By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
Last week Wi-Fi solution vendor NETGEAR released what is likely the world’s most powerful consumer-grade whole-home Wi-Fi mesh system right now. The Orbi™ Quad-band Mesh WiFi 6E System – aka RBKE960 – delivers sixteen streams of Wi-Fi including four for each of the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands plus an additional four 5 GHz Wi-Fi 6 streams dedicated to meshing. The new system is one of the first to be powered by Qualcomm’s Networking Pro 1610 platform.
NETGEAR’s family of Orbi Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems have consistently been among the best performing solutions on the retail Wi-Fi market and among the most popular – and now NETGEAR is delivering the next big step up in performance as well as a world first: Last week the company released the Orbi™ Quad-band Mesh WiFi 6E System (RBKE960) featuring no less than 16 streams of Wi-Fi. Powered by Qualcomm’s Networking Pro 1610 the new Orbi delivers up to 10 Gbps of peak Wi-Fi data rate.
NETGEAR says the new quad-band RBKE960 builds on the Orbi RBK850-series Wi-Fi 6 solution and adds the 6 GHz band “to handle multi-gigabit Wi-Fi speed on new [6 GHz-capable] smart phones and laptops, free of interference from other devices on the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands.” And of course they are right: One of the biggest performance benefits of new Wi-Fi 6E kit (in addition to the huge 6 GHz band) is that legacy devices will not be operating in in the new 6 GHz band.
The company also is right in pointing out that the number of Wi-Fi 6E devices – phones, laptops, even TVs – is on the rise with a lot more expected to be released before Christmas. The system delivers up to 30% improvement in coverage and speed relative to the RBK850-series due to improvements in radio and antenna designs, NETGEAR says. The system comes with four networks (SSIDs) including one for Wi-Fi 6E only to make sure Wi-Fi 6E devices take full advantage of the new super wide and interference-free band.
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But if you do want 9,000 square feet (about 840 square meters) of cutting edge Wi-Fi 6E coverage for your mansion (or office) then you also – as expected – will need to dish out a fair amount of money. The RBKE960 retails at US$1,499.99 for a 3-pack with add-on mesh units selling at US$599. This also means you can even add thousands of square feet of additional Wi-Fi 6E coverage as you wish. If you go this route our best guess is that you won’t need another whole-home mesh system for another four to five years.
The RBKE960 is available for pre-order in the US already now. The regular version ships October 29 while the online exclusive Black Edition ships November 26. We’re also proud to announce that NETGEAR is a brand new Wi-Fi NOW Partner.