NetGear Orbi Vs Nighthawk Mesh: Which Is Better?

NetGear Orbi

Netgear Orbi and Nighthawk Mesh are two wireless mesh systems you can use to improve your network coverage in the house.

They come with almost similar prices, but different functions which will be discussed further in this article. Below are some comparisons between Netgear orbi vs nighthawk mesh.

The spec’s of both routers are as follow:

Netgear Orbi (RBK50)

2x Gigabit Ethernet ports per router, WAN port has a DMZ passthrough/bridge option for a 4th LAN connection. Supports up to 15 devices per network.

Nighthawk Mesh (RBS50)

2x Gigabit Ethernet ports – 5GHz a/n bridge mode only, WAN included but disabled by default because it doesn’t have a DMZ passthrough option. Supports up to 30 devices per network.

From the specs you can see that the Nighthawk Mesh has only one Ethernet port per router and they’re all 5GHz a/n bridge mode, this is because Orbis uses them for wired backhaul.

Comparison Chart

Preview
ModelOrbi RBK50X10 (R9000)X6 (R8000)X4S (R7800)
Amazon Reviews11,355 Reviews3,815 Reviews8,942 Reviews7,436 Reviews
Wireless AreaUp to 5000 sq. ftUp to 2000-3000 sq. ftUp to 2000-3000 sq. ftUp to 2000-3000 sq. ft
Max combined WiFi Speed3Gbps (AC3000)7.2 Gbps (802.11AD+802.11AC)3.2 Gbps (AC3200)2.6 Gbps(AC2600)
WiFi BandsTri-band (2x5Ghz & 1×2.4Ghz)60GHz 802.11ad + Dual BandTri-band (2x5Ghz & 1×2.4Ghz)Dual Band (1x5Ghz & 1×2.4Ghz)
WiFi Devices2 (router+satellite)111
Advanced Dynamic QoSNoYesYesYes
MU-MIMOYesYesNoYes
Flexibility in area placementYES (mesh system)NO (single unit)NO (single unit)NO (single unit)
USB Ports1222
ReadyShare USB SupportOnly for printer sharingBoth Printer and USB Hard DiskBoth Printer and USB Hard DiskBoth Printer and USB Hard Disk
LAN Gigabit Ports4 on each unit6 + 1x10G port44
RAM512MB1000MB256MB512MB

Netgear orbi vs nighthawk mesh comparison

Speed and Latency

Since both Orbi Mesh and Nighthawk MESH are using the same technology of tri-band AC3000, their speed might be similar. But it also depends on the location of the router such as which room you put them in. 

The better the signal reception of routers, the faster internet speed they can offer to your device. So, sometimes we need to experiment where we put routers for optimal performance. 

As long as they’re not too far away from each other (around 40 feet), both will provide fast speed and low latency connection with less lag time. This is an advantage over single-band AC1200 or AC1750 Wi-Fi systems.

NetGear Orbi

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Range and Coverage

The range is an important matter when you are looking for a wireless router. Nighthawk MESH has a better range than Orbi because it uses the tri-band technology to separate three different bands, resulting in a wider signal range throughout your home. 

So, you can place both routers at the end of your house for wide Wi-Fi coverage across all levels.

Technology – MU-MIMO

MU-MIMO stands for Multiple User – Multiple Input, Multiple Output which allows multiple devices to communicate with each other simultaneously instead of one device at a time. 

This technology is only available with the tri-band AC3000 routers such as Nighthawk X4S or Orbi. Netgear claims that their router can provide 11AC speed to each device at the same time. 

This means no more slow internet while you are streaming 4K videos on your iPad and downloading movies on your laptop simultaneously.

Range Extender

Nighthawk MESH does not have a separate “extender” but it comes with two separate pieces of routers. 

To extend the range of wireless coverage, place them in different rooms so they will create a linked network extended by one single SSID name which is convenient for keeping track of devices connected. 

Just get the more powerful router such as Nighthawk X4S and place it in a central location to cover the main area of your home.

Wall Plug Satellite

Orbi has two separate pieces which you can put on the wall plug and floor stand, creating a good-looking and more stable connection than Nighthawk MESH. 

They both offer wired backhaul by using Ethernet ports so if the wireless range is not an issue for you, Orbi may be a better selection because it also provides aesthetic value. 

However, we still give this point to Nighthawk MESH because they provide faster internet speed thanks to MU-MIMO technology that Orbi doesn’t have.

Security and Control – Parental Controls

Nighthawk MESH has parental controls so you can filter content by categories such as Social, Gaming, etc. You also have the option to set schedules for internet access for your family members under Advanced settings. 

With this router, you will be able to manage security more conveniently than Orbi with no extra cost of buying a separate internet security software. 

It’s an advantage if you need more control over what your children do online especially when they are just starting to use the internet and don’t really know how (or what) bad things on the web can do. 

If you want to restrict time spent on YouTube and social media, this is a great way to go.

Security and Control – Extra Online Security

When you sign up for the Orbi plan, they will give you 3 months free of Kaspersky antivirus which you can use on up to 10 devices simultaneously. This makes it more convenient than Nighthawk MESH who doesn’t provide any antivirus software. 

However, we believe that internet security should be provided by router companies because it’s their main job to secure your network connection so we still give this point to Orbi.

Price – Entry-level AC 1900 vs Tri-band AC3000

Nighthawk MESH costs only $280 while Orbi is priced at $350. This is not considering that Orbi comes with 3 years warranty and Kaspersky internet security for free but still, the price of Orbi makes it more expensive than Nighthawk MESH which is very affordable for most people. Especially when it has more advantages in performance, technology, design, and features.

