Orbi Vs Nighthawk – Which router provides higher speeds?

Orbi Vs Nighthawk

Are you looking for a high performance gaming router? If so, the guide below provides deep insight on the differences between Netgear’sOrbi and Nighthawk routers and which the more suitable option of you is.

There are a lot of options today when it comes to your home Wi-Fi setup. Among the manufacturers that has been keeping up with the trends is the Netgear Company. The Orbi mesh system and Nighthawk series have arguably been their best releases yet. While Orbi is a mesh system, the Nighthawk series is acts as a gaming router or mesh extender. The difference between these two systems is only slight. Mesh systems are usually sold as a package of three routers that should be placed at different points of the house to create a solid mesh-like network. On the other hand, gaming routers such as the Nighthawk series are high performance routers with high maximum throughput speeds and can act as signal extenders due to this. The following is a comparison table of the Orbi and Nighthawk.

What are the differences between NetgearOrbi and Nighthawk XR500?

Nighthawk X10
Mesh system
Gaming router
Qualcomm QCA9886
Qualcomm QCA9880
Maximum throughput speed
3000 Mbps
7200 Mbps
1 WAN, 3 LAN (Router), 4 LAN (Satellite)
8 (six LAN, one fiber LAN, one 10 GB SFB)

NetgearOrbi Vs Nighthawk X10– How do they compare?

The NetgearOrbi and Nighthawk X10 are both amazing and recommendable mesh WIFI systems. However, they differ in some of their functionalities, performance and other aspects. The following shows how they compare.

Package size

One of the major differences between these two systems is the packages they come in. Since NetgearOrbi is a mesh system, the package comes with a default pack of three identical routers. This is because mesh systems are used to eliminate dead zones in the house. The routers should be placed at different points of the house to create a mesh network signal that is solid through the whole house. However, there is an option to buy a single node/router or two. Nighthawk on the other hand is a gaming router, meaning it is built for high throughput speeds and superb wireless range. Nighthawk comes as a single router inside the package, with a manual and a power cable. It can be used as a network extender since it is equipped with excellent range capabilities. The smaller package is definitely the Nighthawk X10, it is much lighter and easy to setup because of this.

Design and structure

The Orbi and Nighthawk X10 differ greatly in physical design. The NetgearOrbi is made up of two routers and one that acts as a satellite. The routers feature a pristine white color with a matte plastic finish to prevent finger prints from sticking. Each of the routers weighs just about 1.96 lbs. You can tell the difference between the routers and the satellite by looking at the top of the routers. While the router units features a blue top, the satellite unit features a pure white color. Another difference between them is the type of ports. The Orbi routers come with five ports: 3 gigabit Ethernet LANs, 1 WAN and a USB 2.0 port. Orbi Satellite on the other hand has 4 Ethernet LAN ports and a USB 2.0, with no WAN port. The Nighthawk X10 features a more mainstream router design. It is a black rectangular box with four external antennas sticking out from the back. It also features a solid and sturdy design for durability. When it comes to size, the unit measures 2.9 x 8.8 x 6.6 inches. The X10 comes with 8 ports: six LAN, one fiber LAN and one 10 GB SFB for connecting enterprise machines such as servers and switches. There are also LED lights for every connection. Although the designs are totally different, both are stunningly beautiful in their line of routers.


The performance of the router mainly refers to the maximum speeds the router can provide both in the real world environment and ideally. The Nighthawk X10 is a much faster router than the Orbi both on paper and in the real world. The Nighthawk is an AC7200 router, meaning it has a maximum throughput speed of 7.2 Gbps. Although this is just a theoretical speed, the router’s performance is nothing short of spectacular. When tested in a real world environment, the router provided throughput speeds of 558 Mbps at a distance of five feet beating out competitors such as TP Link Talon. Over 30 feet, the speed dropped slightly to 515 Mbps which is still quite high. NetgearOrbi is much slower than this with a theoretical speed of up to 3 Gbps. However, we tested it in a real world environment to find the actual speeds. The Orbi provided a speed of 105 Mbps over a distance of five feet. Speed went up to 107 Mbps over 13 feet. The reason for this is that the Orbi is a mesh system that ‘reboosts’ the signal through the network mesh created.


