Mesh Wi-Fi technology is all the rage, with just about every major consumer networking firm jumping into the fray. We’ve covered quite a few of the products, and one of the most capable continues to be the powerful Orbi units from Netgear. They have some of the best performance stats, although at a premium price. Now, Netgear is extending the reach of Orbi with a weather-resistant model for outdoor use.
Orbi Outdoor Satellite
The new unit is named simply the Orbi Outdoor Satellite (model number RBS50Y; See on Amazon). Netgear says it will add about 2,500 square feet to your Wi-Fi coverage. That’s only about a 30-foot radius, so I suspect that in practice those with uncluttered yards will get quite a bit more. As always, walls, wires, and other devices will eat into the coverage area. As with the indoor units, it can share an SSID, providing for easier roaming within your location.
Like the indoor Orbi Satellite, the outdoor model communicates with other Orbis over a dedicated wireless channel (called FastLane3 by Netgear), so you don’t need to wire it into your Ethernet. Netgear claims that FastLane3 provides up to 1.7Gbps backhaul between units. Of course, you will need to provide the outdoor Orbi with power. In my experience the most challenging part of outdoor electronics is running a waterproof wire to a power outlet in a non-obtrusive way.
Netgear calls the outdoor unit weather-resistant. Specifically, it is designed to withstand sub-zero temperatures, and has an IP56 rating for dust and water resistance. It can be mounted on a wall or placed on a stand.
New Satellite also works with Orbi for Small Businesses
The outdoor Orbi satellite also works with Netgear’s Orbi for Small Businesses, and supports its more advanced features, includes the ability to separate guest and employee traffic and providing a dedicated administration network. For those wanting to brighten things up at night, the unit can also be programmed to light its LEDs on schedule, or leave them off.
The new Orbi doesn’t come cheap. It’s available now at an MSRP of $330. You’ll need to already have an Orbi Router for it to connect with — either the Orbi Tri-band Whole Home WiFi or the Orbi Tri-band Wi-Fi for Small Business. If you don’t need a wireless backhaul, then you can get wired mesh access points from Unifi and others for about $100.