Prosumer Choice: Netgear Orbi
If you want a mesh WiFi system and want or need advanced settings, plenty of LAN (Local Area Network) ports, or dedicated backhaul, Netgear actually has what you’re searching for. You’ll be paying more for the options, however, and the satellites are really big.
- Whole-house coverage.
- Netgear Orbi WiFi setup with just a blink of an eye.
- App-based administration.
- Reliable and Secure.
- Google collects data.
- Can’t change settings when the internet is slow.
- Lack of dedicated wireless backhaul.
Google WiFi is very simple to use, quite easy to set up, and very cheap/inexpensive. You can run even a cable to a switch you should need to do it. On the downside, there’s no dedicated channel for backhaul and Google does collect some data about how the product is being used.
- Whole-house coverage.
- Advanced settings.
- Separate backhaul channel.
- More LAN ports.
- Units are huge.
What’s the difference?
Both Google WiFi and Netgear’s Orbi will give you strong WiFi in most homes, but there are some major differences here. Both systems can be fire-and-forget with a simple setup, but if you wish to go beyond the basics, Netgear Orbi is a superior choice.
You’re a long way from the router your internet provider wants to rent you when you invest in a mesh WiFi system. It’s easy to get caught up in information overload whenever you’re researching new tech like a mesh system and forget the basics — you want good, fast WiFi in your house and you want to do it right the first time.
You’ll quickly notice that Netgear’s Orbi is chock full of Ethernet ports and would better fit into a mixed network. Google WiFi offers a pair of Ethernet ports as well on each unit and they work very well — I’m using them to feed small switches for gear that needs a wired connection — but the Orbi is more like a traditional WiFi router with four LAN ports on each piece. It probably negates the need for a separate switch for most people.
A bigger difference is in the settings. Google WiFi does offer things like a guest account, parental controls, a preferred device mode, and the rest of the basics you expect from any router, but the Orbi uses the same network settings portal that Netgear’s high-end routers like the Nighthawk use.
That means you’ll have standardized port forwarding settings, true QoS (Quality of Service) settings, a DMZ (demilitarized zone) to keep devices outside of the software firewall, and more. It also has a separate radio for wireless backhaul, which means you’re not halving speeds at each hop.
Netgear Orbi vs Google WiFi
You hardly concern about any of that. Maybe you don’t even know what to do with those settings. That’s OK because you can use the Netgear Orbi as-is after the fairly simple setup routine and it will work well.
Google WiFi doesn’t have most of those settings but it does have something just as good for many folks — it’s dead simple and Google updates the firmware for exploits as soon as they are found.
In fact, Google is one of the best companies that finds a good many of these exploits and is reliable at providing the latest updates across the board. Google WiFi is one of those things you’ll never need to adjust or monkey with unless you want to.
Google and Netgear both collect data when you use the Netgear Orbi vs Google WiFi. You now have a solid reason to purchase a Netgear orbi WiFi router, don’t you?
You know what type of home network you need. If you need to plug in more than a few Ethernet cords or have any use for advanced features, Netgear Orbi is the better choice.
In case, you don’t need them, save some money and just enjoy the simplicity of Google WiFi.