Netgear sets a $700 price tag (ouch) for its upcoming Orbi Wi-Fi 6 mesh network system

The future is now as far as Netgear’s latest Wi-Fi mesh router is concerned, with the Wi-Fi 6 Orbi RBK852 mesh network system slated to land in stores in October. Consumers with gigabit (and faster) broadband service, however, should prepare to pony up for the privilege of enjoying a super-fast home network.

Netgear first announced its tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router at CES back in January, and now the networking giant says the upcoming two-node 802.11ax kit will retail for a whopping $700 when it ships at the end of this month.

That’s about twice the price of Netgear’s previous top-of-the-line system, the Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) Orbi RBK52 two-pack, and it goes to show the premium you’ll pay if you’re looking to make the leap to Wi-Fi 6 this year.

Netgear says the Orbi RBK852 system is designed to blanket homes as large as 5,000 square feet in Wi-Fi 6 goodness. The company also says the new router’s 2.2GHz quad-core processor is three times faster than the one in the RBK50, and that it will support four Wi-Fi 6 spatial streams on its 2.4GHz network (up to 1.2Gbps of throughput), and four more on its 5GHz network (up to 2.4Gbps of throughput).

As does the RBK50 router, the new Wi-Fi 6 Orbi will operate a third 5GHz network that’s dedicated to data backhaul from the satellites to the router. But since these will be Wi-Fi 6 streams, that backhaul channel will deliver bandwidth of up to 2.4Gbps—more than twice what you’d get with wired backhaul using CAT5e ethernet cable. (But for the record, Netgear says wired backhaul is also supported.)

netgear orbi rbk50 vs orbi rbk850 Netgear

Netgear’s Orbi RBK850 router supports twice as many spatial streams as its former top-of-the-line router, the RBK50.

Unlike many mesh network systems, where all the nodes are the same, but one becomes the router when you set it up, the Orbi series will continue to be a router and one or more satellites. The RBK850 router is designed for homes with very high-speed broadband service (DOCSIS 3.1 or fiber-to-the-home/curb, for example), so it will be equipped with a 2.5Gbps WAN port that supports link aggregation. The router and satellite node (the RBS850) also have four 1Gbps LAN ports to support hardwired clients and more sophisticated home networks. Netgear will also offer an accessory for mounting the new Orbi on the wall.

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