Netgear’s Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi Routers Now Available From Apple

Netgear's Orbi Whole Home Mesh Wi-Fi Systems are now available for purchase from Apple retail stores as of July, joining the existing Linksys Velop routers that Apple has been offering ever since it discontinued its own AirPort line of router options.

Apple is selling the RBK23 three pack Orbi Mesh System for $300 and the RBK50, the higher end model, in a two pack for $329.95.


These routers all work in a similar way, offering up a main Orbi router and satellite nodes to extend WiFi throughout the whole house. Maximum Wi-Fi speeds differ between the two models, as do the number of satellites, so some research is required to find the Orbi system that best fits your needs.

The RBK50, which includes one router and one satellite, covers up to 5,000 square feet of space and offers Wi-Fi speeds of up to 3Gb/s. The RBK23 triple pack with one router and two satellites covers up to 6,000 square feet and offers Wi-Fi speeds up to 2.2Gb/s.

With the Orbi system, the idea is to put a single router in a main area like a living room, outfitting other areas further in the house with their own satellite routers so all areas of the house get the same Wi-Fi coverage with no dead zones. You can add additional Orbi satellites to a home setup at any time.

Along with the RBK50 and the RBK23, Apple also sells the CBK40, an Orbi router system that has a built-in cable modem that works with Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, and others. It comes in a single router version that covers 2,000 square feet or a router plus satellite version that covers up to 4,000 square feet.

All of the Orbi routers are available from Apple retail stores and the Apple online store.

Tag: Orbi

This article, "Netgear's Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi Routers Now Available From Apple" first appeared on MacRumors.com

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New ‘EasyMesh’ Program Will Let You Extend Your Wi-Fi Mesh System No Matter the Brand

Wi-Fi Alliance today announced a new certification program called "EasyMesh," which will allow users who own mesh network products to choose from devices across different brands, while still ensuring reliable Wi-Fi coverage (via PCWorld). This way, customers will no longer need to stay within a single-vendor ecosystem dictated by the brand of the hub router, and can branch out to add on access points to their network that might have better performance, or other advantages.

So with EasyMesh certified products, if you own a Linksys Velop router then you can extend coverage across your home using a Netgear Orbi access point. Right now, users can only add products onto mesh networks that work with the main network gateway. For EasyMesh, the limitation as of now is company adoption, so users will have to wait for each mesh system maker to introduce EasyMesh compatibility into their devices.


According to Wi-Fi Alliance marketing vice president Kevin Robinson, EasyMesh is implemented in software, "so there should be no need for new hardware," which could speed up adoption rates. Still, Robinson pointed out that it will be up to each company to decide about adding EasyMesh into existing products. He also stated that companies will also be able to "differentiate their products with unique features or performance" and went on to break down the main components of EasyMesh.
“Interoperability has been core to Wi-Fi’s success,” said Wi-Fi Alliance marketing VP Kevin Robinson in an embargoed interview last week. “A standardized approach enables great economies of scale.” Robinson explained that EasyMesh has two main components: The controller and the agent.

“The controller resides in one device on the network—in either a gateway or an access point—where it controls and manages all the devices on the network and how they connect to each other. Agents are in the mesh access points, and they organize with each other and provide information to the controller about how the network is operating.”
In the announcement, the Alliance described EasyMesh as a system that will be familiar to any mesh network user. The program monitors network conditions and "self-adapts as needed," and it can guide internet-connected devices to the optimal access point in order for the user to have the best possible connection. Of course, the main advantage is that EasyMesh accomodates Wi-Fi extending access points across various brands, making the creation of an in-home Wi-Fi network far easier.

Wi-Fi EasyMesh networks accommodate a greater selection of devices across brands and are also extensible, making it easy for users to introduce new Wi-Fi EasyMesh access points into their network. Wi-Fi EasyMesh access points today will maintain interoperability with future Wi-Fi EasyMesh networks, providing an enhanced user experience for years to come.

“Wi-Fi EasyMesh offers both service providers and Wi-Fi users a consistent approach to multiple AP solutions," said Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. “Wi-Fi Alliance is delivering a standardized solution to a market-leading product category enabling a strong ecosystem for interoperable, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices.”
Mesh networks have become increasingly popular over the last few years, thanks to their ability to easily extend Wi-Fi signals throughout a home. Some well-known brands include eero, Linksys Velop, Google Wi-Fi, Luma, and Netgear Orbi, which just announced a new 2-in-1 modem router system earlier this month.

Apple itself never offered a Wi-Fi mesh system, and the company officially got out of the router market completely in April with the discontinuation of the AirPort Express, AirPort Extreme, and AirPort Time Capsule. As an alternative Apple sells the tri-band Linksys Velop system on Apple.com, and the new dual-band system will be launching tomorrow, May 15, although it's still unclear if it will also be up on Apple's website.

Check out our full review of the dual-band Linksys Velop for more information on the company's latest Wi-Fi product.

Tags: Linksys, eero, Orbi

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Netgear Debuts New 2-in-1 Orbi Modem Router System Starting at $300

Netgear today announced the "Orbi Tri-Band Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router System," an all-new 2-in-1 device designed to replace an existing cable modem and router setup. The system covers up to 4,000 square feet, and sold-separately Orbi Satellites can expand coverage by an additional 2,000 square feet each.

The new Orbi is compatible with all major cable internet service providers, and Netgear pointed out that it's designed to work "right out of the box" for Xfinity, Spectrum, Cox, and more. This is Orbi's first product that combines its Wi-Fi mesh networking abilities with a modem.


If users don't own their modem, many ISPs offer leases with rental costs at around $10/month added on top of the cost of an internet bill. Because of this, Netgear is pitching the new Orbi as a cost-saving measure for users to replace their existing products "and save up to $120 per year." The new Orbi starts at $299.99.
“We’re excited to be the first retail offering to combine the benefits of Orbi whole-home WiFi mesh networking with an embedded cable modem in a single, space-saving device,” said David Henry, senior vice president of Connected Home Products for NETGEAR.

“With the Orbi Tri-Band WiFi Cable Modem System, you’ll benefit from incredibly fast cable downloads and blazing-fast WiFi for an uninterrupted data flow to more connected devices, everywhere in your home, plus tons of great Orbi features like voice commands and smart parental controls, which will be added to the offering soon.”
On the modem side of things, the Orbi integrates a DOCSIS 3.0 CableLabs-certified modem with 32x8 channel bonding and download speeds of up to 1.4 Gbps. Netgear said the device's router supports high-performance Wi-Fi up to 2.2 Gbps; multi-user multiple-input, multiple-output technology; and includes a quad-core processor for better 4K video streaming.

Orbi also has "Smart Connect Technology" that chooses the best Wi-Fi band for each device on a network, avoiding interference and optimizing network performance, while Beamforming+ improves speed and range for 2.4 and 5 GHz devices. The Orbi itself includes four Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports so that users can attach wired devices and ensure even faster file transfers and reliable connections.

The system uses a connected iOS app that lets users set up the device, manage their network, update software, and other features. Netgear said that Orbi is compatible with voice commands for Alexa and Google Assistant, but didn't mention Siri support.

The Orbi Tri-Band Wi-Fi Cable Modem Router will be available to purchase soon for $299.99, while a bundle with one Orbi satellite runs for $399.99.

Tags: NETGEAR, Orbi

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