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Surfing made safer

Mar 15. 2019
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By Paisal Chuenprasaeng
The Nation Weekend

The new Mesh Router from Synology not only protects you from WiFi snooping but allows for better control of what the kids are watching and when

NEW FROM Taiwanese network storage appliance giant Synology is its Mesh Router MR2200ac, and intelligent mesh gizmo that expands Wi-Fi coverage to include your entire house and comes with efficient parent controls so you can also protect the kids while they browse.

The MR2200ac is easy to set up using the Synology Router Manager (SRM) software, which supports the new WPA3 (Wi-Fi Protected Access) protocol for secure networks.

Synology has built the mesh router with cooperation from Qualcomm Technologies, using the Qualcomm Mesh Networking Platform.

Based on the Qualcomm IPQ4019 quad-core system-on-chip, MR2200ac leverages a tri-band Wi-Fi design to eliminate dead zones and deliver your broadband Internet speeds to the farthest corners of the house. Everything in the network is managed by the SRM and the router itself is intuitive to use.

With the intelligent mesh technology, the MR2200ac dynamically chooses the best route (2.4GHz, 5GHz or Ethernet) for communication between each MR2200ac and with client devices so that you will get the fastest possible path to the Internet.

The MR2200ac is powered by a quad core processor running at 717MHz and it has 256 megabytes of memory.

It uses 2x3 MIMO high-performance internal antenna for 2.4 GHz and 5GHz bands. The new MU-MIMO technology makes sure that all of your devices can fetch data from the Internet simultaneously without sluggish performance.

The router uses simultaneous tri-band Wi-Fi with one 5GHz channel providing 867Mbps bandwidth, another 5GHZ 867Mbps and one 2.4GHz 400 Mbps.

Synology says one MR2200ac has a coverage of 185 square metres. If your house has two floors, you should buy two MR2200acc and link them to provide a wireless network throughout the house without any dead spots.

I tested the MR2200ac using two MR2200ac - one functioning as the router placed on the ground floor and the other functioning as an access point.

The setup was the mesh network was a breeze using the DS router app.

You simply need to use an Ethernet cable to connect the first MR2200ac to your modem and then place the second MR200ac unit on the upper floor and power both of them up.

Or you can first place both of them in the same room and finish the setup first and later move the second unit to where you want it to be. Just observe the second unit’s signal light to make sure that there are at least two bars.

Then, you can use DS router to set up the primary router by searching for it and enter password at its back. Or you can use the app to scan the QR code at the back of the router. I opted for the latter and found it both easy and quick. 

I followed the wizard guide and installed the new SRM software then changed the default Wi-Fi name to my previous router’s names so that all of my clients could automatically connect to the new router with a breeze.

The app also guided me to register for a QuickConnect account with Synology to allow me to remotely manage the router later on.

I then used the DS router app to add the second MR2200ac as a Wi-Fi point. You can given it any name you like, just as Bedroom if you are placing it in your bedroom and not feeling particularly inspired. 

The primary router and the Wi-Fi point will take sometime to automatically configure Wi-Fi settings and other configs. The app will also require you to update the firmware in case your MR2200ac units have not been upgraded with mesh-support SRM yet.

I placed the second unit in my bedroom on the second floor to boost the Wi-Fi coverage on the second floor. I found the second unit got the full three-bar signals and movie streaming via my Android TV on the second floor was smooth thanks to the mesh system. The two MR2200ac units linked to each other, using one of 5GHz bandwidth.

I tested the MR2200ac system on True Online's 50/20 Mbps True Super Fibre Internet connection. I measured the speed of connection on a notebook connected wirelessly to the second MR2200ac unit on the second floor and I got s download speed of 55.74 Mbps and an upload speed of 21.24 Mbps.

Apart from using the DS router app, you can also use the web browser to set up or manage the router. The app and management browser provide transparent information on which devices, such as notebooks, smartphones or smart TVs are downloading data at what speed.

For security, MR2200ac is one of the very first routers to be certified by WPA3, the newly announced Wi-Fi security standard. With new options including WPA3-Personal, WPA3-Enterprise and Enhanced Open, MR2200ac equips home, business, and public Wi-Fi networks with the latest defences against snooping and other attacks.

The latest SRM 1.2 release also comes with a brand-new Safe Access package that brings together best-in-class parental controls and automatic security at the network level, so that you don’t have to look for a solution for each individual platform.

You can create user profiles based on IP addresses assigned to each device and then you can decide when and for how many hours your children can use the Internet.

You can also use web filters and SafeSearch to protect your children from adult-only content. Web filters can also be scheduled to limit a teenager's social media usage to specific hours. For younger netizens, the simplest is to put together a white list of approved websites for them to access.

The parental control system lets you understand how kids are exploring the Internet: when they’re online you can see which devices they're using, and if they accidentally stumble on inappropriate websites. They can submit a request for you to unblock a website. 

You can also set Network profiles for family gadgets and IoT devices or anything connecting to your local or guest network in the future and all abnormal activities are carefully stopped and logged.

Synology MR2200ac has a suggested retail price of Bt4,450.

>> CPU: Quad core 717 MHz

>> Memory: 256 MB DDR3

>> Antenna type: 2x2 MIMO high-performance internal antenna (2.4 GHz / 5 GHz)

>> LAN port: Gigabit (RJ-45) x 1

>> WAN port: Gigabit (RJ-45) x 1

>> External Ports: USB 3.0 x 1 (5V, 0.9A power output)

>> Button and switch: WPS, Power, Reset, Wi-Fi On/Off

>> IEEE 802.11ac: IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, Simultaneous tri-band Wi-Fi, 5GHz-1: 867Mbps, 5GHz-2: 867Mbps, 2.4GHz: 400Mbps

>> IEEE 802.11ac wave 2: |MU-MIMO

>> Wi-Fi Encryption: WEP, WPA/WPA2-Personal, WPA/WPA2-Enterprise, WPA2/WPA3-Personal, WPA3-Personal/Enterprise, Wi-Fi Enhanced Open (OWE)

>> Size (Height x Width x Depth): 154 mm x 199 mm x 65 mm

>> Weight: 0.45 kg


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