not remotely on the cloud etc). It is a small difference with the many other password/credential storing tools out there, but for businesses to ensure a closed/controlled access system, it is an important one. Home users can access for free (single account etc), but businesses will need a subscription service tier at $4.99 a year for every 5 users, though that has yet to be fully rolled out. I think to pick up by end-users on this service will (once again) be tremendously business/enterprise only, with the bulk of users already having their own login/credential security setup already well established. Still, it’s something that businesses moving the bulk of their network/remote storage and services to Synology will likely integrate widely as a matter of due diligence. Finally, it was briefly touched on that n 2022, Synology will be introducing C2 Object storage service for S3-compatible applications.

Synology FS2500 FlashStation Rackmount Server

Though this new Synology SSD focused flash server was not featured at the Synology 2022 and Beyond Event, it DID end up online (thanks to numerous super keen eShops throughout Europe) that very same week. The new Synology FS2500 FlashStation Rackmount NAS server, featuring a new 1U chassis, 10Gbe and a new AMD Ryzen CPU for the brand and their portfolio.

For more information on this system, the software abilities of the FS250 and how it compares with the rest of the existing Synology Flashstation NAS series, watch the video below:

Synology Hard Drive and SSD Media

The Synology range of media continues to grow, to the excitement of some and the annoyance of others. Originally beginning in 2019 with their range of SATA SSDs, this range has continued into 2021/2022 with SATA hard drives (HAT5300), SAS hard drives (HAS5300) and two versions of NVMe SSD caching media (the SNV3400 and SNV3500). There has been slight revision changes (SNV3400 > SNV3410 and SAT5200 > SAT5210), but aside from that, there has been little change in their media ranges. Increases in available capacities have been highlighted and the continued rather closed support of only their media on the higher tiers of their NAS hardware has continued in 2021, going further in 2022 by the looks of things. For my part, I continue to have mixed feelings on their storage media portfolio. On the one hand, the bulk of them ARE very good drives, promising high performance, durability and workloads (and living up to it) – as well as the tailored firmware of course.

However, with more NAS hardware appearing with limited drive compatibility that eliminates the use of only Synology branded drives (such as the recent DS2422+ – the first PLUS series device to feature this support choice), it is another indicator of Synology shifting its gears internally towards being an enterprise provider that wants to combat the bit SaaS and PaaS providers. It’s a gamble that Synology has clearly been in the process of since early 2019, but a lot of home and SMB users are starting to notice. Ultimately, I do recommend the Synology HDD/SSD media, but not as the ‘ONLY’ choice.

Synology 2022 and Beyond – Conclusion and Verdict

And that was it, the Synology 2022 and Beyond event. I certainly miss the live global events, but can understand in the current climate why this is simply not possible right now. Shortly after the keynote speech and individual feature videos were released on the Synology official YouTube channel, Synology issued a press summary and even touched on a few release details of some of the elements covered during the event. Although still a pinch vague, there is a suggestion of the spring months seeing some great releases. Synology DSM 7.1 and Surveillance Station 9.0 will be released in Q1 2022 as public previews. SRM 1.3 will debut on the RT6600ax router in Q1 2022. Support for RT2600ac and MR2200ac will be added in Q2 2022. More detailed information on other features and services will be available at a later date.

 


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Synology RT6600ax WiFi 6 & 2.5GbE Router Revealed

2 décembre 2021 à 21:02

Synology FINALLY Reveal a new WiFi 6 Router – The RT6600ax with 802.11ax and 2.5GbE

Yes, you read that correctly. After what seems like forever, the Synology router series is finally receiving its first WiFi 6 enabled solution in the RT6600ax Mesh router system. This, along with the announcement of bigger updates to the Synology Router Manager (SRM) in updates to the web browser GUI and mobile application (DS Router) in SRM 1.3 in 2022, is easily one of the highlights of all the new information shared by Synology in their ‘Synology 2022 and Beyond’ event today. I will be going into greater detail soon on each of the biggest reveals of the event, as well as a full review of the event in its entirety soon), but today I want to focus specifically on the Synology RT6600ax router, as this is going to be a remarkably popular device next year.

What do we know about the Synology RT6600ax WiFi 6 Router?

