Mesh Mashup Redux - NETGEAR's Orbi Checks In

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beq

Regular Contributor
Thanks Pete!

AT&T seems to make it compelling to upgrade in her town (despite the fact that her AT&T fiber is still priced higher than other cities with Google Fiber competition).

She's currently paying $69/mo ($62 service + $7 modem lease) for U-verse "Max Plus" which is up to 18 Mbps down, 1.5 Mbps up. All these U-verse plans have 1 TB monthly data cap. Can add TV package, or otherwise pay $30 extra, to get unlimited data.

Now they're offering GigaPower 100% fiber in 2 tiers:

- 100 Mbps symmetrical for $70/mo (free modem, still 1 TB monthly cap)

- 1 Gbps symmetrical for $90/mo (free modem plus unlimited data)

But her main complaint is reliability though. For some reason the (hybrid) copper infrastructure she's on is very bad, keeps getting connection drops and fluctuations. They'd previously said she was too far away (heck Comcast cable didn't even reach her either). Hoping the all-new 100% fiber will be more stable.

Anyways I plan to visit and check whether her AT&T GigaPower modem can be put in bridge mode like cable modems, or whether she'll have to deal with double NAT?

I also plan to get her the Netgear Orbi first, since she's also had a lot of problems with her Wi-Fi extender...
 
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RogerSC

Part of the Furniture
Great initial review but I just don't have confidence in Netgear. Had way too many best-in-class routers that turned sour in the end.

Haven't had that experience with the Netgear routers I've had, but time will tell. I'm willing to take a chance on it, just waiting for a sale. Perfect for my house, exactly what I've been waiting for.
 

pete y testing

Very Senior Member
Anyways I plan to visit and check whether her AT&T GigaPower modem can be put in bridge mode like cable modems, or whether she'll have to deal with double NAT?

I also plan to get her the Netgear Orbi first, since she's also had a lot of problems with her Wi-Fi extender...

if the giga power modem cant be bridged its as simple as just running the orbi system in ap mode and disabling the wifi in the modem

just waiting for a sale.

you might have to wait a while :)

i would also hold off till the November fw release comes out
 
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RogerSC

Part of the Furniture
if the giga power modem cant be bridged its as simple as just running the orbi system in ap mode and disabling the wifi in the modem
RogerSC said:
just waiting for a sale.

you might have to wait a while :)

i would also hold off till the November fw release comes out

Yes, I try to be a patient person. I expect that you're right, that there won't be a sale for some time. I can wait, I've given up on wireless extenders at this point *smile*.
 

whsbuss

Senior Member
Yes, I try to be a patient person. I expect that you're right, that there won't be a sale for some time. I can wait, I've given up on wireless extenders at this point *smile*.
Try if you can't wait. Or wait for FW release and/or Google wifi
 

pete y testing

Very Senior Member
and/or Google wifi

in my reading i think the google wifi is just another mesh line of sight multi hop multi loss system , just cant see it being dramatically better that any of the others tested b4 the orbi and as tim states the orbi shouldnt really be in the mesh line up anyway
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
So the Orbi is considerably bigger than the other "mesh" units? I wonder if that means stronger/higher-gain internal antennas.
Don't know if the antennas are physically larger. But the higher vertical profile should allow better orientation.
 

whsbuss

Senior Member
in my reading i think the google wifi is just another mesh line of sight multi hop multi loss system , just cant see it being dramatically better that any of the others tested b4 the orbi and as tim states the orbi shouldnt really be in the mesh line up anyway
Oh yes I agree. Being $100 less than the Orbi is a great marketing ploy. Many users won't notice the difference in speed/performance. This will get interesting
 

beq

Regular Contributor
It's impressive that the SNB tests show Orbi doesn't really seem to lose capacity even when going through a (single) hop...

Will support for multiple satellites come with the November update? If so, will this be introduced as a star topology first, or with mesh network capability (satellites can link to other satellites)?

If the latter, is there any concern that adding complexity to Orbi's backhaul management (eating extra time for node-to-node routing and overhead) could lower performance closer to Eero?

Then again, the dedicated 4x4 backhaul radio/channel avoids bandwidth competition with the client, and as a bonus may always keep Orbi's backhaul management simpler than the competition?
 

beq

Regular Contributor
the Eero review mentioned 802.11r support, while Luma review says full k/r/v support.
Hmm another thread says that Eero already supports k, but not v (which the dev on that thread implied is coming later)?

https://www.reddit.com/r/eero/comments/4z0z8a/have_you_all_seen_the_orbi_system_from_netgear/d6vja3k

More relevantly, same thread also says that Orbi supports 802.11v (not sure about r and k though)?


