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4 out of 5 eggs Orbi.. the worlds simplest router? Netgear would have you believe so.. But underneath this level of simplicity there are some issues that need fixed. 11/20/2016

This review is from: NETGEAR Orbi RBK50 High-Performance AC3000 Tri-Band Home WiFi System

Pros: What I do find that I like about this router, is that once you get past the initial setup and get the remote placed in a comfortable location, the unit not only works.. But it works extremely well.. As someone who has used wireless repeaters and bridges for years, this one just seems to ‘work’, without any issues.


Speeds on the wireless are incredibly responsive, which happens to be due to the individually separated backhaul wireless link between the main unit and the remote unit.


So.. how responsive, you ask? Well, my setup within my house utilizes Ceton Echo’s for my televisions to be connected to my Windows Media Center.. And until now, those units required a wired ethernet connection to every location where I installed an Echo.. simply because the constant bandwidth required by an Echo was just too intensive for a wireless connection to be able to handle. With Orbi, I have an Echo connected to the Orbi Remote unit wired, and I can pull video down perfectly. I’ve not been able to do this, even with any other wireless repeater, mainly due to the fact their bandwidth is shared with other wireless devices in my home. Now, would this setup hold up if I had multiple Orbi Remotes connected to multiple Echos??? I honestly don’t know, but I suspect the answer would be no, but I still consider this a big thumbs up.


Another massive plus, is the fact that Orb doesn’t take up a huge footprint, due to it’s shape… and my wife appreciates that.


Additionally, there are not 100 obnoxious lights on the unit when it’s operating… in fact, it’s fairly easy to forget the unit is even there.

My wife loves these devices... and for her to love any tech device, is a rarity :)

Cons: What are some of the points of frustration? Well, for starters, if you want to use Orbi in an AP to repeater mode (aka: if you already have a good router in place, and don’t want to give it up) Orbi surprisingly becomes a bit of a frustration to configure, and the simple plug and play nature of it disappears.


However, if you want Orbi to be your one and only router, with the remote attached to it, then you’ll likely find the process fairly simple, and oddly ‘just works’.


Once again, though, if you’re looking for some more advanced features in a router, such as QoS to prioritize traffic or a particular device, Orbi is currently lacking in these features.


Also, in true Netgear fashion, DNS resolution for locally attached devices is still noticeably missing. Why they continue to omit this functionality, I have no idea.. But it’s extremely frustrating.


Orbi has USB ports, but currently doesn’t seem to support anything connected to them, including the usually expected ‘ReadyCloud’ option to plug a USB hard drive in, and connect remotely. I can’t begin to explain why this unit is missing this functionality, that seems to be baked into every other Netgear router at this point.


Another thing to point out, if you’re looking for guest network capabilities, or the ability to manually adjust the speeds of your 2.5 or 5ghz speeds.. You’re looking at the wrong router.


Finally, the boot times for both the router and the remote are abysmal. Couple that long boot time, with the short timeouts on the ‘color codes’ generated while the remote connects to the main unit… and you’re talking a situation that could be frustrating for both novice and expert users, alike.

Other Thoughts: Now, the biggest hurdle that Orbi is going to have to get past, is the pricing. So I guess, is the device worth the $400 pricetag??


I guess that depends, if you have the exact need that Orbi addresses, in that you have a hard time getting full wireless coverage of your home, then it DEFINITELY is worth the $400.


However, beyond that it becomes a bit of an iffy situation. My current ‘Go to’ router, happens to be the Netgear R7800 series of router, and it’s FANTASTIC. It’s quick, has good coverage, many more features… and more importantly… it’s essentially half the price of the Orbi. Now, Orbi DOES look better, and it seems to just quietly be non-threatening in it’s appearance.. So maybe that appeals to you, the extra pricing would be worth it.


For me, a decidedly tech freak (I actually have racks of servers in my home), the appearance isn’t something I find necessary, so the extra price isn’t something I can justify.