Information on the Synology RT6600ax arrived across the primary introduction video that featured the founder of Synology (Phillip Wong) and a network dedicated video on the official Synology YouTube video shortly afterwards. Further details on the SRM 1.3 big update next year were also covered, but let’s first focus on what we learned about this new router.

Synology RT6600ax Router Hardware Highlights

  • Planned to arrive in H1-2022 with SRM 1.3
  • Tri-Band WiFi 6 Support
  • 6 x High gain adjustable antennae (4×4 MIMO antennas)
  • 5.9Ghz / 160MHz channel Support
  • Four 1GbE (Gigabit Ethernet ports) (1x WAN 3x LAN)
  • 1x 2.5GbE LAN/WAN Port
  • 6600Mbs Bandwidth Potential
  • Multi-Network creation in SRM 1.3
  • Improved DS Router Mobile Application and Browser GUI in SRM 1.3 in 2022
  • Mesh Support with future AX devices
  • No word on USB Support, but almost certainly going to be featured

The first big focus of course is the support of WiFi 6 (AKA 802.11ax), as this has become widely adopted by modern wireless client hardware manufacturers in place of WiFi 5 a/c/n etc. From New-gen consoles and computers, to even Amazon Fire TV and Virgin ISP routers, WiFi 6 is very much an established thing and hence why people have been counting the days till Synology and its SRM equipped Routers jumped on board with the RT6600ax router. Alongside this, the RT6600ax will also feature the 6 antennae setup that was featured on the RT2600ac before it. This will allow a tremendous degree of coverage and shared frequency bandwidth of up to 6000Mbps.

Alongside the increased bandwidth and performance improvements on offer with WiFi 6 (802.11ax) there is also a nice surprise in the wired connect of the RT6600ax. The Router has 4 1GbE network ports (1 WAN/LAN and 3x LAN) but also features a very interesting 2.5GbE optional WAN or LAN port. Now, this is a big, BIG deal, given that the availability of greater than gigabit internet speeds has grown in the last year or so (additionally facilitated by people working remotely more and more of course), but also it’s the first time we have seen Synolgoy actually pay 2.5GbE any attention on ANY of their hardware to date. Hopefully, this will be something that will be spun out into further NAS diskstation/rackstation solutions in 2022.

Along with the support of the 2.4 Ghz and 5Ghz frequencies (with one of the 5Ghz frequencies delivering a theoretical 480MB/s between it and another RT6600ax via the backhaul mesh connection), the RT6600ax will also be one of a rare batch of routers right now that will support 5.9Ghz (aka, to be able to use the 160Mhz channel made available by the FCC relatively recently). This is another big plus for the brand in its new router solution and something that will set it apart from other WiFi 6 Router solutions that have landed before it.

One area of the coverage on the Synology RT6600ax that has been a little quiet is the Mesh support on this WiFi 6 enabled router. Namely, how and if it will communicate over mesh with the older generation of Routers (the RT2600ac and MR2200ac). The RT6600ax will definitely communicate with other RT6600ax router units, as well as ‘planned’ future AX routers from Synology, but we are still seeking clarification on if it will integrate the same (not via a wifi 6 connection of course) with the older generation devices.

Finally, an often requested hardware feature that (despite its practical ease) has been weirdly absent till now – the RT6600ax can finally be wall-mounted! It’s a small feature by for those that want the router in a prime, clear and high location, having it shelf mounted is a pain! It is an odd feature to think has not been available till now, but finally, there it is.

When Will the Synology RT6600ax Router Be Released?

The Synology router series has always been one that tends to take its sweet time to be released. If the Synology RT6600ax will have anything in common with the MR2200ac and RT2600ac that came before it, expect the release date for this new WiFi 6 router to be a good chunk of the way into 2022. The Synology RT6600ax is almost certainly going to be a release that is going to be partnered with the launch of SRM 1.3 in 2022, so although it will definitely be in 2022, maybe get comfortable and expect it some time in the late spring or early summer (somewhere in between Q1 and Q2 in the TW business quarter).

How Much Will the Synology RT6600ax Router Be?

Although there has been ZERO official information on the price tag that the Synology RT6600ax will arrive with, Synology has tended in previous refreshes of ranges in their NAS and router ranges to attempt parity at the price point each time (maybe with a small increase in line with inflation etc). The Synology RT2600ac at launch arrived at around the £230-250 price point and I can definitely see Synology repeating this price point. If true, it would certainly put the RT6600ac in a business/Prosumer price bracket, but this wouldn’t be the first time and the features of SRM 1.3 and even 1.2 in terms of control, configuration and analytics are quite advanced compared with other routers out there.

