Synology Mesh Review: 100% Terrific Mesh Wi-Fi Options

Synology first added mesh capability to its Wi-Fi 5 router back in October 2018 with the release of the MR2200ac. If that sounds so long ago, it has taken the company that long to make Wi-Fi 6 routers — the RT6600ax and the WRX560 came out in 2022.

The known NAS maker never has an official name for this significant feature. I’ve called it “Synology mesh” to distinguish it from similar mesh approaches by other vendors, such as AiMesh of Asus or OneMesh of TP-Link.

Synology mesh is one-of-a-kind in more ways than one, and it’s an excellent option to expand a Wi-Fi network for a home (or small office). It’s the only one that can genuinely rival Asus’s AiMesh in performance, flexibility, and features.

You’ll learn about it all in this post.

Dong’s note: I first published this post on November 1, 2018, after Synology released the MR2200ac, and I last updated it on November 20, 2022, based on Synology’s latest Wi-Fi 6 routers, the RT6600ax, and the WRX560, with all hardware using the newest SRM 1.3.1 firmware.

Synology mesh routers RT6600ax WRX560 and RT2600ac
Synology mesh: The RT6600ax and WRX560 are the latest mesh-ready Wi-Fi 6 routers.

Synology Mesh: It’s fantastic

In a nutshell, Synology Mesh enables users to create a robust mesh system by putting a few supported standalone routers together.

Users can start their network with a full-featured standalone router and gradually scale up Wi-Fi coverage and network capability via additional hardware units as their needs grow.

A brief history

It all started in 2018 with the MR2200ac, Synology’s third home router.

With the MR2200ac, Synology updated its router firmware, Synology Router Manager or SRM, to version 1.2. Among other things, the new firmware brings mesh functionality to select Synology routers.

Consequently, when you use two or more supported routers, you can link them together to form a Wi-Fi system, just like other (purpose-built) mesh systems, like those from Asus, Netgear, Linksys, or TP-Link.

Like all Wi-Fi systems, you use one of the hardware units as the primary router, which connects to the Internet. After that, you can add more hardware units, wirelessly or via network cables, to extend the home network.

That said, like the case of Asus AiMesh, a Synology Mesh system has the features of the primary router. Consequently, users have all the features, settings, and customizability, just like when they use the router as a standalone unit.

Fast-forward to 2022, Synology released SRM 1.3 with the RT6600ax that continued the mesh capability with minor improvement. Later in the year, with firmware version 1.3.1, Synology mesh became even more flexible with the support for mixed Wi-Fi standards.

Similar to Asus’s AiMesh, a Synology Mesh can do much more than provide a reliable seamless Wi-Fi network. It’s a system that gives you the most, if not everything, regarding home networking needs.

Synology MR2200ac vs RT2600ac Routers
A combo of the RT2600ac (top) and the MR2200ac has been a main Synology mesh setup before the release of the RT6600ax.

What you can expect from a Synology mesh system

Synology mesh system has all the bells and whistles of the primary router.

That means you can do much more with your home network than with almost any purpose-built system, like those with home brands such as Deco, eero, or Orbi.

The biggest drawback of Synology mesh, if you can call it so, is that there are very few hardware options and even fewer ways to combine them into a system.

Supported routers and available mesh combos

Indeed, just because a router can work as part of a Synology mesh doesn’t mean you can use it willy-nilly. In particular mesh combinations, specific models can function as the primary router or a satellite.

The table below shows all currently supported routers and the roles each support which changes depending on the firmware version.

Virtually all existing Synology routers — except for its first, the RT1900ac — support this mesh feature, and it’s safe to say future ones will, too.

Primary Router Possible Satellite
SRM 1.3.1
(Wi-Fi 6)
RT6600ax, WRX560, RT2600ac, MR2200ac
(Wi-Fi 6)
WRX560, RT2600ac, MR2200ac
(Wi-Fi 5)
RT2600ac, MR2200ac
(Wi-Fi 5)
SRM 1.3.0
RT6600ax RT6600ax
SRM 1.2
RT2600ac MR2200ac
MR2200ac MR2200ac
Synology routers’ possible roles in a mesh combo

So, Synology routers are much less flexible than Asus AiMesh routers in their hardware combos. But that can be a good thing to work out the potential bugs.

