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Netgear Orbi RBK13

Netgear Orbi RBK13: A trio of elegance

We have always considered Netgear’s Orbi a standard for home mesh products. This is because Netgear has made mesh technology simple and for everyone before many others, putting attention to design first, which is certainly not irrelevant when the router is no longer just the one closed in a cabinet, but is instead scattered in the whole house.

Netgear Orbi RBK13 Review

Today we are talking about the RBK13 variant, or the trio of new Netgear “hotspots” for the home WiFi mesh network. Inside the package, we find an RBR10, or the real router and two RBS10, or the satellites that extend the network of your home. The company declares 300sqm of maximum coverage, although 200sqm are reported on the online stores, which is already more realistic, but still a bit extreme for people’s “real” homes. The idea however is simple, to have access points more distant from the main routers that extend coverage everywhere. And the mesh technology allows you to do it without difficulty in configuration and without the need to create different networks, because the network will be unique in the whole house.

The strong point of Orbi RBK13 is undoubtedly the design. The individual components weigh just 250 grams and are less than 7 centimeters high! In addition, they have a flaky design on the top that also helps to dissipate the heat, which in any case remains very reduced, even after many days of use. On the back we find the button for synchronization, while in front there is a small invasive pico LED that indicates the status (and can also make you understand if you have positioned it correctly to better expand your WiFi).

The configuration is done via app for Android and iOS and requires very few steps. In our case we had to make some attempts, but without ever exiting the app or ever restarting the devices. By simply insisting. At the end of these steps, you can obviously choose the name of the WiFi network and the network password.

Netgear Orbi RBK13

The application for Orbi routers has matured a lot since the last time we tried it and now it can truly become the centerpiece of any management operation. It will log in automatically if you are under the same network, but it will also allow you to control devices remotely. Once the app has started, you are immediately informed if the connection is present and how many satellites are installed. Immediately below the device manager reports the number of connected devices, while we have at hand a network speed test, the security tool and the Parental control tool. The test allows you to quickly understand, not only if your internet connection is working properly, but also if you have positioned the various satellites too close or too far.

From the list of devices you can proceed to quickly disconnect one, in addition to seeing its IP, the connection speed and if you are using 2.4 or 5 GHz WiFi. From here, you can also check if the device has been in danger, thanks to the Netgear Armor tool.

This tool was really interesting, because it allows you to block the threats that the various devices are likely to access upstream. The part of the best developed application is probably this, with a very punctual report of the various threats, which devices were protected and when. In addition, you will also receive a real-time notification on your smartphone at the exact moment when the risk is blocked.

By pressing at the top left you can then access the generic settings of the router, with the possibility of changing the WiFi password, sharing the network information or activating the network for guests. For all the other options, you will need to go through the web panel once again.

The settings are all the more classic ones of the various Orbi routers (and not). However, we want to point out how this router can also work as a modem, or rather as a “connection device” by replacing your modem, in case you have an FTTH fiber and a device that converts the ONT cable to ethernet. If instead you have an FTTC or a VDSL fiber, you will have to keep your modem and connect this Orbi RBK13 above it.

Technologically this product is widely in the standards of a good WiFi router, with support up to 1200Mbps of speed on two bands: 2 × 2 at 2.4 GHz and 2 × 2 at 5 GHz. Less good for the wired part. On the base we find only one ethernet port, while on the satellites there is none. Not the best, if you were planning to connect devices at higher speeds via ethernet.

Final judgement

This Netgear Orbi 3 satellite kit is a nice step forward for the average family. They are more compact and pleasing to the eye, have well-made tools that can be controlled from the app and have a much lower price.

PROS

  • Compact and beautiful
  • 2 additional satellites included in the price
  • Good app for security checking
  • Lower price than usual

CONS

  • No ethernet port on the satellites
  • Some functions are browser-only
  • The web interface is the usual
  • 2.4 and 5 GHz networks cannot be separated

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