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Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

Greetings friends - any helpful ideas would be most welcome.  Details below, but in short, I'm trying to get an Outdoor Satellite to reliably work.

 

The setup in the house is cable modem to the Orbi router (RBR50).  This is on the ground floor of a 1905 home, with some drywall but plenty of plaster.  On the second floor of the house is a satellite (RBW30), and on the third floor of the house is another satellite (RBS50).  The basic footprint of the house is about 30' wide by 35' deep.  So far, so good.  This all works just fine.  I get max speeds just about anywhere inside the house. 

 

Last fall I added an Orbi Outdoor satellite (RBS50Y).  I hung it on the back wall of a garage, such that it was roughly 150' from the router.  Without any drama (that I remember), I got that thing working and it was fantastic.  Max speeds all the way out to the garage, and pretty much everywhere else in between.  But over the winter, the Outdoor unit began cycling through the different colors - white, blue, amber, and magenta.  I started losing connection to the smart switches out there.  I fiddled with the satellite, reset it, re-synced it a million times, but I could not get anywhere with it.  I never got it to do anything but cycle through the lights.  So, defeated, I returned it to Costco.  My best guess, which was only that, was the record low temps of between -20F and -30F (well below the rated temp for the device) had ruined it. 

 

But this left me with precious little signal in the garage, leaving my smart switches useless and causing other (admittedly first world)  inconveniences.  So, I just took another stab at it with a new version of the same Outdoor Satellite.  Long story short, I've got exactly the same problem now.  After successfully syncing it in the same room as the router, I can't get it to work for very long anywhere else on the property.  That includes a couple rooms away from the router, on the deck attached to the house, or in the same spots as the other indoor satellites listed above (which work fine!).  And it certainly does not work in the original location, on the back wall of the garage, where I really want it.  No matter where it is, it shines blue, then the light shuts off for a while, then magenta comes back, and so on.  Sometimes I see amber, but not often.  I've reset it another million times, and no joy. 

 

So, please let me know any suggestions.  The one thing I haven't done is reset the entire system.  I don't have any reason to believe that would help, and therefore I don't want to do it.  I also don't want to because I think that would mean reconnecting myriad IoT devices.  I also don't see why I should have to. 

 

Some questions:

 

  1. Why would the original Outdoor Satellite quit working suddenly and definitively, after months of solid performance?
  2. Why might it be that the new Outdoor Satellite won't work even in locations where an existing indoor satellite does? 
  3. If, despite #1, the distance to the garage is just too far to reasonably expect it to work, what other solutions, Orbi, Netgear, or otherwise, can you think of to flood that garage with WiFi. 

I'm out of ideas, and ready to return the second Outdoor Satellite to Costco.  Thank you in advance for any thoughts. 

Model: RBS50| Orbi AC3000 Tri-band WiFi (Satellite Only)
Message 1 of 13

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Mentor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

Ok, the first thing I would do would be to manually update to most current firmware.  You have a mish-mash of older versions which have known backhaul issues.


Do the satellites first.  RBS50s should be updated to version .32.

 

Regarding your router...  you will have to update that to an intermediate version before going to the final version which is .32.  The reason is because the newest firmware image is larger than the RBR50 used to allow.  The intermediate version changes that parameter and allows you to load the final (larger version).

 

Here is the RBR50 Intermediate Firmware link:

https://kb.netgear.com/000060612/RBR50-RBS50-Firmware-Version-2-2-1-212

 

Here is the RBR Objective/final Firmware link (V.32)

http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/GDC/RBK50/RBR50-V2.3.0.32.zip

 

Your "Y" is at the most current version so leave that alone.

 

Your  RBW30 should be updated to 2.3.0.4.  Here is the update link

http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/GDC/RBW30/RBW30-V2.3.0.4_1.0.5.zip

 

You can always bookmark the Netgear Download Center: https://www.netgear.com/support/download/ forfirmware versions.

 

After completing your firmware updates of satellites and then router... I recommend doing a factory reset to clear out any odd settings or whatnot that might have followed you

 

Then setup your router and make the SSID and password what it was before so all your devices join without having to reconfigure.

