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Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

Wireless design best practice when installing multiple access points in an area is to have non-overlapping channels. So if you have 3 APs (RBR50, 2-RBS50) in an area, for 2.4 GHz, one AP would be channel 1, one would be channel 6 and the third would be channel 11. Same goes for 5 GHz - all 3 units would be on different channels.

 

When I look at the WiFi signals, all three units use the same channel in 2.4 and 5.0. This degrades WiFi performance, especially if the units are too close together.

 

Why can't we change the WiFi channel for each unit? It would be nice if we could also adjust radio power on each unit

Model: Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band WiFi System (RBK50)
Message 1 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

With traditional domestic wireless extenders, each access point is a separate wifi network, so non-overlapping channels are a benefit. Orbi is a mesh topology, where each node (satellite) passes the signal from one to the next, extending the coverage of a single wifi network. Client devices don't have to switch from one network to another as they do with extender based networks.

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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

That assumes optimum placement of APs operating on the same channel to avoid co-channel interference and excessive collisions. That is often not possible in real world installations. And that should not be the assumption by Netgear (just move the Orbi to an optimum location, not where you actually want it). Using the same channel does have the advantage of avoiding latency cost of channel switching when walking through the house, but most devices are stationary while in use.

 

In addition, in higher density housing developments and apartments, co-channel interference from a foreign WLAN near one Orbi could be different from the co-channel interference near a second Orbi.

 

So it would seem the best solution would be to allow the manual assignment of channels on the satellite.

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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

 
 
 
 
 
NickC4555 - your answer doesn't make sense at all.  is being more than generious in his or her response.
 
 
 
 
Regardless of how the wifi access points "work together", they all compete for the same channel to communicate on and so do the clients. The selected answer to this SO question explains it very well, so future viewers should ignore NickC4555's confused answer and read about it here. Basically tln741 is exactly right, we need the ability to change channels on satellites. The Orbi network performance is severly limited with many clients simply due to this problem.
 
Model: RBK53| Orbi Router + 2 Satellites Orbi WiFi System
Message 4 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

jesus, wtf. Really?

If I had know I couldn't put the sats on different channels I wouldn't have bought this product. It makes absolutely ZERO sense to me and that's why I didn't even look for this "feature" when making my buying decision. The possibility of the whole network operating on the same channel didn't even occur to me (until I saw it), I assumed it would automatically configure itself to use the most reasonable channels on each sat to provide best connectivity.

What on earth?

I'm in a totally non-congested area, basically all channels are unused and my 3 orbis cram themselves onto ONE SINGEL channel?

I can't even start to understand.

 

And what's the supposed upside? Better roaming for old devices? Well, forcing their customers into making such a tradeoff is not what I would expect from a company that values their customers. Maybe in some circumstances it really *is* better to use a single channel, but that should be a CHOICE the customer makes, not the product... at least not in this price category.

 

I'm hoping netgear will fix this. It's only software after all...

 

 

Message 5 of 83
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Guru

Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

This is not a defect or a bug. This is how extenders and repeaters work. They are connected to the main wireless AP and they connect to the same channels. There is no changing of the channels on extenders or repeaters. Chaning channels on the satellites would defeat the purpose of the satellites as they operate in this extender mode. The only mode that you can change channels on is in AP mode which satellites don't support. Again, this is by design for ALL extenders and repeaters which Orbi Satellites are designed.

 

If channels need changing, please change channels on the main Orbi router. Save settings and reboot the router and satellites. The satellites will reconnect to the new channels.


@molec wrote:

jesus, wtf. Really?

If I had know I couldn't put the sats on different channels I wouldn't have bought this product. It makes absolutely ZERO sense to me and that's why I didn't even look for this "feature" when making my buying decision. The possibility of the whole network operating on the same channel didn't even occur to me (until I saw it), I assumed it would automatically configure itself to use the most reasonable channels on each sat to provide best connectivity.

What on earth?

I'm in a totally non-congested area, basically all channels are unused and my 3 orbis cram themselves onto ONE SINGEL channel?

I can't even start to understand.

 

And what's the supposed upside? Better roaming for old devices? Well, forcing their customers into making such a tradeoff is not what I would expect from a company that values their customers. Maybe in some circumstances it really *is* better to use a single channel, but that should be a CHOICE the customer makes, not the product... at least not in this price category.

 

I'm hoping netgear will fix this. It's only software after all...

 

 


 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 6 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

I may have to rethink some things, but possibly I bought the wrong product. I thought we went beyond "extenders" and "repeaters" with those "smart wifi systems".

