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How to connect the Synology MR2200AC to the RT2600AC via Ethernet Backhaul for your Wi-Fi Mesh Network

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Dave

How to connect the Synology MR2200AC to the RT2600AC via Ethernet Backhaul for your Wi-Fi Mesh Network.

 

That's a mouthful but this is an easy task to perform.  I found the MR2200AC setup to be very rough around the edges.  If you are used to something like eero or a smiliar mesh system then you are in for a surprise.  I started by using the Synology Assistant app and turned on the MR2200.  This is where it gets fuzzy. When double clicking it in the search list it came up with a wizard that walked me through the basics.  IP assignment, admin, password, etc.  I recall that it was a 10.X.X.X type network and I had trouble trying to assign a static IP address to it.  That's where I threw in the towel and told it to use DHCP. 

 

I should have taken more screen shots but the big thing I remember is not being able to add the MR2200AC as a mesh AP while Ethernet was plugged in.  It simply will not do it!

 

Unplug its Ethernet cable.

Log into the RT2600AC.

Make sure you are upgrade to the latest version.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 3.42.40 PM.png

 

If you don't already have SRM 1.2 your upgrade may only show 1.2-7742.  When you do the upgrade it will automatically upgrade it to "Update 1."  The 1.2-7742 update has a bug in it where your router will take 45 minutes to DHCP an IP address from your ISP if you use that mode.  Mine took longer than normal so do this update after hours.

You will have some new icons on reboot.

Open Wi-Fi Connect.

Screen Shot 2018-11-27 at 3.30.28 PM.png

 

It's here where you want to "Add" in order to link the two devices.  This will walk you through the process.  When it is complete and has done its restarts and everything seems calm you can switch it to Ethernet.

 

Power off the MR2200AC.

Connect an Ethernet cable to the LAN port.

Power it back on.

Monitor the screen above.

 

It will connect and now be using Ethernet as backhaul.

 

If you can add to this article please comment below.

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ShadowPeo

Interesting, I have gone with the UniFi system but my second choice would have been the Syno. I would have expected a better setup process from them

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Dave

I hope they clean it up some. Once all is up you can't login directly to the mesh unit. Takes you back to main.
I have yet to really test it too. Maybe I'll turn off eero network tomorrow and give Synology a proper try.

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gtechwi

I'm not using Ethernet back haul, but using the Synology mesh unit to extend coverage from my rt2600ac router in garage to the house. Previously used open mesh, which sort of works but always drops out.

 

I agree, the process to set up the Synology mesh unit is pretty boggled, taking a long time to update and several power cycles.... if I wasn't a veteran network person, I would not have been happy. However, now that it is set up, speed and performance is all that I hoped for. Quite happy with it and the seemless Synology router experience the mesh unit provides.

 

The Synology router is top of the game for features... the built in ad blocking is superb.... I've purchased and installed 6 of them, and am purchasing two more shortly.

Edited by gtechwi
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SpivR

Backhaul, with any brand of AP / Mesh, is the way to go.

IMHO, I don't understand why anyone that has the potential (i.e. not a rental, not a high-rise building with steel/concrete, etc.) doesn't backhaul all their AP's.  Solves and prevents so many problems and for tech savvy, will also result in the best bandwidth throughput.

The problem is most of us are not able to do the work (installing CAT cable in ceilings or walls) ourselves.

 

No problem there, just hire an electrician or qualified handyman (if you can do the terminations yourself once the raw cable is in place).

What I see is the "Starbucks effect". You know, that tired comparison of saying "it costs less than a cup of Starbucks coffee, which you are willing to buy,  yet you won't spend $5 to buy an app that has much more value and capability".

 

I'm not saying pulling cable only costs $5, but for many residential homes, a drop might cost $100 or $200 at most.  The psychology is that people absolutely refuse to hire someone to run the cable because they feel it is an expense they don't want to pay for or costs too much money.

