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How to Mesh the MR2200ac & RT2600ac with Your Synology RT6600ax Router

24 juin 2022 à 01:34

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

Installation of SRM 1.3 on the Synology MR2200ac 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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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

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.  

Network management software from Auvik: Cloud-based and easy to use

23 juin 2022 à 10:29

Auvik is cloud-based, easy-to-use network monitoring and management software that provides true visibility, control, and key insights into your network and its performance.

The post Network management software from Auvik: Cloud-based and easy to use first appeared on 4sysops.

Synology SRM 1.3 Update for MR2200ac and RT2600ac Routers FINALLY!!!

23 juin 2022 à 00:00

Synology Release SRM 1.3 for the RT2600AC & MR2200ac Router for Adding RT6600ax Mesh Setups

Good news for those of you who have been considering upgrading their existing Synology router mesh setup OR those who already own the previous releases in the Synology Router series with the announcement of SRM 1.3 for the RT2600ac and MR2200ac devices. Synology Router Manager (SRM) 1.3 was released with the newest device in the brand’s router lineup, the RT6600ax, but not made available for the previous generation devices immediately. The newest version of SRM includes multiple improvements to the GUI, included applications and services, added vLAN support and (most important of all) now means that those of you who have an existing MR2200ac Mesh network in place can now connect with the RT6600ax (that many opted to replace the RT22600ac in their existing set ups). Updating your Synology MR2200ac and RT2600ac to SRM 1.3 SHOULD be very easy as soon as the Release Candidate of SRM 1.3 is available on the official download pages (HERE for the MR2200ac and HERE for the RT2600ac) as you will be able to manually download and update your system OR head into the control panel and allow the router to check the Synology update database and update directly.

Important Note About Using MR2200ac as a Mesh Node for the Synology RT6600ax Mesh Router

IMPORTANT!!! 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 #2! – 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

Installation of SRM 1.3 on the Synology MR2200ac 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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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

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.  

Synology DS Router 2.0 – Quick Review

3 juin 2022 à 01:10

Synology DS Router 2.0 Mobile App Review

Synology, as a brand, has always been remarkably keen to highlight its software more than its hardware. That isn’t to say that the brand does not have some great hardware in its portfolio, but they would rather be known as a ‘solution’ provider, as opposed to a ‘hardware’ provider. Their software development often extends much further than just the system and services that their hardware includes (e.g. DSM, SRM, Surveillance Station, etc) and alongside their onboard software, they have long been producing a wide range of client hardware tools that integrate with their solutions and allow much more convenient and tailored access to their systems. One such application that has seen a big update in 2022 is the mobile client application DS Router for iOS and Android, which is now available in version 2.0. The Synology router portfolio is a little smaller than the rest of their Diskstation, Rackstation and Surveillance focused solutions, but this has not seemingly dulled continued development on router software and DS Router 2.0 has arrived with promised improvements in its GUI, it’s range of supported services of your Synology router system and a greater degree of control possible via this highly convenient mobile app. So today I wanted to write a short review on this latest update to the app and find out if this app is as good as they say it is, whether this adds to a compelling reason to switch to their network ecosystem and ultimately if Synology Routers deserve your data. Let’s start.

Synology DS Router 2.0 Review – GUI and Navigation

The user interface of DS Router 2.0 is very clear and after you have entered your login credentials (as well as the 2-step authentication of course, that is fully supported too) you are taken to a very easy to follow and clean GUI. The initial screen is quite understated, with it highlighting the accessed system internet connectivity, a notification bell to highlight anything pressing that needs your attention and some basic level details that are by no means intimidating. This initial lite overview also allows you to share the access to this WiFi connection in 2 clicks with anyone in your vicinity via a bunch of methods native to your handset. If you are looking for more information on the control and customization of your Synology Router via the app, then you will need to click the settings tab and that shows a much more detailed breakdown of what the app has control over.

As user-friendly and clear as this all is in DS Router 2.0, I would definitely have preferred the network tools/controls to be their own option on the bottom row (alongside Device List and Safe Search) as most people using DS Router 2.0 with their router will be using it to manage and monitor their network on the fly and it seems a tiny bit odd to go to ‘settings’ on the app, compared against the PC/Mac desktop interface SRM that places these controls under ‘Network Center’ and has a separate ‘Control Panel’ for settings. All that said, the settings menu is pretty exhaustive and although it seems to have the controls for EVERYTHING, it does seem a little TOO general. Overall, you definitely cannot criticise the level of controls available in DS Router 2.0, but the layout could maybe be expanded a bit on the bottom control bar.

Synology DS Router 2.0 Review – Network Activity Monitoring

The DS Router 2.0 app allows you to monitor the activity of your Synology router on the fly, as well as access historical records (if you have enabled the system option to keep records). These records can be extended to track upload/download traffic into the router WAN, but you can also access details on the individual devices on the network and how much data (packets or MB/KB/etc) is being exchanged. Once again, this UI is incredibly straightforward and pretty intuitive.

This traffic and resource monitoring does not extend to monitoring the CPU/Memory usage (which CAN be checked in the ‘router information area), but it does show a list of the active processes and services running on the router and how much of a bite they are taking on the router and which are eating up the bandwidth more than others. It’s a fairly expected and non-ground-breaking tool, but the fact it can also include historical data whilst on the fly (accessible via a convenient mobile app) definitely rates it much higher than many other traffic/network monitoring mobile router tools out there.

Synology DS Router 2.0 Review – Mesh Controls

One of the most prominent features that have been highlighted in recent releases of the Synology Ruter series is the support of mesh router support. This is when a primary network can be wirelessly (or in some cases wired) expanded by a physical network of nodes that are dotted around your home or place of work. As useful as a desktop PC/Mac user interface is for navigating the SRM 1.3 software, adding nodes is always going to be much, MUCH easier to do if you are using a mobile. This is because of physically moving around to test signal strength and optimal connectivity via the primary router and the node(s). The Synology DS Router 2.0 application allows you to easily add nodes (including setup and signal improvement suggestions) and expand your wireless network easily.

