This post will help you figure out which to get between these two top-tier Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems. It’s a story of the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs Netgear Orbi RBK852 matchup.
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien vs Netgear Orbi RBK852: Similarities
The Alien Kit and Netgear Orbi RBK852 are Wi-Fi 6 mesh solutions, including a router and a mesh satellite. As a result, if you need no more than two hardware pieces to blanket your home, they are mostly the same.
Both are tri-band solutions, and neither supports 160MHz channels. For this reason, they cap at 1200 Mbps (and not 2400 Mbps) when working with currently available 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients.
The two systems share similar hardware costs, with the suggested retail price of around $700. In real-world usage, both deliver excellent coverage and reliable signals.
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit vs. Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 AX6000: Hardware specifications
|Name||Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Kit||Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 AX6000 |
|Hardware||Alien Router: AFi-ALN-R|
Alien MeshPoint: AFi-ALN-P
|Dedicated Backhaul Band||None||Yes (1 x 5GHz band)|
|User-Manageable Backhaul||Yes (2.4GHz/5GHz or Wired)||No|
|Wired Backhaul||Yes (1Gbps)||Yes (1Gbps)|
|Dimensions||9.84-inch (250 mm) tall, |
4.33-inch (110 mm) wide
|10 x 7.5 x 2.8 in |
(24.5 x 19.05 x 7.11 cm)
|Weight||2.65 lb (1.2 kg)||2.86 lbs (1.3kg)|
|5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs||4 x 4 Wi-Fi 5 up to 1733 Mbps |
|4×4 Wi-Fi 6: 2400Mbps|
|5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs||4 x 4 Wi-Fi 6 up to 4804 Mbps|
|4×4 Wi-Fi 6: 2400Mbps|
|2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs||4 x 4 Wi-Fi 6: 1148Mbps||4 x 4 Wi-Fi 6: 1148Mbps|
|Channel Width Support||20/40/80MHz||20/40/80MHz|
|Touchscreen Specs||On router only:|
4.7-inch (110.38 mm),
274 x 1268, 279 PPI,
G+F Touch, Full Color
|Web User Interface||Router: Yes (simple)|
|AP (Bridge) Mode||Yes||Yes|
|Gigabit Port||Router: 4 x LAN, 1 x WAN|
MeshPoint: 1x LAN
|Router: 4x LAN|
Satellite: 4x LAN
|Link Aggregation||No||Router: Yes (2Gbps WAN)|
|Multi-Gig Port||None||Router: 1×2 .5Gbps WAN port|
|CPU||2.2 GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core CPU||2.2 GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core CPU|
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit vs. Netgear Orbi RBK852: Differences
There are many differences between these two.
The Orbi includes a router and a mesh satellite. After that, you can extend the system by adding more satellites, up to 6 of them. The router unit, however, can not work as a satellite.
The Alien’s satellite unit, called MeshPoint, is not available by itself and permanently synced to the router of the same kit. As a result, you can’t extend an Alien mesh system by adding more MeshPoint units. Instead, you’ll need more Alien routers, which can also work as mesh points.
The Orbi Wi-Fi 6 router includes a 2.5Gbps WAN port and the ability to combine it with another LAN port to deliver a 2Gbps WAN connection when working with a supported modem. The Alien is a pure Gigabit wired solution.
The Orbi features a full web interface and includes all basic and advanced network settings for those who want to customize their system. There’s also an optional Orbi mobile app for mobile users.
The Alien uses the mobile app primarily and has a limited amount of network settings and features. It has a simple one-page web interface where you can turn a few settings on or off.
Ultimately, the Orbi Wi-Fi 6 has all the elements present in previous Orbi systems, including a paid online protection feature called Armor and a robust parental control feature via Circle by Disney.
The Alien has just two notable features, including ad-blocking and Teleport VPN. It does have an internet restriction feature — or “Parental Controls,” as Ubiquiti calls it — which is a bit too simplistic to be useful.
On the other hand, Teleport is quite excellent, both in terms of ease of use and effectiveness. But it’s only available to mobile devices, not a regular computer. The ad-blocking feature is somewhat hit or miss. Some ads can still get through, and you can’t customize it to allow ads on specific sites.
The Orbi has VPN, too, but it requires a bit of work to set that up. The Orbi has a dedicated backhaul band — one of its two 5GHz bands — and therefore has almost no signal loss. It’s fast.
The Alien, on the other hand, doesn’t have a dedicated backhaul band. But it’s the only mesh I’ve known that allows users to pick which band to work as backhaul.
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit vs. Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi 6 AX6000: Performance and ratings
While both systems delivered similar performance when working with 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 clients, the Netgear was generally faster with Wi-Fi 5 and legacy clients in my testing.
AmpliFi Alien Mesh Kit's Rating
Dead-easy to set up and manage
Excellent Wi-Fi coverage
Fast performance, wired backhaul supported
Users can manage the backhaul link and virtual Wi-Fi networks
Useful VPN and ad-blocking features
Cool hardware design
MeshPoint has only one LAN port and only works with one router of the same Alien Kit
No dedicated backhaul band
Netgear Orbi RBK850 Series' Rating
Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with extensive coverage
Full web interface with all common settings and features
Useful, well-designed mobile app
2.5Gbps Multi-gig WAN ports
Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation
No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization
Not compatible with Wi-Fi Orbi hardware
No multi-gig LAN port, intermittent lags
Which is the better choice
With that in mind, I have to admit it’s hard to say which is better between these two.
If you want something fresh, fun, easy-to-use, the Alien kit is an excellent choice. That’d also be my pick, but mostly because I’m willing to take risks when it comes to tech toys. Also, I don’t have Gigabit Internet.
On the other hand, if you want simple network customization, a brand name you can trust, the Orbi Wi-Fi 6 is a better pick for those wanting the peace-of-mind. Most importantly, if you have Gigabit-class Internet, this set is a must out of the two.
Looking to compare other Wi-Fi solutions? Check them all out here.