Eliminating ‘dead spots’ with Netgear’s Orbi and its mesh technology
Netgear’s recently introduced Orbi Wi-Fi router system is designed to obviate one of the more annoying problems associated with the use of a conventional, single router for a home or small office network. ‘Dead spots’ are common on the upper floors of a home or in the office at the back of the building where the Wi-Fi signal is obstructed by ceilings and partition walls.
Expressly aimed at eliminating dead zones and annoying video buffering, the new Netgear Orbi router is geared to help users enjoy uninterrupted Wi-Fi connections with the fastest internet speeds – indoors and outdoors.
Orbi achieves this with the use of tri-band mesh networking technology. Mesh networking tackles the dead spot problem by using multiple devices placed in separate rooms in order to provide more comprehensive Wi-Fi coverage for data-intensive activities such as streaming music, high-definition video and online gaming.
The Orbi kit consists of two devices, a primary router and a secondary satellite to provide a strong, reliable Wi-Fi signal throughout the home or office. Additional satellite units, sold separately from early 2017, can be added to the network for extended coverage.
According to Tobie van Schalkwyk, Netgear business development manager at Duxbury Networking, the Orbi system is attractively designed, with both the main router and satellite looking more like air humidifiers than high-tech networking devices.
“The main router is equipped with six internal antennae that provide 3×3 MU-MIMO connectivity for suitably equipped computers and mobile devices,” he explains. “There are three Gigabit Ethernet ports, along with a USB 2.0 port for connecting a printer or external storage device. And there’s a fourth Ethernet/LAN port that can be used to connect the Orbi to an existing modem or router in order to provide internet access.”
He says the Orbi’s satellite unit is similarly configured, although it allows all four of its Ethernet ports to be used for wired connections. Both units have LEDs that change colour to indicate signal strength.
“Probably the most attractive feature of the Orbi is its ease of use,” notes Van Schalkwyk. “Simply connect the Orbi router to an existing modem and router, then place the satellite in another room – roughly in the centre of the home. The router and satellite automatically sync together with the LEDs glowing magenta once the process is successfully completed. The Orbi’s web browser controls include a start-up wizard that guides users through the process in a few easy steps.”
He adds that for home owners who intend to expand their houses’ floor plan, perhaps adding a second story or developing the garden as a recreational area, the sheer reliability of the Orbi’s extended Wi-Fi coverage makes it an extremely worthwhile investment.