Taking advantage of the new releases from the NAS manufacturer, we are going to analyze which QNAP router to buy based on the needs that each one has. The QHora 322 and 321 join the list along with the 301W with Wi-Fi 6, a model that we tested a while ago, covering a wide range of needs for individuals, IoT, and companies.
Index of contents
- A router is much more than a device that connects us to the Internet
- Hardware: is more power always better?
- Business-grade LAN connections and Wi-Fi 6
- QNAP-exclusive firmware and features
- Recommended QNAP routers based on needs
- QNAP QHora-301W Wi-Fi 6 router for individuals and businesses
- QNAP QHora-321 2.5 Gbps mesh VPN router for IoT and NAS environments
- QNAP QHora-322 enterprise-class 10 Gbps mesh VPN router
- Conclusions on which QNAP router to buy
QNAP adopts comprehensive yet easy-to-manage firmware with advanced options such as NAS-integrated QuWAN Orchestrator VPN Mesh, VLAN, and 10Gbps ports as more powerful connections for backups and large data volumes. We already made a guide with the main QNAP managed switches , so let’s see what these routers can offer us and where they will go best.
A router is much more than a device that connects us to the Internet
The router is basically responsible for directing network traffic from the outside (Internet) to our home (Intranet), that is, it is capable of routing packets through different subnets. It therefore works at layer 3 of the OSI model (network layer) through an operating system more or less powerful
All of us who have Internet at home will have this small device, usually supplied by Internet companies and lacking many functions like those we will see in independent brand routers.
The internal operating systems of routers are becoming more complete, and in addition to having routing rules, they are capable of creating virtual networks (VLANs), giving us Wi-Fi connection to different bands and multi-gigabit Ethernet , generating Wi-Fi mesh networks uniting several routers, DDNS services , working with VPN networks both as a server and as a client and even as a network file server.
Hardware: is more power always better?
All routers need hardware to function, made up of processors to manage information traffic, RAM memory and storage. , basically like a small computer. The power of this hardware and therefore the cost, varies depending on the LAN and WLAN connections that we have, and what is its total bandwidth.
When we buy a router, we are rarely given detailed technical information about these components , so they are somehow implicit with the number of functions that the device itself has. Unless we are very advanced users and we want something very specific, the operation of Broadcom, Marvell or Qualcomm CPUs will be impeccable, and everything will depend on the optimization work of the operating system that the manufacturer has done.
Business-grade LAN connections and Wi-Fi 6
The advantage that we are going to have in the QNAP routers that we see in this article is that they all have Multigigabit Ethernet LAN connections; this means that all or part of them will be 2.5 or up to 10 Gbps . Each Gigabit per second is equivalent to a real 110 MB/s file transfer on a computer, and therefore with 10 Gbps we will achieve up to 1.2 GB/s, SSD level transfers.
Perhaps for a home connection it makes little sense to have more than 1 Gbps, but transferring multimedia content in 4K by streaming, passing files between computers or having a NAS at home are more demanding tasks , where 2.5 Gbps allows us to go more than enough.
A 10G connection will be indicated for companies where there is a high traffic load, for example, implementing several physical subnets or VLANs through firmware with more than 10 connected computers that generate daily backup copies and must be uploaded to a centralized server or NAS . And if we add to this the ability to Link Aggregate with two ports, we will be able to double the bandwidth in a connection.
In some cases we have routers capable of operating with several WAN networks , that is, having several Internet connections, even with 2.5 or 10 Gbps ports for corporate networks that exceed Gigabit per second. It is more common to see 5Gbps USB ports integrated into the patch panel of a router to create a small NAS in the case of QNAP routers, FTP server or Samba.
Wi-Fi 6 and wireless connectivity in general will be essential in a router for home use since we need a machine that gives us mobility for our mobile phones or laptops, even if we give up part of the additional advanced functions. In the case of QNAP routers, only the QHora-301W has Wi-Fi 6 , so the other models that we will see will go directly for corporate use, requiring additional UAPs (access points) to be able to have Wi-Fi.
QNAP-exclusive firmware and features
Firmware is where each manufacturer must do their best work to add features to the router and provide optimal hardware communication and data packet management. QuRouter OS is the Linux-based system developed by QNAP for its routers, which is characterized by having advanced options for advanced users and companies, under a simple and intuitive interface .
In addition to being able to create VLANs, QNAP routers have SD-WAN technology , perhaps the most prominent for them. This allows you to create a software mesh VPN network locally or remotely with full mesh topology thanks to QuWAN. The mesh VPN function is to automatically deploy a VPN network for QNAP devices in one or multiple locations simultaneously.
QuWAN Orchestrator is a service provided by QNAP through user/company subscription to QNAP Account , and can be implemented in OpenVPN, WireGuard, L2TP and QBelt protocols in both server and client mode. Also, each port and network segment is independent by default, so each LAN port will assign a different IP range.