Updates on the Synology Router Software & Services in SRM 1.3

As mentioned, the Synology RT6600ax was not the only thing regarding the networking arm of the company that was covered in detail during Synology 2022 and Beyond, with the announcement of SRM 1.3 and DS Router improvements in 2022. Highlights of those improvements that were covered were as follows:

Highlights of the Promised Improvements in SRM 1.3 and DS Router in 2022

  • Multi-Network Creation (vLANs) & Client H/W and/or device assignment
  • Creation of up to 5 SSID/Network (more possible with disabling Smart Connect – TBC)
  • Improved Network Management and improved GUI in the web browser
  • Significantly more network analytics, control and adjustment features to be made accessible in the DS Router 2.0 mobile application

I think it is quite likely that the release of the new RT6600ax and the launch of the SRM 1.3 update will likely arrive at the same/close time. Stay tuned for more information on this as we find out more and subscribe to stay informed on all things new from Synology in 2022.

 


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We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

Synology 2022 Launch Event Confirmed – December 2nd 2021

22 novembre 2021 à 17:44

Synology 2022 & Beyond – Video Streamed Event on Thursday 2nd December

Good news for anyone who has been wondering about what to expect from Synology in 2022, with the announcement of the global event ‘Synology 2022 and Beyond’, arriving next week. Synology has been hosting live events physically in numerous locations globally for almost a decade now and (as of last year) starting to move towards a global, video streamed event (for obvious reasons). These events have always been a great way for new and old followers of Synology solutions to find out how the brand has been performing, what its plans are for the next period and ultimately a good idea of what the brand will be prioritizing in its ecosystem. Last year we saw a large degree of focus towards DSM 7, their cloud platform’s evolution and indications on where they see their premiere products going. It’s a shame that we are still not returning to numerous, physical launch events around the globe, as this generally means a larger focus on hardware. No doubt a few planned 2022 (and even 2023) solutions will be revealed, but typically a global video streamed event means a greater focus on software and services. Still, this has always been a strong area for Synology and therefore still worth following.

How and Where Can I Watch the Synology 2022 Video Streamed Event?

The Synology 2022 and Beyond event has still yet to confirm how the event will be displayed at the time of writing. Last year te even was hosted via youtube and was then shown via a series of YouTube videos from the official Synology YouTube channel. I will update this article as soon as details on where to watch the Synology 2022 event as it gets confirmed.

What Time Does the Synology 2021 Event Start?

The Synology 2022 and Beyond event is going to start on Thursday, December 2nd for global streaming. Depending on your location and time zone, that means it will go live at:

Thursday 2nd December 2021

  • 9AM PST (USA)
  • 10AM MST (USA)
  • 11AM CST (USA)
  • 12  NOON EST (USA)
  • 2PM Brazil UTC-3
  • 5PM GMT London, UK
  • 6PM CET Berlin, Germany
  • 8PM MSK Moscow, Russia
  • 9PM Dubai UAE
  • 22:30PM IST Mumbai, India

Friday 3rd December 2021

  • 1AM Singapore UTC+8
  • 1AM CST Bejing China
  • 2AM JST, Tokyo, Japan
  • 4AM AEDT Sydney, Australia
  • 6AM NZDT Auckland, New Zealand

What Do We Expect at the Synology 2021 Launch Event?

At this time, Synology is being characteristically quiet about the contents of their ‘Synology 2022 and Beyond’ event. Typically these events are introduced with a summary of how the brand has performed in the last 12-18 months, highlighting which hardware, software and services have excelled. Likely expect a big chunk of focus to go towards DSM 7’s rollout and how it has picked up on the last 6-7 months (outside of Beta’s and the RC). Synology has the following to say on their own News Room pages:

Synology Inc. today announced its virtual annual event will premiere on December 2, 2021.

On the heels of this year’s packed release calendar, 2022 AND BEYOND previews key improvements to core storage features and much-anticipated updates to networking and surveillance solutions, with major announcements across Surveillance Station, SRM, and DSM.

Major themes this year are performance, reliability, and security, with new features changing how users secure their data, networks, and physical assets, sync and share files, and manage large deployments.