Yet these same people will replace their iPhone or Samsung every year with a new $1,000 phone without blinking.

My advice, seriously, buy the cheapest/crappiest Wi-Fi system or routers and put the money saved to installing Ethernet wiring in your home - one drop at a time if you can't afford to do the 3 or 4 you probably need.

Those cables will last you years and years, you'll upgrade the crap Wi-Fi equipment 3 to 4 times by then without thinking twice about the cost or expense.

(Disclaimer:  Although I do professional smart home systems and automation, I don't do any of the cabling or mechanical work.  I do pride myself on not marking up the cost of that work - I refer my clients to a qualified electrician (I have a few I work with), but I don't get in the way of the price negotiation and billing.   It is common in the trades to subcontract and add 10% to 20% just for making the introduction, I think that is wrong.)

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SpivR

I agree the Eero "gateway" thing is a bit funky, but they (Eero tech support) have assured me it doesn't affect throughput or roaming.  (I use Eero mainly in bridge mode).

 

But you. have touched on something that needs more attention - the utter failure of Wi-Fi roaming.  It barely works, and doesn't work as it should or consumers expect.

 

The "dirty little secret" is that the Wi-Fi industry hasn't solved the roaming problem, it was just swept under the rug for many years because most consumer/residential installations never had more than one AP.  Mesh changed that.

The standards for roaming have taken a long time to be established and even now, most mobile devices, especially smartphones, don't implement the roaming standards (or MU-MIMO).  That's the root of the problem.

 

Some Wi-Fi vendors have proprietary hacks based on beam steering, semi-forced AP hand-off, etc. but none of these are totally effective because they can only try to "nudge" the mobile device to move to another AP, but cannot force it.

 

The only reliable way to roam when moving around a house, is as you mentioned, when you move to a different physical area, you have to toggle the Wi-Fi off, then back on, to let the algorithms in the chipset/firmware/operating system of the client device re-acquire what it thinks is the "best" AP to connect.

As anyone that uses a cellphone knows - roaming is not only possible but performs almost flawlessly with cellphones.  Rarely do most of us experience a dropped call even while driving 80mph on the freeway and passing through multiple cells.  Wi-Fi needs to get this solved.

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SpivR

UniFi is a great alternative to the fly-by-night Wi-Fi products and even some of the established ones.

 

Not widely known, but all UniFi AP's that are new or recent (within the last few years or so?) directly support mesh capability.  Probably the biggest marketing failure on UniFi's part is not promoting this as they consider mesh just another of many features and nothing special to highlight.

UniFi can be more complex than a simple Wi-Fi system, but it is still a web or smartphone GUI and for most users you will never drop down to a Unix command line or mess around with JSON configuration files (but you can if you want to).

My advice for anyone considering UniFi is to make sure you at least use both their AP's and the USG gateway.  If you don't include the USG gateway/router, you are losing some of the integration and functionality that makes UniFi a better solution.  It also helps to use their managed switches and avoid PoE injectors or dumb PoE switches as a stop-gap for powering their AP's.

In a more robust setup with multiple AP's UniFi can actually be the same price or cheaper than consumer products because the AP's themselves as less expensive.

If cost is a concern, run the free controller software (management system) on a PC, virtual machine,  or even Raspberry Pi, but for simpler initial setup and operation, get one of their cloudkey appliance devices.  I strongly recommend the new Gen2 versions that have battery backup and avoid the potential power-failure glitch of the older models.

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ShadowPeo
On 12/3/2018 at 7:35 AM, SpivR said:

<snip>

IMHO, I don't understand why anyone that has the potential (i.e. not a rental, not a high-rise building with steel/concrete, etc.) doesn't backhaul all their AP's.  Solves and prevents so many problems and for tech savvy, will also result in the best bandwidth throughput.

The problem is most of us are not able to do the work (installing CAT cable in ceilings or walls) ourselves.

