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Netgear Orbi RBK23 Wi-Fi System Review & Comments

Joe C

Well-known Member
Hi @Greg Hook - I bought the RBK50 set that comes with 2 satellites (the RBK53?), plus an extra one and following a firmware update last year, all the disconnection problems have disappeared. Netgear have also enabled ethernet for the backhaul as well, which is incredibly handy for putting a satellite in my home cinema (a converted garage that seems to block all wifi signals) and our summer house (about 30m away from the house). Now have full coverage absolutely everywhere and it hasn't dropped once foe longer than I can recall.

It's well, well worth getting.
 

Mister_Tad

Active Member
Netgear have also enabled ethernet for the backhaul as well
Interesting - do they expose STP configuration in the management software, or anywhere in the documentation?

Mixing multiple wired nodes with mesh wireless has been giving Sonos users headaches for 10 years, seems set to start all over again with the emergence of consumer mesh wifi.
 

Joe C

Well-known Member
Interesting - do they expose STP configuration in the management software, or anywhere in the documentation?

Mixing multiple wired nodes with mesh wireless has been giving Sonos users headaches for 10 years, seems set to start all over again with the emergence of consumer mesh wifi.
They do not - and I'm quite thankful for that, as I have enterprise grade Cisco kit running the network in my house, and I experienced various problems with Sonos (and Sky Q) and STP. Ultimately, when I had all the devices wired, I put the Sonos stuff on it's own VLAN and disabled STP on it. Now the Wifi is so good everywhere, all my Sonos units are connected wirelessly
 

Mister_Tad

Active Member
I wonder how it's managed in that case - presumably something proprietary to tell the other APs the topology. Not a bad approach to keep it a black (or white) box, but then clearly locks you in to their own gear.

IMO the issues with Sonos (and Sky Q from the sounds of it) comes from the fact that they just seem to assume "It's consumer gear, and consumers don't need to worry about this stuff", hiding it away. Of course having a large and Sonos setup and managed networking gear seem to go hand and hand, and problems ensue.

Sonos would be fine if they would only expose the configuration in an advanced page somewhere, at the very least letting you adjust paths costs, or even better updating to support RSTP that's only been around for, oh 15 years or so. I've disabled wireless on all but one of my wired players just so I can keep RSTP and not have to put up with the long convergence times of classic STP.
 

witchdrash

Active Member
Ironically I've had most of my coverage problems in new build houses. The ones I've lived in the entire downstairs wall structure has been built of concrete block to spread the load from the upper stories of the house, this means wifi travels vertically very well, but poorly horizontally, and has required in our current house two unifi access points upstairs that provide the downstairs rooms directly below them with wifi, trying to get the signal to travel from where the router is across downstairs is a complete non-starter.
 

Joe C

Well-known Member
I wonder how it's managed in that case - presumably something proprietary to tell the other APs the topology. Not a bad approach to keep it a black (or white) box, but then clearly locks you in to their own gear.

IMO the issues with Sonos (and Sky Q from the sounds of it) comes from the fact that they just seem to assume "It's consumer gear, and consumers don't need to worry about this stuff", hiding it away. Of course having a large and Sonos setup and managed networking gear seem to go hand and hand, and problems ensue.

Sonos would be fine if they would only expose the configuration in an advanced page somewhere, at the very least letting you adjust paths costs, or even better updating to support RSTP that's only been around for, oh 15 years or so. I've disabled wireless on all but one of my wired players just so I can keep RSTP and not have to put up with the long convergence times of classic STP.

Yep, it’s exactly that - they assume (quite rightly) that most people won’t care about it. We few that do, end up having headaches as there’s very little info out there
 

crabby09

Active Member
Ok... So... I am in the mood for some learning!

What makes this better than a wifi powerline adapter the other end of the house?
 

Joe C

Well-known Member
Ok... So... I am in the mood for some learning!

What makes this better than a wifi powerline adapter the other end of the house?
Throughput and reliability. I put an AV1200 powerline set in, on brand new wiring, with massive overkill for the cabling going up to the summerhouse - speedtest on my 200MB Virgin connection topped out at 70mb/s.

Switching to the Orbi, connected via Ethernet I get whatever my line tops out at (usually 225mb/s). The TV in there also streams full UHD HDR rips from my NAS in the house without skipping a beat - was a buffering nightmare with the home plug. The homeplug would frequently drop as well, requiring one end to be rebooted

Obviously I'm aware I could get this by just plugging another network switch in and hardwiring the TV, but I still want reliable, fast ethernet up there

For the main house, it's a three storey one (top storey is a loft conversion) - have the router in the living room where the Virgin comes in, a satellite in the back bedroom up one storey, and another satellite hard wired in my home cinema as mentioned in my first post (as that room is impervious to wifi signals) - I get full bars coverage everywhere in the house.

