Orbi WiFi System (RBK13) AC1200 REVIEW | MacSources

A powerful WiFi solution for an average household.

I’ve been an Orbi fan for many years now. I used to dread setting up WiFi routers, but Netgear’s Orbi line of products makes it really easy and they produce a solid connection to the internet. My primary experience has been with Orbi’s Tri-Band routers, but I finally have the option to check out one of the mesh systems that rely on the dual-band WiFi — the Orbi AC1200 (RBK13). This system is designed to be more affordable while still providing the same level of support as the higher-priced Orbi systems. Before I outline all the details of the Orbi RBK13, let’s look at the differences of Orbi’s main systems — Orbi RBK852, Orbi RBK50, and the Orbi RBK13.

DETAILS

The Orbi WiFi System RBK13 features the award-winning Orbi technology that delivers high-performance throughout the whole home. The AC1200 system provides super-fast WiFi up to 1.2Gbps for streaming, gaming, and other internet-based needs. The RBK13 three-pack includes one WiFi router and two satellites to cover houses up to 4,500 square feet. The system is compatible with all internet service providers and is recommended for homes with more than 50Mbps internet plans. To get started, you simply connect the Orbi router to your cable modem.

TECH SPECS

USER EXPERIENCE

The Orbi RBK13 comes in a moderately sized box. The front of the box features an image of the RBK13 system (1 router and 2 satellites) and the main details of the Orbi (coverage, WiFi speeds, NETGEAR Armor, and parental controls). The back of the box shows a diagram of a house with suggestions of where to place the Orbi so that you get the best coverage and additional features are mentioned along with the Orbi app. The bottom of the box is where most of the detailed information on the product is located. I always prefer the companies include this information since it’s not always information that you can find online. For example, part of the technical specifications of the Orbi RBK13 is its WiFi standard. I was not able to find that information on the website from Netgear, but it was on the bottom of the box. As it turns out, the WiFi standard this Orbi uses is IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac or WiFi 5. The Orbi RBK852 unit I outlined above is compatible with WiFi 6.

CONCLUSION

Netgear makes a solid product with the Orbi systems. The Orbi RBK13 is a good choice if you need to fill out dead spots in your home and on a tight budget. It provides a strong mesh network for your home and even though it’s not a feature-rich as its more pro-level cousins, the RBK13 does deliver on its promises. I wouldn’t buy this version of the Orbi if you have a lot of WiFi-dependent smart devices in your home, but if you are a standard user and just trying to get a better signal throughout your house for your computers, tablets, and smartphones, you will likely have good luck with the Orbi RBK13.

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