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HomeTechNetgear's new Orbi Mesh and Nighthawk routers are a cheaper way to...

Netgear’s new Orbi Mesh and Nighthawk routers are a cheaper way to get into Wi-Fi 7


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Netgear today announced two new Wi-Fi 7 routers: Nighthawk RS300 And the Orbi 770. Both routers will come with 2.5Gbps ports and Wi-Fi 7 features, such as 320MHz channels that can double the wireless bandwidth of compatible devices, but at lower prices this time around.

The Orbi 770 router has four 2.5Gbps ports: one to connect to your modem for Internet access and three to distribute that to any devices you want to connect. Each satellite mesh node has two 2.5Gbps ports as well, allowing you to connect more devices to those devices or connect them directly to the main port. This compares to its more expensive predecessor, the Orbi 970, which has two 10Gbps ports and three 2.5Gbps ports. Netgear also says the Orbi 970 offers up to 27 Gbps of total bandwidth versus the Orbi 770’s 11 Gbps thanks to the extra wireless range, but that won’t speed up your experience on any one device.

To take advantage of the 320MHz channels, you’ll need a phone, laptop, or other Wi-Fi 7-capable device connected to the 6GHz band. The 5GHz band also gets a wider 240MHz band – which, again, you’ll need a Wi-Fi 7 device to take advantage of.

The Orbi 770 is priced at $999.99 for a three-pack, which may seem expensive (because it is) but is easier to swallow than the $1,699.99 per three-pack that Netgear is asking for the Orbi 970.

MLO means more stable backhaul connections between network points.
Image: Netgear

The big benefit of these routers, as with most Wi-Fi 7 mesh routers, is Multi Link Operation (MLO), a new feature in the Wi-Fi 7 standard that allows simultaneous connections on two bands and, therefore, a faster and more stable connection. While none of your Wi-Fi 7 devices can directly benefit from MLO, Orbi and its satellites can communicate with each other this way. This means that your mesh network should be less susceptible to congestion on one band, and if one band goes down, you still have the other band to work with.

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The Nighthawk RS300 is also a tri-band router, with similar specs to the basic Orbi router but with some key differences. The 6GHz band will still support 320MHz channel bandwidth, but the 5GHz band is limited to 160MHz. (This is still the fastest you can expect on any device that doesn’t support Wi-Fi 7.)

On the back, you’ll find a 2.5Gbps Ethernet port to connect to your modem, as well as three more Ethernet ports (two 2.5Gbps, one gigabit) for sending wired internet to your devices. It also has a USB 3.0 port if you want to connect something like a storage drive to it. Netgear says it’s good for about 2,500 square feet of coverage (although that will always depend on where you put it and what’s in your home) and supports up to 100 devices.

The Orbi 770 will be priced at $999.99 for the three-pack and $699.99 for the two-pack, while the Nighthawk RS300 is priced at $329.99. It is available for pre-order now on Netgear’s website but will be available to other retailers later, according to the company.

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