In my experience, it’s best to use the same routers in a combo, and if you must use a fully wireless setup, Tri-band hardware (RT-RT6600ax or MR2200ac) is the best. In a wired backhauling configuration, the higher-tier hardware will deliver better performance.

Extra: How a mesh stays connected as a system

Mesh systems: Backhaul vs fronthaul

A Wi-Fi connection between two direct devices occurs in a single band, using a fixed channel, at any given time.

Generally, when you use multiple Wi-Fi broadcasters, like in the case of a mesh network, there are two types of connections: fronthaul and backhaul.

Fronthaul is the Wi-Fi signal a mesh hub broadcasts outward for clients or its network ports for wired devices. It’s what we generally expect from a Wi-Fi broadcaster.

On the other hand, backhaul, a.k.a backbone, is the link between one broadcasting hub and another, be it the main router, a switch, or another satellite hub.

This link works behind the scene to keep the hardware units together as a system. It also determines the ceiling bandwidth (and speed) of all devices connected to the particular satellite hub.

Dual-WAN: Where the distinction between bandwidth vs speed is clear

When a Wi-Fi band handles backhaul and fronthaul simultaneously, only half of its bandwidth is available to either end. From the perspective of a connected client, that phenomenon is called signal loss.

When a Wi-Fi band functions solely for backhauling, it’s called the dedicated backhaul.

In a mesh system, only traditional Tri-band hardware — those with an additional 5GHz band — can have a dedicated backhaul band without ostracizing clients of the same band.

Generally, it’s best to use a network cable for backhauling — wired backhauling. And that’s an advantage of mesh hardware with network ports. In this case, a hub can use its entire Wi-Fi bandwidth for front-hauling.

In networking, network cables are always much better than wireless in speed and reliability.

Below are what you can expect from any Synology mesh combo.

Synology mesh’s highlights

Following is the breakdown of what you can expect from a Synology mesh:

  • Max hardware units: There’s no limit to how many hardware units you can use in a Synology mesh. However, Synology recommends no more than seven hardware units, including the primary router. Generally, you won’t need more than 2 or 3 units.
  • Backhaul: Synology mesh allows for flexible backhauling. Specifically:
    • Wired backhauling (recommended): You can use network cables to link hardware units. In this case, you can use any port of the satellite as the uplink to the router, and all Wi-Fi bands are available fully to host clients.
    • Multi-Gig wired backhaul is available when multiple units of the RT6600ax or WRX560 are in use — a switch is required if you use more than one satellite. In either case, Multi-Gig backhauling means the mesh can’t host Gig+ or faster broadband since neither router has more than one Multi-Gig port.
    • Users can also mix wired and wireless backhaul.
    • In a wireless backhaul setup, there are two possibilities:
      • When all-Tri-band hardware is used, the system will pick the faster 5GHz band (the upper channels or 5GHz-1) as the wireless backhaul. Users have the option to dedicate it to the job of backhauling.
      • When a dual-band router (the RT2600ac) works as the primary router, it can create a virtual 2nd 5GHz band to manage the 2nd 5GHz band of a Tri-band satellite (MR2200ac). This band still suffers from signal loss, but the practice allows users to manage all bands of the Tri-band satellites.
      • When a Tri-band unit (RT6600ax) works as the primary router to host Dual-band satellites (WRX560, RT2600ac), you can select one of its 5GHz bands to work as the uplink that shares the SSID and channel with the satellite. The other band remains at the router’s location.
  • Feature-riched: The mesh network retains all features and settings of the main Synology router, which is among the best on the market — more in the reviews of the RT6600ax or WRX560.
  • Auto-update: You can set the system to auto-update to the latest firmware, which will take care of both the main router and satellite (Wi-Fi points).
  • Guest network: A Synology mesh offers an advanced and highly-customizable Guest Wi-Fi network. There’s even a captive portal — where users need to interact with a website, such as agreeing with the terms of use, before getting connected — making the Guest network excellent for public use.
  • Auto-sensing network ports. Other than the WAN (Internet) port of the router unit, which needs to connect to an Internet source (like a cable modem), the rest of the network ports in the mesh function as LAN ports to host wired clients.
  • Access point mode: The mesh (main router + satellites) can work in the AP mode, allowing you to use the system with an existing router/gateway as part of one single network. In this case, other than the Wi-Fi network, no additional features or settings of the mesh are available.
  • Optional vendor account: You will not need to register an account with Synology to manage a router or a mesh network remotely. However, there’s an option — called QuickConnect — to do so for convenience. Or you can use Dynamic DNS.
Synology Mesh SRM 1.3Synology Mesh SRM 1.2
Synology mesh: There’s not much difference in the mesh function between SRM 1.2 vs SRM 1.3. Note how my SRM 1.2 set has been running for 78 days straight — it has had no issues.

