Netgear Orbi Outdoor Satellite review: Great range, but only so-so speed

    Netgear has top-of-the-line Wi-Fi mesh community techniques available on the market within the Orbi RBK50, and now it’s the one producer to supply a weatherized mesh node that can prolong your community deep into your yard.

    The corporate says its Orbi Out of doors Satellite tv for pc (Netgear mannequin quantity RBS50Y) can add as much as 2,500 sq. ft of Wi-Fi protection, and I did see vital will increase in throughput and vary. I examined it with Netgear’s $370 RBK50 kit, which consists of an RBR50 router and one RBS50 indoor satellite tv for pc. I up to date all three gadgets to the newest firmware previous to benchmarking and recorded a considerable enhance in indoor efficiency as nicely.

    I encountered one vital problem, nonetheless: After updating the out of doors satellite tv for pc’s firmware, my shopper gadget—an HP Envy x360 with an Intel Twin Band Wi-fi-AC 7265 Wi-Fi adapter—would connect with the out of doors satellite tv for pc’s 5GHz radio provided that it was inside a foot or so of the entry level. As quickly as I moved the shopper additional away, the shopper would drop that connection and change to the AP’s a lot slower 2.4GHz radio. 

    After I quizzed Netgear about this, a spokesperson defined: “Orbi Out of doors’s 5G front-haul output energy is far decrease than its 2.4GHz radio as a result of regulatory restrict of out of doors software. The linked gadget might mechanically change to the upper RSSI [relative received signal strength] radio when shifting from the satellite tv for pc.”  

    However that type of begs the query: If the shopper goes to connect to the two.4GHz radio 9 occasions out of 10 anyway, the place’s the worth in having such an costly chipset within the Orbi Out of doors?

    The opposite downside is that none of mesh networks available on the market right now are interoperable. Whereas 802.11ac is an IEEE commonplace, the 802.11ac mesh routers and mesh nodes from Netgear (Orbi), Linksys (Velop), Google (Google Wifi), TP-Link (Deco), Eero, and all the opposite producers are incompatible with one another. If you wish to develop your mesh community, you have to use a mesh node from the identical producer that constructed your mesh router. If you wish to use Netgear’s Orbi Out of doors Satellite tv for pc, you should utilize it solely with Netgear’s Orbi-series routers (there are client and enterprise fashions at various price points).

    Orbi Outdoor Satellite in its test location Michael Brown

    The Netgear Orbi Out of doors Satellite tv for pc might be mounted to a stand, as proven right here, or held on the wall (with out the stand). Mounting it greater would seemingly enhance its vary.

    You’ll must pay to play

    The Orbi Out of doors Satellite tv for pc is dear—$329 at Amazon—and it’ll ship its highest efficiency solely with Netgear’s top-shelf Orbi routers, which use a devoted 4×4 radio channel for information backhaul at a theoretical most of 1.7Gbps. These could be the consumer-oriented RBR50 and the business-oriented SRR60. When paired with the SRR60, the out of doors node additionally helps the enterprise router’s particular options: devoted admin, visitor, and worker networks.

    The out of doors satellite tv for pc may also work with Netgear’s less-expensive client Orbi routers, the RBR40 and RBR20. These mesh routers have devoted wi-fi backhaul channels, too, however they use 2×2 radios with most theoretical throughput of 866Mbps. A December firmware replace additionally lastly added wired information backhaul, however that received’t apply to the out of doors satellite tv for pc as a result of it doesn’t have any ethernet ports. (Netgear rightly seen that as a safety vulnerability, since an unauthorized person may merely plug a cable into the out of doors entry level and achieve fast entry to the community.)

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