Netgear Expands Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi Router Family With Lower Cost AC2200 Wall Plug And Satellite Offerings

orbi family
If you have a larger house, getting Wi-Fi coverage into every nook and cranny of your abode can often be challenging. While you may have good coverage and speeds on the second floor where your router and cable modem are found, you might have trouble getting a stable connection in that far-off corner where your favorite recliner is on the first level. And trying to get a decent connection in your basement — fugetaboutit.

Netgear announced its intention to kill Wi-Fi dead zones with the introduction of its Orbi RBK50 mesh router system back in October. Orbi consists of a no-nonsense AC3000 router that connects with its own “satellite” or what we might traditionally call a range extender (read the HotHardware review here). A dedicated quad-stream 1.7Gb AC connection provides a “virtual wire” between the Orbi router and its satellite, with each being cable of providing 2x2 400Mbps via the 2.4GHz channel and a 2x2 866Mbps via the 5GHz channel. This mesh system is optimized to provide coverage to up to a 5,000 square foot home.

Orbi house

But what about those of us that don’t have McMansions that size? Netgear is extending its Orbi Tri-band Wi-Fi System family to include two cheaper offerings: the RBK30 and the RBK40. The RBK30 includes an AC2200 router, a satellite that plugs into a wall outlet and covers up to 3,500 square feet. The RBK40 also includes an AC2200 router along with a matching satellite and can cover a home up to 4,000 square feet in size.

orbi rbk30
Netgear Orbi RBK30

As their lower price and coverage areas suggest, the RBK30 and RBK40 aren’t as advanced as the original RBK50. Whereas the RBK50 has four backhaul channels — 433Mbps each for a total of 1.7Gbps between the router and the satellite — the RBK30 and RBK40 have just two dedicated backhaul channels operating at 433Mbps each (867Mbps aggregate). Both the RBK30 and RBK40 are capable of delivering dedicated dual-band Wi-Fi for all of the Wi-Fi devices in your home.

orbi tri band overview

If there’s one bit of disappointing news, it appears that Netgear hasn’t included USB connectivity with these newer Orbi routers. Outdated USB 2.0 connectivity is something that we already complained about in our original RBK50 review, so we were hoping to see USB 3.0 ports this time around -- but alas, we don't have USB connectivity at all.

orbi rbk40
Netgear Orbi RBK40

“Each of these new Orbi systems with AC2200 WiFi are faster than competitive products with legacy AC1200 WiFi,” said David Henry, SVP of home networking devices for Netgear. “Furthermore, all Orbi home WiFi systems are Tri-band versus the competition which are dual band mesh. Due to the use of the innovative Tri- band technology, multiple independent reviewers and testers around the world have proven that Orbi WiFi systems deliver far superior performance for more simultaneously streaming devices.”

The original RBK50 still has an MSRP of $399, while the new RBK30 and RBK40 are available starting today with an MSRP of $299 and $349 respectively. You can also purchase an additional RBW30 AC2200 wall outlet plug-in for $149 (provides another 1,500 square feet of coverage) or a RBS40 satellite for $199 to provide an extra 2,000 square feet of coverage.

Tags:  Netgear, orbi, rbk30, rbk40