Reply
Highlighted
Luminary
Luminary

What you can expect with your Orbi system

I'm writing this mainly because a post like this would have saved me a lot of time and effort. If you're thinking about buying an Orbi system, or recently purchased one, here's a few things you can expect:

 

  1. The devices look great so you can set them up anywhere.
  2. The wifi speed is impressive - 200-300Mbs actual throughout most of the coverage area.
  3. The band steering (the feature that tries to keep 5Ghz capable clients on the 5Ghz network), doesn't really work. 5Ghz capable devices keep ending up on the 2.4Ghz radio even though a useable 5Ghz signal is available.
  4. You'll keep lossing connectivity, partial or complete, for a few seconds or a few minutes. This will happen a few times a day if you use it all day.

 

After working for over a year trying to chase down and fix problems, here's the situaton with those last two problems. 

 

First, the band steering implemented by netgear just doesn't work very well. There are no magic switches or settings to change, it's just not reliable. There isn't way to make it reliable, but you can work around the issue. There is an undocumented way to separate out the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz SSIDs that a helpful user detailed. If you use this, you just avoid the bandsteering problems.

 

Second are the disconnects. They will seem random, they are hard to reproduce, and restarting any satellite or the router will resolve them when they show up.  I spent months trying to track this one down specificially and never got farther than confirming it's a layer 2 issue with the Orbi backhaul. The fact that it's a layer 2 backhaul issue is easy to confirm. When you're having any connectivity problems with a device, just change the device radio's MAC address, wait a few seconds for a new DHCP address and "viola", the connectivity problems will be fixed.

 

If you dive deeper into the sauce, poking around the Orbi's customized OpenWRT system using their telnet access, you'll find that the WDS system is incredibly unreliable. All it takes is a few laps around your house switching APs to cause a MAC address to get "stuck". Roaming isn't a requirement for the backhaul to start messing up, but it's easier to cause it to happen that way.

 

There is no fix for this second issue. It's something you have to just live with. If you don't use your system for work, and rarely roam between APs with your devices, you probably won't notice it too much. If you do - sorry, this is going to drive you crazy.

 

If you call netgear, you'll be told to restart the system, reload the firmware, play with channels, and a host of other things. None of them will help. You're just wasting time.

 

Note, these problems have existed for at least the past 8 revisions of their firmware and have shown no improvement. There is no reason to think that netgear will fix this, ever. They have the easy "reboot and it works again" fix available. So, this is one of those things you'll have to live with.

Model: RBK53| Orbi Router + 2 Satellites Orbi WiFi System
Message 1 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

Only had my system for a few weeks, but have to say it is doing exactly what I expected, which is to simply work.  Knock on wood, I haven't had a single problem, and the sytem even auto updated to the latest firmware and just keeps on trucking.  So far I am extremely pleased with my Orbi system.  It resolved the view nagging wireless speed issues I was having at the far end of my house.

RBR50, 2 RBS50's AP Mode, wireless backhaul
Message 2 of 52
Highlighted
Tutor

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

Mine worked fine for five weeks and then became unusable.  Support tech said to exchange router for new unit.  That didn't help.  Retruning for refund.

Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 3 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

Had mine since spring last year -  I had some early instability issues with iPhones which were solved fairly quickly and was hit by the recent google bugs, also easily solved.

 

Other than that, our system has been rock solid. I'm running the latest 2.1 firmware.  I work from home most days and run remote desktops via VPN via wifi so I would know pretty much instantly if the network was lost.   We have lots of roaming going on and I can't say I see any major issues.  We have occasional 4k multicast traffic running over ethernet and 3 kids who appear to be constantly running Netflix on wifi all over the house..  Again no major issues.

 

So, undoubtedly issues exist for some users, however, my point is that your mileage might vary. I am *currently* very happy with the Orbi. 

 

 

 

 

Message 4 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

 martyfp - I'm going to make an guess about your setup and I'd like to know if I'm right or wrong:

 

The Orbi your connected to when working all day long is the router, not a sattelite, correct? 