So, not a huge amount to go on. However, the mention of the SRM platform is encouraging, as many have been wondering about the next step for the Synology router series (with continued information flying around regarding a WiFi 6 solution. Likewise, the mention of major updates on Surveillance station is something to wonder about – given the brand’s huge priority of their NVR hardware/software system. There has been a big, BIG focus in 2021 so far to Synology promoting their cloud C2 services, along with a lot of client applications for personal and business security, so how these will integrate into the rest of the existing Synology ecosystem is likely to be discussed too.

Of course, many users would like to see a big focus shift onto hardware – where are the 64bit ARM refreshes of the 1/2/4-bay ranges (DS122, DS222, DS422 and the PLAY series have been quiet for quite a while). Equally, with a big jump in their media ranges and support in the enterprise-level systems, will we start seeing some better support for U.2, SAS SSD or a new Flashstation? It’s too early to say and we will know in a little over a week. Expect a full write up here on NASCompares, as well as coverage of everything we learnt shortly after the event.

Here is the summary of Synology 2021 Event from last year:

 


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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

 

D-Link EXO AX5400 WiFi6 Router Review – Next Gen Enough?

22 septembre 2021 à 01:19

D-Link EXO AX5400 Router Review – Should You Buy It?

D-Link is no stranger to routers, but the EXO-AX DIR-X5460 Router entered the market earlier this year trying to bring something a little more inclusive to the ever-growing ranges of Wi-Fi6 routers on the market right now. If you are in the market for a Wi-Fi 6 Router, then you are almost certainly falling into three different buying categories. The first is those looking for a small, affordable home router that can replace/work with your ISP router with minimal fuss to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6. The second is those looking to buy a upgrade router that can expand the area of coverage in their home/business. And the third is those looking at a premium solution in a professional gaming or multimedia capacity that will lower latency, increase data speeds on the network and effectively give them a wireless lifestyle that can match their existing wired LAN. The EXO AX5400 Router from D-Link that is attempted to appease ALL THREE buyers with its potential shared 540MB/s bandwidth, across 6 antennae at a price that is still justifiable. Although buyers are becoming a tad warmer to the idea of paid routers over their rather limited ISP free alternatives, now that broadband speeds start to surpass the Gigabit, it is still by no means a done deal, so does the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 have what it takes to earn it’s way into your basket and your home? Does it deserve your data? Let’s find out.

D-Link EXO AX5400 DIR-X5460 Router Review – Quick Conclusion

The EXO DIR-X5460 from D-Link ticks a lot of the key boxes from buyers looking at entering the WiFi 6 market with as little friction as possible. Now that the price point of AX/802.11ax hardware is coming down and becoming a universal standard in the majority of our home hardware (the latest iPhone, the latest Pixel, the PS5, etc), then the advantages of investing in a solution like the EXO DIR-X5460 Router become increasingly obvious. In terms of physical connections, the D-Link EXO is perhaps a little bland and the software and services, though easy to use and very functional, are not going to blow you away. The D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 Router trades on its wireless speed, handling, area of coverage and customization of those networks – and in those areas, this router is a big success. Excellent value, if a little safe overall.

PROS CONS
  • 6 External and Directional Antennas!
  • Both detailed Desktop GUI and Simple Mobile App Control
  • WiFi 6 Support across 2x 5Ghz and 1x 2.4Ghz bands
  • FAST setup and inc wall brackets
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port for Storage
  • Works straight out of the box
  • In-House Expanded Mesh Support
  • Triple Core 1.5Ghz Processor
  • Free Inclusive Parental Control
  • 540MB/s (480MB+57MB) Combined Bandwidth
  • WPA3 and 128bit Encryption
  • Wall-mountable
  • Voice Control via AI Assistant Supported
  • Limited LAG support on just 2x LAN ports
  • Lacks 2.5Gbe
  • Mobile App is a little over-simplified (an Advanced Tab as found in the Desktop Browser GUI would help)

If you are thinking of buying the D-Link EXO-AX AX5400 Router, please use the links below

D-Link EXO AX5400 DIR-X5460 Router Review – Retail Packaging

The retail box for the EXO DIR-X5460 is exactly what you might expect from a router squarely aimed at gamers. Brash, loud and oozing in ‘performance’ stats. This is not D-LInks first entry into WiFi6/AX but it is one of the most recent steps into the growing cloud of professional gamer routers that have a greater focus on packet control, low latency and moving large data as quickly as possible where the different at the megabit level will be sorely felt.

