Synology is well known for its NAS products, but has as of late been putting a lot of effort into properly entering the router market. We reviewed Synology's first WiFi router with model number RT1900ac in 2016 and were impressed by the Synology Router Manager (SRM) operating system, although it was still in its infancy back then. The RT2600ac arrived next, offering increased transfer speeds and support for the highly desired MU-MIMO. The latest addition to Synology's family of routers is the MR2200ac, which can be used as a standalone product or along with the RT2600ac for greater coverage.
But we had better take it from the start by going over some basic terms. The MR2200ac is a mesh router whose main purpose is to expand the WiFi coverage of every compatible network. In other words, you can eliminate dead zones in your home or business environment with this product. Someone naturally would wonder what the differences between a mesh router and plain WiFi extender are since a plain WiFi extender is way less. Briefly, in a mesh network, you use one main router/access point which connects to the Internet through a modem and install multiple smaller ones, also called nodes, which cooperate with your main access point to efficiently cover a large area. This looks like a Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) where we have the sink node or base station and multiple peripheral nodes, and all of them have a pathway to the sink; it also resembles the cellular networks which consist of cells.
In a mesh network, it seamlessly connects to the network without losing connectivity when any WiFi devices fall into the range of a node. However, this is not the case with a WiFi extender where the device will still be locked into the original access point until the connection to it gets really bad. Moreover, in mesh networks, the Service Set Identifier (SSID) remains the same, which isn't the case with most WiFi extenders.
To sum it up, if you have the RT2600ac as the base station and one or more MR2200ac nodes installed in the same area, WiFi devices will automatically connect to the WiFi point with the strongest signal, which makes for better networking transfer speeds. If you have a very large area to cover, the hardware combination mentioned above is the best choice.
The MR2200ac can work as a standalone WiFi router, as mentioned above, enhancing the capabilities of your existing router, but can also be combined with other MR2200ac routers for increased range in terms of coverage. If you already have the RT2600ac, you should use it as the base station and have the MR2200ac act as a peripheral node since it just won't work the other way around. Moreover, it is highly advisable to install the RT2600ac before installing the MR2200ac node.