 

If I'm right, I'd bet everything is working. No layer 2 issues would come into play there. My wife and I noticed that if we worked near the router all day, we also had a fine expeirence. But then it's just a single AP system and we're better off getting an X8 or something.

Message 5 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system


wrote:

... I work from home most days and run remote desktops via VPN via wifi so I would know pretty much instantly if the network was lost....


 

martyfp - Just a friendly ping in case you didn't see my last message. Can you confirm wether or not the Orbi you work off all day long is your router or a sattelite AP?

Model: RBK53| Orbi Router + 2 Satellites Orbi WiFi System
Message 6 of 52
Highlighted
Star

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

Just wanted to bump this post so it doesn't get lost.  I think the OP really describes the problems I've had perfectly, and includes detail I don't really understand but make sense.

 

The interesting thing to note is that because of the nature of the issue, I suspect many users won't notice it, or will pass it off with a reboot or two.  I used to turn my computer off every night and I think that also helped to mask the problem; once I started putting the computer into sleep/hibernation, every time on wake the internet connection would be frozen and I'd have to play the reset/reboot game. 

 

Sadly, many of us have been so conditioned to this kind of problem that we consider it the norm, and don't hold the vendor responsible.  Whether Netgear responds or not, I'm glad people are bringing light to the issue and not just letting them off the hook.  I plan to write up a suitable review on Amazon as soon as I get the time, and will reference the information from the OP.

 

 

Message 7 of 52
Highlighted
Apprentice

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

Headaches... that's what you can expect

Message 8 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

Luckily not everyone has your experience. Mine has been a set it and forget it experience.
RBR50, 2 RBS50's AP Mode, wireless backhaul
Message 9 of 52
Highlighted
Apprentice

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

It was great at first(almost a year), but these last few firmware updates have been terrible!

Message 10 of 52
Highlighted
Star

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

@tsig, would you care to offer any specifics on your setup to help others out?  Which model are you using (and when did you purchase), how many satellites do you use, and how long has your system been up?  What is your general usage pattern like?

 

If you read through the details, you should understand that many people like myself thought we had a great "set it and forget it" experience with the fastest speeds we'd ever seen.  It was only after many months that issues started appearing.  It also depends on how you use your system; there are use cases where the issue will never show itself, or will be seemingly infrequent, and a simple reboot will make it seem like there aren't any issues.

Message 11 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

What worries me is the number of people that had a great experience for weeks or months before it all went south. It makes those of us that are still enjoying a trouble free Orbi experience wonder if we are sitting on a ticking time bomb that will likely go off when we are not home and the family has no Internet, no home security, no entertainment and the day after the return period runs out.

 

These community forums were created by Netgear to increase customer engagement and increase customer stickiness (make us keep buying Netgear stuff). What would help in that regard would be for the Orbi product folks to explain what the heck is going on, what is the nature of the bugs that caused a firmware recall, what is the roadmap for fixing them and what is the plan to test the fixes before wide deployment.

 

 

 

Message 12 of 52
Highlighted
Apprentice

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

What's sad is that many were saying it's the Chromecast/Android issue, but I've had all my Chromecast devices unplugged and uninstalled the Google Home app from my phone, and I am still having the disconnect issues with the Orbi wifi system. 

 

It was a great system for almost a year, but these last few firmware updates have been a headache! 

 

I would take a refund if I could get it, and would buy another brand. I am now recommending to everyone to stay away from anything Netgear. 

 

Netgear doesn't seem to care, they already have our money!

Message 13 of 52
Highlighted
Star

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

@Roamabout - the good news is even if you start to have the same problems, it's nowhere near catastrophic.  The worst for me would be losing connection in the middle of an action game and not being able to get back in time before the match was lost.  In general it manifests as a freeze or lockup, so it stops you in the middle of whatever you were doing involving the internet (downloads, games, streaming, etc).  Sometimes it comes back on its own, other times you can disconnect and reconnect wifi, and at very worst you have to power cycle your satellite.