The contents of the box arrive in the a-typical thinly shaped cardboard shaped crate that (I swear!) all routers arrive in. The kit includes the DIR-X5460 EXO router itself, an external PSU, 4 pre-attached antennas, 2 disconnected antennas that you can add later, first-time setup instructions, warranty information, Cat 5e 1m RJ45 LAN cable and some WiFi6/D’Link stickers (unsure why anyone would use these – but ok).

Laying out all these accessories should give you a little idea of just how big the D-Link DIR-X5460 router is. Arriving significantly bigger at 24cm x 33cm x 21cm than the 4 antennae ASUS RT-AX92U feared in a previous review which measured 15.5 x 15.5 x 5.26 cm. Alot of the physical size of the EXO DIR-X5460 would seem to be to make sure that the antenna are spaced out enough for directional use, as well as allowing passive airflow to be amply across the fanless internals (something we will touch on later).

The two additional antennae in the box are easy to attach and once screwed in, feel tight and easily adjustable. Alot of 4-6-8 antenna routers that have movable parts have a tendency to feel cheap and within a couple of months tend to lack any rigidity on each one. The EXO DIR-X5460 definitely feels like the antennae are rigidly connected.

Like a lot of hardware globally, the company includes a PSU with a changeable clip depending on your region. That is fairly standard and understood, but I always find it a shame when they ONLY include the clip for your region. I query the cost at the point of manufacture to include 1x of a pre-set region and not just all 3-4 types. It is a fantastically petty point on my part, but I would be interested to know. In the case of the EXO-AX DIR-X5460 Router, they include the UK and European connector, so better than most.

The contents of the EXO DIR-X5460 retail kit are all fairly standard and although it feels a little dull, is definitely everything you are going to need and what I would expect from this price point. Let’s talk about the design of the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router.

D-Link EXO AX5400 DIR-X5460 Router Review – Design

As little as 2+ years ago, the design of the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router would have been seen as crazy or a little insane, but now in 2021/2022, this shape and form of router (even outside of WiFi 6) is actually quite commonplace. Although a fair bit of that design appeal stems from the need to appear to gamers, there is actually logic behind a lot of that chassis and shape. From perfect antennae placement to prevent interference to allowing sufficient spacing to allow passive airflow, modern high spec routers are designed with the efficiency of a supercar in many ways, blending sharp modern feel with intelligent hardware operation. The front of the EXO DIR-X5460 is very branded and although the external chassis is almost entirely plastic, it doesn’t look cheap.

As you might expect, there are multiple LEDs on the front that denote the system activity, connectivity and status. They are Power activity, Internet Activity/connectivity, USB 2.0 & USB 3.0 Storage connected activity, wireless usage of the 2×2 2.4GHz band and finally wireless activity on the larger 4×4 5GHz band.

The antennas around the device are spaced a little over 2 inches apart and, as mentioned, are quite sturdy. Each one is branded with the D-Link logo and can be adjusted to best suit your network physical environment. WiFi 6 and these larger MU-MIMO coverage routers are a perfect blend of area coverage to address the reduced area that WiFi 6 works within when compared with WiFi 5 (AC/N/etc).

The bulk of the top panel of the EXO DIR-X5460 router is given to a large vent panel that is above the primary components (3 core processor, memory, flash, transistor, etc) and as this router does not feature any internal fan operation, it needs to get as much passive airflow onto these components as possible. This is useful for peak use AND for general 24×7 USE – how often do you turn your router off? Exactly!

The side of the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router continue with further ventilation and the chassis has a triangular angled frame that allows the air to pass under the antennae and into the router vents, around the controller board with relative ease. The EXO DIR-X5460 is raise a few millimetres from table level by 4 pronounced rubber feet to assist this.

A quick look at the base of the EXO DIR-X5460 router shows a vast amount of passive cooling vents.

Also, there are wall hook cavities that allow the end-user to mount this router up high, which might be handy to those covering multiple floors of a single environment. No screws or wall plugs were included with the kit, but that isn’t a huge surprise really.

