So powerful it could be nuclear

That title might sound hyperbolic, but after taking a quick look at the specs for the new Orbi WiFi 6E Quad-Band Mesh Router System, this legend may not seem so far-fetched.

Netgear’s latest addition to its popular line of Orbi mesh networks will not only challenge the performance envelope of today’s wireless home networks, but it will also test what consumers are willing to pay. More information on the Orbi’s new price point in a moment, but let’s focus on the specs and performance of this new WiFi router system.

Netgear unveiled the Orbi Quad-Band Mesh WiFi 6E Router (RBKE963) earlier this week. You will get 10.8 Gbps of aggregate bandwidth on the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands (new to the group). The backhaul band (which includes the intermediate links between the core network and the small subnets at the edge of the network) will operate at WiFi 6 speeds to ensure that the core transmit frequencies are functioning flawlessly. With these types of bandwidth speeds, a typical home network with the new Orbi WiFi 6E router could effortlessly outperform a consumer Internet connection, even if a household uses multi-gigabit service (which few homes do).

From the outset, the Orbi WiFi 6E system will only be available in a three-pack that includes the router and two satellites. This three-pack offers massive 9,000 square feet of coverage (an increase over the 7,500 square foot wireless umbrella supported by the current WiFi 6 model). Additionally, WAN Ethernet support has been increased to 10 Gbps, with the system’s Ethernet ports (both on the router and on the satellites) to improve bandwidth for wired devices. Netgear has also taken a further step by supporting the creation of four unique WiFi networks. These networks can be dedicated as a 6E network only to ensure that the latest devices are operating at optimum speed. Orbi WiFi 6E can also include specific IoT network for low speed smart home products to avoid network traffic congestion with other high speed devices.

Design-wise, this new Orbi router still reflects the sleek, modern look that few people will struggle to place in their living room, home office, or bedroom.

Are you willing to pay more for a router than for your computer or smartphone?

The new Orbi WiFi 6E router bundle can be pre-ordered directly from Netgear now, and it should be available in retail stores for the holidays. You will need to pay $ 1,500 for the initial package. Additional satellites will cost you $ 599.

Clearly, Netgear is positioning the new Orbi WiFi 6E as the ultimate premium wireless router for homes and small businesses. Now that the The FCC opened the 6 GHz band for unlicensed use in 2020, performance-oriented users will be attracted to using the interference-free 6 GHz band as a “wireless highway” which is quite adept at transmitting large amounts of data for the latest internet usage patterns.

The new Orbi router supports the latest WPA3 security standards and includes a 30-day trial version of Netgear Armor, which provides device-unique threat scans and other desirable security features. Orbi’s line of mesh routers have an enviable reputation for easily configuring products despite all the performance and power. Oddly enough, the new Orbi. The 6E WiFi router does not currently support Apple HomeKit Secure Video, Matter and Thread. Netgear’s explanation for the lack of support for these protocols at launch is the fragmented nature of smart home protocols today, but does not preclude support for these standards in the future. However, the RBKE963 works with the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice platforms.

Some final thoughts

At $ 1,500 for the three-pack, the new Orbi WiFi 6E is the BMW of router solutions. The home wireless router space is, in some ways, shifting. Powerful users are willing to pay a high price for extreme wireless connectivity. At the same time, “managed wifi” offers (from companies such as Calix and its partners) are marketed with the belief that most mainstream consumers do not have the expertise, the energy or the time to be. the “CIO” of their home. “Managed WiFi” offerings typically involve the ISP playing a larger “watchdog” role with software (firmware) updates, security patches, and parental control capabilities managed through a universal app. This implementation usually involves a monthly subscription with the ISP providing the router hardware and providing support services.

Priced at $ 1,500, the new Orbi WiFi 6E will be overkill for most mainstream users. But if the sustainability of your home for the most demanding Internet applications (such as competitive online games and future AR / VR related applications) remains a priority concern, Orb WiFi 6E will be right for you. .if you can afford it.

As a tech industry veteran for over 25 years, Mark Vena covers a variety of consumer tech topics including PCs, smartphones, smart home, connected health, security, PC and console gaming and more. streaming entertainment solutions. Mark has held marketing and sales leadership roles at Compaq, Dell, Alienware, Synaptics, Sling Media and Neato Robotics. Mark has appeared on CNBC, NBC News, ABC News, Business Today, The Discovery Chanel, and other media. Mark’s analysis and comments have been posted on Forbes.com and other well-known news and research sites. His comments on the mainstream tech space have appeared repeatedly in the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, USA Today, TechNewsWorld, and other news publications.

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