I shot this video to help explain why I bought the Netgear Orbi. I live in a 100-year old stone House and one of the problems I experienced since moving is has been an inability to get internet signal to the whole house. I’m not even talking about good signal, there were places where I couldn’t get any signal. The walls are super thick and made of brick so this has been a serious source of frustration for me.
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My office is in one side of the house and I had to make sure that I have full signal strength there. Unfortunately, the 2 TVs I use for streaming are on the complete opposite side of the house (as is the PS4). One TV I was able to stream to but would regularly have the awesome buffering pauses. The other TV, on the first floor, I was never able to stream to. Finally, in the areas of the basement that I actually use I pretty much had no internet signal.
I was thinking of upgrading to the X8 (R8500) but wanted to try a new approach since I couldn’t imagine the new router to be “that much” more powerful.
In general, lower-frequency waves like AM radio waves can travel much farther than higher-frequency waves like light. With regards to a wi-fi setup, that’s why the 5 GHz waves used by the newest WiFi standard (802.11ac) are capable of transmitting more data at higher speeds, but are less effective over longer distances than the older, 2.4 Ghz standard.
First, the extender reduced the speed of the network. Since the signal had to take twice as many hops, the signal strength was pretty much cut in half. As an example, assume we’re using a phone over wi-fi.
Another problem was that most extenders use one band to both communicate with the router and transfer data. And extenders work sort of like a walkie talkie so they can either send or receive at any moment, but they can’t do both simultaneously. Now, pretend that you have multiple devices streaming and accessing the web at the same time using an extender and I’m sure you can see that this is not an ideal situation
Finally, extenders use a different SSID (network name) than the router which means that your device will have to disconnect from one network and connect to the other as you move through your house. This is super annoying because you may be really close to the extender but still have signal from the main router and the device will stay connected to the main router until signal is lost completely. The alternative would be to manually disconnect from the main router and connect to the extender each time. I don’t know about you, but that’s not happening.
Setup was extremely simple. Just follow the quick start guide and you should have no problems. I found one omission but ultimately it was very basic and anyone should be able to complete it. Basically, the guide didn’t mention when to plug the modem to the Orbi router (answer: before turning it on).
There was one glitch in the setup process that had to do with updating firmware. Basically, after installing the Orbi router and satellite and going through the basic network setup, the Orbi tries to update the firmware on both the Router and Satellite. This step can not be skipped. The firmware for the Router downloaded but the one for the Satellite would not. This means that I was stuck. There was absolutely no way to move forward and finish the setup process with the existing firmware.
I called technical support and the first level of support was not able to resolve my issue. I did get a call back from a tier 2 support person and we were able to resolve it. I realized that what I could try was to disconnect the Satellite and only set up the router as if it was the entire system. I then upgraded the firmware on the Router. Once the setup was complete, I attached the satellite (which was automatically detected), went into the Router interface via my browser and manually downloaded and installed the firmware on my Satellite. This may sound like it was complicated but it took no more than 5 minutes. I’ve reached out to Netgear to see if they have resolved this issue.
So if it weren’t for this one issue, setup would have taken about 10-15 minutes to complete but I did want to be completely honest about the whole experience.
I have now had the system up for a week and a half and I still shake my head at how frustrating the previous 2 years were. I now don’t even think about where I need to be in the house in order to surf or stream radio and movies. There is not much else to say, I’ll let the pictures and the video tell the story. The speed that you see on the iphone is the speed with the Orbi and in white, you will see a caption which will show you what the previous speed was with the Nighthawk X6.
If you have any issues with your current router covering your entire house which can’t be resolved with a more powerful router, I would really recommend checking out the Orbi.
Check out the Netgear Orbi video at the top of the page and if you like it, please give it a LIKE and SUBSCRIBE to my channel.
And as always, if you have any questions, please ask them in the comment section below or on YouTube and I’ll usually get back to you quickly.
With the dedicated back channel for the satellites to connect to the orbi router, the 2.4 and 5G channels are dedicated to the devices you are connecting to wifi. Does adding a 3rd satellite continue to “extend the signal” via the back channel or does having more than one satellite start to impact the two channels being used by your wireless devices? Does using a star versus daisy chained topology have any impact on the back channel and/or “device” channels?
All satellite/router and satellite/satellite communication takes place on the backhaul band, which has zero impact on the signals used by connected devices. However, I expect this means that in a router->inner satellite->outer satellite setup, the inner satellite would be doing double work on the backhaul since it can only send or receive on that band at any given moment—not both. That is, the middle satellite would have to first receive data from the router, then switch to send mode to pass it along to the outer satellite, effectively cutting the outer satellite’s bandwidth in half. Just something to consider If that outer satellite is expected to require a lot of throughput. For this issue to not exist, Orbi satellites would need separate outbound and inbound bands.
Hey! Because of this video, I had this router on my wishlist for years thinking it’s the right choice when I buy a new house. Now that I bought a new house, I realize this desire is 5-years old! So, what’s your latest recommendation? Wanna make a new video on your latest WiFi recommendation?