As you can see, the design of the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 Router is a clear, well vented and modern design that although is becoming more commonplace in 2021/2022 WiFi 6 Prosumer gamer routers, is still good for the price. Plus it is not trying to add any kind of flare or colouring that might divide opinion. In short – I like it! Now, let’s discuss those connections – an area that can make or break a paid router’s appeal.

D-Link EXO AX5400 DIR-X5460 Router Review – Hardware & Software Specifications

As mentioned at the start of the review, a lot of buyers will have difficulty paying for a router when they know that the majority of internet service providers (ISPs) give you one for free/inclusive of your contract – let alone paying top dollar for a premium/prosumer grade one. Therefore the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 needs to be more than a router, but an active upgrade over the freebie ISP router that just justify its investment. I can say that in MOST respects, the EXO DIR-X5460 definitely achieves this – with small exceptions that either apply to particular high-level users missing out on features or clear hardware architecture choices by D-Link to keep it in this more affordable price bracket. First, let’s go through those key hardware specifications:

  • 3x Core 1.5Ghz Processor
  • Six external antennas
  • 128MB Flash, 512MB Memory

The main processor of the router is an undisclosed (at least, not by D-Link) triple-core ARM processor at 1.5Ghz per core. The main router software in the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 does not allow any 1st/3rd party application installation, so this processor can focus on preset software and service control without needed to be too open for change. Without knowing the nature of the processor, it is hard to drill down into the workload that it handles, but 4 hours of continuous data transmission via the router and a NAS over 1Gbe and WiFi had no slow down and no problems. The CPU is partnered with a 128MB area of flash memory for the software (that has regular updates from the brand available automatically/manually) as well as 512M of DDR3 memory to keep things moving swiftly. Given the lack of any internal app center with add-on tools available (eg client backup tools, Plex Media Server, etc), 512MB is quite a heft chunk of RAM for just handling data packet transmission. This hardware architecture translates into the following coverage across those 6 antennae

  • Dual-band Wi-Fi 6/AX Router
  • AX5400 Rated (4808Mb/s + 576Mbps)
  • 4×4 5Ghz 20/40/80/160MHz Channels
  • 2×2 2.4Ghz 20/40 MHz Channels

The twin band nature of the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 Router should not be a huge surprise, as this si fairly commonplace. However, the 4×4 double 5Ghz bands is a nice little extra at this price point, as although the 2×2 2.4Ghz band will still have a little use, we are now at a point where even modest network home/office devices are moving over to the 5Ghz band. Having that wider 5Ghz coverage means that your devices that will always prioritize the available 5Ghz frequency will have more bandwidth to share. wITH A POSSIBLE 480MB/s (4808Mb) to share, there’s quite a fair bit to go round! Also, support of up to 160Mhz channels means that more modern devices will not be left out and noticeably higher performance speeds are available later in your hardware environments life as other client tools are upgraded naturally. D-link are keen to highlight how useful these will all be to multimedia streamers who wish to watch high-quality H.265 8/10bit 4K and fair play to them, I can see how this would be advantageous in the EXO DIR-X5460 router on WiFi6 devices.

The physical rear connections on the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 are an area of mixed reception. They are:

  • 4x RJ45 LAN
  • 1x RJ45 WAN, WPS Button
  • 1x USB 3.2. Gen 1
  • 1x USB 2.0

These connections are all fairly standard and I cannot really fault them at this price point. All of the network connections are gigabit and the inclusion of two USB connections for storage media to be connected (5Gb/s max on USB 3.2 Gen 1) are all well and good. The storage media can be used in a few different ways (covered later in the software section) which is nice and at this price point all perfectly acceptable. It just all seems a little tame to see the physical connections to be fairly normal when all the wireless connectivity is so high end. There IS an element of greater than gigabit connectivity on the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460, but it requires Link Aggregation/Port Trunking to be used on up to 2x 1Gbe LAN ports and a LAG supported Switch/client device, which although easy to do is not really in the ballpark of most users network hardware environment typically in 2021/2022.

Likewise, although the price point of the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router is always going to mean that some features are absent, but the lack of 2.5GbE is a bit of a blow/ 1Gbe (100-109MB/s bandwidth) is something that has been around for upwards of 20 years and now that internet speeds are surpassing the Gigabit (not gigabyte – well, not everywhere anyway!), as well as NAS servers and gaming rigs arriving with 2.5GbE as standard, that is a bit of a shame to be unavailable here. 2.5GbE (2.5GBASE-T) and it’s possible 2.5x bandwidth potential here is something that could potentially age this router in your network environment, but not a deal breaker for most users I am sure. So, let’s discuss the software and services of the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 WiFi 6 Rouer.

