The Netgear Orbi AX11000 (RBKE963) is the first wifi 6E mesh system to land in our territory. As usual, the manufacturer is attacking the market with the top of the range and the features of this RBKE963 gather the best at the moment in the field of consumer networks. The RBKE963 is therefore a 6E mesh wifi system with four wifi bands at a total speed of 11 Gb / s, including the 4.8 Gb / s dedicated to the brand new 6 GHz band. The 10G and 2.5G RJ45 ports complete this state-of-the-art sheet. The launch price of this state-of-the-art grid system is also skyrocketing: it is currently estimated at € 1699.
Netgear provides its grid system with a unit that acts as a router and others that relay the wifi signal, called satellite units. Therefore, the Orbi RBKE963 has three parts, but a two-unit version, called the RBKE962, is also being designed. The distinction between the units is made by the presence of a yellow RJ45 port on the router, called a WAN. The latter connects directly to your operator box or ONT box if your ISP allows you to do so without the box (this is the case with Orange in France). The satellites are of course identical, but without WAN sockets.
The wifi features of this grid kit are according to the current state of the art. The RBKE963 is a 6E wifi model equipped with three usable frequency bands: 2.4 GHz at 1200 Mb / s, 5 GHz at 2400 Mb / s and 6 GHz at 4800 Mb / s. A fourth 5 GHz frequency band at 2400 Mb / s is intended exclusively for communication between the units that make up the Netgear Orbi AX11000.
For the wired part, Netgear has also seen great. Each unit has a standard RJ45 2.5G socket and three Gigabit ports – only the router unit has a standard 10G WAN socket. If your home is fully wired, you can connect your drives using the 2.5G Ethernet socket and turn on the Ethernet backhaul.
Each unit has a sync button, a reset button, and a dedicated power socket that the manufacturer also uses on some of its routers. An indicator light is on the front between the bronze bottom and the white top. A second very discreet indicator light, placed above the socket, lets you know the status of the unit during a reset.
In terms of design, Netgear has taken on the distinctive shapes of its Orbi. The dimensions are impressive with 28 cm height for 19 cm width and 8.3 cm depth. Weight is just as important: we measured 1.4 kg for each unit. Therefore, it will be necessary to provide good fastenings to your shelves if you want to incorporate them into your decor.
The installation of Orbi is identical from one model to another, you will not be out of place if you know the ecosystem. The easiest way is to install the app of the same name and let yourself be guided. The application explains in many steps the connection, the installation of the units and their updating. You can also choose the wifi network name (SSID) as well as the password.
After the grid system is configured, two SSIDs are created: the first includes the three frequency bands named ORBIxx. The second SSID, called ORBI-IoT, is dedicated to connected objects. Some of the latter have problems with SSIDs comprising all bands, Netgear has bypassed the problem by creating a dedicated SSID in the 2.4 GHz band. It is also possible to disable it in the application interface. Note that it is also possible to create an SSID only for the 6 GHz band that is specific to wifi 6E, which makes it possible to avoid roaming in the frequency bands, utilizing the best possible speeds and, most importantly, reducing congestion. 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, especially in cities.
The Orbi application is not much different, although we are dealing with an advanced technology system. The options offered are the same as those of the Orbi RBK352. Therefore, the settings are basic, limited to the name of the wifi network, its password and access to statistics. The Wi-Fi Guest or IoT network can be turned on, but for advanced settings you will need to go through the web interface. Netgear has not yet decided to include free parental controls, even with simple features such as slots per user type, as offered by TP-Link or Amazon Eero. Therefore, it will be necessary to register with Netgear Armor for a fee of € 99 / year, regardless of the cost of this Orbi RBKE963 συστήματος eye system…
If you have to make settings that do not exist in the Orbi application, you must access the system web interface by entering the IP address of the router (10.0.0.1) in a browser or go to orbilogin.com. Netgear router users will recognize the interface and all editable settings. It is therefore possible to change all DHCP rules, DNS or even the practice of port forwarding. On the other hand, it is unfortunate that you have to connect to the “webmin” to configure your VPN or activate the SSID dedicated to the 6 GHz band.
To evaluate the performance of the Netgear Orbi AX11000 RBKE96E grid system, we connected the router unit to our operator box to which we connected a laptop via an adapter in the 2.5 Gb / s socket. We transfer a 4.73 GB (disk image) file from the first laptop to a second one equipped with an Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6 chip, but also to a desktop computer located upstairs and connected to a Gigabyte GC-WBAX200 card PCIe with external antenna and updated with Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX210 chip that supports wifi 6E.
Connected to the 6 GHz frequency band, we receive average speeds approaching 1.3 Gb / s, whether they are connected to the router (point 1) or to the satellite (point 2). Also note that the speed does not change when connected to the satellite thanks to the frequency band dedicated to communication between units.
Once we are away from the units and with a few more obstacles (points 3 to 5), the speeds stabilize at around 670 Mb / s. Thanks to its three modules, the RBKE963 largely covers our home and even the point 5 usually problematic takes advantage of high performance.
In the 5 GHz bandwidth, near speeds are lower, around 800 Mb / s for download and just under 700 Mb / s for download. We also note that in this kit, with some exceptions, speeds are always higher for download than for download. Away from the units, speeds are reduced significantly less than at 6 GHz, which is normal since the higher the frequency band, the more the passage of obstacles reduces speeds.
The Netgear Orbi RBKE963 2.4 GHz bandwidth offers the best speeds we have seen, at almost 300 Mb / s. At points 4 and 5, our test computer does not even bother to connect to the nearest unit, which explains lower speeds than it normally should.
In view of the results, if you are looking for the highest speeds, you should make sure that you are equipped with devices compatible with 6E wifi and that you have the ability to record the 6 GHz band. Otherwise, it makes more sense to switch to a model that is satisfied with wifi 6 in the 5 GHz band, such as the Orbi RBK852 or the TP-Link Deco X90.