Orbi vs. Airport Extreme – Which one is worth investing in?

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Orbi vs. Airport Extreme

Some people just opt for a wireless router without considering its features and functions. The Orbi vs. Airport Extreme comparison will show you how a mesh system will provide excellent wifi coverage in your entire home.

For a couple of years now I have been hearing about the mesh wifi routers and how good they are in providing amazing wifi coverage even in large homes. I live in a flat and one router is enough to serve the living area, bedrooms, and kitchen, but because of the corners, walls, other devices, and appliances, I don’t get uniformed wifi coverage in my entire house. With a wifi mesh router, I don’t have to worry about the wifi dead spots in my house.

What are the differences between orbi and airport extreme?

Router model
Orbi
Airport extreme
Number of ports
3 gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a USB 2.0 port, power port
3 gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a 2.0 USB port
Speeds
802.11ac mode 1.3 Gbps on both bands

802.11n mode 450 Mbps on both bands

2.4 GHz – 400 Mbps

5 GHz – 866 Mbps

5 GHz – (backhaul) – 1733 Mbps

Maximum coverage area
8000 sq. feet
N/A
Wifi band
Dual-band
Tri-band

Orbi vs. Airport Extreme – How do they differ?

Design

Orbi and Airport Extreme both have very unique designs. The Orbi router looks like a squashed cylinder but with a glossy smooth finish. The Orbi wifi router and the satellite extender both have the same design, but you can’t interchange one for the other. At the top, there is an LED ring that gives these router a very appealing look. At the back at the base of the router, you will find 3 gigabit LAN ports, a WAN port, a USB port, power, reset, and sync buttons. On the other hand, the airport extreme looks like a tall rectangular tube that looks more like an elegant jewelry box with a tiny status light at the bottom. At the top, 6 antennas help to provide a faster and more powerful connection. At the back of the router, there are 3 gigabit LAN ports, a WAN gigabit port, a USB 2.0 port, but there is no USB 3.0 port.

Performance

Airport extreme is a dual-band router that offers wifi coverage on both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands at the same time. This means it provides the fastest possible speeds to all your wifi-enabled devices regardless of their wifi standards and supports both the 802.11ac mode and 802.11n (wireless) mode. If you decide to use the 802.11ac mode you will get data speeds of up to 1.3 Gbps on both bandwidths, while on the 802.11n wireless mode you will get speeds of up to 450 Mbps on both bands. On the other hand, the Orbi Netgear uses a wifi mesh system that can cover a large area of about 5000 sq. feet with excellent wifi coverage and connect to more than 25 devices at the same time. It’s a tri-band system which means it has a 2.4 GHz band that will give you speeds of up to 400 Mbps, the 5 GHz band delivers 866 Mbps, and the last 5 GHz band which is considered to be a backhaul band scores speeds of up to 1733 Mbps.

Features

The Orbi wifi router has some of the basic settings that you will not find in the airport extreme router. Some of these settings include the parental control that will allow you to block access to some of the websites you don’t want your kids from accessing or limiting internet access to some devices. Another setting is setting up of web filters in case you want to block a certain website and the QoS that allows you to direct internet traffic to a particular device.

Orbi vs. Airport Extreme – A comparison review

Netgear Orbi

NETGEAR Orbi Tri-band Whole Home Mesh WiFi System with 3Gbps Speed (RBK50) – Router & Extender Replacement Covers Up to 5,000 sq. ft., 2-Pack Includes 1 Router & 1 Satellite White
  • No more dead zones: Whole home mesh WiFi coverage of up to 5,000 sq. ft. and 25+ devices. Mesh technology...
  • Tri-band backhaul: A dedicated band between your Orbi router and satellite frees up the other two bands...

This is a tri-band wifi mesh system that will give you full home coverage and high-performance wifi. Netgear Orbi is one of the fastest and most powerful routers in the market today even without the mesh extension. This mesh router system can cover a large home with high-speed wifi like an area of about 5000 sq. feet and connect with over 25 devices. This mesh technology will help you stay connected no matter where you are in your home and outside. The two-pack kit covers the 4000 sq. feet with an extra satellite that will cover another 2000 sq. feet that are sold separately and the router on its own only covers 2000 sq. feet. The Orbi router uses a specific wifi band to communicate with its satellite to provide seamless connectivity throughout your home and they don’t need any configuration or management. The Orbi wifi system has a router and one satellite and they both look alike. They’re encased in a white soft-touch case that looks like a squashed cylinder. The Orbi router is an ac3000 tri-band device that has 6 internal antennas that can deliver a theoretical overall throughput speed of up to 1266 Mbps where the 2.4 GHz band delivers 400 Mbps and the 5 GHz band delivers 866 Mbps. The third band makes this router unique as it’s considered to be a backhaul band as it’s purely for direct communication between the router and the satellite. It’s a 5 GHz band that can deliver a speed of up to 1733 Mbps. At the top, there is an LED ring that gives out a solid white color when powering on an ember when it has lost its internet connection in the router. At the base of the router at the back, you will find 3 gigabit LAN ports, a USB port, a WAN port, reset, sync, and power buttons. You can use the USB port to connect your external devices like external hard drives and printers.

