Orbi ax4200

Mesh Wi-Fi systems were almost tailor-made for the remote-working era. There are millions of people now working from home and making daily video calls, while also competing for a slice of wireless bandwidth with a variety of smartphones, tablets and games consoles. Increased Wi-Fi use can put a strain on even the fastest routers -- let alone the low-cost units often provided by broadband suppliers. Mesh networking systems are the ideal Wi-Fi upgrade for many homes and offices, as well as public venues such as restaurants and hotels. Mesh systems typically use a main router with a wired connection to a broadband modem, plus two or more wireless nodes or satellites that can be placed in different rooms or locations. These link together to provide greater range and reliability than a single conventional Wi-Fi modem/router.

Pricing & options

Netgear was one of the first companies to combine mesh networking and WiFi 6, with its Orbi Wifi 6 AX6000. That first model was a high-end system, providing tri-band WiFi 6 performance with a combined top speed of 6Gbps. Its price was also top-of-the-range: £709.99 (inc. VAT; £591.66 ex. VAT)/$699.99 for a two-piece system, or £969.99 (inc. VAT; £808.33 ex. VAT)/$999.99 for the three-piece option.

That sort of pricing can make even larger organisations think twice, so Netgear has recently released a new version called the Orbi WiFi 6 AX4200 that is still suitable for larger homes and offices, but with a more competitive price. Admittedly, it's still fairly expensive, costing £449.99 (inc. VAT; £375 ex. VAT)/$449.99 for the two-piece kit shown here, although it's designed to provide extensive Wi-Fi coverage for larger homes, offices or other locations up to 5,000 square feet in size. There's also a three-piece kit available that can cover 7,500sq.ft, priced at £629.99 (inc. VAT; £525 ex. VAT)/$599.99.

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Design & features

As the name suggests, the Orbi WiFi 6 AX4200 supports tri-band WiFi 6 (a.k.a. IEEE 802.11ax) with a combined top speed of 4.2Gbps. That's slower than the 6Gbps of the AX6000 model, but still far faster than most current-generation 802.11ac routers. And, as well as providing greater performance, WiFi 6 is also designed to transmit data more efficiently to large numbers of devices all at once, with Netgear claiming that the Orbi WiFi 6 AX4200 is suitable for use with 40-60 devices. That sort of capacity should be enough to cope with even the most gadget-crazy households, as well as many busy offices and public locations. 

SEE:Hiring Kit: 5G Wireless System Engineer(TechRepublic Premium)

The Orbi systems don't include a modem, so the first Orbi unit, known as the 'router', includes a Gigabit WAN port for connecting to your existing broadband modem or router, along with three additional Gigabit Ethernet ports for devices requiring a wired network connection. The second 'satellite' unit includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports as well.

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The only disappointment is that Netgear's Orbi app tends to treat certain features, such as its Armor security system (which is based on the popular BitDefender), as an additional revenue stream. This is provided with a 30-day free trial, but then requires a monthly subscription fee for continued use.

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Conclusions

As we remarked with the original Orbi Wifi 6 earlier this year, the WiFi 6/802.11ax standard is still in its 'early adopter' phase, and many homes and businesses may find that more affordable mesh systems based on WiFi 5/802.11ac will meet their current needs perfectly well. However, the ability to support ever larger numbers of devices means that WiFi 6 is very much designed with future IoT environments in mind, so a Wifi 6 mesh system such as this is still a sensible investment if you want to future-proof your home or office network.

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Sours: https://www.zdnet.com/product/netgear-orbi-wifi-6-system-ax4200/

Wireless routers

The Netgear Orbi AX4200 (2-pack) is part of the Wireless Routers test program at Consumer Reports. In our lab tests, Wireless Routers models like the Orbi AX4200 (2-pack) are rated on multiple criteria, such as those listed below.

