Netgear Orbi RBK40 design and build quality
The days of ugly Wi-Fi hardware are over. While your modem can conspicuously hide in the shelf with its blinking LEDs, in 2017 your Wi-Fi router should share visual coherence with your other devices like smartphones, smart home hardware, tablets, the refrigerator or the Amazon Echo Dot.
Netgear is finally dabbling in sleek design. Its Orbi devices have no corners or flashing LEDs, and are velvety smooth to the touch. Its design is elegantly vertical, and you’re not supposed to either lay it down or hang it on the wall. The latter is actually hard to accomplish due to a lack of hooks or eyelets.
All buttons and cables are located on the rear bottom, and both the router and satellite can be conveniently powered off. The physical sync button is used to set up the pairing of the mesh components, and afterwards serves as the WPS push button, with which Android smartphones can quickly connect to the Netgear Wi-Fi without entering the Wi-Fi password.
Unlike with Google Wifi, not all Netgear components are the same. There is a central router and only this can be connected to the color-coded WAN port on the modem. In our RBS40 review, the satellites only provided LAN ports for local clients such as televisions, computers or gaming consoles.
Instead having the LEDs on the front, Netgear uses a hidden LED strip that blinks and indirectly shines through a gap inside the Orbi. As we know, the word orb means a circular object, so it’s clear the product name is derived from this light ring. Its colors indicate the connection status and the signal strength. If everything is hunky dory, then the LED just powers off completely.