Since I posted the review on the Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000, I’ve gotten questions about comparing it to the Orbi RBRE960, which is the router unit of the Netgear Orbi RBKE 960 series.
Well, an Asus GT-AXE16000 vs Netgear RBKE960 matchup is a bit like apples vs oranges.
For one, at launch, the former is available as a single router and the latter as part of a mesh system. But even with that aside, there is more to these routers than just the Quad-band notion. In many ways, this is the AiMesh vs Orbi mesh matchup.
Let’s dive in.
Table of Contents
Asus GT-AXE16000 vs Netgear RBKE960: Similarities and differences
The Quad-band notion is the only thing these two routers have in common. They are traditional Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 routers with an additional 6GHz band to qualify as Wi-Fi 6E devices.
Generally, with two 5GHz bands, a router can host more devices on this frequency. It can use two portions of the 5GHz spectrum simultaneously.
And the 6GHz band means the broadcaster can support 6GHz clients.
How Quad-band pans out in the case of the Asus GT-AXE16000 and Netgear Orbi RBRE960 are two different stories entirely. But first, let’s check out their specs.
Asus GT-AXE16000 vs Orbi RBRE960: Hardware specifications
Again, the RBRK960 is the router unit of the Orbi RBKE960 series mesh.
|Wi-Fi Technology||Quad-band AXE16000||Quad-Band AXE11000|
Up to 1148Mbps
Up to 1148Mbps
Up to 4804Mbps
|4×4 AX |
Up to 2,402Mbps
Up to 4804Mbps
|4×4 AX |
Up to 2,402Mbps
Up to 4804Mbps
Up to 4804Mbps
5GHz-2 still unavailable to clients
|Mesh Role||Router or satellite||Router only|
|Gigabit Port||4x LAN||3x LAN|
|Multi-Gig Port||1x 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN|
2x 10Gbps LAN/WAN
|1x 10Gbps WAN|
1x 2.5Gbps LAN
|LAN Link Aggregation||Yes |
(LAN ports 1 and 2)
|WAN Link Aggregation||Yes |
(WAN + LAN4)
(WAN + USB
or any other LAN port)
|USB||1x USB 3.0|
1x USB 2.0
|Mobile App||Asus Router||Netgear Orbi|
|Remote Management||Mobile app or web interface|
(via Dynamic DNS)
|Mobile app only|
(Login account required)
|Processing Power||2.0GHz Quad-core CPU, |
256MB Flash, 2GB RAM
|2.2GHz Quad-core CPU,|
512MB Flash, 1GB RAM
(over 24 hours)
|≈ 475 Wh||Not tested|
|Dimensions (no antennas)||10.4 x 10.4 x 2.9 in |
(26.4 x 26.4x 7.4 cm)
|11 x 7.5 x 3.3 in|
(27.94 x 19.05 x 8.38 cm)
|Weight||5.3 lbs (2.4kg)||3 lbs (1.4 kg)|
|Release Date||June 2022||October 12, 2021|
|$699||Only available as part of a $1499 3-pack|
AiMesh vs Orbi: Differences galore
The Asus GT-AXE16000 and Orbi RBRK960 are as different as can be.
160MHz vs 80MHz channel width
On the table above, you’d note that the Asus has full support for the 160MHz bandwidth, while the Orbi only uses 80MHz on the 5GHz band. Consequently, the Asus has double the speed on this band when working with a supported client.
Bands vs Channels vs Streams
Wi-Fi uses three frequency bands, including 2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz.
Each band has multiple channels of different widths, including 20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz, 160Mhz, and even wider. The wider a channel is the more bandwidth it has.
Data moves wirelessly via streams, including dual-stream (2×2), three-stream (3×3), quad-stream (4×4), and even more.
Here’s a crude analogy:
If a Wi-Fi band is a freeway, then channels are lanes, and streams are vehicles (bicycles vs cars vs semi-trailer trucks). On the same road, you can put multiple lanes into a larger one to accommodate oversized vehicles that carry more goods (data) per trip (connection).
A Wi-Fi connection generally occurs on a single channel (lane) of a single band (road) at a time. The actual data transmission is always that of the lowest denominator. Similarly, a bicycle can carry just one person at a relatively slow speed, even when you ride it on a super-wide lane of an open freeway.
