Is Orbi mesh WiFi worth it?

The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) brings the leading mesh networking kits into Wi-Fi 6 territory, pushing a strong signal throughout a digital home and adding an extra layer of security. It remains one of the most expensive mesh routing products, but it’s worth every penny


Design and aesthetics probably aren’t at the top of your list when it comes to choosing a new router – after all, it’s speed and coverage that matter – but as you can see from the photos accompanying this article, the Netgear Orbi router and satellites are pretty big pieces of equipment. They’re so big that you’ll need to find a specific space for them, as you can’t put them on a mantelpiece or office shelf.

These big boxes each hide eight powerful antennas, which is an excuse for their large size, and on the whole we’d rather have fast Wi-Fi than a nice looking mesh router system. They’re not exactly ugly though, and give your home a little futuristic, space-age feel – your neighbors and guests are sure to ask about them.

Setup is pretty much the same as any other modern mesh router system: install the app on your phone and follow the instructions. In about 10 minutes, after the usual “Please wait” and “Firmware update” messages that appear when you set up most hardware devices of this type, we were up and running. Not bad at all.

The Orbi app does a good job of guiding you through the setup process and allowing you to connect your satellite(s) to the main router – you don’t even need to press any buttons, just turn on the devices and wait for them to connect. We could do without registering another online account to connect, this time with Netgear, but then again, that’s perfectly normal with these systems.

Is the Orbi WiFi 6 GOOD?
There’s no question about it: with high speed over a wide area and support for up to 100 devices, the Orbi 6 will almost certainly give you a faster, more reliable Wi-Fi network than you have now, and for many people, that will be worth the price.

Is the Orbi WiFi 6 a true mesh network?
Netgear’s Orbi AX6000 is proof that mesh networking and Wi-Fi 6 are a match made in heaven. When the router and its satellite are able to use the speeds and features of Wi-Fi 6 to transmit data in both directions, everyone benefits, including faster connections at a distance.

Is the Orbi or Nighthawk mesh network better?
Compared to Netgear’s Orbi Wi-Fi 6 mesh system ($700), the Nighthawk version has less bandwidth, fewer antennas (2 x 2 arrays for the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks, compared to 4 x 4 for the Orbi system) and lacks the dedicated link channel found in tri-band systems.


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