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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

spiceyux
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Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

Writing this for 2 reasons:

1: I hope someone will tell me I'm wrong and have missed something

2: If not, maybe it'll make it clearer for others in the future. 

 

Background:

We've had a Disney Circle hardware device for years, shortly after they first came out, with Circle Go enabled on some of the kids' devices. We also recently got an Orbi Mesh system (RBR40 and one RBW30 satellite) but had not enabled Parent Control with Circle because we already had the Disney Circle hardware device. A while ago, Circle discontinued support for new Circle Go accounts (which allow for devices to be monitored when outside the home network). 

Now, as a geek of 30+ years (with a computer science masters degree), I can read the writing on the wall. 1st gen will be phased out in lieu of the new 2nd gen Circle platform which, by all I've seen, looks like a good move. Cloud based, better structure, etc.

My challenge, determining if the Circle on NETGEAR (Orbi) supported 2nd gen and if I could just move there. Short answer no. 

 

TL;DR;

Circle on NETGEAR cannot support monitoring of mobile devices when out of home network as it is considered a Circle 1st gen device, requiring Circle Go to do it which has been discontinued for new accounts. 

Out of home network monitoring now requires Circle Parental Controls app, compatible only with 2nd gen hardware (aka, the Circle Home Plus device), and thus none of the NETGEAR routers.

 

Questions:

  1. Is this only true of my RBR40? Does a newer Orbi work as a 2nd gen device? (My Orbi is not listed here: https://kb.netgear.com/000044718/What-NETGEAR-routers-support-Circle-with-Disney so are the other devices listed there able to act as a 2nd gen? Are folks that have Orbis on this list able to use the Circle Home Plus and thus act as a 2nd gen device?)
  2. Can my Circle Orbi co-exist with the Circle Home Plus App only monitoring for just those devices I want monitored off network, leaving my Orbi to monitor on network devices. (Note: I understand that the service would just be Basic, not the Premium)
    For example, could I add my daughters device to be monitored by the Home Plus App, while listing it as an unmonitored device via the 1st gen basic monitoring via the Orbi?

Other Notes:

  1. Circle Basic/Premium subscriptions are only applicable for 1st gen / NETGEAR devices (or at least mine). As such, I have found this article to be innacurate, at least for the RBR40, https://kb.netgear.com/000052289/What-are-the-available-service-plans-when-using-Circle-with-Disney-... as I have found that Circle Go is no longer supported for 1st Gen devices. 

I've tried to boil down my last 24 hours as succinctly as possible but let me know if I can clarify anything. Also, looking forward to any suggestions. 

Model: RBW30|Orbi AC2200 Tri-band WiFi Add-on Satellite
Message 1 of 15
seabass0118
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

I have the exact same line of questioning, having sort of reached the same conclusion that Netgear seems to be trying to sell the soon to be decommissioned 1st Gen Circle. I have the Orbi50 and can't use the current Circle Home app or subscription, and can only sign up for a service that I have no faith will even be maintained for the year's term duration!!
Message 2 of 15
spiceyux
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

I have the Orbi50 and can't use the current Circle Home app or subscription, and can only sign up for a service that I have no faith will even be maintained for the year's term duration!!

Sadly, appreciate the confirmation!

Message 3 of 15
SK4UF
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

Excellent question and well-stated - took me about 2 seconds to hit the Subsribe link. Like you, I have some history with Circle devices:

 

First there was the original Circle which sort of worked, despite an often glitchy Android app and CircleGo VPN issues. Mobile device performance was so bad on VPN as to render devices useless. It was easier to turn it off than endure the constant complaints from my teens that their mobile device internet would crawl to a halt once they left the house.

 

Then the new Circle platform was released. Enticed with a 50% discount due to my prior issues, I upgraded to the Circle Home Plus device that came with a premium parental controls subscription. While Circle's performance on my home wifi improved, there was still a measurable speed difference (350+ Mbps down to 150) even with Circle hard wired to my router. I saw no change in the CircleGo performance - in fact that appeared to be worse. After spending hours on the phone with support (they really are great people who want to help) and factory resetting my son's iPhone XR twice (another nightmare), I gave up again. It just wasn't worth the hassle and the added cost.

