Looking for a new Wi-Fi 6 solution but can’t stomach the cost of Netgear’s Orbi AX6000 (model RBK852)? Here’s some good news. Starting today, you can find the networking vendor’s less expensive Wi-Fi 6 alternatives, the Orbi AX4200 mesh system (RBK752).
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Netgear Orbi RBK752: A more affordable but stripped-down mesh
At the suggested price of some $450, the Orbi AX4200 aims to make the budget-minded happy. And it might do just that, but you do get what you pay for.
Two-piece hardware, wired backhaul support
Similar to the higher-end system, the new mesh is also a tri-band and includes two different hardware units, a router (model RBR750) and a satellite (RBS750). Going forward, there will be a 3-pack option (model RBK753) that includes one more satellite unit.
The two units share the same physical design, which is similar but slightly smaller than those of the RBK852’s, each measuring 9.1 x 7.2 x 2.8 inches (23.11 x 18.28 x 7.11 cm).
The only difference you can see between the two units is the fact the RBR750 includes three Gigabit LAN ports and a 1Gbps WAN port, while the RBS750 only has just two Gigabit LAN ports.
Like most Orbi sets, the new RBK752 aims to be a convenient system that allows users to extend Wi-Fi coverage in a large home wirelessly. However, for a wired home, you can use a network cable to link the hardware.
Netgear Orbi RBK752: Hardware specifications
Lesser hardware specs, no 160 MHz channel support
Like the case of the RBK852, the RBK752 also doesn’t support the venerable 160 MHz channel width. As a result, its two 5 GHz bands will have a ceiling speed of 2400 Mbps and 1200 Mbps, respectively.
It’s important to note that the system’s faster 5 GHz band works as the dedicated backhaul, so in a wireless setup, the system caps at 1200 Mbps on the client’s side.
This is the main difference that sets it apart from the RBK852, of which the front-haul 5 GHz band also caps at 2400 Mbps.
Another thing is the new mesh sports a 1.4 GHz processor, compared to the much more powerful 2.2 GHz one of its more expensive predecessors.
And finally, the RBK752 has no multi-gig port at all. So overall, its Wi-Fi speeds will be significantly lower than the older cousin’s.
Netgear Orbi RBK752: The same feature set, no backward compatibility with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi hardware
The Orbi RBK752 will come with Armor protection ready right out of the box. On top of that, it will share the same web interface and Orbi mobile app with previous Orbi sets.
It’s important to note that the new Wi-Fi 6 Orbi AX4200 doesn’t work with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi hardware. So if you’re using an older Orbi set, like the RBK13, and want to upgrade, you won’t be able to re-use any of the existing hardware.
According to Netgear, the differences in the two Wi-Fi standards are too significant to make this work. But the hardware of the RBK752 and RBK852, both are Wi-Fi 6 equipment, will likely work with each other.
Considering the Orbi RBK752’s hardware specs, it’s safe to say it will deliver the type of performance suitable for those living in a large home with a modest Internet connection. Check back in a while for its full review.
Update: The Orbi RBK752’s full review is available here.