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Netgear Orbi AX4200 vs Linksys MX4200: Is Your Home Wired?

This Netgear Orbi AX4200 (model RBK752) vs Linksys MX4200 matchup boils down to one crucial factor, which is whether or not you have gotten your home wired. Sure, both will work in a fully wireless setup but at a different performance level. Feeling so indecisive? Read on!

(Note: Technically, the 2-pack Linksys has the model MX8400 number. But to avoid confusion, I’ll call it that of a single unit instead, which is MX4200.)

Set Orbi RBK752 vs Linksys Velop MX4200
The hardware units of the Linksys Velop MX4000 and Netgear Orbi RBK752

Netgear Orbi AX4200 vs Linksys MX4200: Similarities

These two share the same hardware grade, which is tri-band with two different 5GHz bands — 2400Mbps (5GHz) + 1200Mbps (5GHz) + 576Mbps (2.4GHz). So neither supports the venerable 160MHz channel width. In other words, they are of relatively modest Wi-Fi 6 specs.

Other than that, in a mesh setup, both come in identical-looking upstanding hardware units. Neither has a multi-gig port. And that’s about it. Their similarities end there.

See also  Wi-Fi 6 Explained in Layman's Terms: The Real Speed, Range, and More

Netgear Orbi AX4200 vs Linksys MX4200: Hardware specifications

As a mesh system, the Orbi comes in two distinctive hardware units, router and satellite. The Linksys, however, uses identical routers. In a mesh, one works as the primary router, and the rest function as satellite units.

Full NameOrbi AX4200 Whole Home
Tri-band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System 
(model RBK752)
Linksys Velop Tri-Band 
AX4200
Whole-Home Mesh Router
HardwareRouter / Satellite 
RBR750 / RBS750
MX4200
Mesh AvailabilityRouter + Satellite(s)Multiple identical routers
Dimensions (each unit)9.1 x 7.2 x 2.8 in 
(23.11 x 18.28 x 7.11 cm)
4.5 x 4.5 x 9.6 inches 
(11.43 x 11.43 x 24.38 cm)
Weight (each unit)1.9 lbs (862 g)2.5 lbs (1.33 kg)
Wi-Fi SpecsAX4200AX4200
5GHz-1 Band2×2: Up to 1200Mbp2×2: Up to 1200Mbp
5GHz-2 Band4×4: Up to 2400Mbps4×4: Up to 2400Mbps
2.4GHz Band2×2: Up to 574Mbps2×2: Up to 574Mbps
Dedicated Backhaul Band5GHz-2 (Permanent)Dynamic
Wired Backhaul SupportYes (5GHz-2 still not available to clients)Yes
ProcessorsQuad-core 1.4 GHz CPUQuad-core 1.4 GHz CPU
Memory512 MB NAND flash, 1 GB RAM512MB of flash, 512MB of RAM
AP (bridge mode) SupportYes 
(Single router or a system)
Yes 
(Single router or a system)
Channel Width Support20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz
Backward Compatibility802.11b/g/n/ac802.11b/g/n/ac
Mobile AppNetgear Orbi (optional)Linksys (forced)
Web InterfaceYesYes
Gigabit Port RBR750: 1x WAN, 3x LAN
RBS750: 2x LAN
1x WAN, 3x LAN
Link AggregationWAN only (WAN+LAN1)WAN only (WAN+LAN1)
Price (at launch)$450 (2-pack), 
$515 (3-pack)
$250 (1-pack), 
$499.99 (3-pack)
Hardware specifications: Netgear Orbi AX4200 RBR752 vs Linksys Velop MX4200

Netgear Orbi AX4200 vs Linksys MX4200: Differences

There are a lot of differences between these two.

Hardware availability and ports

The first thing is its availability. You can buy the Linksys as a single router (model MX4200), a 2-pack (MX8400), or a 3-pack (MX12600). And of course, you can also add more individual units to form a mesh of your choice.

In any case, the hardware units are the same — it’s a tri-band Gigabit router that comes with one WAN port and three LAN ports, plus a USB 3.0 port. As a result, each Linksys unit can host an external hard drive for its NAS feature.