Again, this is not something that is new to router mobile apps but it is worth highlighting, as when it comes to mobile control and management of a router, this can be a real killer to have to do on a static machine. Plus, it is provided easily and very straightforwardly.

Synology DS Router 2.0 Review – WiFi Controls

Controlling and monitoring your WiFi networks with DS Router 2.0 is also a great deal more detailed that you might expect. The latest Synology RT6600ax router supports upto x15 SSIDs on a network and the WiFi control of DS Router 2.0 not only allows you to change their basic individual settings (name, security protocols/encryption, passcode, etc), but it also allows you to do some more precise things. This includes the ability to connect an SSID to a specific 2.4/5Ghz band (or both), change the radio channel between 20-160Mhz to use the available frequency more efficiently, to black/white list Mac Addresses or IPs or even lock the WiFi to a schedule.

Alongside this, you have the option to take advantage of Smart connect, which runs in the background of your router’s WiFi to automatically move connected devices from the 5Ghz (faster by smaller range) connection to 2.4Ghz (slower, but much further reach) frequency as client hardware changes location. Finally, you have similar options available to create and edit your guest WiFi network as needed – all manageable from the DS Router application. I genuinely cannot fault this area of DS Router 2.0 and in fact, it was significantly faster/easier to navigate WiFi settings on mobile than on the desktop!

Synology DS Router 2.0 Review – Client Monitoring

Next, you have client monitoring and control tools. From the ‘Device List’ tab, you are able to see all the connected devices to your Synology router (as well as a history of previously connected or offline devices) that allows you to customize what level of access and priority those devices have on the overall bandwidth. The initial Device List GUI breaks the devices into wired/wireless, but also shows their level of network traffic, the frequency/band they are occupying and the SSID/LAN they are living on at that time.

Each of these client entries can be opened up into its own sub-menu that allows you to name the client hardware and apply an icon suitable to it (e. phone, tablet, printer, etc). More interestingly though, you can also make immediate changes to how that device is being handled by the router with some hardcoded options. These include the ability to move the device into a Low or Medium device group (to apply on-the-fly priority of service if you need a given client to have their connectivity at that second to be adjusted), as well as a single click slider option to temporarily pause internet access for a client device on the fly. This is all presented very clearly again and with as little tech jargon (outside of terms like IPs and MAC addresses) as possible.

Synology DS Router 2.0 Review – Safe Access

Almost certainly the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Synology Router system is the ‘Safe Access’ feature that allows you to create a completely customized, dynamic and human-friendly control system for your entire network. It would be tremendously unfair to think of it as a simple ‘Parental Control’ system (which I should add several mid-high level router providers seemingly lock behind a subscription wall, disappointingly) as that would be like comparing a push-bike with Harley Davidson! In brief, Safe Access allows you to create user profiles for every member of your family/office/business and then connect their client devices to that profile (eg Mum, Dad, HR, Children, Printers, security cameras, etc). Once you have done that, you can then create easy to create, customize and control rules that will apply to a specific profile and filter down into all the devices underneath it (adding a user photo and router login credentials too if you choose). The range of rules and parameters that you can apply to a profile are both extensive AND very easy to understand. As new devices connect to the router, you can add these in 2 clicks to an existing Safe Access Profile OR in 3-4 clicks, create a brand new one.

Each profile can be adjusted to quite an impressive degree in DS Router 2.0 and there are several network monitoring tools available to see their current/historic network usage. Digging a little deeper into the profile creation shows that in DS Router 2.0 you have pretty much ALL the configuration and on-the-fly profile management controls that are available in Safe Access on the desktop SRM 1.3 platform. You can create internet access and time quote rules (time of date, day of the week and even number of hours that a user is allowed to connect, that can be spread across each of their devices to prevent overlap/abuse of access by hopping devices), as well as apply a rather dynamic web filter to a specific Safe Access profile. So, for example, you can choose to craft rules for a specific profile that means that all devices under ‘Daniel’ (in this case a teenager) share a 2-hour evening internet access (spread across their phone/home console), but only between 5-9pm and allows access to educational/homework-related sites, but not adult or social media sites. This same kind of profile rule logic can be applied to staff/employees when you need to provide internet for work, but need some sites restricted for SOME employees but not all (eg, ‘marketing’ team needs all social media outlets, but not the warehouse teams).

When it comes to that Web Filtering, the controls that are included in DS Router 2.0 are almost identical to those of the desktop web browser SRM 1.3 GUI – which (for when you need to make changes quickly on the fly whilst at work/off-site) is going to be fantastically useful. There are several preset profiles that can be switched between, or you can craft your own bespoke profile. You can also ‘force’ safe-search rules on a wide range of social networks and search engines which means that explicitly or inappropriate material is filtered out on these sites before they are viewed by the destinate client device. This safe search push will override any settings on that search engine by the user, even if they are logged in (eg Google Search and having your Gmail account logged in).

Overall, I cannot stress enough that alongside Synology Routers having Safe Access largely justifying the whole system, the controls of it that are available in DS Router are EXACTLY the level of ease-of-use and level of control that parents and employers are going to need access to at a moments notice. Plus, the level of creation and modification you can make with DS Router 2.0 to newly connected devices to the network is just as good. Massive thumbs up from me.

Synology DS Router 2.0 Review – Cross Service & USB

Before I end the review of DS Router 2.0 for iOS and Android, I wanted to talk about one of the often overlooked features of Synology Routers and mobile applications from the brand. All Synology routers feature 1-2 USB Ports and because Synology is a brand that is largely associated with NAS development (committing millions of hours of R&D into that industry) you will not be too surprised to know that connecting a USB drive to your Synology router will allow you to use a whole bunch of Synology NAS applications and services on your mobile phone. Now, I am not suggesting that the RT6600ax, RT2600ac or MR2200ac are suitable replacements for a NAS, however, I AM suggesting that the range of services available for a USB storage device in SRM 1.3 and DS Router 2.0 is surprisingly fleshed out. The DS File mobile application allows you to see the full file/folder structure, create customizable share links for the files (network or remote access), allows shared folder management, zip/extract collections of files, view several different types of files on the device and is pretty much exactly the same user experience that a Synology NAS user would have on in this app, but with just a USB drive.

