The Netgear Orbi AX6000 is one of the best wireless routers you can buy right now. The fact it works as part of an advanced mesh network makes this WiFi 6 setup even more appealing.
It's worth saying right now that if you're looking to save a few bucks on your WiFi upgrade, this isn't the unit to help you. This is an expensive router and getting multiple of them represents a hefty outlay. But, and this is crucial, that money is going to be well spent and you'll reap the high-speed connectivity benefits for years to come as this is super future-proof.
This system comes as a two-pack, setting you up for a mesh network if you want to add more but also coming ready to cover multiple floors or extended homes right out of the box. There are different sized packs to suit your needs and budget.
But how does it actually perform in day-to-day use? Can it reach the long ranges it claims? Do you really need that 6 Gbps top-speed limit? And is that malware security worth the outlay? We investigated to give you the low-down on this router.
Netgear Orbi AX6000: Design and features
The Netgear Orbi AX6000 certainly is an attractive device, not just compared to other routers which traditionally are made to be hidden away. This is a stand-out good looking unit compared to any gadget, thanks to its clean minimal finish, white and metallic build, and atmospheric LED lighting.
What it's not, though, is small. Each router unit stands tall at 10-inches high, and wide too at 7.5-inches. That packs in eight antennas, a Qualcomm Networking Pro 1200 Peak chip, and both WAN and LAN ports. So expect this to stand out and take up a chunk of your desk space, if that's where you're placing it. But, like we said, standing out when you look this good isn't necessarily a bad thing.
Netgear knows that a router left out in the open space is going to perform better than one tucked away in a cupboard or under a desk. So this design choice was a smart one and reflects the level of detailed thought that's gone into designing this router system.
The Netgear Orbi AX6000 is a WiFi 6 enabled device meaning you get the 802.11ax standard for speeds of up to 6 Gbps. When you consider even cutting edge internet speeds are 1Gbps, this certainly is built to be future-proof. Want to get 8K video, 4K gaming and a video chat all running at the same time? With MU-MIMO beamforming tech capable of 4x4 streams of data at once, this will handle all that data with ease.
The tri-band WiFi is built not only to support high-speed but also to offer an extended range with other satellite units that you can place about your home. Crucially that network, once setup, can support up to 100 wireless devices making it ideally suited for the smart device toting home of the future.
The LED light is near the bottom of the unit and changes color or steadiness to show status changes but its resting color is a lovely light blue hue. There's a 2.5 Gbps WAN port to plug your router in with four 1Gbps LAN ports on both the main router and the satellite and a recessed reset button but no USB.
Netgear Orbi AX6000: Performance
The Netgear Orbi AX6000 is theoretically capable of 6 Gbps speeds and, with a two-pack unit can cover up to 5,000 square feet in range. How does that translate to reality?
In close range 15-feet testing, with just the base router, speeds were hitting 883 Mbps. That's the top of the pile for mesh routers, but still not hitting the 1 Gbps+ speeds of the Netgear Nighthawk AX8. Its range was a good 85-feet before losing connection with 124 Mbps at 50-feet and 86 Mbps at 75-feet.
Through walls, however, it did really well, punching through a wall 20-feet from the router and through a ceiling to get 670 Mbps performance. But fire up the satellite and that range gets even better. The satellite was set up a floor above the router, with the test machine 40-feet away and speeds hit 405 Mbps.
Setup of both the router and the satellite was relatively easy. This is thanks to a simple-to-use Orbi app that's available on iOS or Android which helps you through the setup using your device. A QR code on the device makes this super simple and you can even use your iPad's two-factor authentication and TouchID to login. The whole process, even with a satellite set up, only takes about 10 minutes.
The app also offers a speedometer to check your connection and you can reboot the satellite from here. But for deep-level controls, you'll need to login via a web browser window.
The four-pack system comes with Netgear's Armor security package which protects you from malware across all your devices. This is Bitdefender Total Security level protection and comes for free for the first year in that top-end setup, then it's $70 per year after that. If you're buying the two-pack system it'll cost you $48.99 for the year.
Netgear Orbi AX6000: Price and warranty
The Netgear Orbi AX6000 starts as a two-pack, which offers a 5,000 square feet range that gets you the main router and a satellite unit which costs a total of $699.99. With that, you get a limited one-year warranty for the hardware, which you can extend at a charge, within 90 days of buying.
If you want to jump up to a three-pack, for 7,500 square feet of range, that'll cost you $999.99. Or go for the top-end four-pack, for 10,000 square feet of range, at $1,299.99.
You can add more satellites to extend your mesh network further at a cost of $379.99 per unit. Each one gets you a further 2,500 square feet of range.
The Armor antivirus protection is charged at $48.99 for the two-pack and three-pack systems. Go for the four-pack and Armor is thrown in for a year for free. You also get two years of warranty and support at this level (at the time of publishing) as part of a deal.
Should you buy the Netgear Orbi AX6000?
If you have a large area to cover in your home, suffer with thick walls or poor through-floor connections, then the Orbi is your savior. This is built to extend as far as you need, penetrates through most barriers and keeps a consistent high-speed connection. It'll do all this while remaining WiFi 6 future-proof for a very long time to come. So, despite the initial high cost of the Orbi setup, you will likely find it's money well spent in the longer term.