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Test: Netgear Orbi

Test: Netgear Orbi Netgear's Mesh Wifi package "Orbi" tested by moobilux.com. (Photo: moobilux.com)
About Author
Thorsten Claus
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Thorsten Claus ist Gründer und Chefredakteur von “moobilux | Connected Mobile” mit mehr als 16 Jahren Berufserfahrung. Der langjährige Journalist beschäftigt sich vor allem mit Themen rund um die mobile Telekommunikation. Als Experte veröffentlichte er in den vergangenen Jahren u. a. Fachbeiträge in “VoIP Compendium”, “Voice Compass” und “t3n”. Als Experte berichtete er in “Deutschland-Radio Wissen”, “Finacial Times Deutschland” und bei “n-tv” über die neuen Trends und Entwicklungen in der Technologie-Branche. Thorsten Claus ist Mitgründer der Pitch-TV-Eventserie „pitchfreunde // Show Your Mobile“ welches sich speziell an Startups mit Fokus Mobile & e-Mobility richtet.

Presented at the IFA in September 2016 in Berlin and now at moobilux.com in the test: the Wi-FI router package “Orbi” by Netgear. Thanks to the satellite and the triband solution, fast Wi-FI reaches every corner of the House. We put the Netgear under the microscope in the live operation:

Maybe you’ve already experienced it, that it is not so easy to get a reasonable Wi-FI signal at any point in the house. Moobilux.com has tested the new “Orbi” (RBK50) Netgear Wi-FI system for you.

Netgear's Mesh Wifi package "Orbi" tested by moobilux.com. (Photo: moobilux.com)

Netgear’s Mesh Wifi package “Orbi” tested by moobilux.com. (Photo: moobilux.com)

In most cases, our modems and the router with the Wi-FI are located in a corner of the apartment, because that’s where the phone socket is. In relation to a good Wi-Fi signal distribution, this is usually a bad idea. Because the further you moved away from the Router, the weaker the Wi-Fi Signal, especially if there are walls or other barriers are in the way.

The consequence of this is that one already in the living room at the Smart TV has such a bad Wi-Fi signal, the bandwidth for data intensive streaming is not sufficient despite adequate broadband connection.

The Orbi solution
The Orbi Wi-FI system from Netgear solves the problem by using not only a single router, but on at least two devices – a special router that forms the basis and at least one “satellite” referred to a Wi-FI access point. While a Wi-FI range extender takes up  only the radio signal and amplifies, Netgear goes a different way with the “Orbi”.

For this purpose the “Orbi” and the “satellite” built a further network via a separate 5 GHz radio channel. Via this dedicated network channel, only the base communicates with the connected satellite sub-systems. A 2.4 GHz and a 5 GHz network are available for communication with the WLAN terminals. The special feature of the solution is that the entire Wi-FI network runs under a Wi-FI address (SSID), which means that you no longer have interruptions.

The construction
For our test, we connect the yellow Internet port of the Orbi router with the supplied LAN cable with our VDSL modem, as the system does not currently have an integrated X-DSL modem. Afterwards, we connect the base to the power supply with the included power supply. Now you can see at the router a white pulsating light. Next, we take the satellite and also connect it to the power supply, which now also pulsates with white light.

Once the satellite has found a stable connection to the base, it lights up blue for three minutes and then turns off the light. However, if the satellite can not establish a connection to the base station, it will turn yellow. However, if the satellite is not connected to the base station, it will turn yellow. Repeat the procedure until the satellite is successfully connected to the base. In our case, the connection worked right away.

The setup
The configuration of the Orbi system follows the configuration of the devices. For this purpose, the Wi-FI address (SSID) entered on the base is searched and is connected by means of the Wi-FI password printed. When you open your browser, you are automatically taken to the configuration page. After agreeing to the usage condition, you are then passed step by step through the configuration of the system, specifying the network name and the administrator password. Afterwards, the system automatically checks if there are firmware updates.

There are four RJ45 LAN ports on the back of the Orbi satellite. (Photo: moobilux.com)

There are four RJ45 LAN ports on the back of the Orbi satellite. (Photo: moobilux.com)

The test
For the test, we have established an extra existing Wi-FI network with the Netgear orbi. So we can see how the speed is compared to the old and new network. We also use the possibility of a Berlin old building with its backyards to test the performance of the system. In this connection, the Orbi basis with the Internet access stands in the house at the back and the satellite in a café in the front building.

At the café in front of the building, we test first the connection to the old existing network with a AVM Fritz box 7580 is responsible for the dual 2. 4 GHz/5 GHz Wi-Fi network. We use the online service speedtest.net to determine the transmission speed.

The Netgear orbi leads quite clearly in downloading. (Photo: moobilux.com)

The Netgear orbi leads quite clearly in downloading. (Photo: moobilux.com)

The Orbi system also leads in uploading. (Photo: moobilux.com)

The Orbi system also leads in uploading. (Photo: moobilux.com)

The notebook can only connect to the “old” 2.4 GHz WI-Fi network with the old network only at the window to the inner courtyard. During the speed test, it achieved 28.91Mbps in downloading and 8.66 Mbps in uploading. A connection with the old 5-GHz network came in the café. Similarly, no connection was possible if you sit at the other end of the Cafés on the street.

The “Orbi” network is visible even on the road with full range. After connecting to the Netgear Orbit network, we got a download speed of 45.84 Mbps and an upload speed of 9.30 Mbps.

Netgear solution Orbi clearly has the lead in downloading. (Photo: moobilux.com)

Netgear solution Orbi clearly has the lead in downloading. (Photo: moobilux.com)

It is easy to see that there is a clear difference in connection speed and range. With the Netgear “Orbi” you have almost twice as high download speed and with a distance of about 100 m air line plus the walls to the actual location of the VDSL50 internet connection. This is particularly pleasing when you rely on fast internet – such as for games  or full-HD streaming and away from the actual router.

Price & Availability
Netgear plans to launch the “Orbi” system in November in time for the Christmas sales. The “OrbiStarter Pack with a base and a satellite will cost 429,99 Euro (RRP). According to Amazon, another satellite will cost 249.99 euros.

Our conclusion:
If one suffers from problems with a poor Wi-FI reception in a big apartment, a house or in a spacious Office, the Netgear orbi can be a good solution. It looks nice enough to fit inconspicuously in any decor. In addition, it provides a good, stable Wi-FI signal with reliable speed and over an impressive distance. Thanks to the mobility of the satellites, they can also be flexibly moved if necessary. The only cons of the orbit is the relatively high purchase price.

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