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Aspirant

New Orbi in an old apartment

 I am looking to install a new wifi environment to give me service I can be happy with, and to support a new system of Sonos speakers.Our apartment is in building from 1960, and the walls are quite solid. The apartment is about 1500 square feet. The cable modem is more or less in the center, but any satellites would have to be on the other side of walls, one of which is exterior, and has given us problems with wifi, despite new router and extender. I would also prefer to be able to use wall plug-in satellites. I am hoping that the RBK33 would do the job, though wondering if an RBK52W or even an RBK53 would be adequate. I like to think I am technically competent, but this is a new world to me, and I would appreciate advice. Thanks very much.

Model: RBK53|Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi System
Message 1 of 11

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Sensei

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

I hope you understand that "radio stuff" is not simple.  We have many users on the forum who are quite happy with AC2200 systems.  Strength of signal is not related to the bandwidth (AC2200 vs. AC3000).  There are plenty of AC2200 WiFi's that are as "powerful" as AC3000 systems.  In the particular case of the Orbi, the AC3000 "50" series has a couple of advantages over the AC2200 models:  (1) the antennas are physically different and users have remarked (anecdotally) that they are "more powerful".  (2) there are entirely separate radios and antennas for the backhaul connections.  So the transmission between base unit and satellite does not interfere with the transmission to user devices.

 

If the user's internet connection has a maximum bandwidth of 20mb, all of this is pointless.  The limiting factor is clearly the internet.  Surplus bandwidth to user devices and for backhaul is like having a Ferrari to drive on city streets at 20mph.  However, as the user's internet speed increases, the ability to provide more bandwidth to the clients and over the backhaul becomes more important.

 

You did mention concerns that service to the "speaker end" of the apartment was problematic with the current WiFi system.  My (personal) guess is that the bathroom and kitchen are a significant factor.  Only a HeatMap survey would reveal what is going on.

 

I purchased an Orbi RBK50 (one router and one satellite) because although I was doing fine upstairs at a linear distance of about 35 ft., the far corner of the downstairs living room (where my wife liked to sit with her iPad) and the downstairs front patio got dismal service.  I put the satellite downstairs about 20-25 ft. from the router, and now I have great overage over the entire house, including the patios.

 

Yes, this is probably "overkill" for your apartment.  The less costly RBK40 system would probably do great.  One single RBR50 would probably do great.  I have learned, however, that some people would rather "buy once and get on with life" than take a chance and have to rework it.

 

Sorry not to have an "answer."  Please report what you decide and how it works out.

I love my Orbi.

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Message 8 of 11

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Sensei

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

Well, first, you are one lucky person to have the modem "about in the center" of the space.  Most of us start with a modem in the worst possible location, like one corner of a basement.  What are the approximate dimensions of the space?  (1,500 sq. ft. could be about 30x50 ft.)  And, what is this about needing to pass through an exterior wall?  (An "L-shaped" space?  An outside patio?)

 

If the space is 30x50 ft. a single RBR50 in the center would probably do the job.

 

I am not a fan of the "wall plug" WiFi units because that means they typically are placed close to the floor and signals have to pass through furniture, desks, bookcases, cabinets, bathtubs, etc.  A cast iron bathtub will just kill a WiFi signal.  Likewise an oven or refrigerator.  They seem to sell well, so I guess a lot of users are happy with them.

I love my Orbi.
Message 2 of 11
Apprentice

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

Hi,

 

I have the RBK33 Smiley Happy

 

I live in a bricked house where the Orbi router is upstairs and the two 'wall plug' satellites are downstairs.  One is in the lounge and the other is on an outside bricked wall in a conservatory and I was very surprised that this satellite is working so well.  The back haul bandwidth is not as good as the lounge satellite but is more than adequate for my use which includes Netflix streaming via an Amazon TV stick.

 

CheerZ and goodluck..

Message 3 of 11
Aspirant

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

Thanks for the attention. Sorry for the delay, but I have done my best to lay out dimensions in a floor plan which I have attached here. Basically, the apartment is 66 ft by 23 for much of the used space. The connection from the access point (and the modem) to the television and to the wireless speakers, all planned for the future, currently goes through some solid walls, and I have not been able to improve signals much with extenders. As I said, any opinions are welcome.

Message 4 of 11
Sensei

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

Excellent drawing, thanks.  The RBR50, which is the base unit in the RBK50 and RBK53 kits has the most powerful signal of any of the Orbi units.  It looks to me like the entire space should be within range of an RBR50, with the only concerns being the bathroom construction and the kitchen appliances.  An RBS5 somewhere on the side with the entrance could be far enough away from the base router and would provide strong converage in the room with the TV and speakers.

