Netgear's new Orbi router is an absolute beast as the world's first quad-band Wi-Fi 6E mesh system

Orbi RBK963 living room
Orbi RBK963 living room (Image credit: Netgear)

What you need to know

  • The Netgear Orbi RBKE960 series is the world's first quad-band Wi-Fi 6E mesh system.
  • This Orbi has three fronthaul connections (2.4GHz, 5GHz, and 6GHz) plus a 5GHz backhaul for the mesh connection.
  • With 10.8Gbps of wireless capacity, a 10Gb Ethernet connection, and 2.5Gbps Ethernet on each satellite, the RBK963 is ready for very fast internet connections.
  • The RBKE963 with a router and two satellites will cost $1,499.99 and will be available in black on Netgear's website.

Netgear has unveiled the next generation of Orbi with the RBKE963. This is the world's first quad-band mesh system and includes some of the best speeds with a combined 10.8Gbps of wireless speed for devices. This system comes in a sleek matte white and gold design with enough elegance to fit in well with modern home decor. Taking the place of the excellent Orbi RBK852 as Netgear's fastest mesh system, the Orbi RBKE963 is set to be the benchmark for Wi-Fi 6E mesh performance.

Wi-Fi 6E is an upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) that uses new spectrum at 6GHz to allow for many more simultaneous connections.

The Orbi RBKE963's main attraction is its quad-band connection. With 16 streams total, each band gets a full four streams allowing for full-speed connections at both 5GHz and 6GHz. An additional full-speed 5GHz band serves as the dedicated backhaul thanks to its high speeds and far-reaching coverage. This Orbi will be able to deliver speeds comparable to an AXE11000 router in a mesh.

Unlike a tri-band Wi-Fi 6E mesh like the Asus ZenWiFi ET8 none of the bands need to be shared so your devices can make the most of the fast 5GHz and 6GHz connections without compromising the mesh connection. Several of the best Android phones already support Wi-Fi 6E as well as some Windows 11 PCs.

Orbi RBK963 Backhaul

Source: Netgear (Image credit: Source: Netgear)

Not only will Wi-Fi 6E devices get an upgrade, but 2.4GHz and 5GHz devices will also see up to a 30% improvement thanks to an improved antenna design.

To allow people to make the most of their connections, users can set up their network with an exclusive network for 6GHz devices so they can be sure they're using the standard even when moving between satellites. Users can also set up a separate network for Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This network will work with devices like smart plugs and lights that only support WPA2.

To support the massive wireless speed upgrades, Netgear has also added support for 10Gbps Ethernet for incoming internet connections. This will add support for a new wave of internet connections above 1Gbps. The main router also has a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port plus three more gigabit Ethernet ports. The Satellites also have a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port plus three gigabit ports. A 2.5Gbps wired backhaul can keep your mesh running flawlessly even in tricky conditions.

The Orbi RBKE963 system comes with a router for the incoming internet connection plus two satellite units to be placed around your home. Altogether, the system can cover up to 9,000 square feet which is more than enough for most homes. If you need more, additional RBSE960 satellites can be purchased and added to the mesh.

This system is designed to be fast enough to handle multiple high-speed connections on each satellite without slowing down thanks to fast internet support and the dedicated backhaul. Even your wired devices can be connected with top speeds. The Orbi RBKE963 has the power to accomplish this goal according to the President and GM of connected home products and services at Netgear.

From the moment multi-Gigabit Internet enters your home through our 10 Gb Ethernet port, to our quad-band architecture, 2.5 Gigabit LAN ports, and improved 5GHz performance all the way down to your latest WiFi 6E devices, there's not a single bottleneck in this system. Our new Orbi Quad-band WiFi 6E Mesh System delivers top-of-the-line performance for not only today's needs, but also for the future requirements of even the most demanding and sophisticated smart homes.

Orbi RBK963 Black Edition

Source: Netgear The RBKE963 is the first Orbi system to come in black. (Image credit: Source: Netgear)

The Orbi RBKE963 comes in at $1,499.99 for a router and two satellites. Additional satellites will be available for $599.99 each. The system is up for preorder on October 12, 2021, on Netgear's website in the U.S. and UK with shipping later the same month. The Orbi will also be available in other regions as Wi-Fi 6E is approved. This Orbi will also be available in black, a first for the Orbi series, exclusively on Netgear's site. Both the matte and lustrous sections have been colored black.

As with other Orbis, the RBKE963 is set up with the Orbi app with plenty of settings for most people. The Orbi app will allow users to change Wi-Fi settings as well as view and manage connected devices.

Netgear Armor and Smart Parental Controls are also included. Netgear Armor, a robust security solution powered by Bitdefender is also included to keep your devices secure from online threats both on your network and off. Netgear Armor also protects all of the devices on your network from attacks including smart home devices like smart TVs and security cameras from outside attacks. Netgear's Smart Parental Controls are also available with support for advanced settings allowing for time scheduling and content blocking.

With so much power and no compromises to be found, the Orbi RBKE963 will easily overshadow many of the best WI-Fi 6E routers when it comes to speed and coverage.

Samuel Contreras

When Samuel is not writing about networking or 5G at Android Central, he spends most of his time researching computer components and obsessing over what CPU goes into the ultimate Windows 98 computer. It's the Pentium 3.