Wifi and Walls are two things that really don’t mix, but the Netgear Orbi system reliably brought these two opponents together. I think we can all agree that one of the most annoying things of having wireless internet in your house are the random Wifi Dead Zones that can pop up due to walls or pipes blocking the digital wifi signal from your router. And unfortunately we don’t live in a future world where we have wireless signals covering the entire planet! It became so frustrating for me that I escaped to Hawaii but not before I was able to solve the lack of wifi in my house using the Netgear Orbi Wifi system!
Here’s My Home’s Layout
I live in a 2-story townhouse that is about 20 yards long and 10 yards wide. Unfortunately, the only usable cable from my Internet Service Provide (ISP) is in the front of my house, which caused a terrible Wifi Dead Zone in both my dining room and 2nd floor bedroom towards the back of the house. I was getting usable speed in my office since it was directly above the wifi router. However, if I wanted to work in the dining room the wifi signal was lacking so much that it would take 5 minutes to load a facebook page. Additionally, if I wanted to stream on my amazon fire tv stick in my 2nd floor bedroom, it was utterly impossible to connect to the wifi. The obvious cause? My plaster walls!
Netgear Orbi Saved My Wifi Signal!
The biggest question you may ask is “Mac, why didn’t you just move the wifi router more centrally in your house or run a cable to make another access point at the back of your house. Fair questions with a simple answer, I aesthetically couldn’t – my wife wouldn’t allow the appearance of any cables. Fine with me! I also could have tried to run a cable through the wall, but that’s a pretty drastic project and was unwilling to do it.
So I looked online and eventually narrowed down my choices to two products: Google Wifi or the Netgear Orbi. They both are multi-unit devices that use satellites to talk a primary hub to transmit data over the wifi signal, yet they each use different methods to accomplish their goals. For me, the most important factor is to increase the signal of my wifi AND maintain usable download speeds. The issue with Google Wifi is that the satellites use the same frequency band for receiving, transmitting, and extending the signal. This essentially causes the download speeds to decrease (almost in half) if you are connected to a Google Wifi Satellite. However this isn’t the case with the Netgear Orbi, instead the Orbi satellite uses a dedicated frequency band to communicate with the hub and results in an almost identical download speed. Knowing this the choice was easy!
The Orbi Setup
After purchasing the system, all I had to do was plug the hub into my router and into a power outlet. The setup only took about 15 minutes and, in addition to an automated setup, there were a ton of customized and advanced settings if you needed more specific requirements. Once the setup is completed I simply placed the satellite in the middle of the house on the second floor and waited for it to connect. Netgear uses an easy color scheme to tell you how the connection between the satellite and hub is and my satellite connected to the hub perfectly fine!
I’m happy to report that after a year of using the Netgear Orbi my dining room and 2nd floor bedroom now have a wifi signal that is usable! Actually, I posted this from my rooftop deck with zero issues. If you want to try to solve your Wifi Dead Zone, check out the Netgear Orbi!