Am genuinely impressed with this system, has done away with powerline, second hard wired routers etc and replaces it with one solution that works very well
 

Perm0115

Standard Member
I have the RBK50 ( twin unit ) and can now get 350 Mbps wireless throughout the house. Broadband is with virgin media. Also, have Sonos working without any issues.

In principle the RBK50 is faster as it has Tri-Band AC3000 (3.0 Gbps) as opposed to AC2200 for the RBK23 however I expect in the real world makes little difference.
 

Doc

Active Member
I have the BT WholeHome package, and it DOES have 5GHz backhaul.
Works very well.
And it's a lot cheaper too.
 

Trollslayer

Distinguished Member
"with high-powered amplifiers".
ERP - Effective Radiated Power is limited by conformance testing to standards so the maximum ERP is the same for all systems.
 

jchm

Active Member
I’m a complete thicko on network tech but I’m interested in this kit.

I have four Sonos speakers throughout the house, which work well but my general WiFi range is rubbish away from the lounge with the router. It’s a solid 1930’s 4-bedroom detached home and I’ve tried extenders and homeplugs with mixed results.

So if I give this kit a go to improve the general WiFi signal, my existing Sonos setup wouldn’t be adversely affected?
 

Mister_Tad

Active Member
Just make sure you're not sharing 2.4ghz channels between your wifi and Sonos. In theory Sonos (and I assume Netgear) will default to auto and select the channel with least overlap, but in practice I've seen Sonos pick the same channel as an AP that was sitting literally next to it.

Non overlapping channels for your own gear are 1, 6 and 11 - apps on your phone will give a rough view of other usage (i.e. your neighbours) across the rest as well.
 

Joe C

Well-known Member
One thing I do recommend with the Netgear is looking up how to separate out the 2.4ghz and 5ghz networks. I had a lot of Logitech Harmony issues until I did that
 

Dave777

Active Member
I have the RBK53 and I use the wired backhaul for both the satellites and have no problems and great speed/range. I have a few sonos spread around too on their own network. My internet tops out at 50mb so v jealous of you higher speed guys!

I always check out new firmware on the netgear community forums and the sonos ones first though before upgrading!
 

Joe C

Well-known Member
I’ve been trying to remember why I stopped having Sonos on its own network, and have remembered.

The only one I couldn’t hardwire was a Play 1 in our bedroom. It was located directly above a Playbar, later a Beam, in the living room below that was wired in.

I would find that the alarm, using TuneIn would randomly cut out. Figured it was a TuneIn issue. However, it was the same using any of the radio player apps. Decided to reset it all and start again, setting up the Play 1 first. All worked fine until I started hard wiring players in. Switched to WiFi only and haven’t had an issue since. Fortunately I won’t be setting up rears in the rooms with the Playbar and the Beam, so won’t need either plugged in
 
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Nabs

Novice Member
Sorry to add a question.

Does anyone know if Orbi will play nicely with Sky broadband?
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
Sorry to add a question.

Does anyone know if Orbi will play nicely with Sky broadband?
Can't see why it wouldn't.
 

Rockets

Active Member
Extract from review-

'If you are lucky (or unlucky, as the case may be) to live in a new build home, the woes of getting Wi-Fi to every corner of the house may not be one that's familiar to you. Wireless signals penetrate easily, thanks to paper thin walls and a construction ethos that errs more on the ‘build as cheaply as possible’ method as opposed to creating a quality build. If, however, you live in either a very large house or one built over 40 years or so ago, then getting Wi-Fi through properly built thick walls can be a right pain, and often leads to numerous devices littered all over the house to try and eliminate those nasty dead zones.'
-----------------------------------
Well a lot of new houses actually have solid walls downstairs, mainly made with light weight blocks. Nothing particularly wrong with that.

Upstairs the only time old houses had solid walls was when the layout matched downstairs. If the layout didn't match out came the lath and plaster.
Indeed if you have to mess with a old houses lath and plaster you will wish it was modern build.

New builds can be worse than old house solid walls with regards to signal problems. Metal studs or the worse case foil backed insulation can interfere or in the worst case foil backed stop it dead.
 

peahead

Well-known Member
Hi

I recently picked up the RBK 40 version of the Orbi from amazon warehouse for £160 and it was brand new inside the only thing i could see that was wrong was a small indentation in the corner of the box so anybody who does not mind taking the chance may save quite a few £££ ;).

I am with virgin media and on vivid 200 and the Orbi has no problem maxing that speed over wifi no matter upstairs or downstairs and i live in a 100+ year old terraced house with mostly thick brick
walls.
 

Greg Hook

Moderator & Reviewer
This is a new tech for me and i am having difficulty to understand one thing that is this device works only with Laptops and PC through Ethernet or can we connect our mobile phones through wifi with it too?
Yes, you can connect via WiFi.
 

Badgerstuta

Active Member
Stupid question - easy to update the dns on the main router ? I use getflix to access Vudu and would like to continue to take advantage of this with moving to a new router\wireless system
 

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