Synology mesh’s minor issues

A Synology Mesh is imperfect like all mesh systems, even with the latest SRM 1.3.1 firmware. The following are a few issues:

  • You have no direct control over the satellite unit; if you attempt to access its web interface, you’ll get to that of the primary router unit.
  • There’s no way to configure or monitor the satellite’s network ports — for VLANs or even viewing their statuses. You can’t use its USB ports, either. So if you want to use the network-attached storage feature or host a printer, you need to use the primary router unit’s USB port.
  • Firmware update and setup time can be time-consuming, mainly because the hardware takes a long time – up to a few minutes – to boot up.
  • Limited hardware, there are no satellite-only options.

Hopefully, most, if not all, of these will be worked out via firmware updates.

Synology mesh vs Asus AiMesh

I’ve used both for years, and they proved equally excellent. It’s pretty hard to say which one is better. Still, they are comparable and superior to any other home mesh brands for advanced or professional users.

It’s easy to see how they differentiate, as shown in the table below.

Synology mesh vs Asus AiMesh: Quick comparisons

Synology mesh Asus AiMesh
Supported Hardware
(at publication)
Dozens and counting supported routers and access points
Main Router Option Any Router Any Router
(as mentioned above)
Dedicated Backhaul Yes, when applicable Yes, when applicable
Wired Backhaul  Yes Yes
Multi-Gig Wired Backhaul RT6600ax or WRX560
(applicable to Gigabit or slower broadband)
Many options
Firmware Robust Linux-based proprietary operating system with
with multi-tasking
(Synology Router Manager – SRM)
Features Plenty plus 
add-on apps
Guest Network Yes
(system-wide with login portal)
(system-wide with Aimesh 2.0)
Online Protection Yes (free)
Via Threat Prevention add-on app
Yes (free) 
Via Network Protection
(part of AiProtection)
Parental Controls Yes (free)
(Safe Access app)
Yes (free)
(part of AiProtection)
Quality of Service
(Client-based only)
(Client- and app-based)
Dual-WAN Yes
RT2600ac, RT6600ax, and WRX560
(on most routers)
Link Aggregation No Yes 
(on most routers)
AP Mode 
(as a mesh system)
Yes Yes
Wi-Fi Performance Excellent Mostly excellent
depending on the hardware combo
Wi-Fi Coverage
≈ 4000 ft2 (370 m2) ≈ 4000 ft2 (370 m2)
Mobile apps Yes
DS Router and others
Asus Router
NAS Features Excellent Very good
Universal Settings Migration via Backup File Yes
(routers must use the same SRM version)
(between most routers)
Time Machine backup support Yes  Yes
Demographics Savvy home or business users Savvy home users
Network Settings Comprehensive Comprehensive
Remote Access Dynamic DNS,
Dynamic DNS
Synology mesh vs. Asus’s AiMesh

Asus AiMesh vs Synology mesh: It’s kind of home vs business, options vs stability

Asus AiMesh offers more hardware options. You can pick and choose from dozens of routers, and there will be more in the future.

But the plentiful hardware also comes with the innate fact that AiMesh is more susceptible to bugs. For this reason, getting a good combo can be quite hard. I detailed that in this post on picking AiMesh combinations.

