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Seeking advice on whether Orbi fits my needs

I live in a 2500 sq. ft. home. I have my office on the 2nd floor in a corner room. I have a hard-wired internet (cable) connection there so I can take advantage of the highest possible speed and reliability for my work needs. 

 

I purchased a Nighthawk X4S, but it's not doing such a good job reaching my first floor family room consistently, where I need a wireless desktop internet connection and television streaming. I'd also like the signal to get to the basement as well, if possible.

 

I started looking at extenders, but good ones seem to be expensive, to the point where the cost of the router + extender approaches a mesh-type solution (plus the hassle of multiple network names, etc.). So I thought I'd look into Orbi and its competitors.

 

In my case, if I replaced the Nighthawk with an Orbi, can I use the two satellites in series, i.e., the main unit in my 2nd floor office, one satellite on the 1st floor and the 2nd satellite near/in the basement? I read elsewhere that Orbi is a "star" system, not a "mesh" system. Does that mean that the signal must go from one satellite directly to the router, i.e., it can't go from satellite (basement) to satellite (1st floor) and then to the router (2nd floor)? 

 

Will Orbi work well for what I want? Given what I've described, what would you recommend I do? (Should I try to use the Orbi with the Nighthawk? How would that work?)

 

Thanks for any responses.

Model: Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band WiFi System (RBK50)
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Master

Re: Seeking advice on whether Orbi fits my needs

 

I have the Orbi router in the top floor of a three-level ~3,000 SF home.  The satellite is on the middle/ground floor.  I have good signal on all floors including the garage. I am not looking for absolute maximum speed at every point, however, just good solid usable signal.

 

I was also able to connect using my laptop from amazingly far outside the house.  At 500 ft away from the house (front and back) I had throughput of 10 Mbps on my laptop.  (A phone won't connect that far away due to smaller antenna, lower power, etc.)

 

So, I think it would work for you. Construction of the house will impact the signal.  So will nearby wireless interference from neighbors, Bluetooth, etc.

 

Yes, you can use Orbi with the Nighthawk.  You have a couple choices. 1) You can keep the Nighthawk as your router.  In that case, put Orbi in access point mode and turn the WiFi radios OFF in the Nighthawk.  2) You could also use the Nighthawk WiFi for added coverage.  In that case, you want the Nighthawk and Orbi on separate WiFi channels, and you'd want to run a wire so the Nighthawk is as far away from the Orbi units as possible.  You probably won't need the Nighthawk for extra WiFI coverage.  I would try the first opton--use Orbi as an access point and your only WiFi.

 

 

You are correct, the signal goes separately from the router to each satellite.

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Luminary

Re: Seeking advice on whether Orbi fits my needs

Yes, Orbi is Star and each satellite only talks back to the Router.

 

You could use Orbi in AP mode with the Nighthawk, but for your situation, that would entail having a ethernet cable connection to get the Orbi router (in AP mode) far enough from the Nighthawk where it could have further good signal to ensure reaching the satellite in the basement.

 

If you are thinking of getting the Router and 2 Satellites from say Costco, they have a great return policy.  The Orbi might work as the router just fine with 2 satellites in your situation, it just depends on the distance and building materials between your router and satellites.

Model: Orbi High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band WiFi System (RBK50)
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Apprentice

Re: Seeking advice on whether Orbi fits my needs

As mentioned, depending on building/floor materials etc you may good to great coverage with just the orbi router on the 2 floor where your office is (assuming that is where you internet connection is) and then a satellite on 1st floor.

I wouldn't use the nighthawk. Keep the setup as ridiculously simple as you possibly can. Just use the Orbi router and the satellite.
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Aspirant

Re: Seeking advice on whether Orbi fits my needs

Thanks for taking the time to respond, and for your responses, st_shaw, loomis, cue003. You've given me some good recommendations. I'm leaning toward giving it a try.

 

One follow-up question. I do have a Synology Diskstation that I connect to my Nighthawk. Will it work just as well with the Orbi? (i.e., sometimes you have to filddle with various router parameters).

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Guide

Re: Seeking advice on whether Orbi fits my needs

I set my Orbi Router located in the center and middle floor of a three level house with modem.  I have the satellite  on the first floor where my media center is os all teh items are hard wired to the satellite. I set my old Nighthawk R7000 in a bridge mode so I get the full speed benefit from the Orbi Router on the third floor where other non-wifi based computer equipment can link to.  Now all my three floors get full 100+ Mbps instead of my old single router+extenders. 

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Master

Re: Seeking advice on whether Orbi fits my needs

 


@ScruffyLG wrote:

Thanks for taking the time to respond, and for your responses, st_shaw, loomis, cue003. You've given me some good recommendations. I'm leaning toward giving it a try.

 

One follow-up question. I do have a Synology Diskstation that I connect to my Nighthawk. Will it work just as well with the Orbi? (i.e., sometimes you have to filddle with various router parameters).


I suggested using Orbi in AP mode because: a) you already have the Nighthawk X4S router in place, b) this would be the simplest/fastest way to setup Orbi,  c) the Nighthawk X4S is most likely a more powerful router than the Orbi, which is a bit limited in router features, and d) you could still use the Nighthawk's more advanced and faster 4x4/Wave2 WiFi if you placed the Orbi far away.

 

I think the answer to your Synology question depends heavily on what you are doing with the Synology.  For instance whether you are using VPN, mail server, remote GUI access, Plex, need to forward many ports, etc.

 

If you have everything you need working with the Nighthawk, I would leave it as your router, and first setup Orbi as an access point. You can always eliminate the Nighthawk later and put Orbi into router mode, if you find a reason to do that.

 

 

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