First off, I’m a Libra!
But my wife said that I’m more of a Virgo, indicating that I’m obsessive…
My housing area is 143 square meters. The previous household router was a NETGEAR R700, which was serviceable enough given the fact that WIFI full coverage could be achieved provided that the router was located appropriately. But I was obsessive, so a slight reduction of WIFI signal mark was intolerable to me. Therefore, in the name of “promoting network for my mother-in-law’s family”, I submitted an application to my wife, enlightening her with affection while motivating her with reason: “With better network, there comes fantastic coupons”; “Instead of haggling over present gains and losses, one should take the long view”, etc.At last, my wife was persuaded by (aka. fed up with) my sentiments, and the application was approved.
Having considered both the condition of my home and actual demand, eventually I chose this NETGEAR Orbi RBK30 Router.
Before the formal evaluation of the router, I’d like to share my thought related to household router location planning.
The following is my property floor plan.Occupying 143 square meters, my apartment layout is relatively square. However, the initial location of the indoor optical fiber which was at the red dot, wasn’t reasonable enough. Everything considered, I contacted China Telecom and have them relocated the fiber to where the green dot is. In term of reasonable placement of household router, I’m taking the following factors into account:DO NOT accommodate router to household network cable just to save some trouble. If you discovered that the household cable was badly-located before furbishing, do give a second thought about relocation.
Place the router at the center of your house as far as possible.
Do place the router around your major using area if full coverage is unachievable.
Place the router at where most areas of your apartment are only a wall away.
For large-sized apartment, plan well for the location of distributing type router to achieve best effect with minimal device.
Back to Orbi.
Unpacking and Appearance
Orbi Mini RBK30 (hereinafter referred to as Orbi III). Its “avatar” router is a wall-inserted module.
The most prominent feature of Orbi is its wide coverage range courtesy to Mesh network, Daisy Chain Topology and the exclusive 5G-Band interconnection between the router itself and its “avatar”.Orbi III is a tri-frequency 2200M module that provides a WIFI coverage of 200 square meters, which is more than sufficient for my house.The main component of Orbi III includes mainframe, the “avatar”, the power adapter and a cable.Given that it’s a wall-inserted module, so the difference in exterior of the mainframe and the “avatar” is quite distinguishable. Its white body could fit into any home environment. Compare with RBK40 (IV Series) and RBK50 (V Series) that provides a larger WIFI area, the mainframe and the “avatar” is still distinguished by the blue and white color on top of each device despite their obvious difference in appearance.
Unlike most of the router, instead of adopting black as its exterior color, the Orbi chooses white. “Skin-treatment” is adopted in the vessel material, which deliver you a sense of comfort rather than plastic when you touch it. But it also brings another problem: It’s easily stained, especially when there’s a kid living in your house. A simple touch by a dirty little hand would be ; The top label includes information such as wireless name and access password. I’d usually changed them into what I commonly used as the default name and password is really hard to remember.
Synchronous button, WAN port, gigabit LAN*3, power button, power interface and reset button are located concisely and intuitively at the back of the mainframe. Compare with mainstream routers in the market in term of interface, the mainframe of the Orbi has one less LAN interface, however, given that the majority have already used to using WIFI, the common need of a family could be satisfied with three LAN interfaces. In my daily family life, the only device connected with the Orbi through the LAN interface is the television in parlor, the rest are covered with WIFI.
Four colloid mats are located at the bottom of Orbi that provide anti-skidding and help stabilizing the device. The mats are also relatively thick, so they prevent the Orbi from contacting the tabletop directly, which brings better heat-dissipation.
The hull of the “avatar” adopted same treatment as the mainframe.
Two buttons are located at the left side of the “avatar”, which is synchronous button and reset button.
The design is consistent with the mainframe. Out of consideration of aesthetics and heat-dissipation performance, the heat-dissipation holes are also located at the back and bottom of the “avatar”.
Connection Process and Working State
Download Orbi-supported application from App Store first. After setting up your wide-band account and password on the network control surface, you can gain access to network simply following the prompts. The interface of the APP, which you would see after you complete the set-up and successfully log in, is quite intuitive and clear.The hollow part on top of the Orbi would glow white light once it’s activated. The light would be off when the device is connected to network.I placed the Orbi under the study desk, which can effectively strengthen the signal in the kitchen, the farthest area from my study.Given that the space under the desk is too small for me to take a picture of the Orbi when its light is on, I took the “avatar” to a comparatively spacious position.
