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Luminary

What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

Firmware 2.1.4.10 was the final straw.  It re-introduced throttling in my RBR50 router that I'd previously fixed with a factory reset.  Thanks to resurection of an old thread I now see that this throttling has been around for almost a year, that it requires users to factory reset after every firmware update (!) and that there have been no fixes over many, many, firmware releases. 

 

Couple this with the complete unusability of my RBS30 with the RBK50 kit (disconnects after three days - only fixed by turning the wall satellite off) and I've had enough.  Netgear offered to work with me to resolve the RBS30 but they haven't responded to either message that I sent.  Probably because I'm in New Zealand and the time zones don't work well with USA.

 

I'm not wasting any more time on this. Thankfully New Zealand has robust consumer laws and I can return it for full refund. 

 

What have other people looked at as alternatives to Orbi? Options include:

 

  • TP-Link DECO M5 (AC1300, 2 x  Ethernet per unit)
  • Ubiquiti UniFi AC MESH UAP-AC-M Dual-band  (AC1200, 1 x Ethernet per unit)
  • Google Wi-Fi (Dual-Band AC1200, 2 x  Ethernet per unit)
  • Linksys Velop  (AC2200, 2 x Gigabit Ethernet Port)

(Eero is not available in New Zealand).

 

I'm not that keen on commercial AP, because I can't easily run Ethernet through our house - its multi-story and none of the walls line up between the floors. That's why I was looking for something with WiFi backhaul. Ideally I’d like something that has dedicated WiFi backhaul channels and as many Ethernet ports as possible (the very features that saw me settle on Orbi in the first place).  

 

What do folk recommend?  And please don't suggest a RBK40 or Orbi Pro .... Man Frustrated

 

 

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 1 of 12
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Retired_Member
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Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

Anthing ASUS

Message 2 of 12
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Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

Agree, please suggest replacement mesh wifi systems (preferably with review links). I need very good coverage, speed not so important (have max 100Mbit/100Mbit fiber anyway)

 

Thanks!!

Message 3 of 12
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Apprentice

Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

agree, i would look there, they now have aimesh, i currently use asus dsl-ac68u for quite sometime. solid. i use the orbi simply as my wifi part now (AP mode)

unfortunately for me they don't yet do aimesh on that router, so i can't use that with a previous router of mine to create the mesh, so i'm using orbi.

i'm not getting quite the level of issues you see in the forum. good luck, and let us know what you go for and how it turns out.

Message 4 of 12
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Luminary

Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)


@JimSweden wrote:

Agree, please suggest replacement mesh wifi systems (preferably with review links). I need very good coverage, speed not so important (have max 100Mbit/100Mbit fiber anyway)

 Thanks!!


I was looking at the Velop, but it too has some issues (check out the Velop Forum).  Also only 2 Ethernet ports on the router is a bit of a deal-breaker for me. I need at least 2 LAN ports (I don't want my NAS on a switch) and the more Ethernet ports, the better.

 

Someone also suggested D-Link's  Covr.  Like the Eero, it's not available in New Zealand. Dlink are also releasing an updated version of the Covr (the Covr C1203) in the next couple of months, but this really doesn't standout from the crowd since it only has a limited number of Ethernet ports. 

 

At this stage I'm leaning towards the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD.  Review  Review 2

 

It has four Ethernet ports on the Router, but none on the Wall Plug Satellites.  But according to this review you can purchase the router seperately (they're not that expensive) and you can apparently use these additional routers purely as mesh points -  giving 'Orbi-like' multiple Ethernet ports on a satellite.  Using additional routers as satellites in this manner, apparently also allows you to wire-connect the sats.

 

The down-sides are that it's not as fast as the Orbi (but fast enough) and that the Amplifi doesn't have a seperate backhaul channel.  But reviews seem to indicate that it performs quite well, especially for range. There's a ton of reviews on Amazon.com's product page and it rates quite well (4.4. out of 5 with over 1000 reviews - but Orbi gets 4.3 with over 4,000 reviews, so go figure!).   

 

Does anyone else have any experience with the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD?

 

The sad thing about all this is that Orbi's design is still my sweet spot.  If it could just be stable with the RBW30 and and not throttle speeds after firmware updates then I'd be a happy with it. Talk about Netgear snatching defeat from the jaws of victory...

 

 

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System, RBW30| Orbi Wall Plug Satellite
Message 5 of 12
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Luminary

Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

So you want to believe the Amazon reviews on a product your looking to buy, but refuse to believe the same reviews on a product you dislike?  Ok.  

