The Netgear Orbi 970 Sequence stands out for a number of causes. It’s not solely one of many first Wi-Fi 7 mesh techniques accessible, nevertheless it delivers the quickest throughput efficiency amongst them. At $2,299.99 for the three-node model we examined, it’s also simply the most costly shopper mesh system we’ve come throughout, Wi-Fi 7 or in any other case. Designed for properties of as much as 10,000 sq. toes, the Orbi is a quad-band system that comes with Netgear’s Armor community safety software program. It is loaded with top-shelf elements like 10GbE and a pair of.5GbE networking ports and high-performance amplified antennas. Contemplating the present lack of obtainable Wi-Fi 7 shoppers, although, we see no pressing cause to expire and purchase it. (The identical goes for our Editors’ Selection winner on this class, the Eero Max 7.) That’s, until you need the most important, quickest, and costliest mesh setup on the block.
Design: Your Selection of Black or White
We’re reviewing the $2,299.99 Orbi RBE973S right here, which is the three-piece system. You probably have a smaller house, the two-piece RBE972S system covers 6,600 sq. toes and goes for $1,699.99. Particular person add-on satellites add 3,300 sq. toes of protection and value $899.99 every.
The nodes are available white with gold trim, or black with black trim, and so they’re actually large by Wi-Fi mesh requirements. They stand 11.5 inches excessive, 5.6 inches huge, and 5.1 inches deep. The router node is supplied with a 10GbE WAN port, a 10GbE LAN port, and 4 2.5GbE LAN ports, all of which may be discovered on the rear panel together with a Sync (Wi-Fi Protected Setup, or WPS) button, an influence button, an influence port, and a reset button. Not like the TP-Hyperlink Deco BE85, this mesh system gives no USB ports.
The bottom holds an LED indicator that’s strong inexperienced when the router is powered up and dealing appropriately, blinks crimson if the firmware is corrupt, is strong magenta when the router has misplaced its web connection, and pulses white when the Sync button has been pressed.
The satellite tv for pc nodes are geared up with a 10GbE LAN port (which can be utilized for wired backhaul), two 2.5GbE LAN ports, a Sync button for pairing the satellite tv for pc with the router, a reset button, an influence button, and an influence port. The LED pulses white when the satellite tv for pc is powering up, is strong blue when it’s linked to the router with a great connection, is strong amber when the connection is honest, and is strong magenta if it is not linked to the router.
Every node is outfitted with 12 high-gain amplified antennas, a 2.2GHz quad-core CPU, 4GB of flash reminiscence, and 2GB of RAM. This can be a quad-band BE27000 system, which implies that it might probably hit most theoretical knowledge charges of as much as 1,147Mbps on the two.4GHz band, as much as 8,647Mbps on one 5GHz band, as much as 5,765Mbps on the second 5GHz band, and as much as 11,530Mbps on the 6GHz band. That is a complete of roughly 27,000Mbps. The 6GHz band and the second 5GHz band can each be used for enhanced devoted wi-fi backhaul ought to your house setup be unable to accommodate wired backhaul.
The RBE973S makes use of the newest Wi-Fi 7 expertise. It helps Multi Hyperlink Operation (MLO), which makes use of the 5GHz and 6GHz bands on the similar time to cut back congestion and supply optimum throughput. MLO is without doubt one of the key advantages of Wi-Fi 7 over earlier Wi-Fi variations, nevertheless it requires shopper assist, which is scarce at this level, so it will not be usable instantly. Different expertise contains MU-MIMO simultaneous knowledge streaming, 320MHz channel bandwidth, 4K QAM, direct-to-client beamforming, WPA3 encryption, and orthogonal frequency-division a number of entry (OFDMA) transmissions.
The Orbi additionally comes with a free one-year subscription to Netgear’s Armor safety software program, which protects your community and all linked units from viruses, password theft, ransomware, and different safety threats. As soon as the free trial ends, you’ll must pay $99.99 per yr to resume the subscription. You additionally get free primary parental controls that allow you to create profiles, pause web entry, and handle on-line time for relations, however you’ll want a $7.99 month-to-month/$69.99 yearly Premium subscription to unlock options corresponding to age-based net filtering, web site monitoring, machine utilization stats, and time rewards for good conduct.
