I’m a huge fan of Netgear’s Orbi routers. They offer some of the easiest setup, highest speeds, and best coverage of any of the so-called mesh wireless systems including Eero and Luma. Now Netgear’s original monstrous routers are being joined by a few cousins.
The original kit, called the RBK50, came with a AC3000 Wi-Fi base station and a satellite and covered 5,000 square feet. It is the oldest and most powerful member of the family and, at $399, the most expensive. The new devices are called the RBK30 and the RBK40. The $300 RBK30 covers 3,500 square feet with a single AC2200 router and a small wall plug satellite to boost the signal. The RBK40 consists of two AC2200 routers and covers 4,000 square feet. It costs $350.
What do you get for the price? Some of the best Wi-Fi coverage I’ve experienced. The Orbi boosted my speed from about 4 mbps to 10 mbps in some cases and ensured a very usable streaming connection throughout the house. The app was sub par when the device launched but they are working hard to improve parental controls and the like. Ultimately, you’re buying speed (and looks) and not features.
These two new devices obviously aimed at assuaging the price of the original Orbi and, barring the noted coverage areas, shouldn’t be much different from the original monster routers. My take? If you’re looking for whole home wireless I’d say you can look no further than these guys. Let’s see how they work when we get our hands on these things to test.