Finally, it’s also worth noting.. If you consider the package as a router AND extender/repeater, (2 separate devices) you might find it’s price to be a fair trade off.


Right now, I HOPE Netgear continues to add features to this device. I like the potential it has, and I’m a fan of tech I don’t necessarily have to manage repeatedly… I already have enough of that, as it is ;)


Overall, my wife and daughter LOVE Orbi... I'm still on the fence. I'd give it 3.5-4 eggs for now.. if Netgear addresses some of the missing features and improves the startup speeds, I'll happily revisit this review and adjust accordingly :)

Disclaimer: As someone who has previously performed both positive and negative reviews of Netgear products, I received this device for free, in exchange for another honest review, through their Friends and Family program.

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5 out of 5 eggs I have a new favorite Router.. I feel like such a traitor to my previous one!! 06/27/2016

This review is from: NETGEAR R7800 Nighthawk X4S AC2600 Smart WiFi MU-MIMO Gigabit Router with additional 5 GHz DFS channels

Pros: 1.) I have a greater coverage area with this device. Chalk it up to the extra antenna, the new chipset, or whatever you like. This thing has probably added 30% to my range.. But more importantly, the areas where I had weaker signal, before, I now have extremely strong signal.

2.) This router doesn’t seem to need to ‘ramp up’ to get to it’s max wireless speeds… it still tops out at the max my ISP provisions me for, obviously, but instead of it taking 10-15seconds to get there.. It pretty much charges out of the gate at full speed.

3.) Storage performance. Ok, so I’m going to admit, I normally don’t care about attached storage speed to routers, instead I recommend people just just BUY a NAS if they want to have storage on their network. I’m not sure if it’s just this device, or what, but I’m starting to reconsider that functionality on routers. Obviously, you really can’t compare the speeds to a full blown NAS, but the performance is ‘Good enough’ to mention it to friends and family.

4.) Stability has been rock solid. If there’s 1 thing I’ve noticed over the last few years, is that I haven’t been able to find a router that can keep multiple weeks of uptime, much less a year…. So far, the 7800 is promising, in that it’s not rebooted on me since I installed it (after the initial firmware update, obviously).. And even more impressively, I’ve not lost wireless connectivity on my 3 ‘monitor’ devices since I installed this router… THAT shocks the heck outta me.

5.) Now.. one thing I’ve discovered, that I find somewhat curious, is the inclusion of a BitTorrent downloader.. Simply called: Netgear Downloader” Built into the router. I assume this is a variant of the transmission client.. And I find it’s inclusion VERY cool. Beyond a few tests, I’ve not used it a whole lot (I’m not really a BT guy, but I know there ARE a bunch of people out there that are… so give it a shot :)

6..) There’s a whole slew of other additions much of what you’ve come to expect from a consumer level router: Parental controls, QoS, WDS, Guest Networks, ReadyShare, ReadyCloud, printer connectivity..

7.) But there’s also some other things a lot of your current mainstream consumer routers still leave out.. Like ipv6 support, STATIC ROUTING, the ability to turn on repeater/bridge/ap modes…

Cons: So what’s the downside? I’m still not a fan of the ‘Genie’ applications that Netgear tries to convince you to use. I understand they’re designed to help the novice users setup and configure their devices.. But that whole thing about giving a man to fish vs teaching him to fish… I can’t help but think it’d be better for the consumer to learn more about how the technology works, vs just making everything overly simplistic…. *Shrug*

Other Thoughts: Full Review:

For the longest time, I’ve been trying to find something better than my current champion device, the Netgear R7000. I’ve recommended it to friends, family, co-workers, clients, and pretty much any stranger I run into on the street… but no matter what, I’m always looking for bigger, better, faster.. Something that makes me look at it with a giant grin, the way I’ve not had since I first encountered the R7000.

A sad day, however, has arrived. Enter probably the best example of what a ‘sequel’ to a piece of technology should be… the Netgear R7800 ‘Nighthawk x4s”... Which is quite a mouthful.