 

Fast forward to now, I've recently purchased an Orbi RBR50 with one satellite that is bathing my home in a nice warm mesh! I would love to try the embedded Circle on the router with my premium Circle subscription, but that doesn't appear to transfer. I'm also remembering all the good times I've had trying to get this to work and reluctant to try again, especially considering the RBR50 is using the Circle 1st Gen app for premium features. Whether or not it can work as a 2nd gen Circle is unknown. I'll definitely be watching this discussion and offering any help I run across.

Model: RBR50|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi Router
Message 4 of 15
spiceyux
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

You're very kind. Let's just say that my two objectives were to  (1) clearly state the issue and the question and (2) prevent any "if you had done a search for it, you would have found..." trolling. 

Sounds like you've been caught in the same crossfire as myself. I'll be curious to hear if you have any luck with your RBR50!

Sadly, we just broke down and got the Circle Home Plus as I knew we were at an impass. Thus far, I haven't noticed any appreciable speed issues, nor have the kids complained. So, we'll see. But please do report whatever you find and thanks for chiming in. 

Message 5 of 15
belawyer
Aspirant

Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

What is the downside of just going with Netgear's parental controls? Are they just less user friendly when you have to use OpenDNS for configuring and maybe not as easy to go by individual family member profiles? And than having to have another third party app to manage content on devices? I guess a couple years ago that was the benefit of Circle first Generation was that you could have mobile device management and home router management all in one app?
Message 6 of 15
acpinco
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

Thanks for starting this thread.  I purchased my Orbi AC3000 for 2 reason:

 

1. Good parental controls (this was the number one reason), which my Netgear R6400 doesn't have

2. Coverage in the back yard, which I don't get with my current R6400

 

I currently have the Orbi 3000 sitting in a box waiting to go back to Costco for the following reasons:

1. Just like you said, I was concerned about lack of support for the new disney circle features which is the main reason for the upgrade

2. I kept getting disconnects from my wifi, even though it was installed in the same location as my netgear R6400 which has been rock solid

3. I discovered that the Orbi doesn't have configurable QOS which I need to limit bandwidth when my kid is playing XBOX

 

I hope this information gets to Netgear and they will fix the issues so the product can be made better for those using it.

 

FYI, I have on order a Gryphon router and I am hoping I will have a better experience with that router which is also supposed to have great parental controls.

 

Thanks

Model: RBK53|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi System
Message 7 of 15
TXShkMm
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

Thanks for this discussion.  I am not a techie all.  I bought a Nighthawk router in January to monitor WiFi/internet.  I found the free version of Disney Circle helped, but did not have everything I want, i.e., time limits, bedtime, etc.  I was about to upgrade to premium when I realized that there is a whole new Circle out there (2nd gen).  Apparently I wasted my money on the router in January, because what I really needed was just the Circle Home Plus cube.  I'm not sure whether to:

 

(a) Leave the Nighthawk router hooked up to the WiFi device provided by ATT and then add the Cube to it while disabling the Disney Circle parental controls that came with the Nighthawk router (1st gen) or

(b) Ditch the Nighthawk and add the Cube directly to the ATT router. 

 

I was hoping to have better WiFi in the bargain, but that hasn't really been the case.  Reading some of the info out there, though, maybe Disney Circle (1st gen) is what is holding it up?

 

Any ideas?  Will I get better WiFi by using ATT's router --> Nighthawk --> Cube or getting the Nighthawk out of the way and using ATT router --> Cube?

 

Thank you for any help!

Model: R7000P|Nighthawk AC2300 Smart WiFi Dual Band Gigabit Router
Message 8 of 15
SK4UF
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

From my experience, you would be unlikely to see improvements in your wifi by adding a Circle device. It acts as a "traffic cop" for your network, so all the data going through your router generally will have to go through Circle as well. In my case, Circle caused a very measurable decrease in my internet speeds.

 

I am surprised your Nighthawk router did not improve wifi over the ATT router. Did you make any changes to the ATT router at all or just plug in the Nighthawk? If you just plugged in the Nighthawk, are you seeing 2 separate wifi networks? If so this might be why you didn't see performance go up. You might want to consider contacting ATT and asking them to walk you through setting up "IP Passthrough" - you could try to read this link as well but it does get technical.

