NETGEAR ORBI 5G WiFi 6 Mesh (NBK752): a fast WiFi 6 mesh network with 5G

NETGEAR ORBI 5G WiFi 6 Mesh (NBK752): a fast WiFi 6 mesh network with 5G

Image: Cliff Joseph/ZDNet.

NETGEAR offers a wide range of Orbi mesh routers. Well designed, easy to use and with good performance, Netgear products are an attractive option although expensive for offices and homes.

Netgear Orbi NBK752

Netgear Orbi NBK752 – Best Prices:

  • Amazon

    1697.95

This is especially true of the latest addition to the lineup, the Orbi 5G WiFi 6 Mesh System (NBK752), which combines Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) connectivity with 5G mobile broadband to provide a fallback solution for when that you lose your device cable connection.

Technical characteristics

  • Dimensions: Router = 246.4m x 195.6mm x 86.4mm / Satellite = 231.1mm x 182.9mm x 71.1mm
  • Weight : Router = 1.25kg / Satellite = 0.86kg
  • 4G LTE Bands: B2, 4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 25, 26, 29, 30, 41, 48, 66, 71
  • 5G bands: n2, n5, n25, n41, n48, n66, n71, n77
  • SIM slot: Nano SIM
  • Beamforming: 2.4GHz and 5GHz MU-MIMO for simultaneous data streaming to multiple devices
  • Processor: 1.4GHz quad core
  • R.A.M: 1GB
  • Storage : 512MB NAND Flash
  • Ports: Router = two Gigabit Ethernet LAN, one Gigabit Ethernet LAN/WAN / Satellite = two Gigabit Ethernet LAN
  • Security : Netgear Armor (antivirus and data theft protection), 802.11i and 128-bit AES with PSK (Wi-Fi)
  • Warranty and Support: Two-year hardware warranty, 24×7 technical support for 90 days from date of purchase (when purchased from a Netgear authorized reseller)
  • In the box : One Orbi AX4200 5G WiFi 6 Router (NBR750), One Orbi Satellite (RBS750), One Power Adapter, 2m Ethernet Cable, Quick Start Guide
  • Price : 1,199.95 euros (router + satellite), 249.99 euros (additional satellite)

prices and configurations

The Orbi 5G WiFi 6 is an ultra-premium box that combines tri-band WiFi 6 (with a maximum speed of 4.2 Gbps) and 5G mobile broadband (the speed of which depends on your operator’s 5G coverage). combined. You’ll need to provide the 5G SIM yourself, but the Orbi is currently compatible with n1, n3, n7, n8, n20, n28, n40, n41, n77, and n78 frequencies.

The basic price for the equipment is therefore €1199.95. For this price you have a mesh system with satellite router that can cover areas up to about 450 square meters. Packages with two or three satellites are also available (for €1,448.95 and €1,697.95 respectively). An additional satellite alone costs €249.99.

If the addition is too salty for you, you can still get the previous model LBR20 including Wi-Fi 5 and 4G for a price between 300 and 400 euros.

design and functions

The Orbi 5G WiFi 6 doesn’t change the line’s traditional design. There are therefore two small tall and slender towers that take up very little space once installed. Be careful though, it’s good to leave some space around the Orbi when installing. This avoids obstacles that could block the WiFi signal.

Netgear Orbi 5G Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System

Router (left) and satellite (right) – Image: Cliff Joseph / ZDNet.

NETGEAR’s Orbi systems consist of a primary router and one or more secondary “satellites”. Here, the router is slightly taller than the satellite at 9.75 inches, compared to 9.25 inches for the satellite. On the back of the main router you will find a Gigabit Ethernet WAN port that can be connected to your existing modem to use its Internet connection. The router also has a slot for a 5G SIM card (in nano format) to have a fallback solution based on ultra-high-speed cellular. Both the router and the satellite have two Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports to connect your network with wired connections.

Netgear Orbi 5G Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System

Ports and Connectors: 2 antenna slots for 5G, one Nano SIM slot, 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1 LAN/WAN Ethernet port. The satellite has two Gigabit Ethernet ports. Image: Cliff Joseph/ZDNet.