Also, and I realize this is missing the purpose of Orbi's dedicated 4x4 radio, but can the satellite support Ethernet backhaul if desired?
 

pete y testing

Very Senior Member
It's impressive that the SNB tests show Orbi doesn't really seem to lose capacity even when going through a (single) hop...

thats cause its not a hop as you would know it in mesh type systems

Will support for multiple satellites come with the November update?

not sure if the nov fw will bring the support but it is suggested that the orbi will be able to support 3 sats , all in star topology

mesh topology is suggested as slated but no idea when and from the results of times tests its prob not a good idea

If the latter, is there any concern that adding complexity to Orbi's backhaul management (eating extra time for node-to-node routing and overhead) could lower performance closer to Eero?

and this is why i dont think mesh is a good idea for the orbi

Also, and I realize this is missing the purpose of Orbi's dedicated 4x4 radio, but can the satellite support Ethernet backhaul if desired?

it is suggested ethernet backhaul could be added but no actual detail at this stage from netgear

pete
 

avtella

Very Senior Member
I had an opportunity to test the Orbi, but like Tim I was skeptical and thought it's probably like any other mesh. Now after reading the review, I regret decling the invite lol.
 

fbraz50

Occasional Visitor
I had similar experiences in performance as the reviewer with the Orbi unit. Hands down the best performance of everything I had tried. Including the Amplifi HD units I tried. If only it had not broken on me. All my wireless clients went to no more then 13 mbps after 2 weeks. With the lack of adjust-ability in the Orbi itself, I had very limited trouble shooting capabilities. I end up returning the unit to the store I bought it from and was told they had 4-5 units returned within the previous 2 days. Maybe they had a bad batch or the people who bought them had a hard time setting it up, I don't know for sure. I'm thinking I will wait a bit to let a few hardware inventories get pushed out and maybe some firmware release to happen and then be willing to buy another Orbi setup.

If you want want raw performance it looks like the Orbi is the best of the bunch.
 
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seraph

New Around Here
I'm trying to figure out a wireless solution for my house - my bought items at them moment include a Ubiquiti EdgeMax Lite and a TP-Link 24-Port smart switch.

Up until now my thought was a pair of Unifi UAP-AC-PRO access points, but now Orbi intrigues me if it can be run in AP mode. Thoughts anyone?

Also, if Orbi is run in AP mode, does the 5GHz "bridge" between the router (in AP mode) and satellite still exist? Or are they essentially both independent APs that I would connect back to my switch?

Thanks for the advice!
 

pete y testing

Very Senior Member
Up until now my thought was a pair of Unifi UAP-AC-PRO access points, but now Orbi intrigues me if it can be run in AP mode. Thoughts anyone?

at this stage only the orbi router can be put in ap mode , the sat would still be via 5 gig backhaul

if you have ethernet run just use the unifi ap's
 

beq

Regular Contributor
Thanks everyone for all the info. I got the Orbi for my sister's house, same day she switched to AT&T's gigabit fiber Internet. Better results all around, thanks to Orbi's strong radio backhaul. She previously had unreliable DSL (borderline loop length) and an old Asus AC66U + Amped Wireless REC15A extender that had difficulty covering her large, 2-story L-shaped house (dense materials).

I solely used a 2yr-old iPhone 6 to wirelessly set up and test the Orbi, surprisingly easy and auto updated. Didn't even use Netgear's Genie app (initial setup launched straight from the captive portal stage on the phone after connecting to the default SSID, and the browser admin panel was used subsequently). As Tim and everyone here says, these new devices are very mainstream friendly, and my sister likes things simple. I even ended up setting her Orbi to AP mode for now (thanks Pete) and let it rely on AT&T's Arris 5268AC modem gateway to handle all routing (with Wi-Fi disabled). We can always DMZ the Orbi (or another router) behind the gateway if she ever needs stuff like custom DNS.

It was a short visit though, so I didn't do any real testing (didn't use her PCs, didn't try local LAN transfer, didn't benchmark the gigabit Internet over Ethernet, nor even test her old Wi-Fi gear with it). Unfortunately the combination of Orbi with an iOS client was short on details (as fbraz50 also alluded to) -- and I only indirectly inferred the band and AP being used, instead of launching my Net Analyzer iOS app to at least verify the BSSID/MAC. Basically, I simply used the Speedtest.net app around her house (tested against the local AT&T host server)...

I placed the base Orbi router at a centralized spot upstairs where the modem is, and experimented with the satellite downstairs. In the end I left the satellite centralized downstairs (almost right below the base), but I'd like to get another Orbi satellite so I could then place one satellite at each end of the first floor (in a star topology with the base still centralized upstairs).

Anyways, Orbi's (5GHz) connection to nearby clients was fast, but range was curtailed by dense walls/ceiling/objects and when signal crossed outdoors. In fact without the satellite, the Orbi base alone didn't seem to improve overall range (problem areas downstairs continued to have miniscule 2.4GHz throughput from the Orbi base as from the previous Asus router). What's awesome is that wireless backhaul to the Orbi satellite, which seemed stronger than the Orbi-to-client link. With the satellite in place, the Speedtest on my old iPhone hovered around 200Mbps (+/- 20Mbps) download and upload on the gigabit Internet, whether via the Orbi base or 1-hop satellite. That's with the phone relatively near (or line-of-sight to) the base or satellite, though download speeds fared well even when tested from farther away.

FWIW I couldn't tell if my old iPhone 6 as the wireless client was the gigabit Speedtest bottleneck. Someone else used an old Android phone and didn't get any better Internet results. But my sister came home after I'd left and tried Speedtest.net on her 1yr-old iPhone 6s. She tested once (downstairs in a different room from the satellite) and texted the screenshot.. 380Mbps download and 315Mbps upload!

Now I'm itching to go back and do more testing...
 
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fbraz50

Occasional Visitor
I ended up getting another Orbi system. The first one lasted 2 weeks so I'm hoping I don't have issues with this one. The lack of features still isn't great but I hope netgear expands on this down the road. The overall performance is still great compared to the competition and that's why I bought another one. I configured it in AP mode and left my ubiquity edge lite router in place for routing.

As my girlfriend puts it, "It's like BAM, Internet."
 
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