The way Wi-Fi 6 works, 160MHz is not a guarantee. If you live in an area with lots of RADAR activities — every city has a weather station, many with an airport or two — chances are both routers have the same bandwidth.
But, weather permitting, the Asus gives you the options of the top bandwidth. And I’d take that any day.
The mesh roles and that 5GHz-2 backhaul band
In a mesh setup, the Asus GT-AXE16000 is much more flexible than the Orbi RBRE960.
The Orbi RBRE960 can work only as a router — you must get the satellite (RBSE96) that won’t work as a router. And it only supports certain Orbi satellites.
The Asus GT-AXE16000, on the other hand, can work as the primary router or a satellite hosted by another AiMesh router. And it works with all AiMesh routers.
Most importantly, the Orbi RBRE960’s second 5GHz (5GHz-2) band is never available to the client.
In all Tri-band sets, the Orbi ecosystem reserves this additional band with Netgear’s proprietary Wi-Fi configuration sole for the backhaul purpose.
The result is that the Orbi has excellent backhaul range, but the band is wasted when the wireless backhaul is not needed, such as when you see a wired backhaul or only need the router unit.
Users have much more flexibility with this band than Asus’s AiMesh.
Multi-Gig and port flexibility
The Asus GT-AXE16000 and Orbi RBRE960 support Multi-Gig, but the Asus has two 10Gbps and one 2.5Gbps port. On top of that, it includes more Gigabit ports and supports all you can think of in terms of port configurations, including:
- WAN assignment: You can make any of its ports work as the primary WAN port, instead of the default port.
- Dual-WAN: The router can support more than one broadband connection.
- Link Aggregation: You can combine two of its Gigabit ports into a 2Gbps connection for either a WAN or a LAN application.
The Orbi, on the other hand, has just one 10Gbps port (which works solely as the WAN port) and one 2.5Gbps LAN port. It has no port flexibility.
In a wired backhauling mesh system, the GT-AXE16000 has 10Gbps Multi-Gig right out of the box — you can get multiple units and daisy-chain them. The Orbi only has 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig, and you’d need a switch if you want to have more than one satellite.
Finally, the Asus has two USB ports to host several add-on storage features. The Netgear has none.
Features and privacy
Both routers have a standard set of network settings. Beyond that, the Asus GT-AXE16000 has many extra features, including a boatload of game-related settings and free-for-life online protection.
On top of that, you don’t need to register an account with Asus to manage the router remotely — you do that via Dynamic DNS — even when you use the mobile app.
On the other hand, the Orbi is one of the first flagship routers from Netgear that no longer has Remote Management. You must opt for a login account with Netgear to manage the router remotely, which can only be done via the Orbi app.
The RBRE960 has Armor online protection and Game Booster, but they are available as add-on packages that can cost over $100/year combined.
In short, the GT-AXE16000 gives you a lot with little or no privacy risk, while the Orbi requires you to connect to Netgear’s server and pay extra to enjoy it to the fullest.
Asus GT-AXE16000 vs Netgear Orbi RBKE960: Performance and ranking
Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE16000's Rating
Powerful hardware, Quad-band with Wi-Fi 6E support, three Multi-Gig ports (one 2.5Gbps and two 10Gbps)
Stellar performance throughout
Excellent set of game-related, online protection and monitoring features, full AiMesh 2.0 support
Unmatched port flexibility, including interchangeable WAN, Dual-WAN, and LAN/WAN Link Aggregations
Beautiful ROG Aura lighting
Expensive, 10Gbps ports' sustained rates and NAS performance (when hosting a storage device) could be better
Awkward backhaul band design in a wireless AiMesh setup, no UNII4 (5.9GHz) support, no SFP+
Bulky design, not wall-mountable
Since there are only 2×2 Wi-FI 6 and Wi-Fi 6E clients, there’s no way to clearly show the difference in bandwidth (160MHz vs 80MHz) between these two routers on the 5GHz band.
Nonetheless, as single routers, the Asus GT-AXE16000 proved to be mostly faster than the Netgear Orbi RBRE960.
Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Series' Rating
Powerful hardware with Quad-band Wi-Fi and Multi-Gig wired backhaul support
Excellent Wi-Fi coverage, fast performance
Multiple Multi-Gig ports
More Wi-Fi networks than previous Orbis, including two additional virtual SSIDs
Easy to use
No web-based Remote Management, few free features; mobile app (with a login account and even subscriptions) is required to be useful
Rigid Multi-Gig ports' roles, few Multi-Gig ports
The 2nd 5GHz band is unavailable to clients even with wired backhaul; no 160MHz channel width on 5GHz
Limited Wi-Fi customization, bulky design
The Asus GT-AXE16000 and Netgear Orbi RBRE960 are two different Quad-band approaches.
The Netgear Orbi RBRE960 is designed primarily for a wireless mesh system where the 2nd 5GHz band works solely and permanently as the dedicated backhaul. For this reason, you can’t even buy the RBRE960 as a standalone unit, which you shouldn’t anyway.
The Asus GT-AXE16000 is a flexible mesh router that works however you’d like to use it. In a mesh setup, though, only consider it if you intend to have Multi-Gig wired backhaul.
Oh, they both share one last thing in common: You might need to get a loan to get either. They are expensive hardware.
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10 thoughts on “Asus GT-AXE16000 vs Netgear RBKE960: A Solid Pair of Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E Rivals”
Thanks again for your reviews. Most helpful. I am currently running an XT8 set with wired backhaul. Purchased when it first came out. I have quite a few devices including IoT. 110 to be exact. 74 WiFi and 36 wired ethernet. As you can imagine, keeping everything connected and running efficiently can be a challenge. Would switching to the GT-AXE16000 as my main unit be helpful in terms of number of devices, speed and reliability? Could I still use the XT8s as satellites, or will they impose a limit needing to switch to something else? If so what (ET12)? Or should I switch to Orbi RBKE960 which claims 200 devices (silly question I am sure)?
You could keep the XT8s, Steve. I’d try that first. Make sure you follow this post in its entirety.
Hello DONG NGO. My my name is MIKE . I currently have the ASUS AXE11000 and want to upgrade to the ASUS AXE16000 However there has been numerous UTUBE videos about WIFI 7. Should I wait for the new format ?
It’s up to you, Mike. More in this post on Wi-Fi 7.
I was leaning towards a pair of ET12 for my wired mesh system. Roughly $1000
I have Xfinity at 1Gbps with a Motorola MB8611 modem. They already offer 2.5 Gbps in some areas near me.
I Read another of your posts where you rated the GT-AXE1600 with wired ET12 satellite(s) as the top 6E mesh. Roughly $1200, for an extra $200 this seems to be a no brainer. Only thing is that the GT-AXE1600 is no where to be found. But, I have a working system (RBR50 with one satellite, wireless connection) and I am patient. Plus, I still have to run the CAT7 wire. CAT8 wire and jacks I can’t find anywhere.
Now, why not two GT-AXE16000 in a wired mesh? Roughly $1400. If I use this system for 4 years, before upgrading, it is only an extra $100/year over the ET1200, or $8.00 per month!
Your thoughts please.
Check out this post, Louis. The short answer is there’s no benefit in getting Multiple GT-AXE16000 units though that won’t hurt.
Years ago I setup AiMESH with a couple Asus routers. It didn’t work so well, my HomeKit network had constant issues. Do you think Asus AiMESH 2.0 today will be significantly improved?
I need to use wireless backhaul. Would you still go with this particular Asus router as the main unit? Any suggestions for the satellite AiMESH units? I’m thinking 1 or 2 satellites for coverage.
I think that’s a question of how Homekit has changed over the years, DL. AiMesh (or any Wi-Fi solution) has little or nothing to do with it. You’re lumping the connection (a road) and an application (a type of vehicle) together. In my opinion, HomeKit is snake oil. Don’t drink Apple’s Kool-Aid, or at least don’t use it as the base of judgment for other things. But that’s your call. 🙂
As for AiMesh, you can start with this post.
Great comparison. As expected… the Orbi doesn’t stand a chance against the supreme Asus!
In most cases, no. 🙂