I got super lazy. Decided to pick up a pair of these silly Netgear mesh network things and see how they do. Got the RBK50 and made sure it had dedicated backhaul. Been running on ancient Apple stuff that did the in-band extension thing with the click of a button ten years ago, with non-dedicated backhaul extending a WiFi network by a single mouse click, which l has been possible on the right gear for over a decade. Apple stuff was not optimal and used some bandwidth back to the main router to do it, but worked fine for our slow azz internet. Plus for many years they were all wired to the stereos for AirPlay. But Apple’s lead in this stuff died many years ago and AirPlay was years behind in offering playback groups so those have been disconnected for years. Anyway, was going to do the “hard core” geek thing and run wiring in walls and ceilings to hang Uniquiti AP Pro Access Points on the ceiling of both floors of the house and the garage, and home run those with Ethernet to a PoE switch to power them — rock solid setup for over 100 users at work, so at home, total overkill. But still cheaper than most of the consumer crap on the market and more consistent. Does require a Linux box for their “server” software just to get them set up (they don’t care if their server is down after configuration) and around here that’s not any particular problem. Can also buy their little “server key” if one wants to throw money at the problem. But yeah really the problem was running the cable with the new medical “fun”. No big ladders for me and the right hand is all sorts of useless some days, and way too cheap to pay someone to come pull Ethernet. Maybe I’ll get over that, but people actually pay for that?! Hahaha. I guess if your hand doesn’t work well. Also looked at Ubiquiti’s “mesh” offering and it gets horrid UI, UX, and performance reviews (sadly) almost everywhere. It sucketh mightily it looks like. Surprising and sad considering their other stuff rocks. So ... Sunday I noticed that a big box store was price matching the Orbi RBK50 two device (main unit plus satellite) box of toys price from Amazon and they have a liberal returns policy so I figured, why not? Things are probably full of security holes and such, but I’m lazy but not lazy enough to not take them back... So I grabbed the box. And set it up. And it’s kicking butt. And almost zero networking brain damage. The iOS app sucks but Netgear has put a couple of things in it that only work right from the app. Trust me on this one, do the setup from an Ethernet connected browser just like any other router or network gear and figure out what needs the app later on. It’s not the common stuff and you’ll get 95-100% of the way there with a browser much faster and a better UI with more options. Mobile apps suck for this stuff. Don’t mix the web interface and the app at the same time during their initial “wizard” crap. I wish manufacturers would just let those of us who know what we are doing bypass those damn things bit anyway... Just don’t. I was trying to sneak around the crappy Wizard on iOS and logged in with a browser expecting an expert mode. Nope. Another wizard. Ahhh eff off Netgear. Anyway I had halfway done the iOS wizard and the redid it on the web page. I knew it was stupid and did it anyway. Welcome to factory reset. Totally my fault. It will screw them up. LOL. After the wizard and then going through all the settings screens REALLY setting it all up (honestly the defaults were sane, but I have special needs, as you all know... hahaha....) it all rebooted and... Just worked. Commentary: Reboots are horrendously slow. And the dumbass things need a reboot to enable the Guest WiFi network. Stupid design. You’re having friends over to watch football and streaming it and they show up and want on your guest network and you turn it on... and everything drops. Stupid stupid stupid. They have “Alexa support”. Don’t bother. It can do exactly three things. Tell you the IPs of the router, turn on a completely insecure guest network (the Alexa guest command doesn’t honor your guest network security settings nor password - it just opens an unsecured network... just do it from the app), and reboot the router. That last one is sad. Tell the network connected device to reboot the router. If it needs reboots that often, it’s getting sold. Alexa integration is a complete gimmick. “Alexa, tell Netgear to tell me which device is sucking all the bandwidth and needs to be shot ...” would have been nice. Haha. Don’t bother with Alexa. Slow reboots and marginal processor sucks during setup. Probably a really cheap processor in them. After setup it doesn’t seem to affect anything at all. Also reboots do the whole system. Main and satellites. Makes sense from a stability and configuration standpoint. But makes it even slower. Big downtime for a reboot. But it’s not a simple AP and does have to talk to all the satellites and such to get everyone on the same page with config changes