Range refers to the maximum area the router can cover, usually in square feet.NetgearOrbi is undoubtedly the winner when it comes to range. The router was built as mesh system, which basically means, it solves the problem of range. Orbi’s three pack system can cover a maximum of 10000 square feet. This is enough for large three or four bedroom house. There is also minimal loss of data over this distance which makes it even better. Netgear’s Nighthawk X10 features a range of up to 1200 square feet. But it makes up for this with high speeds. If wide coverage is what you’re looking for though, the Orbi is a much better router for you.

The NetgearOrbi vs Netgear Nighthawk X10 – A comparison review

The NetgearOrbi

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...

The NetgearOrbi system is considered a revolutionary system due to its backhaul wireless band system. What this means is that it has a band frequency of up to 5GHz with a link speed of 1.7 Gbps. It is a great system for extremely large houses since it has superb range. It is also quite versatile in its use and comes with a USB port to connect other devices such as printers and scanners. This makes it a fantastic choice for office or workplace use.

This mesh router is known for eliminating dead zones in the house. With a mesh coverage of up to 5000 square feet and a connection with more than 25 devices, the Orbi lets you stay connected on full bars in every room of the house.


  • It has a dedicated backhaul with a high speed of up to 1.7 Gbps at a frequency of 5GHz
  • It is very easy to setup and install using either the web browser or mobile app for both Android and iOS users
  • It comes with a wall mount compatibility
  • It is versatile and can be connected to peripheral devices such as printers since it has a USB port
  • It allows for single name SSID which provides easier connectivity management
  • It has been tested and found to be much faster than the Velop


  • The mobile app could use more features
  • It has no inbuilt internet service provider modem so you have to connect it to an existing router

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Netgear Nighthawk X10

NETGEAR Nighthawk Cable Modem WiFi Router Combo C7000-Compatible with all Cable Providers including Xfinity by Comcast, Spectrum, Cox | For Cable Plans Up to 400 Mbps | AC1900 WiFi speed | DOCSIS 3.0
  • Compatible with all major cable internet providers: Including certification by Xfinity by Comcast, COX,...
  • Save monthly rental fees: Model C7000 replaces your cable modem and WiFi router saving you up to $168/yr...

Nighthawk X10 is a powerful router with a menace looking design straight out of a science fiction movie. The design features a black pyramid-looking design with four antennas sticking out from the back and sides. The black color features a matte finish that prevents fingerprints from getting stuck on the surface on the router. But this router is not all looks as it has some of the best performance of any home router released. It comes with a tri band processor that powers the dual band channels of the router:2.4GHz, 5GHz and 60GHz bands. Inside the router there is 1.7 Quad Core CPU processor that supports important router features such as MUMIMO. The antennas do a wonderful job in boosting the signal to far distances. But what’s most fascinating about the Nighthawk is the speeds it provides. It delivers a speed of up to 7200 Mbps which is more than enough for home and office use.


  • The router provides excellent speed
  • Supports MUMIMO and beamforming
  • It comes with eight ports for maximum wired connections
  • It features very high file transfer speeds


  • It is expensive
  • The router lacks QoS scheduling

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These routers are built for different purposes. However, the Orbi is a much more balanced router compared to the Nighthawk. It has a lot of features, costs less and provides more range.

Verdict: So which is better? The NetgearOrbi or Nighthawk X10

The better router depends on your needs. If you need a router that will provide excellent range and eliminate dead zones, Orbi is the router for you. However, if you’re more focused on the speed and performance, Nighthawk X10 does a better job at this.


  1. Does the Orbi come with MUMIMO?

Yes. NetgearOrbi uses MUMIMO to control the devices connected to it

  1. What is the purpose of the 10GB SFB port on the Nighthawk?

The port is used to connect larger networking devices such as servers and switches.


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