Wireless Internet Providers

Netgear Orbi AXE11000 overview: A mighty mesh router that is greater than you want

orbi-2022-2

Chris Monroe/CNET

Netgear already makes the quickest and best-performing mesh router we have examined so far, and now there is a new model of that system that provides in help for Wi-Fi 6E, a brand new designation for Wi-Fi units geared up to function in the just lately opened, ultrawide 6GHz band.

Dubbed the Netgear Orbi AXE11000, the system boasts the standard 2.4 and 5GHz bands, plus a second 5GHz band for backhaul transmissions, plus the brand new 6GHz band for Wi-Fi 6E connections. Netgear is advertising it accordingly as the world’s first quad-band mesh router — and it comes with a quad-digit price ticket, too: $1,500 for a three-pack.

Like

  • Highly effective efficiency and quick speeds
  • Helps all generations of Wi-Fi, together with Wi-Fi 6E connections over 6GHz
  • 10Gbps WAN port helps multi-gig web plans after which some
  • Upfront privateness disclosures

Do not Like

  • Too costly to suggest
  • Inconsistent routing compromises speeds to a small diploma
  • Weaker add vary over 6GHz
  • Restricted management over community settings in Orbi app

For the cash, you are getting probably the most future-proofed routers we have ever seen, able to hitting wi-fi speeds of as much as 2.4 gigabits per second (2,400Mbps) on the 5GHz band, or as much as 4.8Gbps for Wi-Fi 6E units on the 6GHz band. As for wired connections, every machine within the system features a 2.5Gbps LAN port and three further gigabit Ethernet jacks, whereas the router’s WAN port helps incoming speeds from the modem of as much as 10Gbps.

That may have appeared like overkill just some months in the past, however with web suppliers like AT&T, Comcast Xfinity, Ziply Fiber, Google Fiber and others persevering with to roll out multi-gig web plans, high-speed ports like these may be related prior to you suppose.

Positive sufficient, the Orbi AXE11000 was a powerful performer after I examined the system out at my house and on the CNET Good House — however it wasn’t good. With 4 bands to juggle, the mesh has extra work to do because it routes your connection, and the system appeared to wrestle with that course of a bit greater than earlier-gen Orbi setups. It was nonetheless in a position to max out my common speeds in each room of each atmosphere I examined it in, however it wasn’t fairly as flawless as its predecessor, the much less superior Orbi AX6000.

That makes this mesh system a bit like a bodybuilder — excessively highly effective, however possibly not fairly as nimble because it must be. It is principally a moot level for the reason that system works so properly, however it additionally makes the Orbi AXE11000 powerful to suggest for many households, particularly up in opposition to worthy options that price significantly much less. That is as robust a router as you’d anticipate for the worth, and it won’t be lengthy earlier than most of us will need our house networks to help Wi-Fi 6E, however there isn’t any want to interrupt the financial institution right here.

orbi-2022-3

Chris Monroe/CNET

First impressions

The Netgear Orbi AXE11000 is a mesh system product of three large-sized units, every geared up with 12 separate inner antennas, high-power amplifiers and a 2.2GHz quad-core processor. Design-wise, they give the impression of being fairly much like the earlier era of upright, incisor-ish Orbi programs, however the addition of bronze accents on the base provides them an appropriately premium look compared. In different phrases, they do not simply seem like Orbi routers; they seem like good Orbi routers — and so they’re additionally out there direct from Netgear in an all-black construct, which is one other good design contact.

The Orbi AXE11000 router contains a WAN port that helps incoming speeds of as much as 10Gbps, which is twice as quick because the quickest web plans within the nation.


Chris Monroe/CNET

Every machine seems an identical, however they don’t seem to be; one in all them is your designated router, and it consists of the WAN port that you will use to attach the system along with your modem through Ethernet cable. Conveniently coloured in can’t-miss yellow, that WAN port helps incoming speeds as excessive as 10Gbps, which is twice as quick because the quickest web plans out there wherever within the US. Do not anticipate this method to bottleneck your community speeds anytime quickly.