 

I'd call it a major annoyance, but one that if you know about it in advance you might be able to mitigate.  If I was going to keep using Orbi, this is what I'd do:  the most important stuff I'd connect via ethernet, to the modem if possible.  Next most important stuff, I'd connect via ethernet to the Orbi main router.  Position the main router so that you're using it for the max amount of wireless items (cameras, doorbell, etc).  Finally connect any Orbi satellites to a power source that can easily be switched on and off for quick reboot.  

 

Obviously you shouldn't have to go to these compromises as it kind of defeats the whole purpose of a system like Orbi, but if you really don't want to spend more money you can kind of make the most of it with what you've got.

Message 14 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

@rphsia Your comments are pretty much spot on, but I do want to point out that the impact of the drops depends on your usage.

 

If you mainly use your Orbi's for personal or entertainment purposes, sure, it's not the end of the world if it drops every now and again. In our case, there are 3-4 people that frequently work from home and require a stable VPN connection to do so (all different companies, different VPN types). We don't need too much bandwidth, but stability is key.

 

Due to the frequency of the drops, when people would work from home I got stopped to "look at the Orbis" 2-10 times per day. That's a lot.

 

I'm sure my usage is atypical, but the point is that the impact of the drops is all depending on what you do. If the issue was performance degregation, it probably wouldn't be noticed by us - though they may be signficant to others. However, since the issue is connectivity loss, it's a big deal to how we use our network.

Message 15 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

@rphsiaThat is pretty much how my network is set up with most of the critical infrastructure on wired connections back to my switch which is where the Verizon router connects. The next critical layer that can only use wifi (such as the Ring stuff) is all connecting to the router.

 

The Sat's have some non-critical wired connections to printers and cameras as well as some smart home wireless devices and support for roaming phones/tablets. Annoying if they dont work but not the end of the world.

 

I am now into week three of 100% trouble free experience with the Orbi. If I had not found this forum I would be patting myself on the back for a good purchase that is doing everything I had hoped. No reboots, no drops, no performance degredation. Just that nagging doubt that this is all short lived and I would have more confidence if I was hearing encouraging noises from the Orbi product group indicating that they were on top of this.

 

Message 16 of 52
Highlighted
Initiate

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

So glad I’m not the only one experiencing these issues. I’ve been searching the web for months seeing if I’m the only one that noticed this. Should have posted something sooner. Things like this should not be an issue... great idea Netgear, rushed execution.
Model: RBK50| Orbi AC3000 High-Performance Tri-Band WiFi System
Message 17 of 52
Highlighted
Apprentice

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

The Orbi is/was great when it worked.  OP here sums up my experience to a dot.

 

The partial and/or complete connection losses were driving me insane.  It would happen to the same 3-4 devices (2 macbooks, 1 macbook air, 1 macbook pro) multiple times per day.  Sometimes it would show full signal for WiFi but have no access to the web, sometimes it would drop WiFi completely, and there would be no rhyme or reason.  Resetting the satellites fixed this but I shouldn't have to be resetting access points 4-5 times a day.

 

Connecting those same devices via ethernet to satellites would work.  I spent weeks troubleshooting this for a home office setting.  I decided to just replace the Orbis completely 2 weekends ago and have had 0 issues since.

 

I even got my place hardwired and installed a switch between the main Orbi router and satellites to utilize the ethernet backhaul, and even that feature is still really buggy (sometimes shows satellites as disconnected or connected via WiFi instead of ethernet).  The disconnect from satellite issues still persist even in ethernet backhaul mode.

 

 

Model: RBK53| Orbi Router + 2 Satellites Orbi WiFi System
Message 18 of 52
Highlighted
Guru

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

Users should try disabling Beamforming and MIMO if there experiencing wifi issues. Seen some client side HW not work well with Beamforming or MIMO when they are enabled on the router. I have mine disabled currently. Working great with a few cameras, controllers and a bridge. 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>RBK853 v3.1.16.6(Router Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK50, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 19 of 52
Highlighted
Star

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

I suspect most of the people who made it as far as this forum already tried disabling all the added features to get better stability, and, like me, found it made no difference.  Of course it begs the question if I have to disable key selling points like MIMO and beam-forming, why did I buy this product in the first place?