so... okay. Ethernet comes back the fastest of course. Wireless coverage is stellar compared to the ancient Apple stuff, covering better than those and there were three of those scattered around. This is with two. One in the upstairs corner office, the other centrally located in the basement. Decent but not great coverage in the garbage which because of the layout of the house is many walls to pass through and a metal fire door and thick fire wall. It’s dual band and like anything single SSID, a few devices do wonky things and decide to stay on 2 GHz for example. There’s no split SSID for the two bands so you can’t force it. Whatever their buggy wifi chipset and the device WiFi chipset decide they’re happiest with, that’s what you get. And they’re all buggy. Ask me how I know. Remember the over 100 user thing? Yeah. The Ubiquiti stuff has ways to deal with stupid idiots like Broadcom. Ha. Anyway... around the house, don’t care. The important video stuff all grabbed 5 GHz as did most things, so fine. Speeds, I haven’t pushed it but plenty enough for even our whopping upgraded 25 Mb/s Internet pipe. The microwave kiddies put a new model of Motorola Canooy on the roof after almost ten years of service on the first one. Tech said he was able to pull 40 Mb/sec from the same tower, hitting different radios on the tower end now. But they won’t sell me the 50 Mb/s package... yet. I’ll keep badgering them. Don’t care if it runs 50. Just let me run 40. Ha. Haven’t done any hard core bandwidth tests. All running plenty fast enough between systems wired and wireless so as not to care. The inability to split SSID the bands means I can’t fix anything anyway so it is what it is. Other than adding another satellite if 5 GHz coverage was poor which, it’s not. Definitely not setting up the Disney branded content filtering or the so called “security” garbage on it from one of the biggish brand names for $70 a year. Pffft. Worthless and both widely reported to block legitimate things and such. Did do the usual thing and re-do the DHCP MAC table assignments for everything “known” on the network to stick to static IPv4 addresses. Cut and paste from the home network document and apply. Done. Works fine. Also changed the default subnet because 192.168.1.1? Pffft. Did briefly try their 6-to-4 implementation for IPv6 internal and 4 external and it blew up a number of iOS Apps that use separate DNS and their own connections to their load balancers. Turned that back off. Never works but I always give it a shot. So anyway. Networking engineer uses boring consumer grade junk — and finds it actually works. Pretty well even. Can still sell it and buy Unbiquiti if something comes up. It’s definitely consumer grade. Saw lots of weirdness during setup and the UI/UX of both the app and web interface is the usual “Netgear scatterbrained” because they try to hide all the actual useful settings under “advanced” menus and tabs for the most part, or just leave them out of the app altogether and they’re only in the web EXCEPT stuff like the Alexa junk, then you really want to use the app. Disjointed but par for the modern course and the same crappy UI/UX for twenty years from Netgear. Anyone will easily figure out default settings work the best anyway. MIMO is just 2x2. Nothing fancy, for the geeks. But explicit beamforming seems to do its thing without problems. Most don’t need the old implicit beamforming but it’s in there if you want to turn it on. Fast roaming — just leave it off. It ticks off apple chipsets and some intel ones. BTDT. You’ll see devices cycling networks all the time. They’ll hop devices just fine without it. And it’s Netgear proprietary like most of those are so it just doesn’t work right in a highly mixed device environment. Like any 2.4 network if the main router can’t see the neighborhood from a basement or something don’t use auto channel selection. Do a survey and choose it. 5 GHz same, but less chance of problems unless you’re in high density housing. Only uses the low band 5 GHz for clients. Reserves the upper band for the backhaul. They’ll daisy chain if needed. What I mean by this is if R is router and S is satellite, they’ll do R-S-S As a link chain if needed. Obviously not recommended for best throughput. You can disable daisy chaining in the advanced settings if you want to force satellites to do a star topology to the router. Requires (slow azz) reboot. So far, a solid little consumer grade doohickey. Even had to do MAC spoofing on the WAN side for my ISP until they came in the next morning — worked fine. Can’t complain. Does what it says it does which is more than a lot of things these days. Any other questions, holler. Might add another satellite just for perfect fill in the garage but don’t really need it. Definitely the lazy way to “wire” a house without structured Ethernet wiring. Now if I ever pay someone to do that I’ll just have them run Ethernet everywhere and not just for access points. Unlikely though.