Data security A measure of how well the device and its service provider protect your data with respect to authentication, encryption, software updates, resistance to known exploits, etc. based on inspection of device features and analysis of network traffic, penetration testing, and publicly-available documentation.

Data privacy A measure of how the device and its service provider collect, share, and use your data, and the user's ability to control the flow of their data. Analysis is based on (but, not limited to) evaluation of user interfaces and publicly-avaliable material.

Throughput near The throughput (speed) of the communications measured very near to the router in a "typical" house with no other wireless interference. For our house this was 8 feet away from both the wireless router, and the base of the Mesh Wi-Fi router located in the same room. Performance will vary based on size and construction of the house or apartment as well as how many floors, walls, doors and other obstructions are between the router and receiving device.

Sours: https://www.consumerreports.org/products/wireless-routers-36970/wireless-routers-36971/netgear-orbi-ax4200-2-pack-401794/
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When Netgear first announced the Orbi AX4200 (RBK752), I assumed it was the lesser version of the flagship Orbi AX6000 (RBK852). And on the surface of it, I was right.

Looking deeper, it’s a different story. There’s a lot more to love in this new and well-balanced mesh Wi-Fi system. The fact it’s significantly more affordable alone means many can experience it. Most importantly, chances are it delivers the same experience you’d get from the RBK852 anyway.

So, if you live in a large property with a sub-Gigabit Internet connection, this 2-pack full-wireless mesh is an excellent buy, especially considering the current cost of around $400 for a 2-pack or $515 for a 3-pack.

If you have wired your home, though, its direct rival, the Linksys Velop MX4200, is probably a better choice. Or you can get any of the dual-band sets in this list of top Wi-Fi 6 mesh systems.

Pros

Fast, reliable Wi-Fi with large coverage

Useful, well designed mobile app

Support WAN 2Gbps Link Aggregation

Full web interface with all common settings and features

Cons

No 160MHz channel support, limited Wi-Fi customization

Not compatible with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi hardware

Few LAN ports; No Multi-Gig, Dual-WAN, or LAN Link Aggregation, or USB port

The fast 5GHz band only works as backhaul, even in a wired setup

Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK752): A well-rounded wireless mesh for a large home

It’s impossible to look at the RBK752 without thinking of its older and beefier cousin RBK852. That’s because the two are almost the same. They share the same mobile app, web interface, settings, features, and physical design — with the former being a tad smaller.

The hardware of the Orbi RBK852 and RBK752 work interchangeably. So you can use an RBR850 router with an RBS750 satellite, or vice versa. They are also both not backward compatible with Wi-Fi 5 Orbi hardware.

(By the way, if you wonder what each Orbi model number means, I explained that in this post about different home mesh brands.)

That said, this review is somewhat a supplement to my take on the Orbi AX6000. It’s a good idea that you check out that one first.

Netgear Wi-Fi 6 Orbi hardware specifications: RBK752 vs. RBK852

As you’ll note on the table below, the RBK752 is slightly smaller, lighter, and doesn’t come with a 2.5Gbps WAN port. It also has one LAN port fewer in both the router and satellite unit.

Both share the same WAN Link Aggregation feature, where you can combine the WAN and LAN1 ports into a single 2Gbps WAN connection. This is a great feature when you use a supported modem and a faster-than-Gigabit Internet connection.