As for the remainder of the ports, every machine within the system, router and satellites alike, features a LAN jack that helps wired connections at speeds of as much as 2.5Gbps, which is nice should you plan to attach the issues with an Ethernet cable for a completely wired backhaul. You may additionally discover three further gigabit Ethernet jacks for connecting wired community units, sensible house dongles and different peripherals. You will not discover any USB jacks on any of the units, although — that is fairly typical with mesh routers lately, however I nonetheless would have appreciated to have seen not less than one right here to let you join issues like printers and exterior storage drives to the community.

netgear-orbi-axe11000-ios-app-setup-wi-fi-6e-mesh-router

Netgear/Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

Setup and app controls

Netgear’s Orbi app does an excellent job of strolling you thru the setup course of, which solely took me about 10 minutes. You may scan a QR code and plug the router into your modem and into energy, add the satellites in, after which faucet your means by means of fast connectivity checks and a firmware replace, all of which ensures that your system will get off on the proper foot.

I did not check the setup course of on an Android machine, however on iOS, the app was upfront with its privateness disclosures, with popups looking for separate permissions for information monitoring and for location monitoring. The notifications make it clear that the app tracks your information throughout the web sites and apps you employ to be able to ship personalised adverts, and you’ve got a transparent alternative to take that info and decide out altogether. Location monitoring is used strictly to auto-connect your machine to identified Wi-Fi networks and for system administration, the app says, however you possibly can decide out of that, too.

On iOS, the Orbi app provides you clear alternatives to decide out of information assortment and placement monitoring throughout setup.


Netgear/Screenshots by Ry Crist/CNET

For extra particulars on these practices, you possibly can try Netgear’s sweeping privateness coverage, which covers all Netgear services. It is the standard legalese, and an Orbi- or not less than a router-specific model of the coverage can be much more useful for customers, however it nonetheless presents a take a look at Netgear’s insurance policies almost about information assortment and safety. Particularly, the corporate tracks issues like your community analytics and profile settings alongside your web utilization habits, geolocation information, and inferential information about your conduct and preferences, a lot of which is used for advertising functions. That is mainly par for the course with routers lately (and with all types of related units), and once more, I give Netgear some credit score for making it straightforward to make an knowledgeable opt-out determination on the onset of setup.

As soon as setup is full, the app presents a reasonably slim mixture of options. You’ll be able to run a fast pace check or test a listing of units related to your community, however you will not discover a lot flexibility out of your Wi-Fi settings. There is no choice to separate the bands into separate networks, as an illustration, and different frequent settings and tweaks are absent as properly. Throughout setup, the app mentions a brand new function that allows you to create a separate community strictly for IoT devices, however I could not discover that choice wherever as soon as the system was up and operating. 

Couple that with a gradual stream of popups that nag you to subscribe to Netgear’s premium cybersecurity instruments, and it is an app that would positively profit from a giant replace, or an overhaul even. Nonetheless, it will get the job accomplished, which is the necessary half.

The Orbi AXE11000 (inexperienced) was in a position to prime out my 300Mbps fiber connection in each room of my home — however the common speeds from three different programs, together with the previous-gen Orbi AX6000, have been quicker.


Ry Crist/CNET

Efficiency was robust, not the strongest

As you’ll in all probability hope from such an costly mesh router, the Orbi AXE11000 was a robust performer in my at-home pace exams, the place I clock the system speeds in 5 rooms all through my 1,300-square-foot house in Louisville, Kentucky. My fiber web plan helps add and obtain speeds of as much as 300Mbps, and with the router and a single satellite tv for pc in play, the Orbi AXE11000 was simply in a position to prime that out on a Wi-Fi 6 shopper over a number of days in each room I examined it in. 

That is a robust consequence, however the total common speeds weren’t the quickest I’ve seen. Apparently sufficient, the highest spot nonetheless goes to the previous-gen Netgear Orbi AX6000. The highest-rated TP-Hyperlink Deco W7200 was a contact quicker in my house than the Orbi AXE11000, too — identical goes for the Arris Surfboard Max AX6600. All of these are tri-band Wi-Fi 6 fashions that do not embody help for Wi-Fi 6E. The Orbi AXE11000 remains to be a extra highly effective and succesful system than any of them, however it wasn’t fairly as sharp when it got here to routing my connection appropriately.