I could spend all day/night telling you the technical ins and outs of this router, but you’ve likely already read that. What you want to know, is real world performance, and in this case, I’m going to be comparing it, directly, to my R7000 series router...Which is actually running DD-WRT at the moment, that makes it an even steeper hill to climb.

For reference, I live in an approximately 1800sq ft home, constructed from mostly wood and drywall. I live in a semi-congested area, as pretty much all of my neighbors are heavily wireless. Right now, my current R7000 covers most of my home without problem, but there are some weak spots. Other than that, when you get to the back end of the house, and then into the backyard and woods behind, the signal degrades quickly. At the far end of the property, we have no signal.

Enter the R7800. I installed this device approximately 2 weeks ago, and I’ve been putting it through it’s paces… So how does it work?

Here’s some things I’ve noticed:

1.) I have a greater coverage area with this device. Chalk it up to the extra antenna, the new chipset, or whatever you like. This thing has probably added 30% to my range.. But more importantly, the areas where I had weaker signal, before, I now have extremely strong signal.

2.) This router doesn’t seem to need to ‘ramp up’ to get to it’s max wireless speeds… it still tops out at the max my ISP provisions me for, obviously, but instead of it taking 10-15seconds to get there.. It pretty much charges out of the gate at full speed.

3.) Storage performance. Ok, so I’m going to admit, I normally don’t care about attached storage speed to routers, instead I recommend people just just BUY a NAS if they want to have storage on their network. I’m not sure if it’s just this device, or what, but I’m starting to reconsider that functionality on routers. Obviously, you really can’t compare the speeds to a full blown NAS, but the performance is ‘Good enough’ to mention it to friends and family.

4.) Stability has been rock solid. If there’s 1 thing I’ve noticed over the last few years, is that I haven’t been able to find a router that can keep multiple weeks of uptime, much less a year…. So far, the 7800 is promising, in that it’s not rebooted on me since I installed it (after the initial firmware update, obviously).. And even more impressively, I’ve not lost wireless connectivity on my 3 ‘monitor’ devices since I installed this router… THAT shocks the heck outta me.

5.) Now.. one thing I’ve discovered, that I find somewhat curious, is the inclusion of a BitTorrent downloader.. Simply called: Netgear Downloader” Built into the router. I assume this is a variant of the transmission client.. And I find it’s inclusion VERY cool. Beyond a few tests, I’ve not used it a whole lot (I’m not really a BT guy, but I know there ARE a bunch of people out there that are… so give it a shot :)

6..) There’s a whole slew of other additions much of what you’ve come to expect from a consumer level router: Parental controls, QoS, WDS, Guest Networks, ReadyShare, ReadyCloud, printer connectivity..

7.) But there’s also some other things a lot of your current mainstream consumer routers still leave out.. Like ipv6 support, STATIC ROUTING, the ability to turn on repeater/bridge/ap modes…

So what’s the downside? I’m still not a fan of the ‘Genie’ applications that Netgear tries to convince you to use. I understand they’re designed to help the novice users setup and configure their devices.. But that whole thing about giving a man to fish vs teaching him to fish… I can’t help but think it’d be better for the consumer to learn more about how the technology works, vs just making everything overly simplistic…. *Shrug*

All in all, I’m happier with this device than I thought I would be, and I’m glad to say it has made it’s way to being my primary router, right now… Now all I have to do, is find a use for my old R7000… perhaps I’ll donate it to a friend that still needs to replace something their ISP provided them :)

FULL TRANSPARENCY: I received this router from Netgear, in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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NETGEAR ReadyNAS 316 6-Bay Network Attached Storage Diskless (RN31600)
  • neweggOwned For: 1 week to 1 month

5 out of 5 eggs Good price for a nice system 10/22/2013

This review is from: NETGEAR ReadyNAS 316 6-Bay Network Attached Storage Diskless (RN31600)

Pros: (in no particular order)

The pricing of this new ReadyNAS series is a actually a sweet spot for the technologically advanced who have a need for this sort of device. On top of that, the performance seems to be significantly better than the ReadyNAS Ultra4 I had prior to this unit.