 

I think at the end of the day some of your stuff was running pretty outdated firmware so this should help at least with stability and backhaul.

I also think that when you reset it rejoins 2.4 and 5g.

 

You have already configured your IOT devices so they should fall right back in where they belong as long as you use the exact same SSID and password as before.

 

WIFI analyzer is indeed a phone app.  You might want to load one and check out if anyone is stepping on your channels you are using

Message me or post on here if you have any questions.

---------------
My Equipment: Cox Cable (350Mb/35Mb), Orbi AX6000 (RBR850, 3 x RBS850) (2xWired backhaul), NG GS116PP Gigabit Smart Switch, Synology DS1019+ NAS

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Message 4 of 13

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Mentor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

Can you tell us the versions of firmware in each device?  (the specific numbers)

 

Are you using daisychain or is your topology hub and spoke?  (e.g. are all satellites reporting back to the router or going through each other?)

 

Any satellites hard wired?

 

And what is the equipment your router is connected to?  (make/model)

 

You know if you reset your router and then make the SSID and PW the same as before at configuration, all your devices should connect with no issue.  They would have no idea the router and satellites were reset.

 

What does the Radio Frequency (RF) environment there look like?  A lot of other signals or out in the country?  Can you run a wifi analyzer and tell us what you see on 2.4 and 5g?

---------------
My Equipment: Cox Cable (350Mb/35Mb), Orbi AX6000 (RBR850, 3 x RBS850) (2xWired backhaul), NG GS116PP Gigabit Smart Switch, Synology DS1019+ NAS
Message 2 of 13
Tutor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

Hi Chuck. Thanks for the reply. Here’s the firmware:

RBR50: 2.2.1.210
RBS50Y: 2.2.1.204
RBW30: 2.2.1.204
RBS50: 2.2.1.210

I haven’t done anything to specify daisy chain vs hub & spoke, but it appears to be hub and spoke. I think as I’ve been playing around with it I may have seen something daisychained, but I don’t recall what that was, and that’s not common.

The only thing that’s hardwired is the router. The satellites are all wireless.

The modem is Comcast’s; DPC3939. [Edit: This is in Bridge mode.]

I wasn’t sure about that with resetting the entire system, so thanks. This also reminds me that I’ve - following instructions I’ve found here - don’t something to the router so that it broadcasts different networks for 5 and 2.4; this was necessary for some of my IoT devices. That’s still in effect. Would you say a full reset of everything is likely to help?

I’m in a suburb immediately adjacent to a Chicago. I’d guess there is plenty of RF around. Not sure about the WiFi analyzer - is that an app for a phone?
Message 3 of 13
Mentor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

Ok, the first thing I would do would be to manually update to most current firmware.  You have a mish-mash of older versions which have known backhaul issues.


Do the satellites first.  RBS50s should be updated to version .32.

 

Regarding your router...  you will have to update that to an intermediate version before going to the final version which is .32.  The reason is because the newest firmware image is larger than the RBR50 used to allow.  The intermediate version changes that parameter and allows you to load the final (larger version).

 

Here is the RBR50 Intermediate Firmware link:

https://kb.netgear.com/000060612/RBR50-RBS50-Firmware-Version-2-2-1-212

 

Here is the RBR Objective/final Firmware link (V.32)

http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/GDC/RBK50/RBR50-V2.3.0.32.zip

 

Your "Y" is at the most current version so leave that alone.

 

Your  RBW30 should be updated to 2.3.0.4.  Here is the update link

http://www.downloads.netgear.com/files/GDC/RBW30/RBW30-V2.3.0.4_1.0.5.zip

 

You can always bookmark the Netgear Download Center: https://www.netgear.com/support/download/ forfirmware versions.

 

After completing your firmware updates of satellites and then router... I recommend doing a factory reset to clear out any odd settings or whatnot that might have followed you

 

Then setup your router and make the SSID and password what it was before so all your devices join without having to reconfigure.

