As you know, we highly recommend the Netgear Orbi over all the top wireless mesh competitors, but why? Well, I have put together this article and detailed comparison chart to inform you of its advantages and why it is superior to the runner ups, the Linksys Velop and the last place Google WiFi.
Netgear OrbiPrice Checker
| || |
| || |
Google WiFiPrice Checker
| || |
All 3 wireless systems contain a powerful Quad Core Processor so this is good. They also all have 512MB of RAM and 4GB of eternal flash memory. Pretty standard and nothing less should be accepted. However, in all controlled environment tests from various publishers and tech labs, the Orbi ranks number one with constant performance at all ranges. But why? Well, as you can see it is the highest rated router at an astonishing AC3000 while the Velop only comes in at AC2200 per satellite and the not worth mentioning Google, comes in at only AC1200.
The Orbi has a huge advantage over all others, it has a dedicated 5GHz backhual channel communicating with the base station at all times on its own channel. The advantage here is that you do not interfere with wireless data transfer from satellite to satellite while using the internet. This is the foundation of mesh networking. It also does not take from the 3 remaining Tri-Band channels for your wireless devices to connect to. You get a 2GHz and dual 5GHz for your home use on top of the dedicated backhaul. This is why the Netgar Orbi has the clear advantage over all other Mesh kits. The Linksys Velop uses one of it’s dual 5GHz channels from the Tri Band for it’s backhual removing from overall performance. And the laughable G WiFi, has only one 5GHz for the backhaul and your devices so you are stuck sharing with the devices removing most of it’s throughput. All 3 systems have at least dual channel with a 2.4GHz and a 5GHz band however Orbi is superior for these reasons and many more.
The Orbi lacks here. It currently only supports 3 units in a system at 2,000 square feet each for a total of 6,000 square feet. While the Linksys Velop can support up to 10 units daisy chained at 2,000 sq ft for a theoretical 12,000 sq ft mansion. So in some cases, you may be forced to get the Velop even if you want the Orbi for it’s better speeds and features. Netgear says they may update the firmware in the future for this support and I am sure they will, but for now if you’re home is larger than 6,000 square footage, you will need the Linksys wireless system.
This also raises the debate over whether or not the Orbi is even a true “mesh network”. The Netgear setup does not daisy chain like the Linksys setup does which is the true meaning of mesh. Instead it is more of a hub and spoke kind of system with the base station in the center and the satellites connecting to it from various locations in your home. This is going to be great for anyone with a home under 6,000 sq ft but again, if you have a bigger home, the Velop is for you.
The Orbi’s have 4 ethernet ports each on the back of them to support multiple hardwired devices while the Velop only has 2. I try to hardwire everything because let’s face it, wireless will never be as good as hardwired. No matter the advancements in the technology.
The Orbi is the clear winner here with one USB port per unit. The Velop and Google simply skipped this important feature. In the beginning the Orbi had the USB port, but it had no functionality which has been changed. Why is a USB port important? Well, it’s the easiest way to plug any old external hard drive into your router and create a network attached storage setup to backup your computers over your home wifi. It is also an easy way to hook up a printer to the network. You might not think this is important, but if you ever have a harddrive crash or a virus wipe out your computer, you will insist on backup solution like this.
Easy Setup! GUI
All the systems have an easy setup. If you have a phone that supports these apps. Orbi blows the competition away yet again as it is the only system that has a web GUI(Graphical User Interface) as well. It runs the critically acclaimed battle tested Netgear backend GUI with all of the advanced options that a Netgear Nighthawk would have. The Linksys abandoned their own GUI and took the app management only road for some insane reason. Users have reported frustration with the app and it’s lack of true networking controls. The Google WiFi on the other hand, took it to a whole new level of lows. They have never made networking equipment and should stop now as they have failed. They force you to use their app and all of your personal network settings are stored remotely on their servers in the Google Cloud. This proved to be a massive disaster when the servers did an unexpected unauthorized system reset of the user base on Feb 23rd causing masses of people across the nation to lose all of their advanced network settings at once. People who set up hundreds of devices, wiped, businesses down, homes offline, etc. Do not buy this product, it will surely happen again. Orbi is the only option for an advanced network guru who needs full control, a web GUI and a battle tested firmware.
This is only a wireless router solution. You will still need a cable modem for actual internet signal from your ISP.
Orbi Versus Velop Comparison Conclusion
On almost all fronts the Orbi RBK50 runs the wireless mesh kit game. The one place it could be seen as lackluster is its ability to link up more than 3 devices to the Velop’s 10 devices. Netgear has hinted at dropping a firmware update to add more units into the equitation. This is only a downfall if you have a massive home. Otherwise the Orbi’s Tri-Band dedicated 5GHz backhual USB port enabled beamforming MU-MIMO powerhouse of a wireless system will be the best bet for almost all users. Unless of course your home is not a multi level behemoth. If you are living in a normal sized apartment, small home or 2 story condo, you may just need the fastest wireless router.