Orbi: Ethernet backhaul kills entire network

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RocketJSquirrel

Senior Member
I set up my new Orbi system yesterday for the first time. I have a 4800 sf ranch house which is wired for Cat5e, and I want to use Ethernet backhaul. I have 2 satellites. The Orbi RBK50 router is in the middle of the house, and the RBS50 sats are at the far ends. All 3 units are updated to the latest V2.0.1.4 firmware.

The problem is that when I connect either satellite to my LAN via Ethernet, the entire network becomes inaccessible. I can't even ping the router from my wired PC. When I unplug Ethernet from the satellites and reboot them, the network works, but the satellites are just a bit too far from the router to connect. I moved them a little closer to the router and now they work, but I would prefer wired speeds. I understand the wireless backhaul is pretty fast in theory, but there are many walls between the sats and the router.

My network has been working OK for over 5 years, but with random old access points that I'd accumulated over the years. 2 Asus routers (1 used as a WAP) and a really old Netgear WAP. Wired performance has been fine, but WiFi has sort of been decaying over the years, with roaming from room to room being a pain point.

Is there perhaps a conflicting setting which prevents Ethernet backhaul? Over at the Netgear forum, it was suggested the Ethernet backhaul feature isn't ready for prime time and a future firmware might make it work. But nobody was really sure.

Any suggestions welcome!
 
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bbunge

Part of the Furniture
I'm set up my new Orbi system yesterday for the first time. I have a 4800 sf ranch house which is wired for Cat5e, and I want to use Ethernet backhaul. I have 2 satellites. The Orbi RBK50 router is in the middle of the house, and the RBS50 sats are at the far ends. All 3 units are updated to the latest V2.0.1.4 firmware.

The problem is that when I connect either satellite to my LAN via Ethernet, the entire network becomes inaccessible. I can't even ping the router from my wired PC. When I unplug Ethernet from the satellites and reboot them, the network works, but the satellites are just a bit too far from the router to connect. I moved them a little closer to the router and now they work, but I would prefer wired speeds. I understand the wireless backhaul is pretty fast in theory, but there are many walls between the sats and the router.

My network has been working OK for over 5 years, but with random old access points that I'd accumulated over the years. 2 Asus routers (1 used as a WAP) and a really old Netgear WAP. Wired performance has been fine, but WiFi has sort of been decaying over the years, with roaming from room to room being a pain point.

Is there perhaps a conflicting setting which prevents Ethernet backhaul? Over at the Netgear forum, it was suggested the Ethernet backhaul feature isn't ready for prime time and a future firmware might make it work. But nobody was really sure.

Any suggestions welcome!
My Orbi RBK50 reports firmware 2.1.1.16
I think the Netgear web site lists the older version but try an online update at the router. Have the RBS50's in the same room connected via WIFI for the update. Then move out to ethernet once updated and connected via WIFI.
 

RocketJSquirrel

Senior Member
My Orbi RBK50 reports firmware 2.1.1.16
I think the Netgear web site lists the older version but try an online update at the router. Have the RBS50's in the same room connected via WIFI for the update. Then move out to ethernet once updated and connected via WIFI.
I did finally find the thread on the Netgear forum talking about how Ethernet backhaul doesn't work yet under 2.0.x. I wish I had seen that when I was tearing my hair out yesterday trying to get it to work.

How has 2.1.1.16 been working for you? Any issues? I'm hesitant because (a) it doesn't seem to be the official supported release and (b) 2.1.2.18 exists.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Am in process of updating to 2.1.2.18. Don't use the Orbi as a main system. Had the Orbi given to me :) and am "learning" it. Stay tuned...
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Well, the 2.1.1.18 updates went well following the manual update procedure: https://kb.netgear.com/000053549/RBR50-RBS50-Firmware-Version-2-1-2-18
The .img files for 2.1.1.18 are dated Jan 5, 2018 while the so called "latest" firmware, 2.0.1.4 has a file date of Oct 11, 2017 even though the Netgear Support web page was last modified a few days ago. So do we roll the dice and go on naming convention and say 2.1.1.18 is in fact the official latest release and that someone at Netgear is asleep at the switch?
I've got the RBR50 and RBS50 directly connected with a CAT5 cable about 20 feet long. Looks like you should get the router and satellites in the same room up and running on WIFI or Ethernet backhaul, upgrade the satellites one at a time and when they are both on line upgrade the router. When everything is back up and you can see the satellite status on the router shut down the satellites and move them to the new location one at a time. Might recommend having no more than one switch between the router and a satellite.

Maybe someone from Netgear could look into the version issue and update the support web site!
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Seems there are some issues with the new Orbo firmware. Why Netgear did not post the info on the support web site but hide it in the community forum is not clear. They also did not make the version clear. 2.1 software isn't the same as 2.1.x.x in my book. Why did they leave the faulty software there?
Looks like Orbi is not ready for prime time.
R.J.S. I recommend you return the Orbi and invest in a couple of Asus routers. RT-AC86U for the main router and RT-AC66U_B1 for the nodes.