The Linksys setup process can take a long time, however, partly because each hardware piece is an individual router out of the box. To form a mesh, you must link them together one by one.

Orbi RBR750 Router vs Velop MX4200
The Linksys Velop MX4200 and Netgear Orbi RBR750 router share the same amount of network ports. Note the omission of the USB port in the latter.

The Orbi, on the other hand, is available in two types of hardware units. There’s the RBR750, which is a tri-band Gigabit router that also has one WAN port and three LAN ports. And then there’s the RBS750 satellite unit.

In a mesh setup, you need one router and another (or more) satellite unit. For now, you must start with a 2-pack (or a 3-pack) and add additional individual satellites to scale up your mesh. The two hardware units are pre-synced in a 2- or 3-pack, making the initial setup job a walk in the park.

By the way, the Orbi router can never work as a satellite. Also, the satellite unit has just two Gigabit LAN ports, and neither the router nor the satellite has a USB port. So, there’s no built-in network-attached storage at all.

In return, the RBR750 can combine its WAN and LAN1 port into a 2Gbps WAN connection, which Linksys doesn’t have.

Backhaul: Dedicated vs dynamic vs wired

While both solutions are tri-band — they can use one band as the dedicated backhaul to link the hardware units — they handle this quite differently.

The Orbi dedicates one of its 5GHz bands, the 2.4Gbps 5GHz-2, as the backhaul band at all times. This band is never available to clients. That is partly why the RBR75 is not available as a standalone router. Instead, you can only find it in a multi-unit pack.

If you use it as a single router, though, it’ll work like a dual-band broadcaster. And in a mesh with wired backhauls, the 5GHz-2 band is still unavailable to clients to connect.

For this reason, the Orbi is generally more suitable for a fully wireless setup, where you don’t have the option of wired backhaul.

The Linksys, on the other hand, uses dynamic backhaul — it uses any of its three bands as backhaul at any given time. As a result, all of these bands are also generally available to clients. That’s a good thing.

The catch is that the backhaul link can get pretty slow, especially when you place the hardware units far enough to pick the 2.4GHz band as backhaul. So, in a fully wireless setup, the Linksys can be pretty slow.

However, if you choose to use network cables to link the hardware, the Linksys will have much higher bandwidth than the Orbi, thanks to the fact all of its bands are now available for clients to connect.

Mobile app and management

Both of these Wi-Fi solutions come with an optional mobile app and a full web interface. I prefer those of the Netgear, however, because there are more things to do. The Netgear also supports Armor protection if you’re willing to opt for a $70/year subscription.

Netgear Orbi AX4200 vs Linksys MX4200: Performance

I tested both of these solutions (as well as all others) in a wireless setup, and you’ll note the Orbi Satellite unit edged out the Linksys’s quite significantly thanks to its strong, dedicated backhaul.

As a single router, the Linksys generally did better, likely because its fast 2.4Gbps 5GHz band was available to clients. This band of the Orbi worked permanently as the dedicated backhaul.

Orbi RBK752 vs Linksys Velop MX4200
(★) 4×4 client (router) and 3×3 client (satellite)

If you choose to use either in a wired setup, expect the satellite units’ performance to be the same as their respective routers’. In this case, the Linksys would be a clear winner.

By the way, the Velop did well in my testing when hosting external storage devices — each of its hardware units can handle one, as you can find here. Again, you won’t find this feature in the Orbi since it has no USB port.