Additionally, the DS File application in use with a Synology router also allows you to create an automatic photo backup from your mobile devices,directly to the USB storage connected to the router. I know this is not a DS Router application, but the fact this is something that is still possible was just too interesting not to mention. The phone photo backups can be set to only backup any/all photos taken (that are saved to certain directories, such as DCIM) from that point onwards, only backup all your existing photos upto that point, or the best of both and have a regular backup of all your photos on the fly from your handset to the router and to the USB. Its a very minor thing I know, but the idea that the Synology router allows you to create a pretty full proof live sync photo backup from your phone with any old USB is pretty cool.

My FULL review of the Synology DS Router application will be available on NASCompares shortly. You can find the video below:

Synology DS Router 2.0 Mobile App Review – Conclusion & Verdict

Overall, DS Router 2.0 is still a great application and the wider range of services and controls that have been added to this latest version definitely make it much more viable as a long term alternative to the desktop GUI/SRM 1.3 when managing your router. The GUI is still not the best it can be, with odd ‘everything else here’ vibes from the ‘settings’ menu, but it is incredibly clear, pretty intuitive and manages to make the navigation and management of your router to be much less intimidating than many would think. Some things are near impossible to simplify (port forwarding rules, for example) but even there, DS Router gives it a try. The controls of both Safe Access and Wireless Management are particular standouts of how the new version of the app has increased convenient control and although DS Router does not completely remove the need/necessity of a web browser and time in SRM to set up your router, it is pretty darn close!

 

PROs of the DS Router 2.0 CONs of DS Router 2.0
Easy to use and follow controls

Modern and Intuitive design

Safe Access management on the fly is 10/10

Wireless Management on the fly is also tip-top

Device Monitoring and Management is fast and clear

Very Responsive GUI

Traffic/Activity Monitoring is very good (plus supports historical data)

The Settings Menu seems overly full and some items should be standalone/selectable on the bottom bar

 

Synology Router Portfolio

RT6600ax

RT2600ac

MR2200ac

Class / band
compatible standards
AX6600 / Tri-band
IEEE 802.11ax / ac / a / b / g / n
AC2600 / dual band
IEEE 802.11ac / a / b / g / n
AC2200 / Tri-band
IEEE 802.11ac / a / b / g / n
Maximum communication speed
(5GHz band 1)
4800Mbps

(160Mhz)

1,733Mbps
(4str / 80MHz)
867Mbps
(2str / 80MHz)
Maximum communication speed
(5GHz band 2)
1200Mbps incompatible 867Mbps
(2str / 80MHz)
Maximum communication speed
(2.4GHz band)
600Mbps 800Mbps
(4str / 40MHz / 256QAM)
400Mbps
(2str / 40MHz / 256QAM)
WAN terminal 1000BASE-T x 1 1000BASE-T x 1 1000BASE-T x 1
LAN terminal 2.5GBASE-T x 1 * 1
1000BASE-T x 3
1000BASE-T x 4 * 2 1000BASE-T x 1
USB terminal USB 3.0 Standard-A x 1 USB 3.0 Standard-A x 1
USB 2.0 Standard-A x 1
USB 3.0 Standard-A x 1
CPU Qualcomm IPQ6018
Arm Cortex-A53 4-core 1.8GHz
Qualcomm IPQ8065
Qualcomm Krait 300 2 core 1.7GHz
Qualcomm IPQ4019
Arm Cortex-A7 4 core 717MHz
RAM 1GB DDR3 DDR3 512MB DDR3 256MB

 

You can watch the FULL review of the latest WiFi 6 Router from Synology, the RT6600ax, over on YouTube below:

Alternatively, you can watch my full review of Synology SRM 1.3 on this NAS in the video below:

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A Guide to 2.5GbE Switches – Which is Best?

30 mai 2022 à 01:10

Buying the Right 2.5GbE Switch Switch First Time

Whether you like it or not, 2.5 Gigabit ethernet is very much a THING in 2022! From ISP routers and gaming desktops, to USB adapters and PCIe cards at $25, the access to 2.5x traditional 1GbE network speeds is pretty much 100% for everyone now. The ease of making the switch to 2.5GbE is made even easier when many client network hardware devices are either arriving with 2.5G at the same price as 1G, or include WiFi6 capabilities and therefore have the potential to exceed wired 1GbE too. So, when buying hardware for your home or office in 2022 or 2023, it is understandable that for reasons of future-proofing, you might want to invest in 2.5Gb hardware to ensure everything has the fullest bandwidth possible, without breaking the bank. One of the most important devices you will need to get in order to manage a 2.5GbE network (ensuring no bottlenecks and/or making sure everything gets their fair share of the bandwidth) is by investing in a network switch. A network switch is much like a plug adapter/extension can provide more power points from a single socket over a larger distance, but that also means that much like plug adapters, some are more reliable than others, have features of control and efficiency that are not available on all others and, ultimately, that some 2.5GbE network switches are better than others!

Want to Skip to the Best Switches? Click below to jump ahead:

So, today I want to walk you through the best 2.5Gb network switches you can buy right now, broken down into the best for price, value, scale, features and more. Before we go any further though, I know what you are thinking. Why should someone invest in a 2.5GbE network switch/setup, when they can just skip it and go for a 10GbE setup?

Which Choose 2.5GbE over 10GbE in 2022 and 2023?

