Mesh routers are all the rage right now. Google, Amazon, Asus, Linksys, and many more have their own dual or tri-band mesh setups, but now Netgear says it’s got something new, the world’s first quad-band 6E Wi-Fi system. This extra tape is going to cost you dearly, however. The Orbi Quad-band Mesh WiFi 6E kit will set you back $ 1,500.
A mesh router system covers a large area with Wi-Fi coverage, allowing you to roam your house without worrying about the quality of your connection. When you stray too far from one of the mesh access points, there should be another nearby to take over. A well-designed mesh setup should be transparent and ubiquitous, but many of them struggle to maintain the highest speeds, especially in the lower regions of a living space. This is something that a quad band router could theoretically solve.
However, wireless spectrum is a finite resource and Wi-Fi networks have been stuck with only two bands for many years because of it. However, the new Wi-Fi 6E standard opened up the 6 GHz frequency for the first time. This bit of the spectrum is less congested than 5 or 2.4 GHz, and it also has a higher maximum data rate. Most tri-band routers have a single 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands, with one of the 5 GHz bands functioning as a link between nodes, and the rest are free and clear for your use. Add to that a 6 GHz radio and you have the Orbi Quad Band Mesh.
According to Netgear, the quad-band network can support up to 10.8 Gbps of total bandwidth, which is the same as some of its tri-band routers. There is a big difference in coverage area, however, with the three-unit plan covering up to 9,000 square feet, compared to 2,500 square feet for a similar Netgear tri-band router. That should be enough to saturate even the most Faraday home with wireless connectivity. The system will allow you to create up to four separate Wi-Fi networks, including a 6E Wi-Fi network for the handful of devices supporting the new faster standard. One of the 5 GHz radios acts as a dedicated backhaul, leaving the rest for your devices. Rather a wired person? The router and its satellites provide three gigabit Ethernet ports and one 2.5 Gbps port.
Netgear has the Orbi Quad Band available for pre-order right now, but it’s only available in the $ 1,500 three-pack configuration. This includes the router unit and two satellites. You can purchase additional satellites for $ 599 each. However, if 9,000 square feet of coverage isn’t enough, you might want to consider an enterprise-grade Wi-Fi setup. If you just need 6E Wi-Fi and don’t care about the fancy band setup, there are much cheaper options from Eero, Asus, and others.