 

If it were me, I'd try this:

 

1) Configure the ATT router to be a passthrough device and turn off any of its onboard wifi

2) Connect the Nighthawk to the ATT router, bring up your wifi network, then do a speed test from a kid's wireless device (I personally like fast.com for the speed test)

3) Connect Circle to the Nighthawk and setup a kid's profile. Add the device from step 2 to the kid's profile, then repeat speed test.

 

If you don't see much difference between 2 and 3 then finish setting up Circle profiles. If the speed difference is a problem, you may want to return the Circle device. In my experience it never got any better, only worse. What has worked for me - mostly - is using Microsoft Family. It isn't as feature rich as Circle, but it is FREE, works across every Windows computer in my house, and I've seen no issues with speed. I only wish it worked on cell phones too!

 

 

Message 9 of 15
shaftmaster
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

I guess I'm in the same boat as everyone here. Just bought an RBR50 Orbi router and have an existing 1st generation circle device. I was hoping to either use my circle device with the new router or use the built-in circle on the router.

 

I'll try plugging the old circle device in and see what happens. I didn't have too many issues with it so might as well use it. Performance wasn't bad either, but we weren't pushing it hard and only the kids devices were being managed.

 

I never used circle for monitoring kid's mobile devices when they were away from our home wifi, we just depended on the Verizon smart family app for managing cellular data access.

Model: CM600|CM600 High Speed Cable Modem, RBR50|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi Router
Message 10 of 15
TXShkMm
Aspirant

Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

Thank you for taking the time to reply!

Message 11 of 15
shaftmaster
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

Just a quick update. I connected my 1st generation Circle device to my new Orbi router and everything just worked. No need to do anything at all, since I didn't change my network name. The devices managed by Circle are limited to 100Mbps since the Circle device doesn't support gig ethernet, but that's fine with me. I could setup Circle on the Orbi and get better speeds but that requires a monthly subscription and lots of setup.
Message 12 of 15
HomeschoolMom
Aspirant

Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

I also connect my 1st Gen Circle to my Orbi so I don't have to pay for the subscription. Still works fine at home. But since Circle Go went away, coupled with the fact that Circle does not cover laptops away from home, I've had to come up with some other solution (which I'm still not happy with) to cover their devices when away from home. I subscribed to NetNanny for the cell phones and laptops but now when the kids devices are home, both Circle and NetNanny are controlling the devices and makes it difficult to determine which service is causing a connection problem.  NetNanny's parental controls are not as good as Circles nor does NetNanny provide history or usage like Circle.

Because I am not happy with the NetNanny solution, I have two questions...

1) Is going with the premium subscription (using my Costco Orbi or buying a 2nd Gen Circle Cube) the only way to monitor the cell phones away from home using Circle?
2) Any recommenders on how to monitor the kids windows laptops when away from home? Thanks for the previous posts. It is very helpful!

Message 13 of 15
spiceyux
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

Sadly, we just broke down and got the new Circle device. Really, it has been incredibly simple and easy to use. Of course, for the extra $$$, I should hope so! Ultimately, it's the easiest to use to monitor the kids' activities home or away and that piece of mind is most important for us. I just wish that they had handled the migration/handoff better.

 

Good luck!

Message 14 of 15
magicview
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Re: Circle 1st Gen vs Circle on Netgear vs Circle Home Plus

I am facing a similar situation but couldn't find the best conclusion from this post yet. I am testing Orbi AC2200 (1 router + 1 satelite).

 

right now the 2nd gen circle home plus is on sale with 20% off. so $239 with lifetime subscription. 

I have 3 options:

1) Netgear Orbi + built-in circle premium ($50/year)

2) Negear Orbi + 2nd Gen Circle Home Plus ($239 lifetime)

3) Other Router + Circle Home Plus ($239 lifetime). (e.g., TP-Link Deco M9 Plus, $199 at costco for 3 units)

 

I dont know what's the difference between option 1 and 2 in terms of: a) parental control performance, and b) impact on router speed. plan to use it for ~7 years. any comment on this?

 

in addition, is Circle Home Plus compatiable with TP-Link Deco M9 mesh system? if so, the free security software from TP-Link is attractive as Negear Armor is not free.

 

 

Model: RBR20|Orbi AC2200 Tri-band WiFi Router
Message 15 of 15
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