Netgear has announced the next generation in its award-winning range of Orbi Mesh Wi-Fi products. This brand-new version uses the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard. It has a powerful new antenna design that leverages the speed and capacity benefits of the new Wi-Fi 7 standard.
The Orbi 970 Series can deliver up to a dizzying 27 Gbps wireless speeds. The new Orbi units have a slim and elegant design that leaves behind the classic Orbi teardrop shape of the past. The new units have high-performance antennas providing 360-degree wireless coverage all around the home.
The advent of Wi-Fi 7 and its faster wireless speeds has been driven by the rollout of the multi-gig internet speeds now available to many households. The other driving force is the growing number of connected devices each family member uses around the home.
Wi-Fi 7 is ideal for handling laptops, gaming consoles, streaming TVs and IoT devices (Internet of Things) in our home that all demand more bandwidth. The growing popularity of 4K/8K video streaming, HD Zoom calls, interactive gaming and immersive AR/VR entertainment means we need faster, more responsive Wi-Fi and can handle more devices.
The new Wi-Fi 7 standard addresses these demands. The previous Wi-Fi 6E standard was a big step forward as it opened the 6GHz band as a quicker way to transmit data wirelessly. Wi-Fi 7 builds on Wi-Fi 6E by increasing the width of the data channels to 320MHz, providing even faster speeds and better performance.
The Netgear Orbi 970 Series uses patented Quad-Band technology and an enhanced dedicated backhaul to send data from the satellites to the router. Netgear has configured the multi-link operation (MLO) of Wi-Fi 7 to produce an exclusive backhaul that uses dedicated 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands to double the speed between the main router and the Orbi satellites. This adds up to a superfast 10Gb wireless backhaul for lower latency and higher data throughput.
The new Orbi 970 also has a Smart Connect feature that Netgear claims can intelligently choose the fastest Wi-Fi band for each device on the network. The Orbi router also has a 10Gb internet port for connecting to the latest high-speed fiber services. In addition, the Orbi router has a 10Gb and four 2.5Gb Ethernet ports for faster wired speeds.
The most striking and noticeable change with the Orbi 970 Series is the new cylindrical shape of the routers and satellites. The slimmer profile and smaller footprint mean the Orbi devices fit better into the home. Even with the smaller format, the new Orbi 970 units have a dozen high-performance internal antennas inside, each with high-powered amplifiers that provide 360-degree coverage.
The new Orbi range comes with a year’s free subscription to Netgear’s Armor protection system powered by Bitdefender. Armor provides a protective shield for every device on the network. Unlike traditional antivirus software installed on individual computers, the Armor system is baked into the router and monitors all the network traffic in and out of the building. No matter the connected devices on the network, Armor protects all computers, security cameras, baby monitors and other IoT devices using the network.
Armor immediately flags external threats and eliminates any suspicious outbound traffic from IoT devices without the need for third-party security subscriptions or software. The Orbi 970 Series also comes with Netgear’s Smart Parental Controls so parents can manage how much time kids spend online with all their connected devices. The system can be set up to promote good online habits within the family. The essential features of the Smart Parental Controls are free, but a subscription is payable for Netgear’s Premium Plan after the free 30-day trial.
The Netgear Orbi app can be used to set up the entire Orbi network and the management dashboard for the network can be accessed from anywhere in the world. So, if there are problems while you are away traveling, you can log in and reconfigure the network no matter where you are.
The Orbi 970 Series mesh system includes a router and two satellite devices, which is sufficient to cover a home or office of up to 10,000 square feet. That’s a 10% increase on the previous Orbi 960 Series. The mesh network can handle up to 200 connected devices. Even larger areas can be covered by adding extra satellite units. Each additional satellite can increase the physical coverage of the system by up to 3,300 square feet. Every satellite has a 10Gb and two 2.5Gb Ethernet ports.
Verdict: The new Orbi 970 Series mesh wireless system is the first Wi-Fi 7 product I’ve seen. The new standard offers much higher speeds, more capacity and better throughput. It’s a significant step forward and we can expect many more manufacturers like TP-Link to be touting their systems leveraging the new features of Wi-Fi 7. I haven’t tried the Netgear Orbi 970 Series yet, but the previous Orbi systems I’ve tried have always been well-made and excellent performers. If this new version is up to the usual standard, it should set the gold standard for premium wireless mesh systems.
Pricing & Availability: The NETGEAR Orbi 970 Series in classic white and Orbi black limited edition is available exclusively from netgear.com. The RBE973 pack with a router and two satellites costs $2,299.99. The RBE972 with router and one satellite costs $1,699.99. Extra add-on satellites cost $899.99 each.
More info: www.netgear.com
- 320MHz high-capacity channels.
- 4K QAM for more efficient usage of the available bandwidth.
- Preamble Puncturing enables a wider channel even in areas of high interference.
- Multi-link Operation using multiple Wi-Fi bands for backhaul and fronthaul.
- Enhanced Dedicated Backhaul with 10Gb wireless backhaul speed.
- Multi-Gig Speeds with 10GbE Internet Port.
- 10GbE LAN ports.
- Capacity for up to 200 connected devices.
- Multi-gig wired ports on Router and Satellites.
- Wi-Fi 7 Qualcomm Networking Pro Series platform.
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