Wireless router recommendations


Just wanted to note the Orbi has been kicking major ass at my place:

  • amazing house-wide coverage
  • 10 megabytes/sec constant throughput to outside satellite in my office
  • multiple gigabit ethernet ports on base and satellite

It auto-upgraded firmware as part of the setup step, and somehow the satellite got its firmware updated when I added it to the network a bit later, not entirely clear how that happened, maybe it’s part of the initial sync protocol, to ensure both base and satellite are on the same firmware version?

Outside of the initial setup which does look fine on mobile web, the complete router admin UI is kinda meh, doesn’t support mobile well (I don’t think an app is needed, just design your damn web UI for mobile! it’s not that hard!) but that’s my only substantive criticism.

Orbi is a little expensive, but IMHO worth it for dedicated backhaul radios and multiple gigabit ethernet ports.


Cool. I kept hoping for a sale last/this week, but it never happened.


I installed my Orbi + satellite this week. My problem is that my cable modem is downstairs (our bedrooms are downstairs, living areas upstairs) and in a back bedroom, and the way the house is designed our sunroom is on the other side of the house, on another floor, and pretty far away. Quite a few walls in between. Our needs are pretty simple: two notebooks, two iphones, two iPads, two PS4s 3 Chromecast 2s, and I run a Plex server off my notebook that will be used all over the house (three TVs in a wide range of locations.) Dish satellite (Hopper 3 and two 4K Joesy.) Lots of use of the Plex server to watch ripped TV shows and movies, a lot of Netflix and Hulu, multiplayer on the two PS4s,

Also, our Internet service is only 100MBps (I say only - we just got a bump from 50 max to 100 in the last year) so we can’t really test out anything faster than that.

Install of the Orbi was very simple. Unplugged and removed my current router, plugged the Orbi router in to the cable modem, it started up. Connected my laptop to it via ethernet and went to the setup screen. Very routine setup, with the only problem being that the online firmware update seemed to just sit forever, so I canceled that and downloaded the firmware updates and did it manually, which was trivially easy. Plugged in the satellite in a central location upstairs and got a “blue” signal fairly soon, indicating a good signal from the router, Cool.

After setting the SSID name and password, I set up my computers, phones, iPads, PS4s, Chromecast 2s, and it just worked. Speeds in every location in the house measured between 90 - 99 Mbps, so I guess I can’t ask for more than that.

It’s interesting that there aren’t separate SSID names for the 2.4GHz and 5GHz connections. I can’t look at the connected devices and see how they are all connected. I assume it just automatically connects via the fastest capability of each device? You certainly don’t get all of the info and options you get on, say, a high end “normal” ASUS router.

At the end of the day, though - plugged them in, simple set up, and I now have what appears to be complete and full coverage in every spot in the house. Oh, and my wife likes the way the Orbis look - she says they look like large air fresheners. ;)


Wirecutter also recommends Orbi now.


Again, it strikes me as a weird move for Apple to move out of this market at a time when it is gaining more traction. Maybe they figured the competition was a negative, but you’d have thought with all their experience in the area they could have put out a next-gen airport device (even if called something else).

I kept an eye out for sales on Orbi around thanksgiving, but never saw anything.


Doubt you’ll see big sales on the Orbi when it’s nearly brand new.



Why would you want that? Isn’t it better to give them the same name and let the device pick which is best?


Yeah we had separate named 2.4 ghz and 5 ghz ranges with the Asus router I used to have, and it’s just annoying.


Yes!! I’m all for the same SSID with automated roaming and choosing of the strongest frequency available. SO much better / more reliable than it was before.

Admittedly you could do something similar by forcing the Apple routers to use the same SSID, but auto-roaming has never been especially reliable outside of commercial access points with dedicated wired backhaul. Would have done that to begin with if the house allowed.



In many ways I prefer just one SSID, but with my previous router, there were times that the 2.4GHz signal was stringer and more reliable albeit a little slower, in the far reaches of the house.

If, as it appears with the Orbi in my setup, it’s strong everywhere, eh. However, I’d like to be able to see in the router software who is connected to which frequency.


Yeah it would be nice if the admin web UI showed exactly how each wireless client was connected, I agree.


You CAN manually log into the Orbi satellite with the same admin username /password and then check on what devices are attached to it alone.

But I agree that’d it be better if the main interface added a column to show which Orbi each device was attached to.



Google’s main page has a link to Google Wifi today. I watched the video. It looks very nice. I especially like the part where it says it has a design so that it fits in and looks good in any part of the house. And the way they showed it, I agree. It’s kind of cool to see a device sitting like that on the desk, with no ugly power wires coming out of it. But that means it uses batteries. And one more thing to keep changing batteries for, seems undesirable. But then so do ugly power wires.


It’s not battery powered. It does need to be plugged in to power, and those marketing videos totally ignore that.

It’s still a lot nicer looking than most home routers.


Reviews on Amazon say you can’t “do anything” - e.g. can’t set a DNS, can’t basically set anything or do anything but pause. Sounds like it is very much targeted to the home user who knows nothing about WiFi and networks and routers and doesn’t want to.


I want to get a router for my mom, and I’d be grateful for some recommendations. She doesn’t need a whole lot, since she’s going to be the only user - except perhaps when she has guests - and she lives in a smallish apartment. It does need to work with chromecast, though, and it has to support 802.11ac. I’m thinking something around $100, plus/minus a bit.

I’ve been looking at the ASUS rt-ac56u and the rt-ac66u. I’d personally prefer an ASUS, as I have a ac68u, and I figure it would be easier to set up, not to mention guide her over the phone, if that should prove necessary, but the brand really isn’t a big deal.

Does anyone have any experience with one or both of the above routers, or perhaps someone can recommend an alternative?


Actually, if her needs are simple the Google WiFi may fit the need. $125, and extremely simple to set up (it’s made for people who can’t spell router.)


Thanks for the suggestion, but I can’t find any online stores around here that carries it. Maybe it was just released in the US?


Yes. It’s a US only release right now.


I was thinking about a Google Wifi for my dad but price plus low stock drove me to the evergreen and oft-recommended Archer C7 for $80.