 

Sadly, it appears the majority of users are not seeing these issues (yet), and posting 5 star reviews on Amazon.  Just in the past few days there have been dozens of 5 star reviews, so any lower ratings are drowned out in the noise.  I'm guessing people post immediately, and even if they later see the problems don't come back to revise their review.  Will be interesting to see if more people end up here after time passes.

Message 20 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system


@rphsiawrote:

I suspect most of the people who made it as far as this forum already tried disabling all the added features to get better stability, and, like me, found it made no difference.  Of course it begs the question if I have to disable key selling points like MIMO and beam-forming, why did I buy this product in the first place?

 

Sadly, it appears the majority of users are not seeing these issues (yet), and posting 5 star reviews on Amazon.  Just in the past few days there have been dozens of 5 star reviews, so any lower ratings are drowned out in the noise.  I'm guessing people post immediately, and even if they later see the problems don't come back to revise their review.  Will be interesting to see if more people end up here after time passes.


I bought my system a little over two weeks ago and immediately updated the router and both sat's to the dreaded 2.1.2.18 firmware. Router and sats are showing 16 days of uptime and if I had not found this forum I too would be singing the praises of the Orbi. It has exceeded my expectations. I dont know why we have this dichotomy and it cant be different devices or different ISP/modem/router. It doesnt seem limited to people in AP mode or people in Router mode.

 

The only thing that makes sense to me is that we have different hardware and some systems work and some dont. Even hardware with evolving chips can evolve with with the hardware differences accomodated in the software. If chipset A then do this, if chipset B then do that etc.

 

It is unlikely that Netgear makes the Orbi, they probably buy it from an ODM and for all I know Netgear product management is still trying to figure out what is going on. For sure they are not sharing much here.

Message 21 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

@Roamabout

 

 

I'm glad you're having a good expeirience. What @rphsia has been getting at, is that you may never notice the issues being described here. Depending on your usage, the issue can range from "glaring and impossible to ignore", all the way to "gee, seems to work for me". The specific and transient nature of the bugs are what makes this so maddening.

 

Now, since you've posted here a few times, I do have a test case that I've used to demonstrate the issue with support. It always reveals the issue in somewhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours and has been reproducible for the last 8 firmware revisions. If you're intereted, I'll post it. Though, it's not the easiest test to perform.

 

I'm very confident you are also experiencing the issue and that it's not a result of any specific hardware variations from manufactoring. However, depending on your usage - and specifically how many active devices connect to sattellites - you may never notice it. And, if you never notice it, then it's definitely an acceptible problem in your case!

Model: RBK53| Orbi Router + 2 Satellites Orbi WiFi System
Message 22 of 52
Highlighted
Luminary

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system


@t_kwrote:

@Roamabout

 

 

I'm glad you're having a good expeirience. What @rphsia has been getting at, is that you may never notice the issues being described here. Depending on your usage, the issue can range from "glaring and impossible to ignore", all the way to "gee, seems to work for me". The specific and transient nature of the bugs are what makes this so maddening.

 

Now, since you've posted here a few times, I do have a test case that I've used to demonstrate the issue with support. It always reveals the issue in somewhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours and has been reproducible for the last 8 firmware revisions. If you're intereted, I'll post it. Though, it's not the easiest test to perform.

 

I'm very confident you are also experiencing the issue and that it's not a result of any specific hardware variations from manufactoring. However, depending on your usage - and specifically how many active devices connect to sattellites - you may never notice it. And, if you never notice it, then it's definitely an acceptible problem in your case!


In the interest of science I would be happy to do some tests that would result in the bahavior that people are reporting - spontaneous reboots, devices disconnecting, speed drop off, devices unable to connect. I have the router and two sats with 36 devices connected. Multiple Windows tablets, android tablets and android/apple phones to test roaming scenarios. Router in the middle on the lower floor, sats at either end of the upper floor.

