Orbi vs Ubiquiti: Which one will deliver the fastest speeds?

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Orbi vs Ubiquiti

Having good wifi speed is very important nowadays, and for this to happen, you need a good wifi router. But how do you decide which system is the best for your home? The differences between Orbi vs. Ubiquiti will give you useful information that you can use to decide which one is best for you.

Living in a big home comes with its own challenges, especially when it comes to wifi coverage. Before moving to a bigger house, I lived in a small studio apartment so I didn’t need a router that could cover a large area, but now it’s proving to be inadequate to reach all the rooms in the house. A friend of mine advised me to get a router with a mesh system that will cover the entire house with a wifi signal, but I am not sure which one is the best.

What are the differences between Orbi and Ubiquiti?

Router model
Orbi
Ubiquiti
MU-MIMO
Present
Absent
Wifi connectivity
Tri-band router
Dual-band router
Throughput speeds
2.4 GHz – 400 Mbps

5 GHz – 866 Mbps

5 GHz  – 1733 Mbps

2.4 GHz – 450 Mbps

5 GHz – 1300 Mbps

Wired connectivity
4 gigabit Ethernet ports and a USB 2.0 port
4 gigabit Ethernet ports and a WAN port

Orbi vs. Ubiquiti? How do they differ?

Installing the satellites

Both routers have a different way of installing their satellites. For the Orbi router, you use a USB-C port to install the satellites while you just plugin directly into the power socket when installing the Ubiquiti amplify HD mesh points. Ubiquiti has an internal antenna so it won’t take up much space in your home and it blends well with your furniture and its surroundings.

MU-MIMO

MU-MIMO stands for multi-user multi-input and multi-output, which is a feature that allows networks to transmit data among multiple devices simultaneously. However, multiple devices can still stream data even without MU-MIMO, but it gives your devices a better connection and allows the sharing of networks that are better, stable, and consistent. The Orbi router uses the MU-MIMO technology that helps to speed up its network and doesn’t drop as you add more devices to your network. However, the Ubiquiti router doesn’t support this technology.

Wireless connectivity

The wireless connectivity of any router has a significant effect on its speed and connections to the network. Orbi has tri-band wifi connectivity where it uses two frequency bands as the primary channels that provide you with a maximum throughput of 1.2 Gbps of data as the third channel is designed to transmit data between the router and the satellites. The 2.4 GHz band uses the 802.1 b/g/n frequency while the other two 5 GHz bands use the 802.1 ac/n/za. At close range, it can deliver speeds of 506.9 Mbps and 368.2 Mbps at 100 feet. On the other hand, the Ubiquiti amplify HD is a dual-band router that has the 2.4 GHz and the 5 GHz bands and both use 802.1 ac/b/g/n frequencies. This router can give you a theoretical speed of 450 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band. However, as the distance increases the speed drop significantly which is a huge drawback for the router.

Parental control feature

This feature allows you to check the internet usage of all the devices that are connected to your network, limit their usage or block their connection if you want. You can also set time restrictions on your kid’s internet usage to protect them from viewing the wrong content. Ubiquiti amplify HD has this feature while Orbi uses a third-party app circle to access this feature.

Orbi vs. Ubiquiti? A comparison review

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...

This is a wifi system that is designed to cover a large home and its surroundings. You can buy it as a single main router, which will not be helpful, or as a unit that comprises the main router and the satellite and you can add more satellites. Unlike other mesh systems where all the units are identical, this Orbi routerhas different exterior design and its functionality is different from the satellites. The router and satellite have large white cases that are covered by a matte finish, but at the top, the router is light blue while the satellite is white. They’re a lit taller than your average router but have a smaller base so it’s very easy to accidentally knock the unit off the table or shelf, and the fact that it’s lightweight at only 1.96 pounds means it has a low center of gravity but the oval shape gives it some stability.

As a two-piece unit, this router can cover 4000 sq. feet, but a stand-alone router it will only cover 2000 sq. feet. This is a tri-band device that has 6 external antennas that can produce an overall theoretical throughput speed of 1266 Mbps with 400 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, 866 Mbps on the 5 GHz band, and a third band that is considered to be a backhaul band for communication between the router and satellite. It’s a 5 GHz band that can deliver speeds of 1733 Mbps. At the back bottom part of the router are 4 gigabit LAN ports, sync, power, and reset buttons, a WAN port, and a USB 2.0 port. The router has one yellow port that you can connect your broadband modem and you can use the other LAN ports to connect your printers, stationary PCs, and external storage devices.

Some of the main features of this router are its ability to repair itself when a node goes offline where the system re-routes data to nearby nodes to keep the network online and running, and its capacity to constantly analyze the signal and other network parameters to ensure any devices you add to the network have better routes. While other systems like the Ubiquiti are configured and controlled using a mobile app, this router uses a web console that is easy to use and has both basic and advanced settings. The home page will display information for your attached devices, wireless, internet, and parental controls. You can also set up a guest network and if you want more control over your network, you can use the parental controls to block some of the devices from accessing certain websites, and use the advanced wireless settings to enable beamforming and MU-MIMO, configure the VPN service, and adjust transmit power. In the advanced settings, you will also find a traffic meter that gives you the statistics of your internet traffic and allows you to place limits on your monthly upload and download capacities.

