Don’t Mesh With It
The Netgear Orbi RBK50 is like the bully on the block. It’s big, powerful, and expensive. Yes, it’s pricey but it’s also one of the best mesh systems on the market. Despite its unusual size and shape, it managed to find its way into a lot of households due to its power and simplicity. If you have a lot of square footage to cover and don’t want to spend a lot of time tinkering and re-configuring the Netgear Orbi may be well worth the cost.
- Bands: Tri-Band
- Processors: Quad-Core
- Antennas: 6
- MU-MIMO: Yes
- Beamforming: Yes
- Smart Connect: Yes
- QOS: Yes
- Malware: Subscription
- Parental Controls: Yes
- Ethernet ports: 3 and 4
- USB: 1 USB 2.0
- Nodes: 2-Pack
- Setup: Phone, Web
- Devices: 25+
- Coverage: 5,500 sq. ft
- Speed: 3000Mpbs
- WiFi Type: AC (WiFi 5)
The Netgear Orbi supports MU-MIMO which allows for multiple streams and multiple connections on each antenna. This means more dedicated connections for your most demanding WiFi devices. It features a Tri-band backhaul that dedicates one of its 3 bands to node communication and frees up the other 2 bands for maximum speed to your devices. Each satellite node has 4 Ethernet ports for fast, direct connections for individual devices.
On the Parental Controls front Netgear teamed up with Disney and their Circle App to allow you to control your family’s online time and access to off-limits websites. The controls are intuitive whether you’re a network engineer or a concerned parent with no networking experience.
The Netgear Orbi is a Tri-Band system but it only uses 2 of those bands to communicate with devices. The 2.4GHz band delivers 400Mbps and the 5GHz band puts out 866Mbps for a total of just shy of 3000Mbps for the two nodes. The 3rd band is dedicated to communication between nodes. As it turns out the theory that this would free up the other bands turned out very well as evidenced by testing.
Despite these less than mind-blowing numbers, the Netgear Orbi is incredibly fast and powerful. At close range, it was nearly 20% faster than Google WiFi and outperformed the Linksys Velop by an even wider margin. At 100 feet the speed dropped off as expected but was still significantly faster than the other routers. A Netgear Orbi system can easily cover a 3500 square foot home with several high-speed devices. Each additional node adds another 2,500 square feet of coverage at 1266Mbps.
Setting up a mesh system doesn’t get much easier than this. The nodes are pre-paired, meaning they are preconfigured to communicate with the others as soon as you get them out of the box. Once you find a home for a mesh satellite simple plug in the power and the automatic network does the rest. The set up is so simplified you don’t even have to use the mobile app unless you want to. The closest thing you’ll come to setting changes with the Orbi RBK50 is moving a node closer to the base station node if you get an amber or red light.
If you want to configure more advanced settings during setup you can just as you would a standard wireless router by entering http://orbilogin.com into a web browser and entering your configuration changes.
Expensive yes but if you’re like the many other homeowners out there who don’t mind paying a premium for a system that “just works” the Orbi. If your ISP provides speeds of 200Mbps down this mesh system will make the most of it. The combination of speed, ease of configuration, and the generous amount of Ethernet ports make the Orbi a prime contender for any large home despite its price tag.
The big, bad bully on the block still has other Mesh WiFi systems in a stranglehold.
- Awesome performance
- Dedicated 3rd band technology
- The option of mobile app or browser setup
- Unusually large
- USB 2.0 port
Where To Buy
- All prices mentioned above are in United States dollar.
- This product is available at Amazon.com, Newegg, eBay.
- At amazon.com you can purchase NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with 3Gbps Speed (RBK50) – Router & Extender Replacement Covers Up to 5,000 sq. ft., 2-Pack Includes 1 Router & 1 Satellite White for only $155.05 , which is 61% less than the cost in Newegg ($399.99).
- The lowest price of NETGEAR Orbi Voice Mesh Wi-Fi System Kit with built-in Alexa Voice Assistant (RBK50V) was obtained on May 26, 2022 12:22 am.
|Price history for NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with 3Gbps Speed (RBK50) – Router & Extender Replacement Covers Up to 5,000 sq. ft., 2-Pack Includes 1 Router & 1 Satellite White|