Home Wi-Fi: Netgear Orbi FTW!

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Sometimes our clients ask about the what stuff they should buy for their homes, and when they do it’s almost always about wireless hardware. While we use Aruba access points in our clients’ offices, it’s a bit of overkill in one’s home.

By far the best home wireless hardware resource I’ve found is the NY Times’ Wirecutter’s guide to home Wi-Fi mesh networking.

At one point, they liked Plume’s offering, so I tried it in my home. I didn’t have any difficulty setting it up, but my 2.4 GHz-only devices like my printer and Roku wouldn’t connect; at least at that time, Plume pods broadcasted on 5 GHz or 2.4 GHz but not both concurrently, and creating separate 2.4 and 5 wireless networks defeated the purpose of mesh networking. I returned the pods and went back to my Asus whatever-it-was router.

When we moved to a new home, I took the opportunity to see what’s new in the world of home mesh Wi-Fi networking. I reviewed Wirecutter’s guide again and found that they were now throwing their support behind the Netgear Orbi line of mesh network hardware. I opted for the RBK33 model; it’s less expensive than the 600 Mbps stuff, and I liked the wall outlet form factor.

This stuff screams! Using the speedtest.net-powered speed-testing app that’s built-in to the Orbi app I was getting more than 200 Mbps! This had to be bug since I’m only subscribed to 75 Mbps from Cox so I ran speed tests using the speedtest.net app – same results! I can’t explain it, but the proof is in the pudding; every device in our home has super-fast download speeds.