It’s a fair point. Although 10GbE is still more expensive than 1GbE and 2.5GbE, it HAS come down in price quite noticeably over the last 5 years. This alongside improvements in more efficient and affordable 10GbE network controllers has led to 10GbE routers and 10GbE switches arriving on the market at a much more affordable price point than ever. Many die-hard network veterans turn their noses up at 2.5GbE, as (alongside 10G being available to businesses and prosumer users for the better part of 10-15years) they consider 2.5G to be a stop-gap and overall better to spend the money towards something bigger and broader in bandwidth. So, why should you care about 2.5G then? Well, a few reasons actually. Such as:

  • Although 10GbE switches and routers ARE in the market at a better price than ever, they are still 3-4x the price of 1GbE alternatives in the managed or unmanaged form
  • 10GbE ports on laptops, computers and standard office hardware is still very much in low adoption. 2.5GbE featured less than 1G, but it’s still ahead of 10GbE in consumer adoption by default
  • PCIe  upgrades with 10GbE are still very expensive (1Gb PCIe = $10, 10Gb PCIe = $80-100 minimum)
  • External 10GbE upgrades are limited and very expensive (Thunderbolt to 10GbE are your only option and start at $150-200, such as the Sonnet SOLO10G-TB3 or QNAP QNA-T310G1T), whereas USB-to-1G adapters are $10-12 and USB-to-2.5GbE are $20-25
  • 10GbE arrives in both Copper and Fibre, which is useful for diverse setups, but leads to a coin toss of more expensive 10G Copper base hardware vs 10G Fibre cables/transceiver high price point and complexity. 2.5GbE uses all the same hardware in place as traditional 1GbE and allows for improved sustainability and less waste
  • Most client hardware is not able to take advantage of 10GbE and although having 1-2 high bandwidth devices (a NAS or SAN type server) connected over 10Gbe to the network can be beneficial to all, most client hardware devices will never be able to saturate 10Gb Connections. In those cases, a 1x10G and 8+ X 1G solution is preferable – which end up costing more than full, widespread 2.5G adoption.

So, yes, 10GbE will most certainly provide you with more bandwidth to play with, but it will cost you more – both for the switch, but also to upgrade each of the client devices on the network .This can slightly mitigated in a few ways (opting for 10GBASE-T and reusing some hardware, gradually upgrading the key clients, choosing comb style switches that featured mixed ports, etc) but 2.5GbE is a more affordable alternative that allows you to upgrade some systems enough for them to saturate 250MB/s bandwidth and not overspend on 10GbE for systems/networks that were never going to take advantage of the 1,000MB/s on offer.

Examples of a 2.5GbE to USB Adapter – $22.99 Examples of a 2.5GbE Network PCIe Card – $27.99

Understanding the Difference Between Managed & Unmanaged

This is one of the two main areas whereby the price of your networks switch can differ wildly. Network switches predominantly arrive in two software types. namely managed and unmanaged. A managed switch is a device that allows an admin or another authorised user to access a control panel visually displayed in the web browser or a supported mobile app, to configure numerous settings inside the switch and create a much more tailored, superior network environment for their own needs. Ranging from configuring which ports and devices have priorities, combining network ports for larger bandwidth (known as link aggregation or port trunking), creating security rules to prevent network invasion and numerous other unique and customisable configuration options. It can be intimidating to configure these settings and although things have become a little more user-friendly in recent years, it is still pretty overwhelming at first to configure your own network connection in a managed switch.

An unmanaged switch, as you probably have already guessed, does NOT allow users to configure the network in any kind of unique way. Unmanaged network switches arrived with more rudimentary internal processes that have numerous default settings for network access, security protocol and how to behave as more client hardware connect to the network. You lose a number of key and popular features such as link aggregation, priority of service, quality of service, failover configurations and more. However an unmanaged switch arrives at a noticeably lower price point due to its more cost-effective internal hardware requirements and if you are a home or even low-level business user who does not require a particularly unique network setup, an unmanaged network switch can often be perfectly fine. It should also be highlighted that smaller, unmanaged switches are often fanless and near-silent in operation too. In short, if you are not particularly tech-savvy, have no interest in learning the ins and outs of your network management, are on a tight budget or are running a fairly rudimentary setup, then an unmanaged switch should be perfectly ok for you and your network requirements. However, in almost every other regard, a managed switch is always better in the long run.

Learn More About Managed VS Unmanaged in the Article Below:


BEST 2.5GbE to USB Adapter – QGeeM 4-in-1 2.5GbE & USB C Hub – £25.49 (currently on offer 06/22)

The 4-in-1 USB C to ethernet hub expands the USB-C port of your laptop to 6 functions. You can connect to the Ethernet, charge the laptop, use an external monitor, data transfer, connect the mouse, etc. to improve your work efficiency. In the process of expansion, it cleverly retains all the functions of the USB-C port that supports up to 100W PD to charge your laptop at full speed, the data transmission speed reaches an astonishing 5Gbps, and it also supports [email protected] media display (mirror mode and extended mode. The USB C adapter is stylishly designed, lightweight and portable, very suitable for home, office environments and business trip, easily handle multitasking and increase productivity.

  • 1x Ethernet: up to 2.5 Gbps
  • 1x USB C: 100W Charging / [email protected] Video / 5Gbps Date Transfer
  • 2x USB 3.0: up to 5 Gbps

The USB c to 2.5g ethernet adapter is for users looking to move beyond Gigabit Ethernet speeds. It can provide network bandwidth of up to 2.5Gbps, 2.5 times the traditional network, and backwards compatible with 10/100/1000Mbps. Compared with wireless connections, wired networks are more secure and stable. There will be no lag in video conferencing, transferring files and playing games. 100W Power Delivery via the USB C PD port, which charges up to 100W, When expanding other devices, you don’t have to worry about running out of power on your laptop, and you can also reduce the number of cables on your desktop. The USB 3.0 port can transfer your files at speeds up to 5Gbps, 10 times faster than the USB 2.0. Backward compatible with USB 2.0 and below, Allows you to connect keyboard, mouse, hard disk, U disk, etc. to your device.