The amount of addons available via the netgear genie marketplace is growing, and it's cool to see the manufacturer working with independent developers to add more features.

It seems SSH is 'officially' supported on this device, due to the fact there is a simple toggle for it within the ReadyNAS OS now. No more having to find and add the .BIN SSH addon.

Remote access and replication features added into these new units, free of charge, is a nice addition.

Integration with Dropbox is a nice touch, though there are multiple vendors that are offering this now.

Did I mention performance? Going to again. The ability to max out a 1 gig connection with a non-enterprise level device is amazing.

iSCSI support on the device, my VM Boxes thank you.

Snapshot features. No more do I have to listen to my daughter scream because she deleted a file today, that she created 3 days ago. Or that she made changes to it, and doesn't like those changes now.

The tool-less drive caddys are a nice touch as well. Also, the fact that the locks for those caddys are easily accessible.

I've not looked into it much, but apparently there is an AV Solution built into the unit. Which, I assume is a ClamAV version. I don't need it, but some home users could find a use for it, I'm sure.

Near instant availability when creating a new RAID array with thin provisioning. With the past ReadyNAS units, you'd have to create the array, and then walk away for the better portion of a day before you could use the unit. This was due to the raid array building itself and establishing a sync. You don't have to worry about this anymore. Feel free to start using the device right away, and it'll finish it's sync in the background. There will be a bit of performance lost during this initial process, but you're not crippled to the fact that you can't use the device anymore.

The new models of ReadyNAS will let you use expansion units to extend your possible storage to just about whatever level you'd like. (spec sheet claims 64TB is max space with this unit and an expansion bay)

5 Year warranty on the unit itself. That's a massive 'Wow factor' to me, especially in the day of everything having only a 1-3 year warranty. 5 years seems incredible to me.

Quiet, and stays relatively cool, compared to my other NAS devices I've used in the past.

Cons: (again, in no particular order)
The average consumer for this device should be a bit more advanced, and the basic postings on various retailers should indicate this.

Semi steep learning curve for users new to NAS units.
The new UI, while a step up from the old one, still seems a bit unfriendly to novices.

Depending on the situation, the feature-set might be a bit over the top for someone looks for the most basic solution. Not a huge negative, as all the features seem to be able to be turned on and off.

Linux based unit, so someone that's only familar with windows should take care when going into the command line interface to 'poke around'.

Occasional quirk while transferring data via Replication, when using compression. Would just recommend turning it off, to be honest.

Other Thoughts: I'm supposed to mention that I got this unit free of charge from Netgear after asking some specific questions regarding the newer units and providing some personal contact information to Netgear.

Another few things to note:

While I'm been using ReadyNas devices for years, even before Netgear bought Infrant, I can see why some people would have a few problems with their initial setup and configuration. The documentation included was minimal, and most people often just want to plug a device in, and have it 'just work', without doing any reading.

I've ran into a few small issues here and there, nothing big enough to be considered a show stopper, and I'll reiterate my love for the performance on this unit. We have a datacenter and remote offices using various ReadyNAS devices, and while most of them server their purpose, a few models have earned many a 4 letter word from me.

The only other observation I'd like to make, is the fact there are many websites on the net that have done reviews of this unit, and seem to try to indicate this is a consumer level device... I'd like to take the time to really stress that this is NOT something I'd give to my elderly parents and expect them to know how to use. If people keep their expectations realistic with regards to this unit, you'll come out pleasantly surprised with it's performance and features. :)

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Shawn M.'s Profile

Display Name: Shawn M.

Date Joined: 01/14/05

  • Reviews: 5
  • Helpfulness: 5
  • First Review: 12/22/08
  • Last Review: 11/20/16
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