When the “avatar” and the mainframe is well-connected, the light on top of the “avatar” would glow blue.When the mainframe and the “avatar” isn’t connected, the light would glow purple. There’s another situation in which the two aren’t well-connected, the light would glow yellow. But I’ve tried every socket position in my home and no such condition was achieved, so I’m unable to show you here.
Network Guarantee (Main Technology)
I’m not going to focus on specific menu function as you may personalize your setting in accordance with your own using usage.It could be seen that the mainframe and its “avatar” is communicated through 5G signal on the “Connected Devices” menu. Although they obtain the same wireless name, they would match 2.4G and 5G signal for your device automatically given that quite a number of smart hardware device such as camera and purifier aren’t 5G-supported.
There’s already so many smart devices in my house when several mobile phones and tablets haven’t returned and my laptop isn’t connected.The MU-MIMO technology of Orbi guarantee the full use of network when multiple devices are connected.
I’d like to post a product advertising map here. Indeed, simultaneous data transmission between multiple terminal network devices could be achieved through MU-MIMO technology so as to maximize the network bandwidth and bring the network performance into full play; Devices that, instead of supported with MU-MIMO technology, adopted the over-over communication would be unsmooth when accessing the Internet.By now, I think it’s necessary for me to talk about the key factor in Orbi achieving WIFI full coverage, combined with my own comprehension. The factor is: Mesh Network.
There’re numerous distributing type router claiming that they’ve adopted Mesh Network. In my opinion, a genuine Mesh Network shall fulfill the three following criteria:
The system must support Daisy Chain Topology. Wireless connection shall be achieved not only between the mainframe and its “avatar”, but also between several “avatars”. The signal coverage area is far from adequate for network devices whose “avatar” could only connected with mainframe. Moreover, the Daisy Chain Topology calls for a higher stability of the device itself as the situation of signal substantial reduction or unconnectable may occur in subordinate communicated with the “avatar” if the superior “avatar” device is malfunction.
Devices shall communicate through specific frequency. Orbi adopted the tri-frequency design, meaning that the communication between mainframe and its “avatar” and “avatar” between “avatar” is achieved through their specific 5G frequency, so that they wouldn’t crowd the data transmission frequency, thereby avoiding influence on overall network speed.
High performance network. MU-MIMO technology shall be supported to maximize the network bandwidth and bring the network performance into full play.
As the saying goes, talking without practicing is fake. So, I selected a few indoor edge positions to test the WIFI signal strength and network speed. The picture here shows the positions.
The blue and yellow dot is where the mainframe and its “avatar” is located respectively. After considering the wall-crossing and distance factor, I chose 5 test point numbered 1-5 successively to test WIFI signal strength and network speed. The details are as follows.
Test point I: The corner of main bedroom.
Test point II: The corner of main bathroom.
Test point III: The corner of children’s room.
Test point IV: The farthest point in parlor.
Test point V: The corner of kitchen.
The WIFI signal on the balcony is still strong after walking out of the parlor. The present situation is that my device could connect to the household WIFI even when I just parked my car in the parking lot.
From the test result, the Orbi can provide full WIFI coverage to my 143 square meters house effortlessly. For people who own a large-sized apartment and love an easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy life, Orbi would be a fantastic choice.
The Orbi Series is divided into Series III, IV, V according to their coverage area. They are RBK30, RBK40 and RBK50 respectively.
It’s shown on the product page that Series V could cover a signal area of 400 square meters. The coverage area could be expanded through increasing the amount of “avatar” to fulfill specific needs.
I’ve been using Orbi III for some time now, and I’d like to summarize my using experience.
Full WIFI coverage.
Stable and fast network.
Attractive design that it doesn’t even look like a router. BADASS!
Tri-frequency WIFI. With the 2.4G and 5G signal sharing a same network name, device automatic matching could be achieved. You would never have to choose XXX-5G manually.
It supports Mu-MIMO technology so that the network performance could be put into full play when multiple terminal devices are connected.
Easy, convenient and quick set-up; Orbi is the dream for those who call only for fast network speed and hate troubles.
Expanding coverage area through increasing the quantity of “avatar” is so much environment-friendly than increasing power.
I’m poor and I’d consider a lot before the actual purchase (You guys know what I’m talking about).
Although the whit-skin like hull is both good-looking and comfortable, it’s not dirt-resistance.
USB interface isn’t installed on such a costly product, consequently, the Readyshare of NEYGEAR is not supported on Orbi.
This is the end. Thanks for your time!