Help with Hardware suggestions


Hey guys,

About to invest in a good bit of hardware and wanted to run it by everyone.

First issue:

I have a Silicon Dust HD Homerun Extend running Channels to 2 Apple TVs, iPads and iPhones. The picture looks great, but routinely it freezes, pauses, pixelates, etc. After a good bit of research on this site, I believe the culprit is my old wifi router.

I have an older Airport Extreme only capable of running 802.11n which I understand is a problem.

So the first thing is a new router capable of 802.11ac. Sound right?

I'm looking at the Synology RT2600AC.

Anyone have this and would recommend it?

Next, I'll be replacing my old iMac with a new Mini Mac. Old iMac running OS 10.6.8. I won't be upgrading OS due to some Adobe software that's not compatible with newer OS. I'll keep that old Mac just for when I need to run Adobe. The Channels DVR Server software requires OS 10.10, so that can't run the DVR software and I'm not that crazy about the new Mini Mac being "always on"

So, I'm looking at a NAS, the Synology DS218+ seems to be a popular one.

Two Questions:

  1. Do I need 2 hard drives over a single? If so, why?

  2. How much HD space should I be looking at just for the DVR? I know it depends on personal preference/use. We'll record local news and local football games, plus 2-3 few shows and delete what we watch. I'm thinking 2 TB would be sufficient. Thoughts?

Thanks in advance for any confirmations of my plans, suggestions or tips!



The router looks fine. However, you should be using wired ethernet connections where possible. Also, as others have stated here—and a sentiment I fully agree with and subscribe to—is to not combine hardware equipment. Use a router for routing, a switch for switching, and a wireless access point for wireless. Combining all three into one unit makes network management difficult, and problems harder to track down.

The 218+ should be a fine NAS if you wish to go that route. You do not need 2 drives, as you can use it fine with just one harddrive. If you add a second harddrive later, you can even decide to either mirror the two drives (for redundancy) or you can use a different scheme to extend your available storage; the choice is yours.

For HD OTA/cable broadcasts, a good rule of thumb is 5GB/hr. So a 2TB drive will give you 350 hours or so of HD recording. (Remember, your NAS will also install your extra software onto your 2TB drive, and you will not get full use because of the way filesystems make use of the drives.)


The nice thing about two drives is redundancy. That way if one fails you don’t lose anything, you just replace the drive and it’s totally seamless.

I’d recommend getting more drive space than you think you’ll need, if you can afford it. You’ll be kicking yourself if your drives start to fill up in a year and you have to pay to upgrade again.

As others have mentioned, use Ethernet for everything possible, and WiFi only where necessary. I have a ubiqiti access point for WiFi that works great. It may make sense (and cheaper) to get an access point, and just disable the WiFi radio in your router. It then becomes just a router, leaves the WiFi to the access point, which is designed to do that one job well.


Hi Chris,

Are your Apple TVs wired or wireless?
Hard to believe you would have an issue if they're wired unless it's your network or the HDHR Extend. OTA HDTV broadcasts are high bandwidth MPEG2, but usually under 18 Mbps.

Sounds like you've decided to replace your older Airport Extreme with a newer router capable of 802.11ac. I can't fault Synology routers as I've been using their RT1900ac, but Synology recently updated the OS on their routers to SRM v1.2 and there have been a few issues with that so I'm still using SRM v1.1 with no issues until it shakes out.

I have no experience with Macs, but it sounds like you don't use Channels DVR yet and are looking for something to run it on?

I do use a Synology NAS to run Channels DVR (but not just for Channels DVR) as I already had it when I discovered Channels DVR, Sounds like overkill if that's all you're going to use the Synology NAS for. The DS218+ is popular because it can do hardware/software transcoding for web or remote viewing. If you're looking for a NAS because of the other things it will do, then I would recommend the DS218+. I'm looking to upgrade my circa 2013 Synology NAS to a 2018 or 2019 model soon and am checking specs vs what I need it for.

Let us know when you decide and start recording :smile:


racameron and Macnbaish, I'm not very experienced with network systems, so had to do a little reading about your modem/router/switch/wifi access point vs. all in one "wireless router" direction. Is keeping everything separate more beneficial to a large building/office building where you have lots of wifi users than an average house? Seems more complicated but maybe not? Thanks for the feedback. Trying to educate myself before buying new equipment.

chDVRuser, my Apple TVs are wireless. My current set up is: Cable modem (coax from source) wired via ethernet to my Apple Extreme Airport. HD Homerun wired to the Airport via ethernet. All this hardware is in my home office. TVs are in Living Room and bedroom with no ethernet access (currently). I do plan on using the NAS for computer backup, maybe security camera video storage, maybe some original video storage as well....all down the line.

Thanks again for the feedback. Definitely have some food for thought now.


I suppose it depends upon your needs, and only you can say exactly what you need. Personally, my network uses a couple EdgeRouters to separate and connect the different network segments (guest wifi, outside internet, IoT devices, media devices, personal computers, other networked gear, etc.), a couple of different switches on each network segment to connect all the related devices together, and finally a couple of UniFi access points to provide wifi throughout the house (one for each floor, and another for the exterior).

Chances are you will probably not need as much equipment, as you probably won't have the desire or need to separate out different parts. The overall point is that if there is a problem with only the wifi in the house, I know I can look to my access points for the problem. If there's a problem with some devices in the house communicating with each other, I can track that down to the relevant switch or router that controls that segment. And finally, if there's a problem reaching the internet in general, I can look to my edge router to diagnose the problem. With an all-in-one device, it's much more difficult to find the root cause; and once you find it, if the problem is the hardware itself, you have to replace what amounts to your entire network infrastructure instead of just the single faulty piece of equipment.

There's a tradeoff depending upon how you want your network to work, but as to what it is exactly is something only you can answer.