Router (RBR750)Satellite (RBS750)Router (RBR850)Satellite (RBS850)
Dimensions9.1 x 7.2 x 2.8 in 
(23.11 x 18.28 x 7.11 cm)
9.1 x 7.2 x 2.8 in 
(23.11 x 18.28 x 7.11 cm)
10 x 7.5 x 2.8 in 
(24.5 x 19.05 x 7.11 cm)
10 x 7.5 x 2.8 in 
(24.5 x 19.05 x 7.11 cm)
Weight (each unit)1.9 lbs (862 g)1.9 lbs (862 g)2.86 lbs (1.3 kg)2.86 lbs (1.3 kg)
Wi-Fi SpecsTri-band AX4200Tri-band AX4200Tri-band AX6000Tri-band AX6000
5GHz-1 Band2×2: Up to 1200Mbp2×2: Up to 1200Mbp4×4: Up to 2400Mbps4×4: Up to 2400Mbps
5GHz-2 Band4×4: Up to 2400Mbps4×4: Up to 2400Mbps4×4: Up to 2400Mbps4×4: Up to 2400Mbps
2.4GHz Band2×2: Up to 574Mbps2×2: Up to 574Mbps2×2: Up to 574Mbps2×2: Up to 574Mbps
Dedicated Backhaul Band5GHz-25GHz-25GHz-25GHz-2
Wired Backhaul SupportYes (5GHz-2 not available to clients)Yes 
(5GHz-2 not available to clients)
Yes 
(5GHz-2 not available to clients)
Yes 
(5GHz-2 not available to clients)
ProcessorsQuad-core 1.4 GHz CPUQuad-core 1.4 GHz CPUQuad-core 2.2GHz CPUQuad-core 2.2GHz CPU
Memory512MB flash
and 1GB RAM
None512MB flash
and 1GB RAM
None
AP (bridge mode) SupportYes 
(as a single router or a system)
N/AYes 
(as a single router or a system)
N/A
Channel Width Support20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz20 MHz, 40 MHz, 80 MHz
Backward Compatibility802.11b/g/n/ac802.11b/g/n/ac802.11b/g/n/ac802.11b/g/n/ac
Gigabit Ports 1x WAN, 3x LAN2x LAN 4x LAN4x LAN
Multi-Gig PortsNoneNone1x 2.5Gbps WANNone
Link AggregationWAN only (WAN+LAN1)NoneWAN only (WAN+LAN1)None
Price (at launch)$450 (2-pack)TBD$699 (2-pack)TBD

What’s most significant is that the RBK752 uses two different 5GHz bands, and only the lower-tier (5GHz-1) is available to clients. So while the two have the same backhaul speed, the sustained speeds at the end-devices are more modest on the RBK752.

(In reality, though, that made a little difference, as you will see in the performance section below.)

Like the RBK852, the RBK752 also doesn’t support the venerable 160MHz channel. As a result, at best, clients can connect at 1.2Gbps of negotiated speed with the sustained rates significantly lower. But the mesh will be fast enough for any sub-Gigabit Internet connection.


The Orbi RBK752 is available as a cable-ready variant called Orbi CBK752.

As mentioned above, “C” in this case is for cable. So, the only difference between the two is that the latter’s router unit, the CBR750, is a cable gateway — it is a router + modem combo.

In many ways, the CBR750 unit is the same as when you use the RBR750 and a CM2000 modem together.

However, note that while the RBR750 can work with any broadband service, the CBR750, which doesn’t have a WAN port, can only work for those with Cable Internet. So, it’s more rigid.

Other than that distinction, from Wi-Fi performance’s perspective, the RBK752 and CBK752 are the same. Keep that in mind if you’re looking for a review of the Orbi CBK752. By the way, I might review the CM2000 modem separately when I manage to get a faster Internet connection.


An improved design

While looking the same as the previous model, the more compact design actually makes the RBK752 a lot better, in my opinion. The hardware units are now shorter and narrower, yet it has the theme thickness, resulting in a better footing. They won’t topple easily.

While they are not wall-mountable out of the box, they also have screw holes for mounting accessories. They also look slightly better too, with a sleek and slightly concave top.

Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK752): detail photos









Pre-sync hardware, familiar setup setup process

Other than the minor differences in the look, ports, and Wi-Fi specs, the Orbi RBK752 shares the rest with the RBK852. To avoid repeating myself, I’ll recap them here.

Out of the box, the two hardware units are pre-synced. As a result, all you have to do is set up the RBR750 unit like a standalone router. After that, plug the RBS750 (satellite) unit at a good distance, and you get yourself a full-operational mesh.

