I’ll never forget installing my first Netgear Orbi – the mesh WiFi system that delivered speed to every corner of my home. But fast forward to 2020 and my home hasn’t physically changed, but the number of devices in it has – dramatically. Which is why we need to consider the next generation of WiFi, with the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6.
WiFi 6 is a completely new generation of WiFi which allows for faster speeds, more bandwidth and basically a more efficient modern network.
Think of it like a highway, and one with several onramps. Now I don’t know if you’ve seen those on-ramps that have stop lights that control the traffic flow, but traditional WiFi stops and starts as you request data, allowing one device at a time. Hardly noticeable, but it all counts!
WiFi 6 allows multiple genuinely simultaneous connections meaning there’s an improvement in the latency on your network.
I connected the Netgear Orbi Wifi 6 to our home, where we have 250mbps NBN. Here’s how it performed.
Now a chart like this doesn’t help a lot. The first connection at home is the second bottom line, working upwards.
So for a bit more context, let me do a crude floorplan of my home – the so you can see where these measurements take place.
These speeds surprised me. I’ve always known the range was good, the filling of “blackspots” was good, but this is impressive.
Why get WiFi 6?
WiFi 6 offers 4 times capacity, and a 40% increase in throughput.
Plus, for WiFi 6 enabled devices you’ll see a longer battery life too which is great for your smartphone’s end of day battery numbers.
It’s entirely backwards compatible and you don’t need to buy anything else new. Your existing connection or modem will work, and all your devices will still connect.
The Orbi app for Netgear Orbi WiFi 6
Setting up the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 was a breeze. The app really guides you through this, and I’ve tried a bunch of different app products for networking setups and have been frustrated by some – Orbi never fails.
You can choose your own network name, new passwords and such really simply as part of the process.
A tip – if you already have your own network name and password, you can rename the new Orbi to the same name and password, just disconnect the old network first. This means all your devices just reconnect without any setup changes.
Once setup, the app allows you to see how many devices are connected to your network, and a thing I love is getting alerts when new devices connect.
You can kick devices off the network with the flick of a virtual switch too – great for carrying out that threat of turning off the WiFi with the kids, without impacting your own connectivity.
And the app allows control of Netgear Armour. Armour is a subscription based security service powered by BitDefender. It will block threats, alert you to access to threat based websites and can also be rolled out across your devices. You are given a score within the app as to the security of your network.
More on Armour down the track.
Who should buy a Netgear Orbi Wifi 6?
If you don’t have a mesh WiFi system at all, then Orbi is for sure the go-to option.
There are many different Orbi Systems, ranging in features and price.
Orbi WiFi 6 comes in two variants the RBK852 and RBK752. The 752 has less antennas and is suited to homes with around 40 devices connected. That’s priced at $899 and I think is the sweet spot for connectivity and future proofing the average home.
For the advanced user, the early adopter, the smart home or keen to be smart home, you need to consider the RBK852. At $1399 it’s pricey for sure, but it will happily handle in excess of 60 connected devices of all varieties.
Buying Orbi WiFi 6 is about investing in the connectivity of your home, ensuring that your devices today and into the future will connect well, and at speed.
It’s a five star product for me, price is the only thing that could take away from that rating.