The router and satellite each have six internal antennas for the mesh WiFi network. The main router also has two slots on the back to install a pair of antennas that can improve 5G reception. The idea is pretty good at a time when 5G coverage isn’t perfect yet. However, the antennas are sold separately, which is a bit petty considering the price of this solution.

Netgear is also pushing hard to buy, with the Orbi app for iOS and Android regularly trying to sell you subscriptions to security service Armor ($99.99 per year) and Smart Parental Controls ($69.99 per year). The Parental Controls tool with regular reminders to subscribe proved to be particularly annoying. However, the Orbi 5G WiFi 6 comes with a 30-day free trial of both services.

Netgear Orbi app

Image: Cliff Joseph/ZDNet.

Use

The Orbi 5G WiFi 6 is primarily designed for personal use or teleworking. The Orbi application therefore gets down to the nitty gritty. By downloading the app and scanning the QR code printed on the main router, the software will automatically detect the router, verify your internet connection, and then connect the router and satellite to form a mesh Wi-Fi network.

The app creates a single network merging the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, with the option to also create a guest network if needed. This simplicity will certainly appeal to people working from home, but the Orbi 5G WiFi 6 lacks the more advanced features of Netgear’s Pro models. Especially the one that allows you to create multiple networks with different access privileges. IT managers may therefore prefer Orbi Pro or one of Netgear’s mobile hotspots with 4G/5G connectivity.

However, the main benefit of the Orbi 5G WiFi 6 is its ability to connect to the internet over both a traditional broadband connection (or fiber) and 4G/5G. The Orbi application thus offers three modes of operation. Ethernet only mode, which relies on the WAN port to leverage the Internet connection of an existing broadband modem or router. The “LTE only” mode, on the other hand, relies exclusively on mobile broadband and lets the WAN port act as an additional LAN port. Business users, on the other hand, will likely want to use the third mode, “Ethernet+LTE”, which utilizes the WAN port whenever possible, but can also switch to 5G/4G if broadband in your home or desktop goes down for any reason.

The Orbi app appears to be using the term “LTE” to refer to all mobile broadband, which is technically incorrect. Our review unit also seemed to default to “LTE only,” which is a little confusing given that the Orbi suddenly couldn’t connect to the internet when plugged into an office router. It took me a while to find the submenu that allows you to change modes. A little more enlightenment on this crucial feature would not be too much.

perfomance

The first tests were performed in Ethernet mode only to test the speed of the mesh WiFi network. The main Orbi router was connected to a regular office router, while the Orbi satellite was placed in a side office where Wi-Fi reception has traditionally been poor. The regular router typically delivers an average speed of 355 Mbps for devices in the same room, but drops to 71 Mbps in more distant rooms. The Orbi mesh network performed better in both rooms: 430 Mbps in the main office and an impressive 390 Mbps in the side office.

After removing the Ethernet cable, the Orbi system understood that it needed to switch to 5G/LTE mode. 5G download speeds were relatively average, averaging around 60Mbps, but that’s more down to poor 5G coverage in the region than a weakness in the Orbi system. With this speed, you can still surf the web, check your email, and even make a few video calls in case you happen to lose your wired connection.

Conclusion

The Orbi 5G WiFi 6 is expensive, and Netgear’s aggressive sales methods when it comes to add-on services are a concern given the solution’s price. For business users who need a mesh WLAN with mobile broadband support in an emergency, there are certainly cheaper alternatives.

That said, the Orbi 5G WiFi 6 is also future-proof with its Wi-Fi 6 compatibility to support a large number of devices simultaneously. And with its 5G compatibility, the Orbi also offers peace of mind for business users who need fast and uninterrupted connectivity.

alternatives

If you like the idea of ​​a mesh WiFi network with mobile broadband compatibility but find Netgear’s WiFi 6/5G solution too expensive, the WiFi 5/4G LTE model (LBR20) is a cheaper alternative. If you just want to set up a fixed internet connection in your home, there are other alternatives:

Netgear Orbi 4G LTE Mesh WiFi Router (LBR20)

Check out the LBR20 on Amazon

Netgear Orbi WiFi 6E Mesh System (RBKE963)

See RBKE963 on Amazon

Source: ZDNet.com


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