Mesh WiFi routers are all the rage this year, and rightfully so. A mesh network delivers a stronger connection throughout your home with fewer dead zones and dropouts. And Netgear’s Orbi WiFi system is one of the most powerful systems I’ve tested.
I received the two-unit AC3000 Orbi WiFi system to test from Netgear. It comes with a base router and one satellite. Both feature four Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port. To my surprise, the units are much larger than I expected, especially when compared to other mesh WiFi systems, and finding a spot to place them proved difficult.
After finding a spot for the oversize base unit and satellite to live, I set my system up using my Google Pixel. I did the entire setup via the phone’s web browser and it was a breeze. In total it took about 15 minutes to get everything up and running.
Netgear says that the two-unit Orbi system covers up to 5000 sq. ft. and they don’t lie. I live in a side-split bungalow and have had issues in the past with dropouts and dead zones. With the Orbi my connection has been solid throughout my home, in my garage, and all around my yard.
The Ethernet ports on the satellite have proved beneficial for connecting IoT/Smart Home hubs, like my Philips Hue and Wink hubs. I also found that the Orbi works with wireless IoT/Smart Home products much better than other mesh systems I have tested.
Sadly, the USB ports on both the base unit and satellite are for networked storage only and not printers.
App and features
The official Orbi app is quite useless and I recommend Netgear’s genie app to manage your Orbi system. While the genie app offers some nice features for mapping out devices and monitoring traffic, it still does not give enough control when it comes to security or parental features (you can’t even turn on the guest network via the app and will need to login through the web portal for this). The system can supposedly be controlled via an Amazon Echo, which would be a bonus if it ever gets released in Canada.
Overall, if you are having issues with WiFi dropouts in your home or have a lot of connected devices, the Orbi should solve your problems. If you want more parental controls, features or a better app experience, look into other mesh systems like the eero or Luma.
Are you looking to upgrade your home WiFi network? Share your thoughts in the comments below or at facebook.com/bamcatBuzz.