qgeem

I recently upgraded my MacBook Pro and I was bummed to find out that the new versions don’t have USB ports anymore. This hub allows me to plug in all my devices that use a USB! It’s small and portable which I appreciate because I can easily carry it with me in my backpack without much-added weight. Just tested it out using my Cricut machine and it worked like a charm! Allows 2.5 gig ethernet speed where there is no port on the laptop. Much faster for wired environments than Wi-Fi only. Since it provides a USB “C” port and two USB “A” ports, you still have USB available on the laptop. Works Great and adds functionality to the laptop! My studio has a really unstable wifi signal so I am looking for a portable hub including Ethernet and a USB port for my Dell XPS. And I am happy with this tiny hub. It works great after 3 days of use. Now I don’t need to worry about the unstable connection during my zoom meeting. In addition, I can connect more devices like flash or external drives to my laptop. It is very light and convenient, I can also bring it when I travel without any concern.

Check if this switch is available on Amazon. This helps us at NASCompares


Cheapest 2.5GbE Network Switch – QNAP QSW-1105-5T – £80-100 (currently on offer 06/22)

The QNAP QSW-1105-5T switch definitely lives up to what it promises and has a very clear target user in mind. It does not pretend to be more than it is and because of that can maintain high performance and low physical and power usage impact for users looking to move to the next level of networking without spending a vast amount. The QSW-1105-5T serves as a great upgrade for users moving from gigabit ethernet and towards multi-gigabit environments and with fantastic growth in 2020 towards 2.5G, 5G and 10Gbe in affordable hardware, the need for a more palatable and affordable upgrade to this tier is not only hugely welcome but fast becoming an inevitability. That said, the QSW-1105-5T is not for everyone, it seems a little pricey when unmanaged 1Gbe 5-Port switches are generally around £40-50.

Also, if you already have a multi-gigabit network environment in place or have need of a more controllable and priority defining network environment in mind, you will probably find the QSW-1105-5T a backstep and limiting in its scope. But the QSW-1105-5T is not designed for that and does not pretend to be so, and with QNAP having released and in the process of releasing switch options to cater to an ever-evolving network clientele, whether this is the switch for you or not, by the end of 2020 QNAP will almost certainly have a switch that suits your needs and budget. Bottom line, I really like this device and couldn’t see myself finding many uses for this device for aspiring YouTubers like me as well as day-to-day data work in general.

Click to view slideshow.

Needless to say, the QNAP QSW-1105-5T is not a hugely powerful switch that is designed to challenge smarter or larger entries into the QNAP QSW range of switches – but that is largely the point! Along with users looking at play n play upgrades to their PC/Client machines at home/office with USB adapters (such as the QNA-UC5G1T), the appeal of 2.5Gbe upgrades in networks that favour WiFi 6 and (soon) WiFi 6E is actually quite pronounced. In this arena, the QSW-1105-5T has little or no competition right now and even if it did, it’s a very solid and well-made product. The price point of over $100 for a 5-Port switch that is unmanaged, when you can pick up 1Gbe unmanaged switches at $40-50 is a little off-putting, but given the next tier (10Gbe) will likely set you back $200 for the same unmanaged architecture, this is more a question of finding a balance I guess. Aside from that, It is hard to fault the switch for what it is, as it is delivering on all it’s promises – I just wish there was a managed version too to take advantage of 2.5Gbe LAG connectivity that is available in almost all multi LAN QNAP solutions in 2020/2021.

Check if this switch is available on Amazon. This helps us at NASCompares


Best Value PoE+ 2.5GbE Switch – TRENDnet TPE-TG350 – $184

Expand your network’s bandwidth and reduce traffic bottlenecks with TRENDnet’s Unmanaged 2.5G PoE+ Switches. These 2.5G PoE+ switches come equipped with 2.5GBASE-T RJ-45 ports that provide higher gigabit speeds capable of up to 2.5Gbps over your existing Cat5e or better cabling. Each high-speed 2.5G PoE+ switch features a durable metal enclosure and can be mounted to the wall for setup flexibility. The fanless design lowers energy consumption and eliminates distracting operating noise. TRENDnet’s reliable 2.5G PoE+ switches are cost-effective solutions to increase your network’s throughput. A 55W total PoE power budget on this PoE+ switch supplies up to four PoE+ devices with up to 30W per port.

  • 5 x 2.5GBASE-T ports
  • 55W PoE power budget
  • IEEE 802.3bz (2.5G) compliant
  • Supports IEEE 802.3at/af PoE standards
  • Backwards compatible with 10/100/1000Mbps devices
  • 25Gbps switching capacity
  • Fanless design eliminates noise
  • Wall mountable for installation flexibility

Check if this switch is available on Amazon. This helps us at NASCompares


Best 8-Port 2.5GbE Switch – TRENDnet TEG-S380 – $179

Despite it’s growing popularity with hardware manufacturers, 2.5G still gets overlooked, and this is a shame. Why? Well, 2.5G network capabilities are showing up in more computers and motherboards nowadays, and it can be the most affordable way to go multi-gig. For instance, 2.5G cards and dongles won’t break the bank, while 2.5Gbps speeds can theoretically be achieved with existing Cat5e. Along with the previously mentioned TG350, TRENDnet releases an affordable unmanaged 2.5G switches. Called “TEG-S380, an 8-Port Unmanaged 2.5G Switch and is the brand’s addition to TRENDnet’s Multi-Gigabit Networking Solutions family. Both switches include 2.5GBASE-T RJ-45 ports, which allow users to achieve up to 2.5Gbps over existing Cat5e (or better) cabling. TRENDnet’s new 2.5G switches are cost-effective means of increasing a network’s throughput, and helping to reduce or eliminate network bottlenecks.