 

I think at the end of the day some of your stuff was running pretty outdated firmware so this should help at least with stability and backhaul.

I also think that when you reset it rejoins 2.4 and 5g.

 

You have already configured your IOT devices so they should fall right back in where they belong as long as you use the exact same SSID and password as before.

 

WIFI analyzer is indeed a phone app.  You might want to load one and check out if anyone is stepping on your channels you are using

Message me or post on here if you have any questions.

---------------
My Equipment: Cox Cable (350Mb/35Mb), Orbi AX6000 (RBR850, 3 x RBS850) (2xWired backhaul), NG GS116PP Gigabit Smart Switch, Synology DS1019+ NAS

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Message 4 of 13
Tutor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

Thank you so much for all of this - super helpful.  I'll start with the firmware updates tonight.  Might not tackle the reset until the weekend, so that I'm not scrambling into the wee hours if something goes bad.  But on the topic of a reset, we're talking about resetting the router, and each of the satellites, right?  Any particular order you'd add the satellites back in?  

Message 5 of 13
Mentor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

Now remember a reset will erase special configurations... did you say you split 2.4 and 5g networks?  If so, this will rejoin them (shouldnt be a problem if you already have your devices configured) and restore the "mesh" functionality.

 

If I were need to do a reset, I would use the web gui (192.168.1.1) and do it from there at the router.  You only need to do that once... satellites will "follow suit"

---------------
My Equipment: Cox Cable (350Mb/35Mb), Orbi AX6000 (RBR850, 3 x RBS850) (2xWired backhaul), NG GS116PP Gigabit Smart Switch, Synology DS1019+ NAS
Message 6 of 13
NETGEAR Moderator

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

Hello @d4dr0ck - Thank you for your post. I'd like to chime in and say we're looking forward to an update after you have done the suggestions @Chuck_M has provided. 

 

~Christian 

Message 7 of 13
Guru

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

FYI, for users who are trying to get some 2.4Ghz supporting only devices setup on there Orbi's you don't have to separate the SSIDs. You can however disable the 5Ghz SSID from being seen temporarily by setup devices. Under Advanced Tab/Advanced Settings/Wireless Settings. Take the check mark out of the Enable SSID (5G) box. This will hide 5Ghz SSID support for any 5Ghz supporting setup devices and force them to connect to the 2.4Ghz SSID frequency. This should allow the 2.4Ghz setup software on the mobile device to fully discover the 2.4ghz device and get it setup correctly on Orbi. Once completed, Check mark the Enable SSID (5G) box to put the Orbi back in normal operation. 

My Setup (Cable 1Gbps/50Mbps)>CM1200(LAG Disabled)>RBK853 v3.2.17.12
RBK50 v2.7.2.102
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CAX80/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, R7800, R7960P, EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 8 of 13
Tutor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

As an update, I did update the firmware on each device as you recommended.  By the next morning, the router and the RBS50 had updated themselves to .44.  That's handy - hopefully that means no need for manual updates going forward (the annoying piece is the iOS app keeps sending me notices that the router has updated).  

 

The outdoor satellite is unplugged at the moment, as it didn't need a firmware update anyhow.  

 

I've reoriented the RBS50 to face the garage - it's in the same spot physically, just the front of the device is now looking toward the garage, rather than facing into the house.  With that change, and the firmware updates, I've got nearly max speeds in the garage -- without the RBS50Y on a shelf, unplugged.  So that tells me it's unnecessary.  

 

That leaves me to reset the router.  There's a part of me that wants to revert to what I learned a long time ago with networking:  Leave well enough alone.  Things seem to be working exactly as I need them to at the moment.  But, the iOS app reports that the satellites are sometimes green, sometimes magenta.  I haven't noticed anything drop offline (my Nest cameras seem to be pretty good canaries for this, and they've been online consistently since the firmware updates).  So, should I disregard what I see on the app, or is that another argument for nuking the whole system?  The other question is whether the smart switches in the garage will remain connected; I'll evaluate that later today.  

