Simply while you have been beginning to consider upgrading to a Wi-Fi 6 router, Wi-Fi 6E is right here. And it’s costly. Netgear introduced its latest entry into the 6E foray as we speak, the Orbi Quad-B and Mesh WiFi 6E RBKE960 collection. That is the primary quad-band Wi-Fi 6E mesh providing, however not the primary Wi-Fi 6E mesh router (the $1,200 Linksys Atlas Max 6E took that honor earlier this 12 months). That includes a 2.4 GHz band, two 5GHz, and a brand new 6GHz band, this $1,500 system additionally helps 4 completely different networks out of the field, together with one designed solely to your insecure sensible residence units. And if that doesn’t get you excited, they’re additionally releasing a limited-edition coloration… black.
This extremely costly setup ($500 greater than Orbi’s already pricey tri-band Wi-Fi 6 option) helps multi-gigabit web. Netgear claims that even when your private home doesn’t have many Wi-Fi 6E shoppers (which it gained’t), you’ll see elevated speeds of as much as 30 p.c because of the important variety of radios crammed in (every band has 4 x 4 MIMO help and the system is rated AXE11000), plus the upgraded antenna designs. This factor is stacked. It’s additionally giant.
“It’s a posh product and due to this fact difficult to get all this expertise right into a smaller kind issue,” Ravindra Bhilave, director of product administration at Netgear, advised me throughout a briefing forward of the announcement. The place its opponents resembling Nest and Eero have extra discreet, compact designs, Netgear is sticking with Orbi’s loud and proud look. At one stage, Netgear even determined to step backward within the design evolution strategy of the router by releasing a black model. I’ve clearly wasted numerous hours complaining that black (and, to be honest, white) plastic containers don’t look good in most properties.
However hey — if this factor can do all it says it will probably and maintain my son’s Xbox on-line whereas I Zoom, my husband watches Squid Sport on Netflix, and my daughter hits Rec Room on the Oculus, it might be neon purple for all I’d care. Wi-Fi is the spine of the smarthome and any improve to it’s usually appreciated.
The flexibility to arrange a separate sensible residence community on this Orbi system can also be an intriguing proposition, though the way it will really be executed stays to be seen. Netgear tells me the transition between networks will probably be “seamless.” So, in case your cellphone is on the common community and also you’re making an attempt to manage units on the sensible residence community, there gained’t be any points. That’s an issue folks run into when making an attempt to make use of a Visitor Community as a sensible residence community as visitor networks are designed to be sealed off from all the pieces else, which may trigger communication points. Netgear additionally identified that sensible residence units are sometimes “not pleasant with band-steering,” and this devoted community can make certain units keep on one band.
Orbi is persistently extremely rated for reliability and efficiency, even when it doesn’t mix in with the house decor in addition to a Plume or supply double responsibility as a sensible speaker like Nest or a sensible residence hub as Eero can. However do you want Wi-Fi 6E? Do you could spend $1,500 for higher Wi-Fi? Not now, no. However in a few years you would possibly want you had. So, in case you’re out there for a brand new router, it might be value contemplating.
The reason being that Wi-Fi 6E brings with it an entire new band — 6GHz. This delivers extra spectrum to deal with multi-gigabit speeds on suitable telephones and laptops (a handful of which at present help it). There’s heaps extra to like about Wi-Fi 6 (learn our in-depth explainer for all the details), and the Orbi system even has its personal 6E community, which you’ll be able to arrange only for these units. Netgear opted to not use 6GHz because the devoted backhaul, as Linksys did with restricted success primarily based on our early testing. As an alternative, it makes use of the second 5GHz band. Bhilave says the group made this selection as 5GHz has higher vary than 6.
Different specs embody an upgraded WAN port (to your incoming web connection) that now helps as much as 10 gigabits, an extra 2.5-gigabit port on the router, plus three different ethernet ports on every machine, so you may hardwire all of your TVs. The satellites additionally help wired backhaul, like different Orbi methods. Netgear says its three-pack covers as much as 9,000 sq. ft, and you’ll increase it additional for $599 per satellite tv for pc. The Orbi Quad-Band Mesh WiFi 6E System RBKE963 might be preordered as we speak within the US and UK on Netgear.com and involves different areas as WiFi 6E is accredited.