These multi-gigabit switches also feature a durable metal housing, as well as a fanless design to eliminate distracting operating noise. For installation flexibility, the 2.5G switches are conveniently constructed to be mounted on the wall or placed on a desktop. These TRENDnet switches are IEEE 802.3bz compliant; they are also backward compatible with legacy technology hardware. No special configurations are required for these switches to connect and network devices to high-speed 2.5G Ethernet. Equipped with 2.5GBASE-T RJ-45 ports that provide higher gigabit speeds capable of up to 2.5Gbps over existing Cat5e or better cabling. The 2.5G switches feature metal housing with a convenient wall mountable design for greater installation flexibility. Meanwhile, the fanless design of the 2.5G switches lowers energy consumption costs and eliminates operating noise.

Check if this switch is available on Amazon. This helps us at NASCompares


Best Value Managed 2.5GbE and 10GbE Switch – QNAP QSW-M2108-2C or QSW-M2108-2S – $279-309

There is always going to be the question of “who actually has 2.5Gbe these days?”, which is a perfectly valid point! The answer is that thanks to the growth of WiFi 6 (802.11ax) we are seeing lots of router solutions arriving with 2.5G ports. That’s not all though, there are several USB-to-5Gbe and USB-to-2.5Gbe adapters in the market that serve as much MUCH more affordable (and far more convenient) alternatively to hardware systems upgrading to 10Gbe via a PCIe card. Lastly, some more compact systems (Raspberry Pi, MacBook, ChromeBook, Laptop, Surface Pro, etc) do NOT have the ability to upgrade their network port conventionally. So, given that to date, there is no 10Gbe-to-USB adapter on the market (and if there was, I would look at Aquantia in the future), the only alternative to break out of 1Gbe bottlenecks is to use 2.5/5G USB adapters – which is EXACTLY why this 10Gbe and 2.5Gbe network switch exists! QNAP was not one of the first to introduce a budget +Gigabit ethernet switch in 2020/2021 and given the affordability of 10Gbe, as well as the need for businesses to improve their internal networking speeds to match that of high-end ISP and fibre internet around the world, they likely will not be the last.

Click to view slideshow.

However, the combination of 8x 2.5Gbe with the 2x10G really makes the QSW-2108-2C managed switch really stand out, whilst still arriving in a compact and affordable way – a scaled 10Gbe switch for businesses that want to make the step towards this network bandwidth, but is still unsure about the investment. With its unique multi-port combo system, allowing users to combine copper and fibre environments, there is a large degree of flexibility even at this more affordable price point. The design is not for everyone and it lacks the lifetime warranty of some more expensive NETGEAR solutions, but the QNAP QSW-2108-2C is most certainly a capable solution and manages to live up to every single promise that QNAP claims. Along with an incredibly intuitive management panel and ease of design that lends heavily from the QTS NAS software, it certainly beats most of its competitors in the GUI department. In short, the QSW-M2108 largely defeats any notion of looking at 1Gbe switches ever again…

Check if this switch is available on Amazon. This helps us at NASCompares


Best Gamer 2.5G/10G Switch – D-Link DMS-106XT – $140

As you can probably guess from my tone throughout this review, I found it pretty tough to fault the D-Link DMS-106XT network switch given its price tag and wide variety of network connectivity. There are a few design choices that are going to split opinion (metal throughout, LEDs, very unconventional shape, etc) but these are quite minor points in the grand scheme of things. The Price tag of this switch for a 10GbE and 2.5GbE switch, even unmanaged, is going to make it damn near irresistible to many buyers and now that it has had some time in the market to increase exposure, availability and reviews, the price tag has become increasingly flexible (arriving as low as £130/$140 in some retailers).

Click to view slideshow.

D-link could stand to be a little clearer about the turbo mode and it’s advantages with the DMS-106XT and the extent to which those LEDs can actually be customized is pretty weak, but you are clearly getting a sturdy, solid and high-performance piece of kit here. Additionally, with the increase of affordability of 10GbE, as well as 2.5GbE becoming the defacto port to be used with WiFi 6 client hardware, this switch has a much wider audience than it might have had just 2 years ago. A great piece of kit and one I heartily recommend.

Pros – 10G + 2.5G arriving at the same/cheaper price than many 2.5G-only switches right now.  Unique and Attractive Design. Unmanaged BUT the Turbo Mode adds Priority of Sevice features.  Fanless + Ridged Metal design assists heat dissipation. LED and lighting are quite cool looking

Cons – LED lighting controls are practically zero

Check if this switch is available on Amazon. This helps us at NASCompares


Best Unmanaged 2.5GbE and 10GbE Switch – QNAP QSW-2104-2T or QSW-2104-2S – $210

QNAP Systems introduced the QSW-2104 series of unmanaged switch models. The series is formed by the QSW-2104-2S and QSW-2104-2T network switches. The QSW-2104-2T is an easy-to-use unmanaged switch with 2-port 10GbE RJ45 and 4-port 2.5GbE RJ45, allowing you to upgrade your network environment by connecting a wider range of devices with different bandwidth requirements. Featuring a near-silent fanless design and compliance with IEEE 802.3az (Energy Efficient Ethernet, EEE), the QSW-2104-2T operates quietly and with optimal power usage. With high performance and superb functionality, the QSW-2104-2T is the ideal choice for creating an affordable high-speed network environment in your home or workplace.

Click to view slideshow.

aBoth of them are six-port with two 10GbE ports and four 2.5GbE ports, and the difference is that the QSW-2104-2S has 10GbE ports routed to SFP + fiber-optic transceivers, and the QSW-2104-2T model – to connectors designed for copper twisted pair connection. Note that in the first case, speeds of 10 Gb/s and 1 Gb/s are supported, and in the second – 10 Gb/s, 5 Gb/s, 2.5 Gb/s, 1 Gb/s and 100 Mb/s. The 2.5GbE ports in both cases are designed for twisted pair connections and support speeds of 2.5 Gbps, 1 Gbps, and 100 Mbps. With no complex settings required, the QSW-2104 series supports auto-negotiation that optimizes transfer speeds and performance for each connected device. It also features network loop detection that automatically locks looped ports to ensure the network environment quickly resumes normal operations. With plug-and-play support, near-silent, passively cooled design, IEEE 802.3az compliance, and automatic loop detection and blocking, the QSW-2104 series unmanaged switch is “the ideal choice for affordable high-speed networking environments in homes, and in the workplace” says the manufacturer.