Installing this system is very easy, you just need to plug in and connect your devices, then type http://orbilogin.com on your browser to launch the setup wizard. Then you create a password and an SSID name for your router, then install the satellite. The Orbi is a 2×2 router that can handle 2 streams of data simultaneously to configured devices per frequency band, but the backhaul channel uses the 4×4 radios. The Orbi router is a powerful beast if the throughput performance speeds tests are anything to go by. However, it uses an automatic band steering so you can’t separate the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, so the results are combined speeds. At proximity, the router scored speeds of 480 Mbps while the satellite scored 470 Mbps, but at 30 feet, the router had speeds of 233 Mbps and 220 Mbps for the satellite.

Pros

  • Offers very fast throughput speeds
  • Supports MU-MIMO
  • Very easy to install
  • Allows you to configure its settings

Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • It’s bulky

View Price on Amazon

Ubiquiti

AmpliFi HD WiFi System by Ubiquiti Labs, Seamless Whole Home Wireless Internet Coverage, HD WiFi Router, 2 Mesh Points, 4 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 WAN Port, Ethernet Cable, Replaces Router & WiFi Extenders
  • WHOLE HOME WiFi SYSTEM: Not Just a Wi-Fi router, it's a Wi-Fi system. The AmpliFi HD Kit includes a Wi-Fi...
  • 802.11AC TECHNOLOGY FOR FASTER SPEEDS AND BETTER COVERAGE: AmpliFi HD is more than a wireless router:...

Ubiquiti Amplifi HD is a home wifi system that is very easy to set up and uses mesh technology to ensure your entire house has wireless connectivity. This router has a unique design for both the main router and the nodes. The router is a white cube that has no external antennas or switches and looks more like an alarm clock. It has a white ring that shines under the router and a touch screen that can display the date and time settings, data traffic in and out of the router, WAN and router’s IP addresses, number of devices connected, and a speed meter. The nodes of mesh points are made in two parts and joined together with a magnet. You plug in the bottom part to the wall socket while the top part serves as an antenna. They’re aesthetically pleasing, but they’re a bit bulky to hang on your wall. At the back of the router, there are 4 gigabit LAN ports for connecting to your wired devices, a USB 2.0 port, a WAN port for connecting to your modem, a power port, a USB 2.0 port, and a reset button at the bottom of the base.

This Ubiquiti router has a single-core CPU with an 802.1ac wifi standard that supports the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bandwidths and 3 antennas that come with each band. It’s an AC1750 router that has theoretical throughput speeds of up to 450 Mbps and 1300 Mbps on the 5 GHz band.

It’s very easy to install this router, just connect it to your PC and cable then download the mobile app. Setup your router name and password. Install the mesh points in different rooms in your house then wait for the mesh points to show 5 solid blue lights and you’re set. The Android app is well laid out and very easy to navigate. It has 5 tabs, the overview tab shows you the signal strength between the router and mesh points and connected clients on the network. The performance tab has a live graph of the throughput and usage, the guest tab allows you to set up an extra guest network with specific guest allowed, and the family tab has a toggle that you can pause the internet on all devices and give you list of all the devices connected to your network. The diagnosis tab alerts you when something is wrong and you can fix the problem by just touching a button.

For you to test the router’s throughput speeds on both bands, you need to disable the band steering settings and separate the SSIDs. At close proximity, the router’s throughput speeds score 85.9 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, but at 30 feet it slows down to up to 76 Mbps. In the 5 GHz band at close proximity, the router scored 450 Mbps, but at 30 feet its throughput was at 223 Mbps. However, the mesh points 5 GHz band throughput was mixed. At close proximity, the first mesh point had a throughput of 193 Mbps, but at 30 feet it was 168 Mbps, while the second mesh point scored 189 Mbps and 162 Mbps at 30 feet.

Pros

  • The mesh points expand the wifi signal to cover your entire house
  • Has a plug-in mesh extender
  • Very easy to install and configure
  • Has very good throughput and range performance

Cons

  • It’s expensive
  • The USB port doesn’t support external devices

View Price on Amazon

Conclusion

Both Orbi and Ubiquiti will provide you with fast and reliable wifi connectivity throughout your house, but Orbi has some features that give it an advantage over Ubiquiti.

So, which is better, Orbi or Ubiquiti?

Overall the Netgear Orbi router is better than ubiquiti because it tends to have faster speeds over short distances but drops as you go further from the router while that of the Ubiquiti is uniform. Overall, Orbi delivers faster speeds and it allows you to do more with its web interface so you can even access it remotely. It’s also a good choice if you’re thinking of using the same router in the future.

FAQ

How far away can Orbi satellite be from the router?

In a three-story house that has many thick walls, the Orbi can stay connected to your devices even if you’re 125 feet from your router which is the best range and even much further than the amplifi HD that only reaches 35 feet.

Is Orbi a true mesh network?

Orbi is not a mesh wireless system, but it acts the same way and can extend your network using satellite units. These satellites aren’t connected to each other but to the main router, however, it’s still a tri-band system that will give you fast speeds in your entire house.

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