But in return, if you’re a gamer, Asus is more applicable since it has many features geared toward online gaming. Get a gaming router to host your mesh setup, and you have a gaming Wi-Fi system — make sure you use wired backhaul, too.

Synology Mesh SRM 1.3 InterfaceAsus AiMesh Interface RT AX82U RP AX56
Synology mesh vs Asus AiMesh: The web interface of AiMesh has slightly more options. Among other things, you can control the satellite’s USB port.

On the other hand, Synology has much more advanced firmware and an extensive set of network storage features, including a powerful PC-less download app. The RT6600ax can work almost as a full-featured NAS server when coupled with a suitable USB external storage device.

Synology’s SRM firmware has many business features, such as an advanced VPN server, robust VLANs, a DNS server, and the support for a login portable in Guest networking. It also has a more graceful way of dealing with Wi-Fi backhaul when mixing Dual-band and Tri-band hardware.

That said, Synology’s approach to mesh is professional with business flavors. Asus AiMesh’s approach is messy but fun and geared toward home users.

Both systems are effective in delivering fast Wi-Fi with extensive coverage — and you can use either a home or a small office. The two are similar in performance via wired backhaul, but Synology mesh can be consistently faster and more reliable in a fully wireless setup, thanks to its limited hardware options.

Setup guide: How to build a Synology mesh system

To create a mesh, you’ll need at least two hardware units. One will work as the main router and the other as a satellite. Later on, you can add more satellites if need be.

But no matter which combo you use, setting a Synology mesh is the same.

Synology WRX560 vs RT6600axSynology RT6600ax vs RT2600ac
Starting with SRM 1.3.1, you can mix routers of different models and Wi-Fi standards in a mesh setup. Pictured here are the RT6600ax, WRX560, and RT2600ac.

Steps to build a Synology mesh

I performed the steps below using two RT6600ax via SRM 1.3. It’s best to upgrade all routers to the latest firmware first.


Here are a couple of things to note before we start:

  • Update and reset:
    • Ensure all routers involved use the same firmware version (SRM 1.2.x vs SRM 1.3.x). After that, reset them to the default factory setting.
      • You might skip this step if you buy new hardware units at the same time — chances are they already have the same firmware.
      • If you want to add a node to an existing router, then only reset the node.
  • Satellite placement/connection for the mesh building process:
    • For SRM 1.2.x: You can add only one satellite at a time and wirelessly. If you intend to use network a network cable to connect a node to the main router, do that after the setup process:
      • Place a satellite node unit less than 10 feet (3m) from the primary router.
      • Plug it into power. Do NOT plug any network cable into its network ports.
    • For SRM 1.3.x: You can add multiple satellites at a time.
      • Place a wireless satellite at a good distance from the router.
      • Connect a wired satellite’s WAN port to the router (or existing network’s switch).
1. Set up the primary router unit as a standalone router

All Synology has a web user interface and shares the same standard setup process as most other home routers.

You have the option to add a Wi-Fi point at the end of the router's initial setup process.
You can add a Wi-Fi point at the end of the router’s initial setup process.
2. Add a satellite (Wi-Fi Point) to the router

At the end of the initial setup process above, you’ll have the option to add Wi-Fi points; use it if you want to add a satellite immediately.

Synology Mesh SRM 1.3 Initial Wizard
The steps to initiate adding a mesh satellite to an existing Synology router with SRM 1.3.x.

Alternatively, you can always log into the router’s web interface, run the Wi-Fi Connect app, then click on Wi-Fi Point.

After that, follow the wizard to add the satellite(s). Again, with SRM 1.3, you can have multiple satellites (both wireless and wired) simultaneously. SRM 1.2 only allows for adding one wireless satellite at a time.

The wizard will walk you through a few simple steps; at the end, the satellite router will be part of the system. The process takes a few minutes.

And that’s it. Your Synology mesh is now ready.

Synology Mesh SRM 1.3
Here’s a Synology mesh in the wireless backhaul of two RT6600ax.
3. Hardware arrangement and extra mesh configurations

In terms of placement, keep the satellite (s) a reasonable distance — between 40 feet (13m) and 75 feet (25m) — from the primary router.