The Orbi AXE11000 did not optimize speeds in my house fairly in addition to the previous-gen Orbi AX6000 (left). It is a hardly noticeable distinction in apply, however it’s clear once you graph out your pace check outcomes.


Ry Crist/CNET

You will get a greater sense of this by evaluating the person pace check outcomes between the 2 Orbi programs in the identical spate of exams. That is what you are within the graphs above, with every dot representing my obtain pace throughout a single pace check for the given system within the given room. The AX6000 system saved these speeds excessive and constant, as a result of it doesn’t matter what room I used to be in or the place I had began my connection from, it was making good choices about which band to make use of and which machine to route my connection by means of. The AXE11000 system noticed these dots dip in sure rooms, and whereas there are a variety of potential explanation why, the likeliest is that it was routing my connection by means of the extender at occasions when it will have been higher to ship it on to the router.

It was a problem that appeared to persist no matter which machine I used to be operating my exams on. As I discussed earlier, the Orbi AXE11000 does not provide the choice of separating the bands into distinct networks, so I wasn’t in a position to isolate the 6GHz band and see the way it carried out by itself. Nonetheless, I made positive to check the system with three separate shopper units — an Apple iPad Air 2 from 2015 that makes use of Wi-Fi 5, a Lenovo ThinkPad laptop computer that helps Wi-Fi 6 and a Samsung Galaxy S21 that helps Wi-Fi 6E. With all of them, I noticed the identical kind of minor quirks that sometimes prompted speeds to come back in a bit decrease than anticipated. It did not have an effect on system efficiency in a noticeable means, however nonetheless prompted it to complete exterior of the highest spot so far as common speeds are involved.

netgear-orbi-axe11000-download-and-upload-speeds

Ry Crist/CNET

The graphs above present the typical obtain and add speeds by room on every of these three units. Not surprisingly, the Wi-Fi 5 machine (inexperienced) was the slowest total, significantly with respect to uploads. The Wi-Fi 6 machine (orange) noticed its add speeds dip barely in the direction of the center of my house, as properly. In the meantime, with its help for Wi-Fi 6E permitting it to place the 6GHz band to work, the Galaxy S21 (purple) logged the quickest add and obtain speeds total, although the efficiency was basically indistinguishable from the Wi-Fi 6 ThinkPad.

My exams weren’t accomplished there, although. I additionally needed to see how the system would carry out in a bigger atmosphere with each satellites in play, so I boxed it up and hauled it out to the 5,400-square-foot CNET Good House, situated within the rural outskirts of Louisville. Speeds are considerably restricted in that a part of city, however we have now a fiber hookup with uploads and downloads of as much as 100Mbps, and I needed to know if the Orbi might max these speeds out throughout the complete place.

Obtain speeds have been close to good throughout the CNET Good House, however the system struggled considerably with add speeds at vary with my Wi-Fi 5 machine — and, surprisingly, with my Wi-Fi 6E machine, too.


Ry Crist/CNET

Positive sufficient, it might. Testing throughout eight rooms within the multilevel house, the Orbi was in a position to ship wonderful obtain speeds as much as a max of round 140Mbps to all three units in all rooms (the graph on the left), with solely a slight dip for my Wi-Fi 5 machine at vary and within the basement (the ultimate 4 rooms on the chart). Uploads have been one other story, although. Once more, the Wi-Fi 5 machine noticed some noticeable pace dips at vary, and even on the principle ground in the main bedroom — however now the Wi-Fi 6E machine was seeing dips, too. In the meantime, the Wi-Fi 6 machine noticed add speeds that held up loads higher at vary. That is completely different from what I noticed at my home, the place the Wi-Fi 6E machine led the best way with the quickest uploads total.

The takeaway there may be that your mileage could differ relying on quite a lot of variables, together with the format and measurement of your property. It is also necessary to maintain the information in context. The Orbi AXE11000 was in a position to ship max or near-max obtain speeds to Wi-Fi 5, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E units in each room of each atmosphere I examined it in. That is an particularly good consequence within the CNET Good House, the place the one router that often runs the connection sometimes sees speeds that plummet into the one digits down within the basement. The Orbi setup by no means stalled or dropped my connection throughout any of my exams, and it by no means did the rest that might trigger me to note a shortcoming with my connection throughout routine use.

