Netgear wants to make routers great again, with the introduction of their new Orbi series of routers that take after the older and powerful RBK50 kit, which was an AC3000 Wi-Fi station. This time around the new cheaper routers are the RBK30 and the RBK40.
The Orbi routers are known for their no-hassle setup and great range. It seems that their new offerings are no different as well. The RBK30 is the least capacitive, costing $300 and offering a single AC2200 router with a range of 3,500 square feet. It also comes with a wall-plug satellite that aims at boosting the Wi-Fi signal. The second new offering is the RBK40 which comes with two routers with AC2200 and covers 4,000 square-feet at a cost of $350.
TechCrunch’s experience with the router showed that signal strength and speed had significantly increased from 4Mbps to 10Mbps and a constant full connection that lasted throughout the house. The satellite plug that is connected to a power socket does not offer any other features apart from just signal boosting. Although a much-appreciated function, we are sure many would have also preferred some tethering capabilities via an internet port could have come with them. Even so, Netgear has made this the first time that they have a router be accompanied by a range extender.
What is good about this release is that the Orbi routers are now expanded from just the RBK50, offering more options especially on the cheap without sacrificing on the USP that this range of routers has to offer. One drawback these two new routers have from their older brother is that they are not optimized for Gigabit speeds and will max out at just 867 Mbps.
Engadget claims that for smaller homes and apartments, these are the routers to buy. Netgear is focused mainly on range and speed here and it follows up well on both those aspects. It’s great to see manufacturers like Netgear wanting to make just the core functions that people are actually worried about to be perfect. The devices themselves look very neat and are far from what a regular router is known to look like. As far as the kits and availability goes, all of the Orbis will be available in bundles as well as individual units. A pair of the original Orbi – the RBK50 will sell for $400, while the mid-sized Orbi units will go for $350. A bundle with a midsized unit and a wall plug-in for $299.99. Individually, the large units will be available for $249.99, the midsized for $199.99, and the wall plug-ins for $149.99.
The multi-unit setup, albeit new, is still quite a useful configuration and the Orbi, being part of the premium router range promises some of the best performance we can expect.