If you have more than one wireless satellite node, place them around the main router and not in a straight line to get the best performance.

If you use wired backhaul, the distance doesn’t matter, but you want to arrange them appropriately to get the best coverage. You can daisy-chain them.

Synology Mesh SRM 1.3 InterfaceSynology RT6600ax Mesh Uplink Band
Synology mesh: Users have some control over the backhaul link and specific aspects of the satellite unit.

Like the case of AiMesh, Synology mesh doesn’t allow for a lot of control of the satellite. But you can pick the uplink type, including wired, and the band (5GH-1 or 5GHz-) used for wireless backhaul. On the satellite, you can restart, reset, and manage its LED status light.

Synology mesh: Excellent performance

Synology mesh is generally one of the fastest and most reliable systems I’ve known. I’ve used a few RT2600ac + MR2200ac combos for a few years with no issues.

Most recently, the RT6600ax proved one of the fastest Wi-Fi 6 routers. And that applied when it worked as a standalone router and a mesh system via my month-long hands-on experience.

But I’ve tried all Synology mesh routers as standalone broadcasters and mesh satellite units, and they all delivered quite excellent performance, as you’ll note in the charts below.

Synology Mesh Router Performance Long RangeSynology Mesh Router Performance Short Range
Synology mesh routers’ performance against Wi-Fi 6 counterparts

For now, you need two or more units to form a mesh. In this case, in a wireless setup, you can use the hardware’s 5.9GHz band as the backhaul to have a reliable and fast link — the most reliable of all Tri-band mesh. It’ll also work solely for the backhauling, considering theres’ are no clients that support this portion of the band yet.

I tried that out and tested the backhaul link via a Multi-Gig computer connected to the satellite RT6600ax’s 2.5Gbps port. The mesh had the sustained backhaul link of around 1700Mbps — the fastest I’ve seen.

Synology Mesh Satellite Performance Long RangeSynology Mesh Satellite Performance Short Range
Synology Routers’ performance as wireless mesh satellites against Wi-Fi 6 counterparts. In the case of the RT6600ax and MR2200ac, one 5GHz band worked as the backhaul.

For practical purposes, though, I’ve used the system using a client-friendly portion of the 5GHz-1 band, which still proved excellent, as you can see on the chart. By the way, I test all mesh systems via a wireless backhaul.

Multi-Gig wired backhaul worked on the RT660ax, too, but considering the router has just one 2.5Gbps port, it’s still not ideal hardware for those with Gig+ or faster broadband.


Fast, reliable, and extensive Wi-Fi coverage

Advanced interface with high-quality add-on features

Highly-customizable network and Wi-Fi settings

Effective Parental Controls and online protection


Limited hardware and combo options, no satellite-only hardware, users have little control over the satellites

No 10Gbps or 5Gbps Multi-Gig option, no hardware with two or more 2.5Gbps ports


The power of Synology hardware is in the advanced firmware. That’s true both for the company’s NAS servers as well as its routes.

The company’s SRM has proven times and times again to be far ahead of any other stock router firmware, and mesh support is one of its best features.

For those looking for a reliable and robust mesh system, the release of the RT6600ax and WRX560 proved exciting. Synology mesh is here to stay, and, among other things, Asus AiMesh continues to have a formidable rival. Healthy competition is always a good thing.

But the new hardware is not enough to solve the Synology mesh solution’s biggest problem: The lack of hardware options and Wi-Fi standard support — there’s no Wi-Fi 6E hardware yet.

So, going with Synology mesh means you have few choices in cost and applications. And you will stay behind the Wi-Fi curve. And for those with Gig+ or faster broadband, the lackluster support for Multi-Gig can be a deal-breaker. On this front, Asus AiMesh is clearly ahead.

Luis Robinson

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A year or two ago, the Synology WRX560 would have been an awesome router. But considering the current ubiquity of Wi-Fi 6E and the upcoming Wi-Fi 7, Synology’s latest router, first announced in late October 2022, seems awfully dated. Though excellent, as it proved in my testing, this one is […]
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