D-Link EXO AX5400 DIR-X5460 Router Review – Software and Services

The software, services and control of the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router genuinely find a decent line between the network-noob and the I.T professional. It should be added that the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 is Plug n play, so you do not immediately need to log in to set up and just connecting the WAN port to your current ISP router will allow it to be used in minutes. It is advised though to take some time to set the device up to your needs using the genuinely well-balanced software. This is achieved by providing access to the administration of the router via a simplified mobile application for iOS & Android and a much more configurable and adaptable web browser-based graphical user interface (GUI). The results are mostly good, with perhaps the mobile app oversimplifying things more than necessary at times (lacking the easy/advanced switching style of the web browser GUI) but it still proves ALOT of useful control and bespoke setup for home or business use. Key software and services in the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router are:

  • Supports WPA/WPA2/WPA3 and 128bit Encryption
  • 6 Simultaneous streams at full bandwidth at once
  • D-Link Extension Wi-Fi Mesh Supported
  • 128-bit Encryption
  • BSS Coloring for Clear connectivity

  • Smart Home / AI Services Supported (Alexa, etc)
  • Guest SSID, QoS Control, Free Parental Control
  • VPN Services Supported
  • Web GUI & Mobile App

Let’s go through the key and (likely) most frequently used services on both the desktop and mobile client D-Link applications. The main browser GUI for the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 shows a useful topographical display of your internet, router, devices, USB and identities.

The mobile application displays mostly the same, but puts them into clickable boxes to dig down deeper if you choose.

Tapping the menu key on the top right of the mobile application displays a range of service and control options on the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router. These are presented in a much more granular fashion, with choices in a ‘next step’, screen by screen basis.

One thing I am keen to highlight is the inclusion of parental control WITHOUT any extra/paid subscription service. Paid parental controls on routers is becoming a nasty inclusion these days, asking people to pay extra (on top of the ISP services AND a pro router!) for the ability to filter content and client hardware on your router. I am pleased to say that the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 does NOT do this and although the parental control is a tad rudimentary, it is very easy to understand and allows sleep mode, restricted device time management and precise website filtering to one/all devices with ease. The web browser GUI shows al the options on a single screen, like so:

Whereas the mobile client app presents these options as stages and although holds your hand throughout the process, is just as effective and quick to set up.

Additionally, the router includes ookla speed testing inside the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router itself. Now, many users will argue that you can easily jsut get a speed test tool on your phone/laptop device BUT this is a speed test conducted between the router and the internet connection from your ISP – which is much, MUCH more useful for troubleshooting. Additionally, the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 factors these results into the quality of service (QoS) settings and can then apply rules to priority devices (across 3 tiers) to divide up the internet connection in the best way to make sure key devices get the lion share of the connection as needed. Pro gamers, VOIP users and those that work from home (the pandemic massively increased this of course) will see enormous benefits to this services AND it’s combination with the speed test tool.

The speed test tool is a little more simplified on the mobile app and control is less integrated with the QoS tools. QoS configuration is still available in the app, but as a separate option.

Individual connected client applications are shown on both the mobile application and web browser GUI, with options to name these devices internally, assign fixed network addresses/identities, bandwidth control, USB access, internet-only access and more.

You can even create users on the D-Link software GUI of the EXO DIR-X5460 router and then given them bespoke system, network and internet access, which is especially useful when grouping network client hardware with a particular team or family member.

The router can have its operation adjusted to your own needs, in case you are using the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 as your primary router/access point to your internet connection or ISP modem OR as an extension of your existing system. This configuration is explained well in both the browser GUI and mobile app.

You can change your router operation easily on the mobile application, but it is not advice that you play with this outside of the browser GUI as reversing this is tricker via mobile.

Another predictable but still well-executed feature is the guest SSID mode. This allows you to create a secondary wireless network that has its own name and login credentials.

Configurable on the fly, with instant changes as needed, there is also the option to restrict this guest network from having access to the wider network of devices and services, limiting it to only internet access. Which you can then continue to configure in the QoS, client and network settings too.

