Synology is a name that you'd usually associate with network attached storage (NAS) boxes — y'know, the big black hard drive enclosures that you hook up to your router or modem to store your movies, music and photos. Synology does NAS very well — it's certainly one of our favourite brands — but it's also extending its reach into another networking device. The RT1900AC is the first router from Synology, and its hook is that just like a NAS, it runs an operating system that you can use to browse through your files, download stuff from the 'net, and monitor all your network traffic.
The RT1900AC is an AC1900 router, as the name might suggest — it's capable of a combined 1900Mbps transfer rate across the 1300Mbps-capable 802.11ac 5GHz band and 600Mbps-capable 802.11n 2.4GHz band. Three high-gain antennas should make for a reasonably wide Wi-Fi coverage area, if competing products like the Asus RT-AC87U are any indication. Four gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and one gigabit WAN port make for a pretty standard connectivity suite, but it's the Synology Router Manager web-based user interface that is its real attraction.
Synology Router Manager is almost a carbon copy of the company's own Diskstation Manager for its NAS line-up, and a lot of the same features are available. The File Station service lets users access files from any locally-attached storage drive connected to the RT1900AC — there's a side-mounted USB 3.0 port and SD card reader. You can install separate services like a DLNA media server or a VPN server or client through the Package Center application.
The RT1900AC has a huge range of network monitoring features, including real-time traffic statistics for different devices differentiated by MAC address, as well as traffic, bandwidth and quota scheduling by time of day, category of website or category of web traffic — P2P, for example, can be restricted or blocked entirely. Synology's products are also incredibly easy to access over the internet through the company's QuickConnect portal, so remote monitoring is possible.
The Synology RT1900AC router will be available in Australia some time in October — Synology is just starting to get production units ready to ship out to resellers — and will cost about $200, making it competitively priced both for an AC1900 router and one that has as an operating system and user interface as complex and as versatile as the RT1900AC's is. We'll have a review of the RT1900AC soon, so stay tuned. [Synology]