So how does that evaluate with the competitors? We’re nonetheless within the strategy of increasing our router exams into the CNET Good House, and I nonetheless have numerous programs I might prefer to re-test there, however I used to be in a position to check the Orbi AXE11000 in opposition to 4 different mesh programs which have accomplished properly in my earlier exams: the top-recommended TP-Hyperlink Deco W7200, the marginally dearer TP-Hyperlink Deco X90, the Asus ZenWifi XD6, and the previous-gen Orbi AX6000. Aside from the dual-band Asus system, all of these are tri-band mesh routers with full help for Wi-Fi 6, although not Wi-Fi 6E.

cnet-smart-home-mesh-router-tests-downloads-and-uploads

Throughout days of exams on the CNET Good House, the Orbi AXE11000 (blue) held its personal in opposition to 4 different top-performing Wi-Fi 6 mesh programs.


Ry Crist/CNET

Towards all of them, the Orbi AXE11000 notched the quickest common add and obtain speeds to my Wi-Fi 6 machine, with close to good speeds in each room I examined in. Simply you’ll want to word that each one of these comparability programs are two-piece mesh setups, so the three-piece Orbi AXE110000 had a bonus right here with the addition of a second satellite tv for pc.

The Orbi AXE11000 additionally delivered the quickest obtain speeds to my Wi-Fi 6E Galaxy S21 — although the Deco X90 really edged it out for the quickest common add speeds to that machine. Once more, that system does not help the 6GHz band in any respect, so the Galaxy S21 was mainly connecting like a Wi-Fi 6 machine in these exams. That is much less of some extent in opposition to Orbi than it’s a strong demonstration of why it is nonetheless in all probability too early for most folk to pay up for Wi-Fi 6E routers. Most of our house web connections merely aren’t quick sufficient for us to see a lot of a distinction from them, even when we’re already utilizing Wi-Fi 6E units.

Nonetheless, the Orbi AXE110000 did a superb job, even with some inconsistencies within the add speeds — however is it ok for a system that prices properly over a thousand {dollars}?

orbi-2022-4

Chris Monroe/CNET

The decision

With a system this costly, it is necessary to know what you are paying for. Within the case of the Orbi AXE11000, you are basically paying tons of greater than the previous-gen Orbi AX6000 to get that system with a 6GHz band added into the combination. That brings full help for Wi-Fi 6E into play — however we’re nonetheless not seeing clear efficiency advantages at house for units like these. In lots of instances, a Wi-Fi 6E machine like that Galaxy S21 will do exactly as properly related to a good Wi-Fi 6 router as it will related to a Wi-Fi 6E router.

I anticipate that to alter within the coming years as web speeds enhance, increasingly units undertake Wi-Fi 6E, and as producers proceed to make higher use of the usual. Wi-Fi 6E requires full help for Wi-Fi 6, so there are not any previous-gen Wi-Fi 5 units on that 6GHz superhighway slowing issues down — that signifies that a system like this may be an particularly good match for environments surrounded by numerous competing Wi-Fi networks with numerous potential interference. And should you’re in a crowded public house like an airport or a stadium, then a Wi-Fi 6E connection that silos off your site visitors from most people round you may be a godsend. However that is an argument for having a Wi-Fi 6E machine on the go, not for having a Wi-Fi 6E router at house. 

Backside line: It is a superb system with numerous enchantment for deep-pocketed future-proofers, however it’s greater than most individuals at present want, and that makes it tough to suggest at such a excessive asking value. If I have been shopping for right now, I might quite go together with the previous-gen Orbi AX6000, or higher but, an excellent inexpensive tri-band Wi-Fi 6 system just like the TP-Hyperlink Deco W7200 or the Asus ZenWifi XT8. If I wanted a three-piece system with two extenders, the Eero Professional 6 would get me there for about $800 lower than the Orbi AXE11000. Any of these can be greater than sufficient for proper now, and sufficient to tide you over till Wi-Fi 6E is a extra compelling improve at house.

Related Articles

Back to top button