Price – AC3000 vs AC3200

Nighthawk X4S R7900 VS R8000 is worth more than $500 while Tarantula Nebula (Nighthawk MESH) is only less than half of that price. Aside from the MU-MIMO feature, there’s really no big difference between these two routers. 

They both come with Tri-band AC 3000 (R8000) vs Quad-Band AC 3200 (Nighthawk MESH). If you want to get the one with MU-MIMO technology, we recommend the R8000 because it will help you stream faster and download faster compared with Nebula. 

This is a good investment for those who usually have many devices connected at once or for those who often need to download big files at home.

Price – AC3000 vs AC5300

Just like Nighthawk X4S VS R8000, the price difference is also quite clear as Orbi is priced higher than Nebula here although they mostly have the same high speed (AC5300). 

However, the technology that makes Orbi better is Beamforming+ which can help you get a more reliable and stable connection. If it’s only about the money, choosing Nebula over Orbi may be a better deal because they are almost similar in terms of features.

Price – AC3000 vs AC3100

Nighthawk X6S R8000P VS R8500 is worth more than $300 while Tarantula Nebula (Nighthawk MESH) costs around $260. One significant difference between these two routers would be MU-MIMO technology which makes Nighthawk MESH faster than its competitor even though it has a lower price. 

But if you want to get the best deal, choose Nebula because it’s still a really good router although it lacks some of Orbi’s features.

Price – AC2200 vs AC2300

Nighthawk X4S R7800 VS R7000 is sold for $300 while Tarantula Nebula (Nighthawk MESH) is only $220. They both have Quad-band AC2200 so their speed is almost similar enough even when Nighthawk MESH has the lower price. 

If you prefer something cheaper, this is hands-down better than Orbi in terms of performance and technology.

Price – AC2200 vs AC2600

Nighthawk X4S R7000 VS R7500 is worth more than $250 while Tarantula Nebula (Nighthawk MESH) costs just $170 which we think is already a steal for such an amazing router. 

They both come with Quad-band AC2200 and MU-MIMO technology so they are almost similar in terms of performance, features, and design although Nighthawk MESH has the lower price. 

This is undoubtedly one of the best aftermarket wireless routers on the market at present.

Design

Both Orbi and Nighthawk MESH have the same sleek and minimalist design which means they both have the same look, performance, and features. 

They are also designed to resist dust and water so you don’t need any worry about placing them outside your house. But it’s still important to take note of their dimensions because Orbi is wider than Nebula but smaller in height.

For a router that costs more than $150, we think that there’s nothing much different between these two routers when it comes to design. 

The difference here would be in terms of aesthetics where Nighthawk MESH has a really cool aesthetic with its funky hexagon lights especially for those who love colorful things. 

The tri-band Orbi on the other hand is much easier on the eyes in terms of design with its white color scheme.

Source

Performance

Satellite coverage of Nebula is not as strong as Orbi’s although it can still maintain a decent signal strength at 5,000 square feet which only means that it isn’t as ideal for very large homes as its competitor. 

But if you think about it, there really aren’t many routers out there that have great range despite their drastically cheaper price than Orbi. 

However, we all know that adding more units to strengthen your network’s signal will just increase its price and this rule doesn’t apply less on Nebula which makes it a better choice for those who want to save some money.

When it comes to performance, there is no doubt that Orbi has the upper hand compared with its competitor. This is because it uses Tri-Band technology instead of Nebula’s dual-band which means it has more bandwidth for itself for transferring data around your home. 

But if you are streaming 4K videos, you will need a high-end internet connection in order not to experience lagging or buffering while watching your favorite TV shows or movies. The hardware of both routers has MU-MIMO support so they can handle multiple devices at once without experiencing any slowdowns.

Ports

If you have a large household, you will definitely need more than two ports to connect your wired devices. In this case, Nebula is still a better choice because it has 2 USB 2.0 ports while Orbi only has 1 USB 3.0 port which means that the latter cannot read external storage devices using USB flash drives at its maximum speed. 

You can also use Nebula’s USB 2.0 for printer sharing and connecting peripherals which you can’t do in Orbi since it doesn’t come with any dedicated port for this purpose. 

But if you don’t really care much about these things, choosing between these two is going to be hard because they both have almost the same price and design.

There are only two ports available in Nebula which are for power supply and Ethernet connection while there are four outlets (two for power, two for LAN) in Orbi. 

This means that if you like using a wired connection over Wi-Fi, make sure to get an extra switch or port expander because Nebula doesn’t come with many connectors compared with its competitor. 

For those who prefer a wireless network over a wired one, this may not be a big deal at all since they rarely need more than 2 LAN ports.

Orbi comes with a dedicated VPN port that can be used in creating secure connections between your home and any remote locations. This means that you can use the internet securely even if you are away from home. 

Unfortunately, Nebula doesn’t have such an option so if you want to connect your device remotely, there’s no way to do it securely which can be risky especially for those who often need access to their files when they’re outside of their homes.

Price

When we put both products side by side, Nebula is the clear winner because it has almost all of Orbi’s features but at a much lower price. However, both products have almost the same amount of money to spend which means that you will be getting more or less what you pay from either of these two.

Summary: Orbi vs Nighthawk

To sum everything up, we can say that both systems are very good when it comes to performance and coverage, but they are not perfect. One of them is cheaper, the other one offers better speed and coverage… So which one should you choose?

Or should you consider other options on the market? 

Well, it all comes down to individual preferences because there are people who prefer shorter coverage with better speeds while there are others who choose wider coverage with a more affordable price. 

Whichever system you decide to go for, I wish you good luck – orbi vs nighthawk WiFi systems are definitely the best options on the market when it comes to complete home wifi solutions.

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