Message 9 of 13
Tutor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not


@Chuck_M wrote:

Now remember a reset will erase special configurations... did you say you split 2.4 and 5g networks?  If so, this will rejoin them (shouldnt be a problem if you already have your devices configured) and restore the "mesh" functionality.


The SSIDs are (2.4) whatever24 and (5) whatever.  I assume I'd have to set the network up again as whatever24 to get the IoT devices to seamlessly join back up, right?  That upsets my OCD impulses a bit.  

 

With the advice below about disabling the 5ghz SSID, I'm not as worried about this any longer.  I don't mind the idea of a reset followed by potentially having to add some devices back into it, to get a properly named and properly functioning network.  

 


@Chuck_M wrote:

 

If I were need to do a reset, I would use the web gui (192.168.1.1) and do it from there at the router.  You only need to do that once... satellites will "follow suit"


Meaning the satellites will reset themselves if I reset the router from the web GUI?  

 

And in terms of rebuilding the network, any special technique to use, or just syncing the satellites to the router as if they were coming out of the box?

 

Thanks for your help!

Message 10 of 13
Tutor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not


@FURRYe38 wrote:

FYI, for users who are trying to get some 2.4Ghz supporting only devices setup on there Orbi's you don't have to separate the SSIDs. You can however disable the 5Ghz SSID from being seen temporarily by setup devices. Under Advanced Tab/Advanced Settings/Wireless Settings. Take the check mark out of the Enable SSID (5G) box. This will hide 5Ghz SSID support for any 5Ghz supporting setup devices and force them to connect to the 2.4Ghz SSID frequency. This should allow the 2.4Ghz setup software on the mobile device to fully discover the 2.4ghz device and get it setup correctly on Orbi. Once completed, Check mark the Enable SSID (5G) box to put the Orbi back in normal operation. 


Thank you!  That's way easier than splitting the SSIDs.  Much more elegant.  

Message 11 of 13
Tutor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

With many thanks to @Chuck_M, I'm all set, hopefully for good.  Despite my post-firmware upgrade questions above, I decided not to bother with half-measures, and I reset everything.  I did that with a paperclip on each device, following some instructions I found elsewhere on this board.  I powered everything down, then starting with the router, I did a paperclip reset, and waited to get steady blue.  Then I reset each satellite in the same way, and when I got blue, I installed it in the desired location and waited until it came up blue again.  

 

All was good until I got to the Outdoor satellite (RBS50Y).  That came up blue, and then almost immediately started cycling through the colors.  Resisting the urge to dropkick it out to the garage, I moved it into an intermediate location.  It came up blue again, and then the light switched off as expected.  Finally, I returned it to the original garage location where it is happily hanging now.  I can't explain what happened initially to cause it to start rolling through the colors again, but all good now.  

 

With that out of the way, I've re-added the HomeKit stuff, which wasn't too painful.  I'm sure that when I initially went through that process, some of the devices would not connect to the unitary Orbi mesh 2.4/5 signal.  I don't know if the firmware on the devices has improved the setup process, or something on the Orbi side has changed, but I did not even have to take advantage of the great tip from @FURRYe38 about disabling the 5ghz SSID.  For anyone's possible future reference, this is true of Leviton Smart Switches, some iHome plugs, and a Hunter ceiling fan/light.  

 

I'm grateful for the help, mates!

Message 12 of 13
Mentor

Re: Orbi Outdoor Satellite Used to Work, Now Does Not

This is superb news -- and we all appreciate the follow up as your experience will probably lead others to also take the leap of faith to get their stuff "right" for the future.

 

I know it felt risky, but I would encourage you to encourage others to do the same.  Orbi is a good product and you should be able to enjoy the speed and complete robust nature of your home architecture.

 

And now that you are over the ".32 speed bump", all future upgrades should be transparent to you.

 

Well done!

---------------
My Equipment: Cox Cable (350Mb/35Mb), Orbi AX6000 (RBR850, 3 x RBS850) (2xWired backhaul), NG GS116PP Gigabit Smart Switch, Synology DS1019+ NAS
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