Netgear announced today the availability of two significant products that complete its Wi-Fi 6 portfolio. They are the Orbi Wi-Fi 6 Tri-band Mesh System (RBK852) and the Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream WiFi 6 Mesh Extender (EAX80).
Update: The Orbi RBK852’s full review is now available here.
Orbi Wi-Fi 6: A Mesh for Gigabit-class Internet
The Orbi RBK852 is the new name of the RBK152 unveiled during CES 2019. Like previous Orbi systems, it includes two hardware units, one router, and one satellite. Both are tri-band broadcasters — two 5GHz bands and one 2.4GHz band, with one 5GHz band working solely as the backhaul.
What makes the RBK852 different is the support for Wi-Fi 6. Each of its two 5GHz bands is capable of delivering up to 2.4Gbps of Wi-Fi speed. As a result, a mesh network powered by the RBK852 will be able to provide faster-than-Gigabit rates when used with Wi-Fi 6 clients. In the best-case scenario, the RBK852 is slated to deliver some four times the speed of the RBK50.
What’s more, the router unit’s WAN port is now a 2.5Gbps port, meaning it’s ready to handle multi-gig Internet connection. Unfortunately, all of the router’s four LAN ports (and those of the satellite unit) are Gigabit ports. So, if you plan to use wired clients in the mesh, the top speed you’ll get will remain1Gbps.
Netgear says you can use a network cable to link the two hardware units together in a wired backhaul setup. And like the case of other Orbi systems, the RBK852 router unit will never work in the role of another satellite unit.
Nighthawk AX8: An extender for a Wi-Fi 6 network
The EAX80 is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 extender designed to work with any existing router. But it works best with a Wi-Fi 6 router, such as the Netgear AX12 or the Asus GT-AX11000. In a nutshell, it’s a quick fix for those getting a single router and later on needs to extend their Wi-Fi network.
The EAX80 comes with four Gigabit LAN port for wired clients. It also has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 (USB 3.0) port to host a storage device and work as a NAS server. Netgear says the extender is super easy to set up thanks to the Netgear Nighthawk app. In many ways, you can think of it as the Wi-Fi 6 version of the EX8000.
Pricing and availability
According to Netgear, you’ll soon be able to get your hands on its new Wi-Fi 6 mesh and extender. If you can afford them, that is.
The new Orbi Wi-Fi 6 Tri-band Mesh System will be available in the coming month for a suggested retail price of $699.99 (a set of two units). The Nighthawk AX8 8-Stream WiFi 6 Mesh Extender will take a bit longer, till the end of the year, to arrive, even though you can pre-order it now for $249.99.
Check back for their full reviews to see if they are worth their hefty prices.