QuWAN can also be integrated with HBS (Hybrid Backup Sync) to remotely backup or sync data on a NAS with other NAS, a remote server or the cloud, creating a 3-2-1 backup strategy . The routers support L3 firewall, NAT to hide the IP and obviously port forwarding with UPnP
Recommended QNAP routers based on needs
Once we know the main main functions, we will answer which QNAP router we need depending on the needs of each one. We will help ourselves with performance tests for the LAN ports and Wi-Fi coverage for the 301W model extracted from its corresponding review.
We leave you a direct comparison on the official website of these three devices
QNAP QHora-301W Wi-Fi 6 router for individuals and businesses
If what we are looking for is a complete and versatile router capable of giving us the typical functions for home use, maximized in bandwidth, coverage and firmware options , the QHora 301W is the ideal option for users with a certain level of knowledge who want to squeeze the QuRouter system.
Its Qualcomm CPU still keeps this model at the top of our Wi-Fi 6 bandwidth tables at 2.4 and 5 GHz, thus squeezing the protocol from its first versions. To this we add two 10 Gbps LAN ports, SD-WAN function with VLAN, QuWAN and VPN Mesh like the professional models.
The wireless coverage shown in the tests was excellent for a single unit almost completely covering the test environment, with good ping signal and the complement of USB ports to mount a Samba server . This model also divides each LAN port into a network segment by default and allows advanced management of the Wi-Fi network in SSID, bands, channels and guest network .
Since the first versions, the firmware has added some extra plugins such as WireGuard VPN, the possibility to manage a service port , or a section to monitor other QNAP devices connected to the router.
QNAP QHORA-301W Router 6-Port 10GIGE COMMUTER
QNAP QHORA-301W ROUTER 6-PORT 10GIGE COMMUTER; QNAP QHORA-301W ROUTER 6-PORT COMMUTER 10GIGE
Last update on 2023-03-07
QNAP QHora-321 2.5 Gbps mesh VPN router for IoT and NAS environments
This QHora-321 is characterized by an extremely compact design to take up little space, but give us a high total bandwidth thanks to its 6 2.5 Gbps Ethernet ports . As it does not have Wi-Fi, it is a device oriented to IoT environments, small and medium-sized companies, and in general corporate use. We can always connect independent wireless access points to it, but the mouths do not support PoE.
The hardware consisting of a Marvell CN9130 Quad-Core CPU and 4 GB of DDR4 RAM is larger than the model for generic use. Using QuWAN Orchestrator and VPN Mesh, it is capable of routing up to 700 VPN connections , integrating HBS function, and offering flexible WAN on ports 1 and 2 . It also has VLAN and network segmentation by default port.
Its interface will be exactly the same as that of the general model, very easy to read and understand as it is in Spanish, quick to configure and with a web content filtering option based on ALG (Application Layer Gateway) that replaces the parental control of the 301W model. . The configuration methods and options are practically the same in the rest of the sections.
QNAP QHora-321 2.5G High Speed Router QHora-321 2.5G High Speed QuWAN VPN Router
Last update on 2023-03-07
QNAP QHora-322 enterprise-class 10 Gbps mesh VPN router
It is a model very similar to the previous one in terms of firmware options, which extends the capacity of the Marvell CN9130 processor and 4 GB of RAM to support up to 1000 simultaneous VPN connections . This one also does not have integrated Wi-Fi connectivity or support for PoE power in its ports.
Its panel of ports is expanded with 9 interfaces of which 6 are 2.5 Gbps and 3 are 10 Gbps , with capacity for simultaneous double WAN in one 10 Gbps port and another 2.5 Gbps port. In this way, the possibility of implementing multi-site VPN will allow segmenting the network and isolating different points using a single device. In this case we do have USB ports for data servers.
This router can be considered business class for adding this series of additional functions and 10 Gbps ports, providing bandwidth to transfer large volumes of data. Its implementation in research centers, databases or offices will provide almost everything that a server is capable of, giving us an advantage if we also have more QNAP devices.
QNAP QHora-322 2.5/10G High Speed Router QHora-322 2.5/10G High Speed QuWAN VPN Router
Last update on 2023-03-07
Conclusions on which QNAP router to buy
We hope that with this little guide we have been able to shed more light on which QNAP router to choose based on our needs . It is clear that for most users the QHora-301W will be the most recommended for home and office use because it has Wi-Fi 6 and even 10 Gbps ports.
QNAP has created very good machines for corporate and professional use, with a QuRouter system very much in line with what QTS offers in NAS and obvious technical and infrastructure advantages if we use more brand devices and their QuWAN function. The main strengths are in the management of VPN networks, network segmentation, integration with NAS and multi-gigabit ports.
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