Synology WRX560 Review

When we reviewed Synology’s flagship RT6600ax router last year, we gave it high marks for its multi-gig connectivity and strong parental controls, but were disappointed by its 5GHz throughput performance. The new, more affordable Synology WRX560 ($219.99) also offers multi-gig networking and the same robust parental controls, but this dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router delivered superior throughput on both radio bands and good signal strength in our tests. Its file transfer performance could use a boost, but the WRX560 is an otherwise excellent, feature-rich mainstream router that earns an Editors’ Choice award.

Design and Features

The WRX560 doesn’t look like a typical desktop router. Its 9.1-by-7.6-by-2.5-inch (HWD) black enclosure stands vertically, with beveled edges and grillwork that give it a futuristic, minimalist look. The device’s vertical stance does make it vulnerable to tipping over, which is exactly what happened when my cat decided to rub against it, and there are no options for mounting the router on a wall.

You won’t find the usual external antennas here; instead, the Synology uses six internal antennas to communicate over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands. Three small LED indicators on the front signal system status, Wi-Fi activity, and WAN activity.

Most of the WRX560’s ports are located on the rear panel, including a 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN port, a 1Gbps WAN port, and three 1Gbps LAN ports. They are joined by a power port, a power button, and a reset button. On the left side, you’ll see a USB 3.2 Gen 1 port and WPS and Wi-Fi on/off buttons.

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The WRX560 is a dual-band AX3000 router, which means it can reach theoretical max speeds of 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2,400Mbps on the 5GHz band. It uses a 1.4GHz quad-core CPU and 512MB of DDR4 , and it supports Wi-Fi 6 technologies including 160MHz channel transmissions, WPA3 encryption, MU-MIMO data streaming, direct-to-client beamforming, and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiple Access (OFDMA). It’s mesh-ready and can be teamed with other compatible Synology routers to create a seamless mesh Wi-Fi network. Like the RT6600ax, the Synology WRX560 uses the UNII-4 (5.9GHz) spectrum to access additional 20MHz and 160MHz channels, but it is not a Wi-Fi 6E router and has no access to the 6GHz radio band.You install and manage the WRX560 using the DS Router app or the web-based Synology Router Manager (SRM) operating system. Similar to the DiskStation Manager OS used by Synology NAS devices, SRM offers a Windows-like interface that makes configuring the router easy. The desktop contains icons labeled Control Panel, Network Center, Wi-Fi Connect, Safe Access, Package Center, and SRM Help. You use Network Center to manage network connections, monitor CPU and memory usage, and configure QoS, port forwarding, and port triggering settings. The Wi-Fi Connect takes you to a screen where you can configure Wi-Fi settings and guest networking, as well as view a list of connected clients and which band they’re using.The Safe Access opens a screen where you can create parental control profiles and assign devices and web filters to each profile. Preset filters include Child, Employee, and Guest, or you can create custom profiles. Other Safe Access options allow you to enable network protection settings to safeguard network devices against malicious content and access to dangerous websites, as well as setting access-time quotas and monitoring client activity.Use the Control Panel to configure external storage devices, enable file services, view router status information, and back up your router settings. Finally, Package Center is where you go to update the Safe Access software, install Synology’s VPN Server Plus software, and download media server and Radius server applications.

Testing the Synology WRX60: Amped-Up Transfers

The WRX60 proved easy to install. I used the Synology Router Manager (SRM) web console and started by connecting the router to my modem and desktop PC; then, I powered up the modem and router at the same time. I opened a browser and typed http://router.synology.com in the address bar, which opened a start screen. I tapped Start, created an account, and gave the new network a name and password.

After a minute, I logged back into the SRM operating system and followed the Quick Setup wizard instructions to make sure I was using DHCP. I enabled Quick Connect which allows you to access the router from anywhere, and then updated the firmware. The installation was complete.

The WRX560 turned in some of the highest throughput scores we’ve seen from a mainstream Wi-Fi 6 router. With a score of 134Mbps in our 2.4GHz close proximity (same room) test, it outperformed the Asus ROG Strix GS-AX5400 (128Mbps), the TP-Link Archer AX75 (126Mbps), and the Linksys Hydra Pro 6 AX5400 (121Mbps). It also led the pack in the 30-foot test, delivering 62Mbps versus 52Mbps for the TP-Link, 42Mbps for the Linksys, and 44Mbps for the Asus.Results in our 5GHz throughput tests were similar. The Synology’s 931Mbps in the close proximity test was significantly faster than the 846Mbps of the ROG Strix, the 830Mbps of the Hydra Pro 6, and the 811Mbps of the Archer AX75. Its 576Mbps in the 30-foot test also took top honors, beating the Asus’ 424Mbps, the Linksys’ 400Mbps, and the TP-Link’s 273Mbps.

To determine a router’s read and write file transfer performance, we time how long it takes to move a 1.5GB folder containing photos, video, music, and office document files back and forth between a USB 3.0 drive and a desktop PC, both connected to the router…

Here, the WRX560’s performance was merely average: Its write speed of 47MBps was a bit quicker than the TP-Link’s 42MBps, but slower than the Asus (69MBps) and Linksys (55MBps). Similarly, the Synology’s read score of 48MBps edged the Archer’s 44MBps but not the Linksys’ 57MBps or the ROG Strix’s 85MBps.

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We test wireless signal strength using an Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and the company’s Survey app to generate heat maps that show 2.4GHz and 5GHz signal strength throughout our test home. (Note: Ekahau is owned by PCMag’s parent company Ziff Davis.)

The colors on the maps represent signal strength—dark green for the strongest signal, yellow for a weaker one, and gray indicating no detectable coverage. The circle on the map represents the location of the router. As you can see, the WRX560 did a fine job of delivering strong Wi-Fi throughout the house, although signal strength for both bands became a little weaker in the garage.

Verdict: We Have a Winner

Superior throughput performance, wide signal coverage, and the SRM operating system make the Synology WRX560 an excellent choice among dual-band routers. It comes with strong parental control and network security software and is equipped with a multi-gig WAN/LAN port, and you can use it as part of a whole-home mesh configuration.

Even with merely ordinary file transfer performance and a potentially wobbly stance, it earns an Editors’ Choice award as a mainstream Wi-Fi 6 router.

About Jones Frank

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