Check if this switch is available on Amazon. This helps us at NASCompares

 


 

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Synology SRM 1.3 Software Review Part III – Network Management

18 mai 2022 à 01:10

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

Synology SRM 1.3 Review – Network Management

The more premium a router is (i.e expensive!) the more you find that they start to feature features and services that are more often found in switches. Indeed, it still surprises me that Synology has yet to make the jump towards its own range of switches in the way that the other NAS brand QNAP has. That said, the network management and control that is featured in SRM 1.3 is quite extensive for a router, even if the complaints surrounding how long it has taken Synology to feature virtual network creation have been fairly constant these last few years. The Network Center application largely provides the bulk of network management resources, opening up into a brief overview of available connectivity and enabled SSIDs. There is also a live graph of activity covering uploads, downloads, system hardware resources and the status of those individual physical ports.

If you dig a little into the Port Status area, you are able to see any live connections and the bandwidth currently available on that connected line. This was one area of design that I was a little underwhelmed by on Synology’s part. Aside from the user interface in the Network Center application featuring a few different options whether you used the router on its own or as an additional access point (which makes sense logically), SRM 1.3 still lacks a larger topographical overview of the network, virtual networks and SSIDs. I appreciate that this would fall more into ‘network switch’ territory, but with the RT6600ax router with SRM 1.3 supporting 5 virtual networks, 15 SSIDs on a network, 4 LAN ports and the ability to bond them together in a custom way – that would be MUCH easier to comprehend graphically or in a breadcrumb/tree style.

There IS however a clear and quick-to-setup means to create a failover connection involving multiple ports. Although in the diagram below WAN and LAN 1 were featured, this is customizable via dropdowns. Additionally, you can factor in the USB SIM dongle or Mobile Phone USB tethering services to be used as a failover for the WAN and a wired internet connection. This failover also has a few straightforward rules and system policies for how the switch would take place in the event of your primary connection dropping, as well as what happens when it gets stored. Fairly straightforward stuff, but presented very well in SRM 1.3 and makes having a backup internet connection a lot more justifiable and easy to implement.

The newly added virtual network creation (vLAN) support in SRM 1.3 is pretty straightforward and (as this system is a router) also benefits from a few extra things (as well as supporting a few things you might expect), such as:

  • The ability to assign custom VLAN IDs
  • The option to completely block a vLAN to access the SRM 1.3 Controls/GUI
  • The option to block any communication/visibility between one vLAN and all other networks
  • The option to bond (attach) a physical port to a specific vLAN
  • The option to connect the vLAN with an existing SSID or create a new one during the creation wizard
  • Later in the access and user panels, you can permit levels of access to virtual networks

Again, this is all not really groundbreaking stuff, but 1) it’s something people have requested in SRM for a while, 2) brings a lot of network switch functionality to a router and 3) is presented in that special Synology ay that makes it remarkably straight forward. Bearing in mind we are talking about vLAN creation (something very few domestic users will ever know how/need to do) being made as easy as setting up an old Hotmail email account, I respect the effort.

Click to view slideshow.

Once additional networks have been created, they are displayed in a list on the main Network center page, each able to be completely reconfigured or their identities and ports changed with ease. Again, I am surprised that Synology was not able to show this information in a bit more of a pictorial fashion (something the likes of Netgear and QNAP have shown on their routers and switches for years).

As you might expect, creating a new SSID is INCREDIBLY easy in SRM 1.3 and you can create a whole lot of them too. Each can have its own identity, security protocol (eg WPA 3 Enterprise style or something more modest for legacy devices), and assignment to a specific frequency or band (eg 2.4-5Ghz and/or over 80Mhz or 160Mhz) to ensure that the right wireless connections are getting the benefits of the better coverage. That really is just scratching the surface of it and it’s impressively detailed in its configuration options.

As you might expect, SRM 1.3 (of course) features port forwarding rules that can be changed and allows you to create those more targeting but tactically placed means of accessing your network when needed, whilst keeping the safeguards in place. This is something that Synology cannot really make very user friendly and frank it should not be! Aside from the fact that a basic-mid level of understanding of port placement and protocol is needed, too much bad news surrounding ransomware injections from the likes of Asustor and QNAP in the last year or two has demonstrated the folly of inexperienced users punching holes in their firewalls etc (or worse still, brand’s offering to do it for you with little warning to the consequences). A standard by often vital feature, that is getting the respectful treatment it deserves here.

For those of you that have high priority internet connections running into your home or business premises, there is a specialized setting for giving PoS to IPTV (so online TV services and VoIP (voice over IP) phone lines. Along with numerous profiles for each that can be selected from a drop-down, you can also create custom profiles manually. This will likely be only of use to specific users and perhaps a greater range of external internet services might be added over time (as they increase in popularity) but still a handy feature for some and a nice extra for business lines certainly to ensure that phone calls over the internet are clear as/when needed, rather than giving a specific port priority of service generally, which might lead to unnecessary network throttling for everyone else accidentally. Better to identify a service specifically, rather than the port.

Talking of identification, as devices are connected and disconnected from the machine SRM keeps a record and along with names, will try to assign a device identity (classing it as a phone, laptop, printer, NAS, etc), which will be useful later to know what devices are on which network (As well as assigning access to these later in the ‘Safe Access’ tool. This is by no means full proof in how accurate it will identify devices and you can add custom icons as needed.