RBR50, 2 RBS50's AP Mode, wireless backhaul
Message 6 of 12
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Luminary

Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

 


@tsig wrote:

So you want to believe the Amazon reviews on a product your looking to buy, but refuse to believe the same reviews on a product you dislike?  Ok.  


 

With all due respect to your right to an opinion - I suspect that you're one of the 'lucky' majority who appear to have had no problems with their Orbi.  I suggest that you'd also have have a completely differing perspective to all those Amazon reviews if you were one of the 'unlucky' minority who have to deal with family frustrations over disconnects and/or having your ISP speed reduced by 66% because of this router.  

 

I get it that that a significant number of users are happy with the product.  But I also note that 641 reviewers on Amazon were critical - that a lot of unhappy bears. 21% of the users are disatisfied with what is supposed to be a top performer.

 

The whole point of this thread is to pool resources and share knowledge to make sure that if we jump ship that we similalrly don't just jump into another sinking vessel. Feel free to make helpful contributions to this discussion on alternative products.

Message 7 of 12
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Tutor

Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

So I bought my Orbi(s) in Feb of this year and they worked flawlessly until about 2 days ago. Now I'm having so much trouble I almost don't care how much I spend on another product to get these wifi issues fixed. I keep reading reviews about how wonderful this product is and I can't help it but get more angry because I cannot get mine to work what so ever. 

 

I continue to consider spending the money for the Eero Pro setup but I am afraid that unless I do ethernet backhaul the performance will be lacking. Anyone have any experience with other products or how to fix this current one? I'm running RBR50 and RBS50.

 

I'm also currently on hold for Netgear support (for which I have no faith in) and have been for the better part of 3 hours now. How are they still selling units?! Smiley Sad 

Message 8 of 12
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Tutor

Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

I am happy to report that after hours and hours of debugging and arguing with both tech support for netgear and talking to managers at the location where I  bought the Orbi's... I have been able to return these after the return policy for store credit and am now a happy Eero owner!

 

So far still supporting the same speeds with ease of setting it up. The one thing that I will say is that there's no web UI for the eero.. but truthfully it's almost unecessary. 

Message 9 of 12
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Luminary

Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

@gr0uch wrote:

I have been able to return these after the return policy for store credit and am now a happy Eero owner!   So far still supporting the same speeds with ease of setting it up. The one thing that I will say is that there's no web UI for the eero.. but truthfully it's almost unecessary. 


Thanks for posting your experience for the benefit of other.  Eero is not available in New Zealand, where I am, but it sounds interesting. 

 

Despite starting this thread, I'm still perservering with Orbi because:

 

1.  Netgear support have been working with me and we've solved one of the two problems (speed throttling) with only the RBW30 disconnections still to go. 

 

2.  Apart from the RBW30 disconnections, I'm pleased with Orbi's performance (good video streaming and coverage over the house), 

 

3.  I'm not convinced that the grass is greener with other mesh products ...  From my research it seems that other consumer mesh products can also have similar disconnection problems.  I was interested in the Ubiquiti Amplifi but it's community forum suggests similar potential for issues (seach for 'disconnects' on https://community.amplifi.com).  The Linsys Velop similarly appears to have disconnection issues reported on it's own community. 

 

4.   Apart from the Amplifi (using routers as a mesh point), other mesh products don't have as many Ethernet ports in router and sats (Eero included).  

 

5.  Orbi has the best architecture (dedicated wifi backhaul channel) and good (best?) theoretical speeds.

 

C'mon Netgear - I imagine its not much fun being under the gun on this, but you've got a killer product and we're all hanging out for the stability break-through.  

Message 10 of 12
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Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

My last update here Smiley Happy

Thanks to swedish consumer rights laws, I managed to get my money back after a full year of Orbi problems.

In search for a better solution I decided to skip these new mesh solutions altogether as most of them seem to have problems (Thanks for the Velop link and other pieces of info @Ulairi).

Being burned on the Orbis my conclusion is that you cannot trust the review sites that often only seem to test the equipment briefly in less demanding environments. It is better to study user forums for problems ("disconnects" is a good search term Smiley Happy ).

 

Since we have a large old brick house I decided to go with a professional solution instead. I found two vendors that have "professional" wifi solutions at consumer price levels; Mikrotik (from Latvia) and Ubiquity (from USA). Both seem good but in the end I decided to go with mikrotik mainly since they are cheaper yet seem to have quality hardware.

As a router I decided to try out pfsense, an open source software router and firewall. I use an old PC as hardware. There is a ton of very useful functionality, e.g., blocking of ads, malware, ransomware for all your internet clients at home (via pfblockerNG), intrusion detection and prevention (via snort), etc. Highly recommended if you have an old PC and a few hours of time.