Internet access can also be widely configured on both the web browser and mobile application. Things getting a little more network-techie on the web browser GUI of course and although the bulk of the configuration options here are fairly predictable, they are still presented in a user friendly and clear to follow fashion.

The same goes for the firewall configuration settings, with numerous settings that are applicable to both home router users and business users who have specific office network hardware to take into consideration.

The network configuration setting is quite clear, if a little sedated. The uniform 1Gbe across the whole device means that any changes you make are going to be more a case of downsizing connectivity and access, rather than improving the wider network throughout (though there is port trunking supported on up to 2 1Gbe ports)

In the management panel, there is a statistics area that displays real-time information on the individual network connections across each band, via RJ45, as well as internet connectivity. This information is useful to have, but long term historical data is not really kept or maintained by the system to access (eg ‘data use over a previous period and how it compares against the same period on another date). It is a nice feature, if a little limited in its overall use.

Upgrading the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 router firmware can be conducted manually or the system will update itself without the need of the end-user if preferred. This can be schedule (to avoid any minor downtime). a minor feature, but surprisingly rare!

Then there is the option to connect an existing VPN tunnel with the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460. Although this is an area where things get less user-friendly and I am surprised that D-Link has not loaded a number of presets for a handful of popular VPN providers as found by a few other router/NAS manufacturers.

Finally, there are the means to connect the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 Router with your existing smart home assistant (such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home). You need to create a D-Link account (free) in order to utilize this service and access voice control and direct-to-AI notifications and more (as they need to communicate with a remote server).

In order to see how the router would compare with a traditional router in the home, I bench tested performance on 3 popular online speed test sites. Now, it should be highlighted that WiFi 6 is NOT a factor here, as the internet was being delivered was sub-Gigabit. However, the results of communication between the laptop testing the connection, at the same distance from the ISP  Router and D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 Router clearly showed that the D-Link provided notable higher performance in all three tests than the ISP router (Virgin Hub 4) in a single 5Ghz connection. Here are the Google Speed Test results, with a 16Mb increased on download and over 3Mb increased upload on the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460:

The Ookla Browser-based speed tests (connecting with the same remote server location)  showed the same improvements in Download Speed, just under 20Mb faster:

Finally the ‘FAST’ speed test was a clear 21Mb faster on the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 Router

Overall the software and services on the D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 may seem a little safe and vanilla in places, but at this price point and for 2021, these seem quite acceptable. Plus the added bonus of having both a more techie usable web browser GUI and a more user-friendLY chewable mobile application option is handy.

D-Link EXO AX5400 Router Review – Conclusion & Verdict

The EXO DIR-X5460 from D-Link ticks a lot of the key boxes from buyers looking at entering the WiFi 6 market with as little friction as possible. Now that the price point of AX/802.11ax hardware is coming down and becoming a universal standard in the majority of our home hardware (the latest iPhone, the latest Pixel, the PS5, etc), then the advantages of investing in a solution like the EXO DIR-X5460 Router become increasingly obvious. In terms of physical connections, the D-Link EXO is perhaps a little bland and the software and services, though easy to use and very functional, are not going to blow you away. The D-Link EXO DIR-X5460 Router trades on its wireless speed, handling, area of coverage and customization of those networks – and in those areas, this router is a big success. Excellent value, if a little safe overall.

PROS CONS
  • 6 External and Directional Antennas!
  • Both detailed Desktop GUI and Simple Mobile App Control
  • WiFi 6 Support across 2x 5Ghz and 1x 2.4Ghz bands
  • FAST setup and inc wall brackets
  • USB 3.2 Gen 1 Port for Storage
  • Works straight out of the box
  • In-House Expanded Mesh Support
  • Triple Core 1.5Ghz Processor
  • Free Inclusive Parental Control
  • 540MB/s (480MB+57MB) Combined Bandwidth
  • WPA3 and 128bit Encryption
  • Wall-mountable
  • Voice Control via AI Assistant Supported
  • Limited LAG support on just 2x LAN ports
  • Lacks 2.5Gbe
  • Mobile App is a little over-simplified (an Advanced Tab as found in the Desktop Browser GUI would help)

If you are thinking of buying the D-Link EXO-AX AX5400 Router, please use the links below

 

 

 


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