Returning to external checks and monitoring, SRM 1.3 also includes a few bits and bobs in the ‘Network Tools’ area for monitoring how packets of data are moving externally. These include a Traceroute service for when you connect with a website, so that you can see where data you get travelled along the way, particularly routers. A traceroute provides a map of how data on the internet travels from its source to its destination and although is often limited by connections along the route, can be a handy way to troubleshoot, as well as test site identities. Next, there is a ping measurement tool that allows you to measure the reply speed in milliseconds from a site to test your connection to/from a given internet location. Finally, there is an incredibly easy to use Wake on LAN (WoL) service that will automatically list available devices that are on the network and allow you to power them on/off if they support that feature. Again, this is now exactly groundbreaking, but it is presented in a very easy to understand way, which is what SRM 1.3 seems to constantly strive for and (for the most part) succeed at.

Click to view slideshow.

The last thing I want to touch on is the ability to generate remarkably professional reports of system activity (as well as internet, user, device and specific network service activity) in a scheduled and repeatable form. These generated reports can be tailored to a specific date or time, and can also have the range of data/services that they include be customized too. So, if you want a once a day, or once a week report that details the network behaviour of your staff, this can be set up automatically to be emailed to you on the frequency of your choosing.

Alternatively, you can create a much more general and system/network-wide report that covered the activity of everything in-house (as well as external connections where appropriate) and from there get a good understanding of the main active users/devices. This is all presented in a great balance of textual and graphical language and is something that IT admins will be able to use and learn from. Synology provides an even better and more dynamic version of this kind of reporting in their multi-site/system monitoring platform ‘Active Insight’ (a paid subscription platform), so I am impressed that Synology has not attempted to play this tool behind a license or cloud wall.

Click to view slideshow.

There is also a fairly common feature in SSRM and on the Synology routers to create a guest WiFi SSID that allows you to create a network that has lower network importance, access and connectivity to the rest of the system. This is hardly new, but it is worth highlighting that this Guest WiFi mode is a great deal more customizable than many I have seen and you can change a great deal of the rules, timing and allowed behaviour permitted on it.

You can even very quickly create a custom login portal screen (much like many of the public WiFi spaces you may have logged into previously) with SRM 1.3 and this adds an interesting extra degree of policy to your business class router operation.

The network management of SRM 1.3 is still good and something that those inexperienced in this rather double-niche area of I.T will certainly find beneficial. Those more aware of this subject are likely to want to look past the user-friendly GUI and ask for the more aggressive customization tools (many of which are absent and/or are more at home in a network switch, such as port trunking or even semi-automated loop detection when switches are introduced to the router LANs), but when you have here is still remarkably well presented, very responsive, more customizable than I thought it would be and you are still getting a decent mix of a router and switch features packed into a single software platform in SRM 1.3. Let’s sink our teeth into Safe Access – possibly one of the main reasons that mainly look at the Synology Router series.

 

Synology Router Manager 1.3 Review Chapters

SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, ALL Parts - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 1, Design & Control - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 2, Safety & Security - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 4, Safe Access - HERE
SRM 1.3 Synology Router Software Review, Part 5, USB Storage Services & Conclusion - HERE 

You can watch the FULL review of the latest WiFi 6 Router from Synology, the RT6600ax, over on YouTube below:

Alternatively, you can watch my full review of Synology SRM 1.3 on this NAS in the video below:

Cisco config backup with Python

14 juin 2022 à 17:30
Par : John Kull

In a previous article, we looked at how to leverage the Python Module Paramiko to connect to Cisco routers and switches via SSH and execute commands. In this article, we will build on that knowledge and build a Cisco config backup system of all our devices on a schedule. You can also use this information to push common updates to all your devices, such as updating a syslog server entry, SNMP server, or any other commands you may need to send to all devices.

The post Cisco config backup with Python first appeared on 4sysops.

Install ESXi network drivers for Intel e1000 and Intel I220 / I221 / I225/ I226 chipsets

27 mai 2022 à 10:14

Many IT professionals and others run VMware lab environments for learning, certification prep, evaluation, and other use cases. They often use commodity hardware not found on the VMware hardware compatibility list. This leads to driver issues, especially with network adapters. Community Networking Driver for ESXi provides drivers for otherwise unsupported NICs.

The post Install ESXi network drivers for Intel e1000 and Intel I220 / I221 / I225/ I226 chipsets first appeared on 4sysops.

How to monitor Cisco Unified Communications Manager backups with PowerShell

23 août 2017 à 05:10

This guide explains how to manage Cisco Unified Communication System (version 11.5.x), with PowerShell. Retrieving backup status is the concrete example: CallManager Instant Messaging & Presence (IM & P) Call Center Express (CCX) Cisco Unity Connection (CUC) Telepresence Management Suite (TMS) Except for ‘TMS’ all are configured to store backups on a Network Directory: The backup jobs create several *.tar […]

The post How to monitor Cisco Unified Communications Manager backups with PowerShell first appeared on 4sysops.

Python module Paramiko for managing CISCO devices: Installation and usage example

27 avril 2022 à 11:35
Par : John Kull

The Python module Paramiko enables you to leverage Python to automate the management of CISCO routers and switches. In this guide, I will explain how to install Paramiko via pip and provide a usage example. The module makes Python act as an SSH client or server, enabling us to automate any device to which we can connect via SSH.

The post Python module Paramiko for managing CISCO devices: Installation and usage example first appeared on 4sysops.

SMB port number: Ports 445, 139, 138, and 137 explained

20 avril 2022 à 11:32

The SMB port number is TCP 445. If you've heard people saying the port number is 139, they could be partially correct. Let’s understand the SMB ports 445, 139, 138, and 137 in detail.

The post SMB port number: Ports 445, 139, 138, and 137 explained first appeared on 4sysops.

The SMB protocol: All you need to know

19 avril 2022 à 16:42

The SMB protocol is a client–server communication protocol that has been used by Windows since the beginning for sharing files, printers, named pipes, and other network resources. SMB stands for "server message block." Apart from regular resource sharing, SMB is also useful for inter-process communication (IPC), such as in mailslots.

The post The SMB protocol: All you need to know first appeared on 4sysops.
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