Netgear Orbi AX4200 vs Linksys MX4200: Ratings

Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK752)'s Rating

8.5 out of 10
Orbi RBK752 Label
Performance
8.5/10
Features
8/10
Design and Setup
8.5/10
Value
9/10

Pros

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with large coverage

Relatively affordable

Useful, well designed mobile app

Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation

Full web interface with all common settings and features

Cons

No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization

Not compatible with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi hardware

Few LAN ports; No Multi-Gig, Dual-WAN, or LAN Link Aggregation, or USB port

The fast 5GHz band only works as backhaul, even in a wired setup

Linksys Velop MX4200's Rating

8.3 out of 10
Linksys Velop MX4200 Mesh Router 11
Performance
8/10
Features
8/10
Ease of Use
8.5/10
Value
8.5/10

Pros

Reliable Wi-Fi with excellent coverage

Helpful mobile app, full web interface

Fast NAS speeds when hosting external drives

Comparatively affordable

Cons

No support for 160MHz channel bandwidth

Mobile app (and login account) required for initial mesh setup

Spartan Wi-Fi settings, modest feature set

No multi-gig network ports, Dual-WAN or Link Aggregation

No setting backup/restore

From the performance’s point of view, both the Linksys MX4200 and Orbi RBK752 will make excellent mesh systems for a large home.

If you only need to share a sub-Gigabit broadband connection, either will do, and you probably experience no difference between the two.

However, if you want a fast full wireless mesh system, the Orbi is definitely a better choice. Its dedicated backhaul will make it worth every penny.

On the other hand, if you have wired your home with network cables, Linksys will make a much better choice since you’ll be able to use all of its three bands for clients.

Looking to compare other Wi-Fi solutions? Check them all out here.

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28 thoughts on “Netgear Orbi AX4200 vs Linksys MX4200: Is Your Home Wired?”

  1. Hi dong,

    I am still not clear on how these will perform when they is an ISP router already provided and these get plugged into the switch off that router. Will that be like AP nodes configs? How will they perform?

    Thanks
    RJ

    Reply
      • S I am using the gateway router with dhcp server. Don’t want to use its wifi networkk. I want to create a whole home mesh wifi network. So for example I would plug the 2 new Linksys MX4200 on the switch as my house is wired and use them as wifi mesh network. So will they perform same as what you explained in your article above?

        Thanks
        RJ

        Reply
        • Please read the post I linked in the previous reply, RJ. And if you want to know what a switch is, this post will explain it. And if you want to know how a mesh works, this post will. Networking is complicated. There’s no one-size-fits-all, or 1, 2, 3, step. You need to understand how things work to figure out what’s best for your specific situation. If you don’t want to spend time to understand, hire a professional.

          Reply
  2. Dong, I love your site and have poured over it. I have a 10,000sf, 4 story, long floor plan, stone home. Currently using 4 wired and 1 wireless Apple Extremes. Your site has lead me to consider the following options: a) 5 or 6 Linksys Atlas Max 6E Tri-bands or b) 5 or 6 Linksys Atlas Pro 6 Dual-Band or c) would a combination work w/Dual Band wired units and 1 or 2 tri-band wireless? Your advice is greatly valued/ appreciated. Thanks, Jim

    Reply
  3. Great Review! I’ve recently installed MoCa as a way to provide wired networking in my house (since my home isn’t wired for internet). Would you recommend MoCa as a way to provide a wired backhaul?

    Reply
      • Thanks, Dong. What would you recommend for the following setup: main house has wired network and the small guesthouse in the garden has no wired network available. Thought of two (mesh?) devices for the main and one satellite for the guesthouse.

        Reply
        • Impossible for me to tell, Arthur. I’ve never been to your place. For example, how many miles are there between the two? J/K 🙂 The point is there are many things you need to account for. Check out this post and maybe you can find out by yourself.

          Reply
          • I have a similar situation, but my “dead zone” is just another room in my house.

            I’m looking at a 3-pack system. Do you know if it’s possible to have two wired and one wireless, or must they all be configured the same way? I’m confident that my third unit could have a strong wifi backhaul connection, but I really want the others to use wired.

  4. It was great comparison. Currently I am using Linksys MX8400 with wireless backhaul for couple of weeks. For me 2×2 wifi6 client connected to satellite gives 600mbps (I have 600mbps connection so I can’t test beyond that) at 10ft distance. I don’t know why you didn’t get similar speed?

    Reply
    • That varies, RK, and depends on which band is being used as the backhaul and which is for the client at a particular time. The number you see is possible in the best-case scenario, but you can’t really count on it.

      Reply

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