Sent from my P01M using Tapatalk
 

thiggins

Mr. Easy
Staff member
@Rocket: Try opening a conversation with NETGEAR Guy. To try to sort this out.

Are you sure there isn't another DHCP server on your LAN? Orbi router acts as a router by default, not an AP.
 

RocketJSquirrel

Senior Member
@Rocket
Are you sure there isn't another DHCP server on your LAN? Orbi router acts as a router by default, not an AP.
Yes, I'm sure. The symptom is indeed similar to what happens when there are LAN address conflicts. The network works fine as long as I don't wire the 2 satellites.

It makes me wonder whether the satellites are trying to use the same LAN address for both wired and wireless simultaneously. There is nothing in the GUI to switch between wired & wireless backhaul. The documentation says just plug 'em in and wired should work automatically.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Yes, I'm sure. The symptom is indeed similar to what happens when there are LAN address conflicts. The network works fine as long as I don't wire the 2 satellites.

It makes me wonder whether the satellites are trying to use the same LAN address for both wired and wireless simultaneously. There is nothing in the GUI to switch between wired & wireless backhaul. The documentation says just plug 'em in and wired should work automatically.
I can confirm that the network stops working when Orbi with 2.0.x.x firmware is wired connected. WIFI is OK. Seems to be OK wired with 2.1.2.18 firmware.

Sent from my P01M using Tapatalk
 

shad0wz

Occasional Visitor
Curious, I had same problem over the last week... Network was getting slower and slower... I was even getting packet loss to my pfsense router from a wired PC (ping times are usually less than 1ms, they were now up to 600+ms with lots of loss. Got so bad network was unusable.... I shut down my orbi's (one base and two sats with wired backhaul) and suddenly network is fast again, ping to pfsense firewall less than 1ms. Ive since turned the orbi's back up and things seem fine... if this happens again Im going to take a pcap and see whats going on. Almost seemed like some sort of packet storm. My Orbi's are in AP mode running V2.1.2.18.
 
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RogerSC

Part of the Furniture
I'd suggest that the OP try firmware version 2.1.2.18 to be able to try ethernet backhaul before returning the Orbi *smile*. You can update to 2.1.2.18, and the Orbi will not auto-flash the latest where they reverted ethernet backhaul (2.0.1.4).

If you try 2.1.1.16, the Orbi will auto-flash to 2.1.2.18, unless you take steps to block auto-update. So if 2.1.2.18 doesn't work for you, you can either return the Orbi, or wait for new firmware that will restore ethernet backhaul and fix the problems that some have seem with 2.1.2.18.

Personally, I'm enjoying using the eero. It also supports ethernet backhaul, and they just added IPv6 support for the eero as a router. It already supported IPv6 in bridge (AP) mode, but now supports it in router mode. It's working well for me in either mode.

Or you can go the wireless router mode (BHR, as some refer to it), with some strategically placed AP's. That's most likely what I would have done if we had wired ethernet in the places where we need it *smile*.
 

RogerSC

Part of the Furniture
Didn't realize until I read the above in detail that there is some confusion about Orbi releases. Here's some facts:

1. Version 2.0.1.4 is not an old version, it is the latest version. It's an old version in that features implemented after 2.0.1.4 will not be there...you can figure which features those are by looking at the release notes on the Netgear support site for the Orbi. Netgear has all the releases and each releases's notes posted there. Some users were having problems with version 2.1.2.18, so Netgear reverted back to a "previous" version feature-wise for that set of users, removing the problematic features, and made that available as the "latest" version. But you'll notice that a version 2.0.1.4 hasn't been released before, if you look at the past releases posted on the Netgear support site.

2. If you manually flash 2.0.1.4, your Orbi will not auto-update from 2.0.1.4 to 2.1.2.18, since that would defeat the purpose of having reverted the firmware for those that are having problems with 2.1.2.18. If version 2.1.2.18 works for you, there's no reason to go to 2.0.1.4.

3. If you are on a version other than 2.0.1.4 or 2.1.2.18, your Orbi should auto-upgrade to 2.1.2.18. Unless you block auto-upgrade which you can do, but it's a little tricky. Then if 2.1.2.18 doesn't work for you, you can manually flash 2.0.1.4.

For me, I would try 2.1.2.18 first and if that worked for me, then fine. I'd have all the features that have been implemented for the Orbi to date. If 2.1.2.18 didn't work, then I'd flash 2.0.1.4, and use that. If you end up on 2.0.1.4, as I said above, you can either decide to wait for new firmware that puts back the features that have been reverted, or you can move to a different router or mesh system. Or something else that you figure out, like using a central router and AP's.
 

RocketJSquirrel

Senior Member

e38BimmerFN

Very Senior Member
wired back haul is working for me.
 

RocketJSquirrel

Senior Member
The 2.2 firmware remedies this issue and seems to work well overall. Hopefully Netgear will promote it to full public release soon.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
The 2.2 firmware remedies this issue and seems to work well overall. Hopefully Netgear will promote it to full public release soon.
Looks like you were able to get the beta 2.2 from Netgear. They told me I did not have the required problems to be elevated.
 

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