Orbi, this name resonates for several years now as the solution to the performance problems of our Wi-Fi networks. And it is modernized with the Netgear Orbi RBK352. We tested the kit capable of streaming Wi-Fi 6.
After very convincing but still expensive first iterations, Netgear extended its Orbi range with several Wi-Fi 6 compatible references. We tested the new kit. Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 RBK352 which promises a broadcast of Wi-Fi 6 for surfaces up to 200 m² with a maximum theoretical throughput of 1.8 Gb / s, but above all a simple configuration accessible to all.
The technical sheet of the Netgear Orbi Wifi 6 RBK352
This test was carried out using a product loaned by the brand.
A discreet kit
The Orbi WiFi 6 RBK352 Kit consists first of all of a first box which will act as a router. Entirely built in white plastic, we appreciate here the slimming cure if we compare it to previous and more high-end models. The kit will therefore fit more easily into interiors.
It is this router that we will connect to the operator’s box and which will therefore be responsible for broadcasting the “network” to the other devices in the kit. It has a dedicated gigabit RJ45 connector to the internet connection (and therefore to the box in your operator). Netgear has equipped this router with 3 additional RJ45 ports which can be used to connect any device to it.
The second box is what is called a satellite. Its sole purpose is to expand the coverage of the Orbi kit. It is also possible to add several to our installation to adapt the set to the surface to be covered. It communicates directly over Wi-Fi with the router and has 2 RJ45 ports to be able to connect wired devices.
Visually, and beyond the connectivity, it is impossible to distinguish between the router and the satellite. The two devices are powered by a small electrical unit and have a light indicator on the front which will take on a different color depending on their condition. Fortunately, this lighting is switched off when all is well, which will prevent the rooms from being unnecessarily illuminated at night.
This WiFi 6 RBK352 kit is logically positioned in the same line as its predecessors, but offers a small footprint. This is explained in particular by its more reasonable performance which does not require an antenna system as developed as on the tri-band models.
A simple and complete kit at the same time
As always, the first installation of the Orbi RBK352 kit is very simple. You just have to download the application available on the Play Store and on the App Store and let yourself be guided. Thanks to the QR Code present on the router, the application will automatically detect it and assist the user in configuring the Wi-Fi network. Likewise, any satellites are detected automatically.
The application itself offers rather basic features. It is possible to configure the Wi-Fi network, to have a list of connected devices or to activate the Netgear Armor paid security suite (tested here). It is also possible to test the internet speed and to have a lot of information on the quality of the Wi-Fi signal and the possible saturation of the bands.
Clearly, unless you want to cut off the network access of one of the connected devices or update the Orbi devices, the application will ultimately not be very useful once the solution has been configured.
If this application is sufficient for the vast majority of users, the most demanding people will not be left out either since the Orbi kits can be used like real routers, like other references in the brand’s range. Once connected to the kit, a web interface accessible from any browser will allow you to finely configure the kit.
DHCP, NAT, VPN, so many features offered by the Orbi router, which are usually found on dedicated routers. We also take advantage of different filtering and security functions. All these characteristics ultimately allow the Orbi kit to completely replace the operator’s box. We also carried out this manipulation in a few minutes, which allowed us to store our Bbox in the cupboard.
Note also that the kit can operate either in router mode (and take advantage of all the functions mentioned), or in access point mode. It is also this mode that we recommend if you do not want to bother with the configuration and if you keep your internet box. In this configuration, the kit will simply take care of broadcasting the Wi-Fi.
In the end, despite its simplicity of implementation, this Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 RBK352 kit is capable of assuming advanced functionalities that advanced users will appreciate. Despite this, the kit remains quite accessible to neophytes thanks to its very easy-to-use mobile application.
Excellent Wi-Fi performance
Now that you know everything about this Orbi WiFi 6 RBK352 kit, it’s time to dwell on its performance. The datasheet provided by Netgear indicates that the kit offers a Wi-Fi double bande (2,4 GHz + 5 GHz) capable of theoretically reaching a cumulative throughput of 1.8 Gb / s.
Unlike some other references in the Orbi range, the link between the router and the satellites does not benefit from a dedicated third band and will therefore consume bandwidth like any other connected device. However, it is still possible to connect the router and the satellites using an RJ45 cable.
Our tests were carried out using a Dell laptop PC compatible with Wi-Fi 6 but also with a Google Pixel 5 (Wi-Fi 5 or AC). Here we used the iperf utility, which was running in server mode on a second computer directly attached to the Orbi router. The various tests were carried out over one minute with a measurement every second.
We first wanted to measure the raw performance of the router. For this, the latter was connected to our box and only the device used for the test was connected to the Wi-Fi network. For your information, this test was carried out in a recent apartment, surrounded by other apartments equipped with them. also Wi-Fi networks.
At 1 meter from the router, we get fairly stable results located between 700 and 900 Mb / s in Wi-Fi 6. The throughput measured with the Pixel 5 is a little less stable, but still manages to stabilize around 600 Mb / s. Passing into another room (separated by a partition), the throughput remained similar, but s’ is on the other hand collapsed after the passage of a load-bearing wall, which the waves at 5 GHz have difficulty in crossing.
We then added the satellite to verify its impact on the overall performance of the solution. No big surprises here since we measure similar values in our first test by installing the satellite in a different room. It was also the occasion to test the flow by connecting the PC in wire at the back of the satellite.
In summary, the performance is simply excellent since in a classic situation, the average speed measured during our tests in Wi-Fi 6 is of the order of 730 Mb / s. We find a similar measure when the computer is directly connected to the satellite. Wi-Fi devices are not left out either and here benefit from an average speed of around 570 Mb / s.
Note that we measured a average latency of about 3 ms. It is therefore quite possible to play on a network while being connected via Wi-Fi to the Orbi network. The speeds measured in Wi-Fi 6 are simply excellent, even if they do not meet the promises of the technology (1.2 Gb / s theoretical) in our case. However, these values remain largely sufficient for all digital uses at the moment.
Taking into account the difference in performance during our tests with the satellite, it seems reasonable to us to affirm that the router alone is sufficient on its own to cover an apartment of about 50 m². The addition of satellite will logically make it possible to extend the coverage, in particular on several levels for dwellings of 150 to 200 m2.
Price and availability of the Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 RBK 352 kit
The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 RBK352 kit is available for a suggested price of 249.99 euros. The brand also sells a kit with 2 satellites (only one in the basic kit) for 100 euros more.
Source: Frandroid by www.frandroid.com.
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