(Note: Each unit does have a sync button which is only necessary when you use it with a hardware unit of another Orbi set or a standalone Orbi satellite.)

It’s important to note that the Orbi has a full web interface available at its default IP address which is 192.168.1.1 (or routerlogin.com). Just navigate a browser there from a connected computer, and the rest is self-explanatory.

Alternatively, you can also use the Orbi mobile app. In this case, you need an account with Netgear to tie your mesh to. Now, you’ll be able to conveniently manage your network on your phone even when you’re out and about, at the risk of your privacy.

It’s worth noting that the app is quite well designed. It also comes with a visual network map and handy tools, including a speedtest.net-based internet speed test, and a real-time WiFi Analytics section.

Standard feature set, Zero Wi-Fi settings

Like the case of the RBK852, the RBK752, specifically the RBR750 router, has a common set of network settings found in most home routers. These include QoS, Dynamic DNS, IP address reservation, port-forwarding, and so on.

There’s also a built-in OpenVPN server that will come in handy for those who travel a lot, and Traffic Meter monitors and controls the Internet bandwidth.

And like most Netgear routers and mesh systems, the RBK752 comes with a short Netgear Armor online protection trial. To use it, though, you’ll need to resort to the mobile app. Similarly, you can also opt for Netgear Circle by Disney Parental Control feature, another entire app.

Like most Netgear routers, and especially Orbi systems, the RBK752 is thin in Wi-Fi settings. There’s almost nothing you can do with it other than changing your Wi-Fi network’s name and password. But this is not exactly all bad. It makes life easier for those who want something they can set up and forget.

Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK752): Excellent performance

Without a multi-gig port, the RBK752 doesn’t have any chance to wow anyone in its sustained Wi-Fi 6 throughput. As it turned out, though, the mesh very well in my testing, even edging out the beefier cousin in certain tests.

Indeed, as a router, the RBR750 scored sustained speeds between some 710Mbps to 875Mbps to a 2×2 Wi-Fi 6 client, which had the negotiated connection of 1.2Gbps within the range of up to 40 feet (12 m) away.

However, the router didn’t do well with Wi-Fi 5 clients due to the lower Wi-Fi specs. I used a 4×4 one at the close range (10 feet) test, and it had a sustained speed of some 660Mbps. At 40 feet away, my 3×3 client averaged some 600Mbps. Still, these are impressive numbers.

As a mesh system, the RBS750 did well, too. One thing to note right away is that there was little signal loss. (I always test mesh systems in a wireless setup.)

You’ll note in the chart below that the sustained number of the satellite unit is quite close to those of the RBR750 router. That’s a clear sign of a strong wireless backhaul band.

The Orbi RBK752 registered about the same coverage as that of the RBK852. Specifically, the router unit, by itself, could handle some 2000 ft² (186 m²). And that means with a 2-pack, you can expect to blanket a home of some 4000 ft2.

Of course, the actual coverage will vary depending on the environment. But it’s safe to say this set has a great range.

As a single router or a mesh system, the RBK752 passed my 4-day stress test with no issues at all. I used it as our main system, and there was nothing to complained about. That’s quite something since some individuals in my household tend to complain a lot.

Conclusion

The Netgear Orbi AX4200 (RBK752) Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System delivers a clearly better experience than the previous and much more expensive version, the RBK852.

Part of that sure is because I tested the latter almost a year ago, likely with less refined software. (The RBK852 indeed works better now than I first tested it.)

But you can’t beat the price. At more than $200 less, the RBK752 is comparatively a steal. So, again, if you’re looking to get a full wireless mesh for a large home, this one is an easy recommendation.

Categories ReviewsTags Matchups, Netgear, Wi-Fi 6, Wi-Fi 6 Routers, Wi-Fi Routers and Mesh SystemsSours: https://dongknows.com/netgear-orbi-ax4200-rbk752-review/

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