Mesh networking is starting to take a foothold in the home market, but the technology has actually been around for quite sometime. In fact, you have most likely been connected to a mesh network at some point in time without even realizing it. Hotels, universities, and malls have been using the tech for years to keep their students and customers seamlessly connected to the internet over large areas. The cost of setting up and maintaining a large, mesh network is worthwhile for the enterprise and major institutions, but for the rest of us — until recently — mesh networks have simply been out of reach. This has kept the technology out of the hands of the average consumer, but over the last couple of years, Netgear, along with a few other companies, have started a home mesh Wi-Fi revolution.
The Orbi (CBR40) we will be showing you here today is not Netgear’s first mesh Wi-Fi router, nor is it the first to enter our lab. Back in 2016 we were able to review the Netgear Orbi AC3000, a powerful mesh WiFi system that consisted of a single router and satellites that offered 3Gbps of Tri-Band Wi-Fi coverage of up to 4000 sq ft. It did this without traditional range extenders, boosters, or repeaters, many of which create more problems than they solve. Unlike these products, the AC3000 didn’t need to create a secondary SSID as is the case with some range extenders. It also didn’t need to process and repeat the Wi-Fi signal, effectively cutting your total bandwidth in half. Instead it offered total home coverage with no dead spots at full speed over a single wireless network, with devices linked together over a dedicated, high-speed backhaul.
The latest Orbi system we are looking at here offers everything its predecessor did, but it ups the ante by incorporating a DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem as well. This addresses a couple of issues that can arise when using a 3rd party modem. First off, everything is plug-and-play. With the modem, router and satellite all purpose built to work together, setup and maintenance is a breeze. The other issue it addresses is financial. Most internet service provides charge a property tax or rental fee when using their hardware. This can range anywhere from $5 to $10 USD a month or more depending on your provider. With the Orbi modem you don’t have to pay that rental fee, so the device should pay for itself over time.
|Speed and Range||DOCSIS 3.0
||32×8 CableLabs DOCSIS 3.0 Certified Modem
||AC2200 (400Mbps @ 2.4GHz + 866Mbps @ 5GHz)|
||Tri-Band WiFi-Tx/Rx 2×2 (2.4GHz) + 2×2 (5GHz) + 2×2 (5GHz)
|Number of Ethernet Ports||Four (4) Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports
One (1) Cable/Coaxial port
|Key Features||Two-in-one–DOSCIS 3.0 Cable Modem + 2.2Gbps Tri-Band WiFi Router
Compatible with all major Internet Service Providers – Xfinity from Comcast, Cox internet plans and more
WiFi coverage up to 2,000 sq ft with high performance AC2200 WiFi
|Security||WiFi Protected Access (WPA/WPA2-PSK)
Guest network acess – Separate & secure
||Dimensions: 6.7 x 3.1 x8.9in (170.3 x 78.9 x 225.8mm)
Weight: 2.15lbs (975.2g)
|Package Contents||One (1) Orbi Cable Modem Router (CBR40)
One (1) 2m Ethernet Cable
One (1) 12V/3.5A power adapter
Quick start guide
|Price||$399 — Find The Orbi Home Mesh Wi-Fi System @ Amazon|
With all the included technology and interoperability, the Orbi mesh Wi-Fi system is all about ease of use and high-performance, trouble-free home networking. The question is, can it deliver? Let’s find out…