Netgear Orbi RBK50 Router Review – Is it a Worthy Router?

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Netgear Orbi RBK50

If I were to keep all other factors constant and advice you on the fastest router for large homes, then I would point you to the Netgear Orbi RBK50. However, there are many factors involved while you are purchasing a router. For me, I mostly value Speed.

Others consider the Overall performance of the routers. There is a group of people who also are tight on budget; they check on the price first, then the other specifications.

According to my experience, Netgear routers are on top of the list while you take some factors to consider. For instance, for full home coverage, gaming, Speed, and the best technology. However, for some elements like price and extra-large homes, Netgear is not so equaled to that.

This article is specially made to enlighten you on the Netgear Orbi router, RBK50. We have done a comprehensive report for you. It will enable you to get acquainted with everything that you need to know before you purchase.

Specifications 

  • WiFi Spec: 802.11ac/Tri-Band Router-Extender Kit
  • Number of Antennas/Removable: 6/No
  • Ports: Four 1Gbps LAN, USB 2.0, power
  • Processor: Quad-core ARM 710MHz
  • Memory/Storage: 512MB/4GB
  • WiFi Chip: Qualcomm IPQ4019 and QCA9984 for backhaul control
  • Peak 802.11ac Performance: 552.1Mbps
  • Range: At least 150 feet, the router only
  • Size: 8.9- x 6.7- x 3.1-inches

Why Netgear Orbi RBK50

This router, without any sugar-coating, is so powerful in terms of penetration to objects. Okay, maybe I should explain what this means. The Speed of the WiFi decrease when it penetrates items. Example, wall, metals, ceiling, etc. This means that for a larger home, you need a stronger router whose WiFi does not decrease when penetration occurs.

Netgear Orbi RBK50 speeds

Above is a comprehensive report of a summarized photo showing a comparison of the Netgear router with others.

Orbi RBK50 transmits WiFi data on three radio-frequency bands. The primary 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz radios provide a theoretical peak throughput of 1.2Gbps of data flow to user devices.

It adds a second 5-GHz, 1.7Gbps radio that’s exclusively dedicated to the backhaul the data that is transmitted from the router Orbi unit to the satellite Orbis and back. Because of this side channel, the main links between the Orbi units and your devices stay reliable and fast.

In concurrence with the above configuration, each Orbi device has six high-performance amplified antennas around its perimeter, as well as Bluetooth radio and antenna.

It is important to note that the Orbi and satellite units are not interchangeable. They look similar, though. The router decides by itself which group to use.

Pros

  • Attractive and simple design
  • A reliable 500 Mbps speed per unit
  • Easy installation and setup
  • Covers up to 5000 square feet
  • Signal penetrates walls well
  • It stands vertically unlike most routers
  • Configuration options
  • Built-in anti-virus and data theft protection

Cons

  • It is so pricey
  • Bulky for few or small homes
  • Tech support costs extra

Performance

Just like the Google WiFi, Orbi is a 2×2 router and can hold two simultaneous streams of data to adequately configured devices, per frequency band. (The dedicated backhaul channel uses 4×4 radios.) But the Orbi adds the latest MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple-input, and multiple outputs) WiFi technologies for sending focused data streams to several devices at the same time.

Netgear Orbi RBK50 cables

Each Orbi device has Qualcomm’s IPQ4019 WiFi control chip and radio as well as a 710-MHz quad-core ARM-based processor with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of solid-state storage space. A QCA9984 chip controls the backhaul data channel.

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Setup, Assurance, and Support

By now, it is clear that Netgear Orbi RBK50 has taken the lead to supply most comfortable to use WiFi network systems. It sets itself up, and you will no longer spend a day or two searching the best, ‘How to’ sites. The devices come pre-paired, and the installation doesn’t require knowledge of IP addresses, Ethernet or encryption. You don’t even need to install a mobile app.

Additionally, the setup can be done using a PC or Mac connected via Ethernet to the Orbi router, or via a smartphone or tablet connected via WiFi.

You download the Orbi app for iOS or Android. Additionally, you can use the Netgear Genie app for windows and Mac as well as Android and iOS.