I love my Orbi.
Message 5 of 11
Sensei

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

I neglected to ask if you have something that can run a "HeatMap" application.  I have found it very useful to import a drawing such as you made and walk around the space clicking on locations to record what the signal level is.  I've attached a HeatMap that I made which explained why WiFi was so terrible in the back bedroom of a house when the WiFi access point is located in the opposite corner.

 

I used an app on an Android tablet.  I have also used programs on a Windows laptop.  (I am too cheap to pay, so I have to put up with Ads or live with a limited capability.)

I love my Orbi.
Message 6 of 11
Aspirant

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

Thanks so much. I finally made my own chart of the Orbi systems, so I think I can ask intelligent questions.

You are recommending an AC3000 kit with one satellite to cover the apartment. Does that mean that an AC2200 kit might not have enough power?

I was also asking about using a wall plug-in satellite. However, I now see that they only come in AC2200. It seems that they have the same specs as the AC2200 standalone satellite (RBS40). So it seems that the main issue in using them, if they are pluggedin at a location without much obstruction, is that they are AC2200, which has less power?

So, to repeat, you think AC3000 would be the minimum sysrem that would work well, and you think a second satellite would not be necessary?

Thanks VERY much.

JK

Message 7 of 11
Sensei

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

I hope you understand that "radio stuff" is not simple.  We have many users on the forum who are quite happy with AC2200 systems.  Strength of signal is not related to the bandwidth (AC2200 vs. AC3000).  There are plenty of AC2200 WiFi's that are as "powerful" as AC3000 systems.  In the particular case of the Orbi, the AC3000 "50" series has a couple of advantages over the AC2200 models:  (1) the antennas are physically different and users have remarked (anecdotally) that they are "more powerful".  (2) there are entirely separate radios and antennas for the backhaul connections.  So the transmission between base unit and satellite does not interfere with the transmission to user devices.

 

If the user's internet connection has a maximum bandwidth of 20mb, all of this is pointless.  The limiting factor is clearly the internet.  Surplus bandwidth to user devices and for backhaul is like having a Ferrari to drive on city streets at 20mph.  However, as the user's internet speed increases, the ability to provide more bandwidth to the clients and over the backhaul becomes more important.

 

You did mention concerns that service to the "speaker end" of the apartment was problematic with the current WiFi system.  My (personal) guess is that the bathroom and kitchen are a significant factor.  Only a HeatMap survey would reveal what is going on.

 

I purchased an Orbi RBK50 (one router and one satellite) because although I was doing fine upstairs at a linear distance of about 35 ft., the far corner of the downstairs living room (where my wife liked to sit with her iPad) and the downstairs front patio got dismal service.  I put the satellite downstairs about 20-25 ft. from the router, and now I have great overage over the entire house, including the patios.

 

Yes, this is probably "overkill" for your apartment.  The less costly RBK40 system would probably do great.  One single RBR50 would probably do great.  I have learned, however, that some people would rather "buy once and get on with life" than take a chance and have to rework it.

 

Sorry not to have an "answer."  Please report what you decide and how it works out.

I love my Orbi.

View solution in original post

Message 8 of 11
Aspirant

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

Again, thank you SO much, CrimpOn. Though you mght not consider that an answer, it’s much better information than I have gotten from Netgear. They are not clear in explaining and comparing features. And I think you are exactly correct that the kitchen-bathroom cluster is what has been a problem in the apartment. I have been through several routers and several extenders through the years, and I am inclined to go for a system which would be definitive. It mght be a little while yet, but I will let you know. Thanks again.

John

Message 9 of 11
Aspirant

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

One more thing, though. I looked around and could not find an iOS app which could provide a HeatMap. Sounds like Apple has limitations on these capabilities. You seem not to be an Apple user, but would you know of one?

Message 10 of 11
Guru

Re: New Orbi in an old apartment

Just user experience here. I have a 5000sq ft home. Was given a CBK40 which is a RBR40 with a built in cable modem and just 1 RBS satellite. With 40 feet in between the CBR and RBS, both wired and wireless, I have great wifi coverage and performances indoors and outside with just this setup. 

My Setup (Cable 1Gbps/50Mbps)>CM1200(LAG Disabled)>RBK853 v3.2.16.22
RBK50 v2.7.2.102
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CAX80/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, R7800, R7960P, EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 11 of 11
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