So with 4 wifi access points (one outdoor) from mikrotik (wap ac) and an old PC running pfsense I have a rock solid "professional" wifi system nowadays with a truly great router/firewall (totally superior to ORbis and other consumer routers) for less than half the money that my Orbi cost!!! (not counting the old PC cost)

It is not for non-techie people though. It takes a bit of time to wrap your head around and setup this stuff. But I can say it has been a true joy to learn along the way (instead of just hours and hours of tearing your hair in frustration with the Orbis, waiting for new firmware updates that often degraded performance)

Message 11 of 12
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Tutor

Re: What's the best alternative (Now that I'm returning Orbi ...)

My experience is that the grass is not always greener on the other side. I've been testing a lot of various solutions on our house the last few years (I write reviews so I think it is fun to test new solutions but also look for the "best solution"). 

 

Background: Our house us built 1938 and is built very solid. proper wood. Thick walls. Thick floors. The garage (which is my office now) has stone/cement walls. So not an easy house for WiFi. I also have 1 Gbps/1 Gbps internet (thank god for Swedens very competitive fiber-market - currently 1 Gbps cost me 40$/month and I will get 10 gbps for 60$ in a few months). We have several computers, a bunch of iPad that are used for youtube, fortnite, watching game streams, sefveral consoles, music player etc etc. usually there are 20+ devices connected. 

I used to use expensive consumer routers like the ASUS RT3200 or RT5300 to try to blast the house with WiFI. Didn't work that well in the ground floor and garage. I tried separate AP's on each floor (I got ethernet cables to 1 palce in each floor) but dispised having to switch network went I went between them.

For some time I used a Ubiquiti-solution (Cloud Key, EdgeRouter, 2 AP Lite's - or was one a pro .... not sure). Ubiquiti worked fine but I was not really impressed with the speeds. And I did have some issues with lost connections. Ubiquiti is not immune to firmware issues to. 

 

For fun I switched to Mesh, mostly just for fun. I might actually go back to Ubiquiti later. I first tested the Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD. Not that impressed. I had issues getting good coverage with the wall-mounted small mesh-nodes. I ended up giving the system to my mother in law. And it works ok there (she has 100/100) but far from impressive. Still might buy another mesh-node just to give her some more coverage. 

I then tested the Velop. This worked fine with minor issues. Then I switched to the Orbi. Worked fine for quite some time until netgear started to release their latest firmwars with all their issues. I did get it to work with 2.1.4.14 after some horrible issues where hooking up the satellites to ethernet backbone brought down the network. I posted about this before and how I got it working. It kept running fine for a few weeks and then, after a power outage, the satellites crashed the network again when the power came back. Pissed I decided to test some other solutions.

 

I bought 2 packs of Dlink Covr to see how a 5 mesh-network can work with "slower" nodes. At first the Covr has some serious issues which meant i put it aside but when I now tested it last week it was actually nice. Dlink has updated it and it works well although there is no ethernet backhaul which meant that getting Internet down to the garage meant many hops and slow-downs. For a 1 Gbps connection I felt I lost to much performance.

I tested a Jensen Omni-pack  this is a rebranding of another mesh-product in the US) and it was horrible. While the US-version supporsts ethernet backhaul this version did not. And it had horrible stability issues. My Mac Book pro never could connect. 
 

Last last week I got hold of a Asus Lyra AC2200 3-pack cheap). Installed. Was impressed with the speed. Was impressed with the Webb-GUI which has all the settings I expect from a stand-alone expensive router. And then the connection kept dropping randomly.  My wife noticed. My kids notice. I noticed. I could work with my Mac and then for just 10-20 seconds loose the connection while my kids seemed to have no issues. So it seems the devices connecting to the LYRA's randomly lost connection for a few seconds. It tooks me  3 days before I had to remove it. My Wife complained. Everyone in the family complained.

I went back to my 3 ORBI's  (1 RBR50 and 2 RBS50's) and decided to update first the satellites to 2.1.4.16 and then the router. First I had them in WIFI-connection and then I hooked up each satellite to wired ethernet .... and it all worked. 

And or the last 3-4 days I'm back to around 600 Mbps when connecting via WiFi from my Mac Book Pro and no-one has complained about crappy WiFi or issues (and trust me - they do).

I'm still curious about testing the Google WiFi but when the Orbi does work they really are a good product. Not making light of the issues people having (I've had some too) but my experience is that no product seems to be perfect, even Ubiquiti. 

Still, I'm a bit curious about the UAP-nanoHD so I might switch back to those later. 

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