When it comes to set up, the Orbi has a web-based console and you can also use the mobile app that you can download on your Android or iOS devices. The console is very easy to use and it has the basic and advanced settings that you will find in a standard router. The home page has tabs for both the basic and advanced settings and displays status information for parental controls, internet, attached devices, and wireless settings and also check the connected devices and their IP addresses. You’re also able to set up the guest network. You can use the advances settings to control your network like the parental control to block access to certain websites, get an alert email when someone tries to access the blocked sites, or restrict access to users. The advanced wireless settings allow you to enable beamforming and MU-MIMO, configure VPN service, static routing, and port forwarding, use the router as an access point, and adjust transmit power. The advanced settings on the traffic meter show your internet traffic statistics and allow you to put limits on the router’s monthly download and upload capacities so that when the meter reaches that threshold, it shuts down internet access to all devices. The advanced settings will also allow you to configure your view system logs, IPv6 tunneling, and update your router’s firmware.

Installing the Orbi system is very easy, all you need to do is plug your router into your modem then connect it to your PC and power it on. On your browser type http://orbilogin.com to launch the setup wizard. You then need to create a password, create two security questions, and choose your router’s SSID name. The router will then update its firmware and you’re ready to go. For the satellite, you just place it about 30 feet from the router then plug it in and wait for it to sync with the router. The Orbi uses automatic band steering so you can’t separate the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidths so you get a combined throughput speed. When near, the router will deliver speeds of 480 Mbps while the satellite has a speed of 470 Mbps which is quite impressive. However, when at 30 feet the speed drops and the router scores 223 Mbps and 220 Mbps for the satellite.

Pros

  • Very quick and easy to set up and install
  • Its MU-MIMO compatible
  • Excellent coverage and speed
  • It’s a tri-band wifi system
  • Able to cover a large area and connect to over 25 devices

Cons

  • It’s very expensive
  • A bit large and bulky

View Price on Amazon

Airport Extreme

Apple AirPort Extreme Base Station ME918LL/A (Renewed)
  • This Certified Refurbished product has been tested and certified to work and look like new, with minimal...
  • New 6.6-inch height with smaller 3.85-inch base, Easy setup with Macs and iOS devices

The Apple airport extreme is a dual-band wifi router that supports the much faster 802.11ac wifi standard. This router has a very striking design. It’s a tall rectangle tube enclosed in a glossy, smooth, white plastic that has an elegant appearance that looks more of a jewelry box than a network device. There is a small status light at the front that glows green when the router is working properly and ember when something is wrong. At the back, you will find 3 gigabit LAN ports for your wired devices, a WAN gigabit port for your internet source, a USB 2.0 port for an external hard drive and printer, but unfortunately, it doesn’t have a USB 3.0 port.

The airport extreme has some common features you will find in other routers like guest networking that you can access only on the 2.4 GHz band, port forwarding, access control, IPv6, file sharing and print serving capabilities, and DynDNS. However, it’s surprising that it doesn’t have some features you would expect given its costs like VPN server, parental control, QoS customization of traffic control, and many more. This router is less flexible when it comes to some of its functionalities. For example, although you can use a client’s MAC address to block access to the internet, you can’t set up web filtering if you want to block a specific website or web service. You will also have a hard time trying to add a device to the block list or assign it a fixed IP address because you need to type in its MAC address manually. While this router doesn’t have its own internal storage, you can use an external hard drive that you can connect to its USB port.

Instead of using the traditional web page-based approach, this airport extreme uses an iOS or Mac-specific setup process which is an odd choice, but it has no problems connecting with any operating system. You can choose to manually select the channels or let the router do it, you can also configure the radio and password for protection. Although there is a VPN pass, the router doesn’t have a VPN server and you don’t have the option of changing your MAC address.

Being a dual-band router, it means this airport extreme router will support all your existing wifi devices no matter their wifi standard by providing the fastest possible speeds. Your router will support both the 802.11ac mode and the 802.11n (wireless) standards. When using the 802.11ac mode, you can expect speed data of up to 1.3 Gbps, but when using the wireless N mode you will have speeds of up to 450 Mbps on both bandwidths. On the 5 GHz band, the router scored 202 Mbps for short-range and 132 Mbps for long-range, while on the 2.4 GHz band it scored 79 Mbps for short and 38 Mbps for long-range. When it comes to the 802.11sc mode, the router delivered 287 Mbps for the short-range.

Pros

  • Has a very compact and beautiful design
  • Supports the 802.11ac wifi-enabled devices
  • Very easy to use and setup
  • Provides impressive speeds and performance even over long distances

Cons

  • The router is inflexible
  • Requires airport utility software for initial setup

View Price on Amazon

Conclusion

When it comes to wifi coverage and performance, both the Orbi and Airport Extreme routers have amazing results. While the Orbi routeruses tri-bands to ensure your home has good wifi coverage, the airport extreme router is using the dual-band system with different frequencies to cater to both your short and long-distance ranges.

Verdict: so, which is better, Orbi or Airport Extreme?

Airport extreme is a better router than Orbi because it has an attractive design, super easy set up if you have a Mac or iOS device, and uses the 802.11n frequency that does very well even in long distances. It also has robust support from Apple and frequent firmware updates.

FAQ

Can I use the airport extreme as wifi extender?

If you’re using airport extreme or airport express as your main wireless router, you can configure the airport express device to work in conjunction with it as a wifi extender using wifi or Ethernet codes.

Is Orbi the best?

Orbi is a mesh wifi system that provides the best and most consistent performance than other regular routers that are connected to extenders.

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Mathew Blake
Hi my name is Mathew Blake. My love for technology stemmed from a curiosity and fascination is small gadgets ever since I could remember. The Globe is a hotbed for rapidly advancing technology that has brought us a multiple gadgets, appliances and devices and I am here for it. Techprojournal.com is a blog that is very enjoy writing and researching for. My passion for tech led me to specialize in several technology-related fields, the main being IT. As an IT specialist, my main job is to cater to technical needs in many businesses. I enjoy working all tech related- fields especially ones that allow me to interact with the consumer.

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