Netgear Orbi’s networking equipment is well-known for its speed and reliability, but the company is taking things to a whole new level with its first Wi-Fi 6E mesh router system. The new Orbi Quad-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E features support for 10 Gigabit internet, plus a dedicated network to keep your smart home gadgets isolated from other devices’ traffic.
Out of the box, the Orbi Quad-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E kit offers a 30% increase in wireless networking speeds. That improvement is due to the system’s AXE11000 rating—Netgear packed a ton of radios in these routers, providing 4 x 4 MIMO support on the 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz bands. (There’s also a second 5GHz band that connects the routers together, decreasing network congestion.)
The 6GHz band is the star of the show, speed-wise. It ensures Gigabit Wi-Fi speeds for compatible devices, namely the latest flagship phones and laptops. You can even set up a dedicated 6E network just for compatible devices, if you’re very particular about speed.
But Netgear’s new smart home networking software is the most interesting part of this package, and it’s something we’d like to see in more routers. Basically, you can set up a dedicated network to isolate your smart home devices from other traffic. Netgear says that phones can “seamlessly” communicate with devices on your dedicated smart home network, eliminating the problems encountered when setting smart home devices on a “guest” network.
Unfortunately, the Orbi Quad-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E costs a fortune. Wi-Fi 6 equipment is already a bit expensive, but this Wi-Fi 6E router three-pack costs a whopping $1,500. Spending $1,500 on a mesh Wi-Fi kit really isn’t a great idea, at least not for the average person. This kind of technology develops very quickly, and in a few years, it will cost a whole lot less.
That said, I don’t think that the Orbi Quad-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E is overpriced—it supports 10 Gigabit internet, it’s got a 9,000-foot range, and on top of all its smart home software features, it offers a dedicated Wi-Fi 6 band for all your cutting-edge devices. If you’re living at the cusp of technology, own a ton of smart home equipment, and live in an area where providers are testing 10 Gigabit internet, this is an investment that could last for years.