I have a small business wireless network that has gotten out of hand and am looking at changing over to an ORBI system. The issue is that wireless coverage is given in square footage and I really need to know linear footage. So I'm looking for some advice, suggestions and/or experience with ORBI vs the current Netgear setup I have.


Current setup - working fine for 2+ years:

  • Building #1 Approx 3,000 sq ft - Fiber from provider terminates into an Arris (Pace) 5268ac, long building, West end has a Netgear AC1200 EX6150 range extender, East end of building has a 2nd AC1200
  • Building #2 Approx 225 sq ft - approx 300 linear feet East of building #1 - There is a Netgear WN2500RP Wi-Fi range extender/4-port in this building 
  • Building #3 Approx 200 sq ft - approx 20 feet from building #2 - Netgear AC1200 extender

Good clear wi-fi signal across the three buildings. Wi-Fi is encrypted.

Current network is running:

  • Building #1 - iPads, iPhones, 4 IP wireless cameras, 6 IP wireless motion sensors, security DVR and monitoring station connected via ethernet to 5286ac (phones are POTS lines)
  • Building #2 - 2 IP wireless cameras & 2 IP wireless motion sensors send data over wireless to building #1, iPads & iPhones & wireless POS - access Internet gateway in Building #1. Getting ready to add a CAD workstation which requires full-time internet access and a Mevo Plus Live Streaming camera to building #2 - all which will have to flow back to gateway in Building #1
  • Building #3 - 1 IP wireless camera send data over wireless to building #1, iPads & iPhones hit Internet gateway in Building #1

As I said this works, but I have 10 SSIDs to get there - security by confusion! Devices move seamlessly between APs. I'm also really concerned that when I add the Mevo Plus and CAD stations to Building #2, it will crash the wireless network or be too slow to work.


So, I'm thinking of the ORBI. But tech support can not tell me if one Orbi AC3000 which covers 5,000 sq ft placed in Building #1 and the satellite placed in Building #2 would work or not. Each satellite covers 2,500 sq ft. They think I may need 2 satellites. But the AC1200's I'm using now claim to cover only 115 sq ft. 


And to save you time, since you were so nice to read this novel ;>) I can't get data lines or even POTS lines to building #2 or #3 because I'm in the mountains and they would have to blast a tunnel as it's almost solid rock between building #1 & #2. Celluar is only so-so and satillite (Hughes Business) really sucks. 


Any ideas, opinions, suggestions would be greatly appreciated. On any part of this, if you've used a Mevo Plus, any of the current equipment or are a ORBI user.


Thanks so much for your time and consideration in helping me to find the best solution.

Butterfly Soul
Message 1 of 7



Nobody can say for sure if Orbi will work for you.  Your situation is unique, and we don't know the effect of the building materials on the signal.  However, your propagation must be decent if what you have now is working OK.


Orbi is different than the range extenders you are using now.  Orbi uses a dedicated backhaul radio that operates on a separate set of channels in the 5 GHz band. 5 GHz doesn't propagate as well as 2.4 GHz. In order for Orbi to work well, you need a solid backhaul connection between the "router" and the satelllites. If the backhaul connection is poor, you will have a lot of strange problems.


Orbi might work OK if your current setup is working.  However, it's uncertain whether you would get a solid backhaul link across three buildings.  How far apart are buildings 1, 2, and 3 from each other?  A diagram or aerial view would help.


Do you have Ethernet wiring within your buildings?  If you do, you might consider one or more managed Access Points inside each building, all managed by a single controller, plus dedicated wireless point-to-point links between buildings 1-2 and 1-3. (This setup would be like an Orbi, but with a longer-range backhaul.)


Netgear offers the Insight line of managed access points.


I don't think Netgear offers point-to-point links, but Ubiquiti and Mikrotik offer them.


Look at the Ubiquiti Namobeam M (NBE-5AC)


Mikrotik just released a very interesting 60 GHz link that claims 1 Gbps wireless throughput.


Lastly, wirless IP cameras take up a lot of airtime.  Consider using wired cams wherever you can.  Wired will work better and can be powered using PoE too.


Message 2 of 7


Thank you for your input. My buildings are all in a row, 100% clear line of site. Building 1 is approx 300' from building 2 & 3. Buildings 2 & 3 are maybe 15' apart. All buildings are standard wood construction. 


I've thought about a point-to-point solution with outdoor antenas, but that means running more cable through the attic in building 1, which is a nightmare due the multi-angle roof on the building. Plus that seems like overkill when right now I have 2 - AC1200 plug in APs, one in building 1 and one in building 2 and it all works.  Building 2 does have ethernet, but I have no way to get a wired connection between 1 & 2. Right now I have one hop between 1 & 2 to hit the Internet, I'm trying to eleminate that hop and beef up for live streaming from building 2. 


Everything that can be connected via ethernet is, however, I've had fantastic results with the wireless cameras.


It just seems that Orbi should work with the base and one satelitte, since that equipment is considerably more beefy than these little plug in APs. It may be I just have to purhcase it and do a trial test. One thing in my favor, sort of, is that I'm in the mountains in a rural location so pretty much 0 interfence from other networks, etc. If something like Orbi doesn't work, then point-to-point will be the solution.


Appreciate all your thoughts and input. 

Butterfly Soul
Message 3 of 7



My Orbi sits in the middle of 30 acres, so no interference for me either.  In that environment, I can get a usable signal about 500' away from the house.  However, that's only a few Mbps, and it's not on 5 GHz, which is what the Orbi needs for maximum backhaul performance.


Orbi is not designed to provide coverage over a long distance.  It's designed to provide coverage over a large area, with a short distance between the satellites and the router.  The PTP links are designed for your situation, with high power and directional antennas.


I wouldn't expect good results with Orbi with 300' between the satellite and router, but you could certainly try it out.  I might be wrong, because I wouldn't expect what you have now to work as well as it does either!


Let us know where you end up.


Message 4 of 7


Your 30 acres is a good testament, but I'm surprised you can't get 5ghz range. I have full strength 5ghz with the AC1200 plugins between the buildings. I've been amazed it has worked with the bandwidth and consistancy that it has. 


I've decided I'm going to do some experminting, testing and recording results. I will post the test results and details, along with the final solution. It will require time I don't really have right now, but it's worth the investment at this point. 


Appreciate the input.

Butterfly Soul
Message 5 of 7



Just wanted to let you all know that I setup the Orbi Pro this afternoon with the router in the center of building #1 approx 14' off the floor and the satellite on the West wall of building #2 under a window that has clear line of site to building #1. Nothing was installed in building #3. Super happy to report that I have full strength signals at all 3 locations. I was getting 8.44 mbs download in buildings 2 & 3, now I'm getting 16.81 mps. Upload speeds went from 1.66 mbs to 2.46 mps. So overall it's a success. Now I just need to find out about tweaking the upload speeds and that may be an issue with AT&T limitations. 


If you're new to this thread, what all this means is that the ORBI Pro and 1 satelitte is covering my small business campus of 8 acres, with three buildings all in a row. Building 1 is a long brick building, building 2 sits 300 or so feet from building 1 and is a timber frame building, building 3 is metal and sits 15' from building 2. All buildings have a clear line of site to each other. This gives me a nice clean network without multiple hops and gear everywhere. 


If things change over the next few weeks, I will post again. For now, Happy Dances all around!

Butterfly Soul
Message 6 of 7


Good to hear it worked for you. 

Message 7 of 7
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