 

Message 7 of 83
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Guru

Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

Thats part of the wireless MESH system. You have a source AP and extenders or repeaters that inter connect to it.


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 8 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

That is how ORDINARY repeaters and extenders work. But the Orbi is not an extender or repeater. It is a mesh network with a dedicated backhaul link, effectively operating as if each AP had a wired connection back to a switch or wireless controller.

In a mesh network, unless the APs are optimally placed with sufficient separation to eliminate co-channel interference, there will be problems. This is almost never possible in a typical house. The only advantage of having the same channel is to avoid latency when a moving device changes channels/ap links. And I am not sure if latency is actually eliminated when AP placement is not optimal. For example, I have one unit on the first floor and one unit on the second floor - directly above the other. Because I want physical ports in those locations.

Message 9 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

tln741, tried to give kudos on your posts, but doesn't seem to work.

 

do other "mesh wifi systems" also use single channel like the orbi or is the orbi an exception?

Message 10 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

Also having wireless sources right above one another or in close range with the Orbi systems, will present problems. 30 feet in between to start is a good starting point for placement. Depending upon building materials as well.

 

The router alone and cover up to 30 feet by itself. the MESH system is still base on extender or repeater design so the satellies are still extenders. Even in wired back haul mode.

 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 11 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

But directly below is where I want the hard wired ports.

 

Your solution is to rearrange my house so the Orbi works the way it was designed to work? It is a poor design to not allow channel assignments to address performance issues with co-channel interference AND I can't lower the power settings to try to reduce that co-channel interference either.

 

Make an advanced tab that allows the satellite channels and power levels to be adjusted.

Message 12 of 83
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Guru

Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

Something you can post here to request about this and see if NG will review and respond:

https://community.netgear.com/t5/Idea-Exchange-For-Home/idb-p/idea-exchange-for-home

 

Again, this maybe something thats not a feature with in the chipset of the actual wifi drivers for Orbi. Also this system is based on being fairly automatic for the average home user. Most users don't have this need to change any channels or power levels. Users mostly want to set the Orbi system up and have it work and thats it. 

 

Good Luck. 


@tln741 wrote:

But directly below is where I want the hard wired ports.

 

Your solution is to rearrange my house so the Orbi works the way it was designed to work? It is a poor design to not allow channel assignments to address performance issues with co-channel interference AND I can't lower the power settings to try to reduce that co-channel interference either.

 

Make an advanced tab that allows the satellite channels and power levels to be adjusted.


 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 13 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

My ancient EX6200 had Fastlane technology which worked EXTREMELY well, when it worked...I had assumed the same kind of technlolgy was involved in the Orbi design and I suppose it almost is with the backhaul channel but I have exactly the same issue as the others re: channel assignments.  Makes no sense in a relatively small environment to have overlapping signals for no obvious reason.  If I had known this I would have stayed with my Asus RT-N66U which was almost adequate for my purposes.

Model: RBK33| Orbi Plug-In WiFi System
Message 14 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

For small environments, Orbi systems may not be needed. The routers alone can handle up to 30 feet distances. Also depending upon building materials.


@astrojohn wrote:

My ancient EX6200 had Fastlane technology which worked EXTREMELY well, when it worked...I had assumed the same kind of technlolgy was involved in the Orbi design and I suppose it almost is with the backhaul channel but I have exactly the same issue as the others re: channel assignments.  Makes no sense in a relatively small environment to have overlapping signals for no obvious reason.  If I had known this I would have stayed with my Asus RT-N66U which was almost adequate for my purposes.




If users are wanting to change the overlap, then user have the option of changing the power levels on the router from 100% down to lower levels to help with over all foot print coverage if needed. For small homes or environments, a single router should be all thats needed.

 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 15 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

Small is relative. My two-storey condo is 2400 sq ft  but the problem is extremely strong neighboring WiFi signals that are just across the common wall and/or next block and overpower my own router 30 feet or so away (through walls, etc, of course).  My neighbors are completely ignorant of modern technolgy and when the local Uverse or Spectrum guys come in, they set everything up at 100% full power. Nothing I can do about that other than channel hop, which I do regularly, however I notice the Orbi does seem to auto-choose the same channel I had been manually selecting with my RT-N66U.  If I reduce MY power levels, and my neighbors don't since they haven't a clue, I'm right back where I started from.  My originally concern was Orbi router and its own satellites interfering with each other and independent channels would mitigate that.

