In Netgear’s trio of Orbi Wi-Fi systems, the newly released RBK40 is the midtier entry. It has more power than the, which was also released today, and less power than the that came out last year.
Coming in two identical looking unit, the RBK40 is very similar to the original Orbi. The new system share the same AC2200 Wi-Fi standard as the RBK30, which is not as powerful as AC3000 of the RBK50. For this reason, Netgear says that it can cover about 4,000 square feet (about 370 square meters) instead of 5,000 square feet in the case of the original Orbi.
The strength of Netgear Orbi systems is that they are all tri-band systems with a dedicated back-haul band that connects the units together. This help reduce and eliminate signal loss that generally occurs if a band has to do both receiving and resending a Wi-Fi signal at the same time. Keep in mind that, similar to the RBK30, the RBK40’s dedicated back-haul band has just half the speed of the RBK50. This translates to significantly slower performance. Other than that, the RBK40 shares the same features and setup process as other Orbi systems.
Setting up the RBK40, or any Orbi system, is simple. You just need to use the mobile app or the web interface to setup the router unit. After that just plug the satellite unit some 40 feet away from the router unit and you’re done. The two are preprogrammed to work together to create a seamless mesh Wi-Fi network.
As the midtier system, at $350, the RBK40 is $50 more expensive than the RBK30 and $50 more affordable than the RBK50. You also get the RBK40’s satellite unit by itself for $200 and in this case the system will be more expensive that the Linksys Velop — which costs $500 for a set of three units — while having exactly the same Wi-Fi power. This satellite unit will work with all existing Orbi system and is expected to add some 2,000 square feet of Wi-Fi coverage. Generally you shouldn’t use more than two satellites unit in a Wi-Fi system, however, or the Wi-Fi speed might degrade a great deal.
Though smaller than the RBK50 — about an inch shorter and clearly thinner — the two units of the RBK40 are still quite large. That said, if you want something more compact, the RBK30, which shares the same router unit but has a much more compact satellite unit, might suite you better.
The Orbi RBK40 Tri-Band WiFi system is available now. Check back later for its full review.
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