You may management the Orbi with the identical cellular app for iOS and Android units that many different Netgear merchandise use, together with the Orbi RBKE963 WiFi 6E Mesh System. Or, you need to use the web-based console, which gives just a few further settings that allow you to do issues like configure a separate IoT community for sensible house units and configure a VPN.
The cellular app makes it simple to regulate the Orbi mesh community utilizing your cellphone. It opens to a dashboard display with a picture of the router node and its standing (on-line or offline, in addition to the variety of linked satellite tv for pc nodes). You may faucet the router picture to view a community map exhibiting every node. Whenever you faucet a node, you’ll be able to see which shoppers are linked to it, and once you faucet a shopper you’ll be able to see which band it’s utilizing, its hyperlink fee, and its IP tackle.
Beneath the router picture are tiles that mean you can view on-line machine info, view Armor safety info (potential threats and treatments), configure Wi-Fi settings, assign parental controls, create a visitor community, monitor community visitors, and run a pace take a look at.
Testing the Orbi 970 Sequence: Multi-Gigabit Wi-Fi for the Win
As with most different mesh techniques, the Orbi is simple to put in. I began by downloading the cellular app and creating an account. Subsequent, I tapped Arrange an Orbi. I scanned the QR code on the bottom of the router node, unplugged my modem, and linked the Orbi router to my modem by way of the 10Gbe WAN port. I powered up the modem and the router, verified that the modem LED was regular, and waited shut to 5 minutes for the router LED to show strong white, at which level I tapped Proceed. I allowed my cellphone to affix the Orbi community and gave the brand new community a reputation and a Wi-Fi password. I then waited a couple of minutes whereas the app saved my info and created the community. The app verified that my firmware was updated, so I tapped Subsequent and plugged within the satellite tv for pc nodes. Inside a couple of minutes they had been added to the community and the set up was full.
The RBE973S carried out brilliantly on our throughput efficiency checks. The router node delivered 2,209Mbps on the close-proximity take a look at and 916Mbps on the 30-foot take a look at, whereas the satellite tv for pc node delivered 1,470Mbps on the close-proximity take a look at and 1,040Mbps on the 30-foot take a look at. You may see how that compares with the opposite Wi-Fi 7 mesh techniques we have examined thus far within the chart beneath. Its router node simply led the pack on each checks, whereas its satellite tv for pc node is aggressive however not class-leading.
We use an Ekahau Sidekick 2 diagnostic machine and Ekahau’s Survey software program to check wi-fi sign power. (Notice: Ekahau is owned by PCMag writer Ziff Davis). This mixture generates warmth maps that present the router’s sign power all through our take a look at house. The circles signify the situation of the router and the satellite tv for pc node, and the colours signify sign power, with darkish greens representing the strongest sign and lighter yellow areas representing a weaker sign. Grey areas point out very weak or no measurable sign reception.
As proven on the map, the RBE973S had no bother delivering comparatively robust Wi-Fi to each nook of our take a look at house.
Verdict: Future Proofing Will Value You
Blazing efficiency, future-proof expertise, and a wealth of high-speed networking ports are all good causes to contemplate the Netgear Orbi 970 Sequence should you’re trying to improve your house community. The three-piece RBE973S mesh system gives glorious protection, using 4 radio bands and Wi-Fi 7 tech to supply the quickest throughput speeds we’ve seen. It additionally comes with parental management and community safety software program, although you’ll must pay further to take full benefit of each.
That mentioned, the $2,299.99 value is tough to justify contemplating the shortage of obtainable Wi-Fi 7 shoppers on the market. In case you require a mesh system that helps 6GHz transmissions however do not care about dwelling life on the bleeding fringe of Wi-Fi 7, you’ll save a bundle with the $273.99 Wyze Wi-Fi 6E Mesh Router Professional system. It doesn’t use Wi-Fi 7 expertise, nevertheless it delivers speedy throughput and is supplied with multi-gig networking and USB ports.
In the meantime, should you will need to have Wi-Fi 7, additionally contemplate the Eero Max 7. Along with being barely cheaper and equally simple to arrange, it additionally gives more-robust assist for house automation.