Message 23 of 52
Highlighted
Guru

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

There are many factors and variables and many environments that can impact router and wireless HW and operations. The HW works as its stands. It's when it's set up by users and the environments that will start to see various issues that need to be identified to see where the real issues are. This has been going on with routers and wireless devices since they first came to market. Problems still happen. The forums are here to help each other find out where the real problems are and maybe help resolve them. Many devices depending upon sign by all the various Mfrs, may not work well with new features like Beamforming, Smart Connect or MIMO. So offering troubleshooting options is to help see weather if the system can work better with some of these disabled. It's up to users weather or not to try them. 

 

Users can talk all day about how good or bad theres work. It all comes down to what really works and where the real problem is. 

 


@rphsiawrote:

I suspect most of the people who made it as far as this forum already tried disabling all the added features to get better stability, and, like me, found it made no difference.  Of course it begs the question if I have to disable key selling points like MIMO and beam-forming, why did I buy this product in the first place?

 

Sadly, it appears the majority of users are not seeing these issues (yet), and posting 5 star reviews on Amazon.  Just in the past few days there have been dozens of 5 star reviews, so any lower ratings are drowned out in the noise.  I'm guessing people post immediately, and even if they later see the problems don't come back to revise their review.  Will be interesting to see if more people end up here after time passes.


 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>RBK853 v3.1.16.6(Router Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK50, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 24 of 52
Highlighted
Guru

Re: What you can expect with your Orbi system

How big is your house/building? sq ft? 

Try just the router and one satellite? 

 

Having 36 device maybe hitting what the orbi system can handle as far as how many devices can be connected. Most home class routers usually only support 15-20 devices. Maybe 30 on higher end wifi. Theres bandwidth that that wifi and router have to alow for each device and each device can have more than just one connection. 

 

You might start with disabling Beamforming and MiMO first. See if the system still experiences problems. If so, then I would turn OFF most of your devices, then start with maybe 10-15 devices online. See what the system does. If you notice it's better, then start to graduate adding a device untill you notice something happen. 

 

I have a 5000sq ft house and have the base router at one end and at Satellite at the other. About 50 feet in between them and building materials in between. Orbi system has been really good. Only using 1 Satellite. However I only have about 20 devices connected wirelessly and not all online at the same time. 


@Roamaboutwrote:

@t_kwrote:

@Roamabout

 

 

I'm glad you're having a good expeirience. What @rphsia has been getting at, is that you may never notice the issues being described here. Depending on your usage, the issue can range from "glaring and impossible to ignore", all the way to "gee, seems to work for me". The specific and transient nature of the bugs are what makes this so maddening.

 

Now, since you've posted here a few times, I do have a test case that I've used to demonstrate the issue with support. It always reveals the issue in somewhere from 5 minutes to 3 hours and has been reproducible for the last 8 firmware revisions. If you're intereted, I'll post it. Though, it's not the easiest test to perform.

 

I'm very confident you are also experiencing the issue and that it's not a result of any specific hardware variations from manufactoring. However, depending on your usage - and specifically how many active devices connect to sattellites - you may never notice it. And, if you never notice it, then it's definitely an acceptible problem in your case!


In the interest of science I would be happy to do some tests that would result in the bahavior that people are reporting - spontaneous reboots, devices disconnecting, speed drop off, devices unable to connect. I have the router and two sats with 36 devices connected. Multiple Windows tablets, android tablets and android/apple phones to test roaming scenarios. Router in the middle on the lower floor, sats at either end of the upper floor.


 


My Setup (Cable 900Mbps/50Mbps)>CAX80>RBK853 v3.1.16.6(Router Mode)
Additional NG HW: C7800/CM1100/CM1200/CM2000, Orbi CBK40, RBK50, R7800, R7960P,
EX7500/EX7700, XR450 and WNHDE111
Message 25 of 52
Top Contributors
Discussion stats
Announcements