I’m a big fan of the Netgear Orbi line of mesh access points and now there’s more to love. Netgear is now shipping the RBS50Y, a new satellite that is weatherproof and allows you to add coverage to your back yard or garage without worrying that your access point will short out in the rain.
The new device requires an Orbi Router — the RBR50, RBR40, RBR20 or SRR60, specifically — and connects to your home network via an easy-to-use app. The outdoor router adds up to 2,500 square feet of extra coverage and it increased my Wi-Fi coverage in the back of my house from about -80 dBm to -51 dBm, a marked improvement. This means we have better access to the Sonos indoors as well as to the camera in the back yard.
Overall the Orbi is an excellent hardware solution for whole-home Wi-Fi, and I’m pleased to note that the app has been improved since my first foray into the product. Now the app supports granular device control — you can kick folks off the network — and it now supports Disney’s Circle for parental controls. This lets you filter the internet automatically and even pause the internet to keep the kids from browsing for a few hours.
The outdoor satellite costs $329, while a router and two satellites costs $291. This is a bit pricey for a home router setup, but it did improve my Wi-Fi speed considerably throughout my old brick Brooklyn home and it now lets me switch songs and keep an eye on things from the back yard. It’s a small price to pay for complete and total wireless domination of your domain.