When the Orbi’s software is done with checking the network, the router will be set up. Power up the Orbi satellite in the place where you want it to stay, and let the router do an automatic scan. It is important to move the satellite closer to the router.

Netgear has a one-year warranty for the Orbi system, but only three months of tech support. The Orbi support section on Netgear’s website includes not only start-up tips and videos but also a downloadable manual that explains everything you can do with the Orbi. Netgear has technicians standing by 24 hours a day to help with a phone call, online chat, or email. You can also connect with the help desk through the mobile app.

Testimonials

Before we wrap everything up, it is wise to check what people who have bought the router say about it. I have attached two comments below. One for an Amazon customer and another one for Walmart.

“I mean, I can’t think of a single negative aspect. Hence the 5 out of 5 stars. Set up is easier and faster than making a sandwich. And I’m a sandwich ninja. Certified. Anyway, so this thing is amazing! My router/modem is located in our basement where the kid sleep (no it’s not a dungeon, it’s finished with cool stuff like a ping pong table and peace on earth) and upstairs was not getting a good WiFi signal at all. Pretty much useless. Once I installed the Orbi, the clouds parted, and I heard angels singing “Wi- Fiii.” Life has returned to the upstairs area; the darkness has been lifted. I can now stream 1080 HD videos about food once again. (Sandwiches of course) – Thank you Orbi 1 Kenobi, you were my only hope.” – Mike P on Amazon

“Let me start with some quick house topography for you. My house as two floors and a basement.

Basement: Approximately 1300sq ft

First floor: Approximately 1500sq ft

Second floor: Approximately 1700sq ft (there is a bonus bedroom above the garage)

I have 50Mbps DSL that comes into the office, on the first floor. It’s in the corner of the house, very far away from that bonus bedroom.

In our old house, we had a TP-Link Archer C9. That covered the house thoroughly. But with this new house, there were slowdowns and dead spots not only. I believe this is not only because the new home is more prominent, but also because the new home has full insulation in EVERY wall (even internal), making the signal harder to push through.

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I eventually added some signal boosters, and that helped, but only a little.

So I needed something better. I researched a number of mesh routers, but after I found out about the performance drop for every node (e.g., if you connect directly to the router, you get 100% speed; if you connect to the first mesh node, you get 50% speed; if you connect to the second mesh node, you get 25% speed; etc.) I was rethinking my position.

I started to look into high powered devices but didn’t trust that those would solve my problem.

Then I found the Orbi. I read a lot of technical details and reviews, and I was sold on the idea of a dedicated wireless backhaul (since I don’t have Ethernet to where I need it if I want a wired backhaul).

Let me tell you, the reviews are right, this technology works great!

After I first opened the router, I upgraded the firmware manually (after that, I have seen automatic firmware updates applied, which is nice!). Then I changed the router to be in Access Point (AP) mode so that it essentially works as an Ethernet switch and wireless access point, without needing to do the heavy lifting of the router duties. I chose this because my DSL modem is also a router (which I have turned off the WiFi), and having a router behind a router has caused troubles for me in the past.

This works great! Now I have great coverage all over my house. Even in that spare bedroom, I am pulling down 29-32 Mbps (previously, with the range extender, I would get 6-8 down). I can even mow the lawn on the other side of the garage, and I’m still getting a signal that pulls down 16-20 MBPS. I can nearly watch a 4k stream out there!

There are no dead spots at all in the house. I’m getting the full 48Mbps (this is what I generally see as top Speed over Ethernet) in over half the house. And the drop off is not dramatic. It will only drop a few Mbps per room (to the low point in that spare bedroom).

The only downside I have encountered so far is the lack of abilities I have when the router is in AP mode. For example, I no longer get parental controls. There are many other things disabled (many of which make sense), but some which I would like back (I plan on contacting support, as they seem receptive to adding new abilities via firmware).

Two weeks in, and I couldn’t be happier with this purchase. Netgear has finally won me over.” – Mike Wande

Wrap Up

Netgear Orbi RBK50 prides itself with not only the top WiFi router accolade but also the most comfortable setup. The Orbi’s dedicated mobile apps are elementary, but both the browser-based interface and Netgear’s generic Genie app have more options. It’s expensive, and its security could use some improvement, but for now, the Orbi is the network router to use.

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