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Netgear Orbi Mesh Systems to get Game Booster and Adblocker for $50/Year

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Among gaming routers on the market, Netgear’s DumaOS-based devices, such as the XR500 or the XR1000, are among the most well-known, thanks to their unique and free “game booster” features.

Up to now, these features are only available to the networking vendor’s standard alone routers, like those mentioned above.

That’s about to change.

Netgear Game Booster Add on
Netgear Game Booster includes a few features geared toward gamers

Netgear Game Booster: Orbi mesh now does online games, too

Indeed, today Netgear announced that it was in the process of bringing the support for online gaming to the popular Orbi mesh via an add-on called NETGEAR Game Booster.

Specifically, Netgear Game Booster will include the following features:

Ping heatmap

Ping, measured in milliseconds, determines the latency of a connection. The higher the ping value, the worse the connection is.

Ping Heatmap is a feature that shows the ping values—shown in colors that represent the connection quality—of multiple game servers on a map. As a result, you, the player, can quickly choose the best to connect.


As the name suggests, Geo-Filter allows users to choose servers based on distance and ping values. They can then outline these boundaries on a map and save them block out undesirable servers.

Network Priority

That’s a different name for QoS, or Quality of Service. This new feature includes bandwidth control and Traffic Prioritization, where the gaming Internet traffic is automatically detected and prioritized.

What’s more, Netgear says Game Booster also includes Adblocker, which blocks online ads and tracking at the router’s level. Hardware-based Adblocking is not new. It’s been available in the AmpliFi Alien and firewall devices, such as the Firewalla Blue or Gold.

In my experience, network-wide adblocking via hardware can cause certain websites and online videos to not load/behave properly. In many cases, it might lead to unexpected issues.

Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Quad-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E System
The Netgear Orbi RBKE960 Quad-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6E system will get Game Booster at some point in the future.

There are a catches

Before you get too excited, however, there are some catches. And they are big.

First, the new add-on is not free. Instead, it cost a subscription of $49.99/year after a 30-day trial. And secondly, you need to use the Orbi mobile app to enable and use them.

In other words, you can’t use Orbi’s web user interface to manage these features. And the Orbi app, like most router apps, requires a login account with Netgear, which means potential privacy risks.

Game Booster is the latest among many other add-on packages that Netgear has been pushing on its users, including the Netgear Armor ($120/year) and Netgear premium VPN ($40/year). There’s also a “premium Parental Controls” feature, too.

In short, to fully enjoy your Orbi, you’ll have to pone up north of $200/year, in addition to the original hardware cost, which is not exactly affordable.

Netgear Game Booster Adblocker
The Adblocker portion of the Netgear Game Booster add-on subscription

In all, this latest add-on fits in the new business approach of Netgear. The company has gradually neutered the free web interface—the QoS feature was once available as a free section of many Orbi routers’ web interface—to shift the focus on the mobile apps, where it can make more from the consumers.

It’s worth noting since late 2020, the networking vendor has quietly and consistently removed the web-based Remote Management feature from its routers, a move that can be seen as an ultimate act of app coercion.

Netgear softly kills Remote Management from its routers

Netgear Game Booster: The takeaway

Netgear says the new gaming features and Adblocker will be available soon during the beginning of 2022, first to the Orbi RBK750 and RBK850 series, via app and firmware updates.

In the future, it will expand the support to other sets, including the all-new Orbi Wi-Fi 6E, the RBKE960 series.

The cost and the login requirement aside, keep in mind for the best gaming experience, getting your home wired is the key. And that goes a bit contrary to the very idea of the Orbi mesh, where the hardware is designed primarily for homes without network cables.

My take is, if you’re into gaming, get a real gaming router instead.

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8 thoughts on “Netgear Orbi Mesh Systems to get Game Booster and Adblocker for $50/Year”

  1. Netgear is by far, the worst networking choice for equipment/firmware/software/customer service..not sure why you give them so much publicity, Dong, they dont deserve it!

      • I did Dong; just the fact that you frequently mention Netgear stuff makes me wonder what you see in them as a supplier to the consumer market? I mean, 90 day warranty, and you have to pay 50 dollars or more after 90 days to get support from them? Shameful, and un heard of in the consumer electronics world..
        It wouldn’t be so bad if their products/software/firmware was top notch, but its anything but that..

        • I mention them as often as I find them worth mentioning, M, just like any other networking brands I have access to. But your opinion is noted.

  2. This instantly makes Asus routers with gaming boost become much more appealing. That’s quiet a bit of money to he shelling out just to use this when its $0 with asus. Making another account with these privacy risks lately is another huge turn off.

    On top of that add ability to only manage these features via a mobile app only? Yeah no thanks. My asus router works great esp with merlin firmware.

    • Sadly ASUS doesnt have anything like Duma
      OS, those are some sweat features.
      ASUS has prioritization and some models have game VPN
      But the duma OS has insane features [at least on paper since I never had their routers, just read here at the top or on their web site
      Like you can Geofence yourself and when you connect to gamers it will only connect to people in the dedicated area.
      You have game servers in the router software and you can ping them and select the ones you allow and the ones you block so even if game randomly connects it will only connect to the ones you chosen.
      Also it has more detailed QOS.

      BTW, i have the so far best ASUS router AX89X, BUT when I enable QOS, [it has 2 types of it] It automatically limits me to 1GB, I even contacted ASUS and they said that QOS is limited to 1Gb, not a problem for most people, but I cant use it, i want to but i cant, and ASUS game prioritization uses QOS so i cant use the gaming features either, i have 2.5Gb fiber connection so i dont want to lose all that bandwidth
      I dont understand why its this way, ASUS said its something to do with NAT


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