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Netgear SXK30: Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 Gone Mini, Modest, and Affordable

So it seems Netgear has finally heard my lamentations about its first Orbi Wi-Fi 6 Pro‘s cost. (Hint: It’s expensive!). No, the company didn’t lower the price of the SXK80. Instead, today it announced an entirely new variant that’s significantly less expensive, the Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 Mini Dual-band Mesh System.

That’s right. It’s a mini version for a somewhat mini cost — sort of.

The Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 Mini Dual-band Mesh System
Netgear SXR30 Orbi Pro Wi Fi 6 Mini

Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 Mini: A price you can stomach

OK, let’s check the wallet.

In the U.S., the new Orbi Pro Mini costs $300 for a 2-pack or $400 for a 3-pack. You can also get add-on satellites for $160 a pop.

Across the pond, the new mesh system goes for £259.99 (2-pack) or £349.99 (3-pack) in the UK. You can also find the add-on satellite for £139.99. Those living in the EU will only find the 3-pack and add-on satellite for €399.99 and €159.99, respectively.

So it’s not exactly expensive. Or is it?

Modest hardware

Well, that depends on what you’ll get out of it.

Hardware-wise, the SXK30 sure is modest. Like all Orbi sets, it includes two types of hardware units, the router (model SXR30) and the satellite (SXS30). You use the former with up to five of the latter to create a mesh.

The SXR30 and SXS30 are identical-looking and share the same entry-level dual-band Wi-Fi 6 specs.

Specifically, both feature 2×2 Wi-Fi without the support for the 160MHz channel width, a common practice in business broadcasters. But as a result, each has the top speed of 1200Mbps on the 5GHz band and almost 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

It’s important to note here: This is the second dual-band Orbi set, as far as I know, besides the Orbi RBK13. The point is in a fully wireless setup. You’ll get at best 600Mbps out of the satellite due to signal loss.

And keep in mind that you have to take deep discounts out of these Mbps numbers since Wi-Fi has crazy overhead – its real-world speeds are only about two-thirds of the ceiling ones in best-case real-world senarios.

So, this SXK30 is a bit too low-key for my money.

Netgear Orbi Pros’ hardware specifications: SXK30 vs SXK80

It’s worth noting right away that the SXK30 will cap at 1Gbps since it has no Multi-Gig port. Also, the fact it’s a dual-band system means you should use it in environments already wired with network cables for best performance.

Full NameOrbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 Mini
Dual-band Mesh System
(model SXK30)
Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 
Tri-and Mesh Wi-Fi 6 System 
(model SXK80)
Hardware ModelRouter: XDR30
Satellite: SXS30
Router: SXR80)  
Satellite: SXS80
Dimensions5.8 x 2.7 x 7.4in
(148 x 68 x 189mm)
6.8 x 3.3 x 9.7 in 
(17.27 x 8.38 x 24.63 cm)
Weight (each unit)1.06lb (0.48kg)2.06 lbs (934.4 gram)
Wi-Fi SpecsDual-band AX1800Tri-band 4×4 AX6000
1st Band (5GHz)2×2 AX: Up to 1200Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
4×4 AX: Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
2nd Band (5GHz)None4×4 AX: Up to 2400Mbps
(20/40/80MHz)
3rd Band (2.4GHZ)2×2 AX: Up to 600Mbps
(20/40MHz)
4×4 AX: Up to 1200Mbps
(20/40MHz)
Number of SSIDs44
ManagementWeb interface
Insight App
Web interface
Insight App
SecurityWPA/WPA2/WPA3WPA/WPA2/WPA3
Target Wake TimeYesYes
OFDMAYesYes
MU-MIMO SupportYesYes
AP (bridge mode) SupportYesYes
Dedicated Wireless BackhaulNoYes
Wired Backhaul SupportYesYes
Gigabit PortRouter: 4x LAN, 1x WAN
Satellite: 4x LAN
Router: 4x LAN 
Satellite: 4x LAN
Multi-Gig PortNoneRouter: 1x 2.5Gbps LAN/WAN
Satellite: 1x 2.5Gbps LAN 
Link AggregationNoneYes (2nd and 3rd LAN ports)
Max Mesh Hardware Units1x Router, 6x Satellites1x Router, 6x Satellites
Available Configurations2-pack, 3-pack,
Add-on satellite,
Router only
2-pack, 3-pack, 4-pack, 
Add-on satellite
Netgear SXK30 vs SXK80: Hardware specifications

Cloud-managed, subscription required

Despite the distinct hardware on the inside, the Netgear SXK30 is very similar to SXK80.

See also  Netgear RAX120 Router Review: The Multi-Gig Age Is Here

The two share the same Insight mobile app with the “cloud-managed” approach in management. In a nutshell, you need to link the system to a Netgear account and then manage your network via a remote server.

Consequently, you get the ease of use — you can manage your network from anywhere in the world — and certain business-oriented features, such as multiple SSIDs with VLANs and client isolation, and so on. In return, though, you might need to be concerned about privacy.

And there’s more; the Insight app comes with one year of free subscription. After that, you’ll have to pay annually to use it, starting at a $5 plan for the entire network, all the way to $10 per device, depending on the “tiers” of features ad functions.

Finally, similar to the SXK80, the SXK30’s hardware also doesn’t work with Wi-Fi 5 counterparts. It works with the SXK80, though, but considering they have a different number of bands, there’s no benefit in using them together.

In many ways, the Netgear SXK30 is more of a wired Orbi Pro (though it’ll work fine in a fully wireless setup), while the SXK80 is intended to work wirelessly.

Netgear SXR30 Orbi Pro Wi Fi 6 Mini Set
The Netgear SXR30 Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 Mini set.

Availability

The Netgear SXK30 Orbi Pro Wi-Fi 6 Mini Dual-band Mesh System is available for pre-order today and starts shipping on May 14. Clearly, it’s a great deal (in terms of cost) compared to the previous version.

But if you have wired your home, there are many faster and more affordable options, such as the Asus ZenWiFi Mini or even the Netgear Nighthawk MK63. They might not have “Pro” in their name but will work for a small office just fine.

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