Saturday, March 10, 2018

NETGEAR Orbi WiFi System AC3000 RBK50 Review

We are in a modern age. With that comes the internet, where we can access all kinds of content. Since we enjoy all this content, we tend to get products that will allow us to see that content: computers, tablets, smartphones, smart TV’s etc. We need those devices in order to be able to see that content. But it’s easy to forget about the routers that will get us online. Up for review today is the NETGEAR Orbi WiFi System AC3000 RBK50.

Other than your smartphone, devices need help to connect to the internet. Wi-fi is an amazing thing. But they still need a router that will provide the wi-fi signal for them. Not all routers are created equal. If you’re single, and only need to access the internet with a couple devices, most routers will be sufficient. But if you’re married and have a few teenagers, then you will want a seriously robust router. That’s because, chances are, they all have at least 1 device like a smartphone or tablet. There’s almost probably a couple of laptops, a smart TV or two, and one or two gaming systems. And that's not counting smart home devices like a connected thermostat, or connected wireless speakers for that..."hey Google" experience. This all takes a lot of band width for all of those devices. And if you have a large house of 4000 square feet or more, the job just got a lot harder. So when given the opportunity to review the NETGEAR Orbi RBK50, we naturally jumped on it. Especially since we have a large 4,500 square foot house, several teenagers, multiple portable devices, smart TVs, multiple gaming systems. I was really excited to see how it would perform.

Features and Specs:

1 x 10/100/1000M WAN; 3 x 10/100/1000M LAN
LAN Ports
4 x LAN for Satellite
Other Ports
1 x USB 2.0 port
Wi-Fi Standards
Radio 1: IEEE 802.11b/g/n 2.40GHz - 256QAM support

Radio 2: IEEE 802.11a/n/ac 5.00GHz - 256QAM support

Radio 3: IEEE 802.11a/n/ac 5.00GHz - 256QAM support
Wireless Data Rates
Up to 3.0Gbps
Frequency Band
2.4 GHz / 5 GHz / 5 GHz
Six (6) high-performance antennas with high-powered amplifiers
6.70" x 3.11" x 8.89"
1.96 lbs.
Better WiFi. Everywhere.
Take your WiFi device from room to room and Orbi follows with the fastest WiFi speeds possible.

Max Internet Speeds.
Orbi uses Tri-band WiFi to keep your Internet running at max speeds no matter how many devices connect

Your Home. Covered.
Kit of two covers up to a 5,000 square ft home with high performance AC3000 WiFi.

Just Plug In.
With simple setup from your mobile device, your secure WiFi network is ready in just minutes.

The NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 came packaged in a nice color printed box with photos and specs. Opening the box revealed well protected devices held in place with custom cardboard. Materials used in the construction was mostly plastic. Quality of the materials used was excellent, as was the fit and finish. The NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 was a well made product. Also included were power cords for both towers, a networking cable, and owner’s manual.

The manual was very easy to read and follow, and with the increasing popularity of apps, I was pleased and intrigued to see there was an app that could be used to set it up. Although unsure how well it would work,  I still thought I’d give it a try. I was extremely impressed with how well it worked, and how easy set-up was with the app. The app was extremely easy to follow, and it took you through all the steps. It was so simple and easy to follow, that even someone who is not tech savvy could have figured it out and followed along. Once setup was done, it was time to try it out, and I couldn’t wait!

As a reference, we used the NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1750. We had it set up on our main floor, so it would be able to reach the 2nd floor and basement. It worked well, but I felt we could do better. So when given the opportunity to review the NETGEAR Orbi, it was a no brainer. We have 50 MB internet service, which is fast enough and works good for us. And testing, the NETGEAR Nighthawk showed a speed of 38 MB. So I was anxious to see how the NETGEAR Orbi would compare to it.

I had high expectations for the NETGEAR Orbi RBK50. And it delivered in Spades! Having one satellite on the 2nd floor and the router in the basement, I knew it would give good complete coverage. My only concern was the router in the basement getting signal to the satellite up on the 2nd floor. But that wasn’t an issue at all! They reached each other and communicated very well. The NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 provided excellent coverage, and speed. It didn’t matter where I was. Going to, I tested each floor. Basement, main floor and 2nd floor, it didn’t matter. I didn’t get below 46 MB and it got as high as 49 MB. Usually the speed was between 47 and 48 MB. Needless to say, I was impressed.  My only limitation it appeared was my 50MB internet service.  This almost makes me want to upgrade my internet service to 100MB, Lol.

The family was also equally impressed with the performance. After giving it a workout for a few weeks, the NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 performed without a hitch. The Xbox One was always smooth. Netfilx, Hulu, Pandora on Smart TV’s as well as tablets and smartphones also performed smoothly without a hitch. My youngest daughter likes to video chat with friends, and it sometimes got sluggish. But not anymore. And when I really wanted to put it to the test, I had all the kids jump on all their devices, TV’s and game systems, all at the same time. And at the end of the test, the results were the same. Everything was smooth, without any problems. dead zones!

Oh, I almost forgot.  The NETGEAR Orbi also is great for concerned parents.  Included in the NETGEAR Orbi is Circle With Disney.  It is an integrated app that works with the device, to help control it's use with your kids.  Here you can monitor and filter content, time, and devices.  It's smart parental controls.  Here you can create a profile for every member of the family.  That way they don't get content that they shouldn't.  And when it's bedtime, you can just turn off the internet to their devices.  Or you can also give time limits to the devices.  Very cool!

In summary, the NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 is nothing short of brilliant! If you have a large home, and great wi-fi coverage is important to you, the NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 is aces! And if you have a smaller home, I would expect a smaller system would work just as well.  Based on its design, features, quality and performance, the NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 has earned our Editor’s Choice award. With an MSRP of $369.99, the NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 is worth every penny.  For more info and complete specs check out their website at