After launching a Wi-Fi 6 declination of the spearhead of its Orbi range, Netgear intends to tackle the other end of the market, with a more affordable model. On the menu, a new design, a new price, but also a significant sacrifice.
Until now, the investment in an Orbi system required some savings, a kit RBK50 (router + satellite) trading around $450, while an RBK20 version still costs nearly $280. And we do not even talk about Wi-Fi kit 6, which reaches the recommended price of $899. In order to extend the range of its range to the general public, Netgear, therefore, needed new blood and cheap: this is the purpose of kits RBK12 and RBK13, which respectively include a router and one or two satellites.
Compared to the classic Orbi units, the elements of the two kits leave the lines all around for a compact parallelepiped shape and are placed on 4 pads. The connectivity on the router overlaps the configuration of the RBK20 model, with a LAN port and a WAN port. On the wireless side, the RBK13 kit is advertised for 1.2 Gbps of cumulative bandwidth between the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. Which brings us straight to the main concession of this new Orbi kit: as a dual-band system, it no longer benefits from the Backhaul Wi-Fi link that characterized the previous Orbi products.
Forget and Orbi
For the record, the Orbi range has always been based on a tri-band wireless system, the third band is used to create a link dedicated to the communication between satellite and router. This technical compromise was in particular what allowed to offer a recognized quality of coverage. But as a dual-band system, the router and the satellite of the new kits will have to share their bandwidth need with the rest of the connected devices. For what consequences in terms of performance? This remains to be determined, and even if Netgear announces a fairly similar coverage for the kit RBK13 and RBK20, instinctively, an association to the Orbi range seems a little ambiguous.
The rest of the features of the range is however retained: single SSID, support MU-MIMO, processor 4 hearts for the router and its satellite, compatibility Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, or parental control Circle. Finally, let’s talk tariff: the kit RBK12 should arrive at the recommended price of $229, while the RBK13 version is already available for $320.
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