Model: RBK33| Orbi Plug-In WiFi System
Message 16 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

Thus reducing the power levels on your main router will help in this regard. Espeically with wifi congested areas and nieghbors that or oblivious to what there doing with there routers. Why there is this 20/40Mhz coexistence on most routers. Some Mfrs choose to allow 40Mhz only, this will cause problems with neighbors as well.


I found that reducing power levels on the router helps...Not much you can do with a ton of neighbors blasting wifi all over the place.


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 17 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

10 year old research on the superior performance of multi-channel mesh networks over single channel:

 

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/research/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/mesh-wcnc2007.pdf

 

Message 18 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

I saw another thread re: reducing power - I'll have to try that and see what happens. 

 

My Internet speeds are severly limited by Uvers and the VRAD being a mile from my house but I have noticed uploads from my PC in the garage directly below the main router vary all over the place - good days, 20MBps+ to bad days 3MBps...Also seems to depend on the precise location of my garage PC (I use it for my astrophotography data collection) so I suspect multi-path issues as well. But a portable disk drive is always a viable alternative...

 

 

Model: RBK33| Orbi Plug-In WiFi System
Message 19 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

Let us know what you find out.


@astrojohn wrote:

I saw another thread re: reducing power - I'll have to try that and see what happens. 

 

My Internet speeds are severly limited by Uvers and the VRAD being a mile from my house but I have noticed uploads from my PC in the garage directly below the main router vary all over the place - good days, 20MBps+ to bad days 3MBps...Also seems to depend on the precise location of my garage PC (I use it for my astrophotography data collection) so I suspect multi-path issues as well. But a portable disk drive is always a viable alternative...

 

 




 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 20 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?


Throughput is more a function of signal-to-noise ratio. Your signal from the AP should be 20db above any other AP on the same or adjacent channel. Where is there a power setting on the Orbi?


@@astrojohn wrote:

I saw another thread re: reducing power - I'll have to try that and see what happens. 

 

My Internet speeds are severly limited by Uvers and the VRAD being a mile from my house but I have noticed uploads from my PC in the garage directly below the main router vary all over the place - good days, 20MBps+ to bad days 3MBps...Also seems to depend on the precise location of my garage PC (I use it for my astrophotography data collection) so I suspect multi-path issues as well. But a portable disk drive is always a viable alternative...

 

 


 

Message 21 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

20 dBm!!  I WISH!  My neighbors WiFi is stronger than my own in some areas of the house, that's why I wanted to try the Orbi.  My Asus router worked pretty well but I had to be especially watchful of channel congestion and change the Asus channels as needed - often.

 

I did reduce the Orbi power to 75% to see what happens.  I did notice the backhaul seems to be unaffected but maybe a 25% reduction wasn't enough to see. 

 

BTW, the power level is in the advanced area.

 

 

 

Message 22 of 83
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Guru

Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

Let us know how it goes...


@astrojohn wrote:

20 dBm!!  I WISH!  My neighbors WiFi is stronger than my own in some areas of the house, that's why I wanted to try the Orbi.  My Asus router worked pretty well but I had to be especially watchful of channel congestion and change the Asus channels as needed - often.

 

I did reduce the Orbi power to 75% to see what happens.  I did notice the backhaul seems to be unaffected but maybe a 25% reduction wasn't enough to see. 

 

BTW, the power level is in the advanced area.

 

 

 


 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>XR450 v2.3.2.106(Router Mode)>RBK853 v3.2.11.2(AP Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK853, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 23 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?


Stated where? Where does their installation guide say Orbi satellites should be a minimum of 30 feet from the router and each other to prevent co-channel interference? The problem is the backhaul (on 5GHz) is more sensitive to distance than 2.4 GHz. If you get the router and satellite too far away for a good signal, overall performance is affected. The Orbi could achieve even higher performance if they allowed the channels to be changed on the satellites.

@Case850 wrote:

Netgear's stated target market for the Orbi is for the "Networking Novice to quickly establish a home Wi-Fi network".

 

If you understand that, then you should understand why Netgear don't provide many of the configuration options offered in more commercial products.

 

Having said that, their ability to deliver a simple, basic working product seems to be falling short.


 

Message 24 of 83
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Re: Orbi - why can't we change channels on satellites?

> Netgear's stated target market for the Orbi is for the "Networking Novice to quickly establish a home Wi-Fi network".

 

This doesn't mean the whole mesh has to use same channel, does it?

 

It also doesn't mean the product can't offer "expert features".

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