 

No problem there, just hire an electrician or qualified handyman (if you can do the terminations yourself once the raw cable is in place).


<snip>


(Disclaimer:  Although I do professional smart home systems and automation, I don't do any of the cabling or mechanical work.  I do pride myself on not marking up the cost of that work - I refer my clients to a qualified electrician (I have a few I work with), but I don't get in the way of the price negotiation and billing.   It is common in the trades to subcontract and add 10% to 20% just for making the introduction, I think that is wrong.)

3

1: I 999% agree, in all situations where possible backhauls should be dropped to fibre/copper and put in the best stuff you can afford, especially if it's going past fluoro's etc get shielded cable, you will thank me later.

 

2: In my part of the world most people, nor handymen/tradesmen are allowed to install structured cabling. Under the old scheme, Sparky's could, however, this has apparently been changed and now they also need to have the endorsement (I am so thankful for this you have no idea how may screwed runs I have seen due to sparky's doing the work). What you do need is an Open licenced registered cabler, I carry the permits to do this, but I DO NOT do the work unless I have an urgent need to, even I farm this work out to others who have more experience with it and more importantly carry the proper tools and fluke test every drop they do for me. I simply ring this company (or rather the owner) now and go "Malcolm I need W points, for X device (i.e. WAP so on the ceiling etc), at Y client installed by Z" done. In here at least and I imagine elsewhere find a good cabler, one that can test as well, if they do not want to I do not trust their work, ask them to fluke test the cable, if they ask what that is, find someone else, all cablers I know who are worth their salt, will know what it is even if they do not own one, good question I have found to sort the wheat from the chaff.

 

 

On 12/3/2018 at 7:48 AM, SpivR said:

UniFi is a great alternative to the fly-by-night Wi-Fi products and even some of the established ones.

 

 

I agree I am just speccing out a build now. The only thing I am not 100% sold on is the USG and that is more due to it not having functions I want (multiple site-to-site VPN for instance). Some of these may have been addressed recently but I have not been keeping up on it. Current specs indicate between 10K-15K for the equipment Civil work I am going to do myself as I now have access to a backhoe, and the guy mentioned above is pulling the fibre, which has a 25-year warranty on it (as does the 6A cable drops for the WAP's security Cameras etc)

 

Going back to your disclaimer I tend to do the same thing for my clients, I also offer some clients certain products at cost as I am not in the business of selling items or software, only services. I invoice my time for setting up and completing the at-cost transaction but not the item itself

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Dave

Follow up on the Synology mesh. I did some rearranging this week. U moved the cable modem to my main floor. The Synology router too. It doesn't do much good downstairs in a basement surrounded by metal ducting. A lot of metal. I powered it all off and moved it as well as moving the mesh AP up a floor as well. Router move went great. The mesh AP was a different story. I had it working via Ethernet backhaul prior to the move but can't get it to work now. It's frustrating.

I'm down to only 2 eero units on the old SSID. I'm also changing that too. It's been while and it has been shared too much work it's time to change. Super pain to do all the Alexa's and the Ring products.
I'll share more on the next RESET.

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Dave

I need to start a Pro and Con list about this setup.  Maybe a wish list too.

 

I would really like it to notify me when a new device joins the wireless network.  The Circle Home I was using did this amazingly well.  Synology has a router app and can do push notifications so I hope this is on their roadmap.  I'll talk with them at CES 2019 to check in on it.

 

I also need easier ways to label devices and long press, add to profile, etc.  Synology, just take a look at Circle.  Duplicate some of this.  Tap a device, see the details, assign to a profile.

 

I can't create a profile that doesn't have a device in it.  Example: I want to create a Kids Guest profile so when kids come over and want guest access I can drop them into this profile easily.

In Wifi Connect it would be nice to have an option to apply the  Profile to Guest network.  You can get to it via Safe Access, Add a profile though.  Maybe make it more visible.

 

Can't change a profiles icon after the profile is created.

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