Optimal Netgear Orbi Router Settings for Signal Strength and Speed

orbi-router-mesh-network

Advanced Settings Overview

  • Daisy Chain Topology: Disabled (exception: if you have 3 or more satellites)
  • MU-MIMO: Enabled
  • Implicit Beam-forming: Enabled
  • Fast Roaming: Disabled
  • UPnP: Enabled (universal plug-and-play)
  • WMM (WiFi Multimedia): Enabled
  • Enable 20/40Mhz Coexistence: Enabled

Netgear Orbi Advanced Router Settings Explained

To access these settings, login to orbilogin.com (while connected to the network), click the Advanced tab, then choose Advanced Setup from the left sidebar menu. These settings are only available if your Orbi is in ‘Router mode’.

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Our Netgear Orbi Setup
1x: Orbi Router (Model RBS50 on Amazon)
1x: Orbi Satellite (Model RBS50 on Amazon)
1x: Orbi Plug-In Satellite (Model RBW30 on Amazon)

Firmware
We’re currently running V2.5.1.8 on Router and Satellite. Our 1 Orbi Plug-In Satellite is running V2.3.5.6. Generally speaking, we try to keep our Orbi’s updated with the latest FW, but it’s always safest to wait 1-2 weeks after release to ensure there are no critical/blocking bugs (unfortunately this is more common than you’d hope..).

To check or update your Orbi’s firmware, go to Advanced > Administration > Firmware Update. You can check if an update is available, without actually installing it, from this Advanced menu.


Daisy Chain Topology

  • Recommendation: DISABLED
  • Exception: If you have 3 or more satellites, and they are in a linear layout.
  • Orbi Settings > Advanced > Advanced Setup > Wireless Settings > Backhaul Topology

Our recommendation for enabling this feature is only if you have 3 or more Orbi satellites (S) that are physically located, in relation to the router (R), like this: R-S-S (Router>Satellite>Satellite). If you only have two satellites, or the multiple satellites positions are in a “hub & spoke” S-R-S layout (Satellite>Router<Satellite), then leave Daisy Chain Topology disabled.

Enabling or disabling this feature causes all Orbi routers & satellites to reboot. You may also need to renew the DHCP Lease on your computer, or do a simple reboot, to obtain the network settings/IP after changing this setting.

Netgear’s lame description: This feature only applies if you have three or more Orbi. When you disable this feature, Orbi Satellites can only connect to the Orbi Router.


MU-MIMO

  • Recommendation: Enabled
  • Updated 2020: Enabling this feature is recommended with the latest Orbi firmware.
  • Orbi Settings > Advanced > Advanced Setup > Wireless Settings (bottom of page)

We previously advised disabling this feature to assist with debugging a problematic network – but further testing has shown no measurable impact of leaving this ON; we have updated our recommendation to ENABLE.

If you have a MU-MIMO device , then you definitely want it enabled. If you’re unsure whether you have MUMIMO or not, it won’t hurt to turn this ON anyway.

Some Netgear users argue “MU-MIMO is the ‘3D TV’ of the wifi world” — a lot of glitzy hype, but no real substance. But after all, this is a performance related setting and if you do not have any negative effects during testing, we recommend leaving ENABLED.

Some new consumer devices are rumored to have hit the market with support for MU-MIMO, including iPhone* 8/8S/X/XR/XS, as well as the new Samsung Galaxy phones, and the 2017+ MacBook Pro.
*unconfirmed by Apple HQ


Implicit Beam-forming

  • Recommendation: Enabled
  • Exception: Implicit beam-forming can sometimes help with older 2.4GHz devices, so if you have some long-range devices that don’t connect well, you might want to consider testing this enabled.
  • Orbi Settings > Advanced > Advanced Setup > Wireless Settings (bottom of page)

It’s our understanding that implicit beam-forming is only potentially helpful for older, non-A/C wireless devices (i.e. b/g/n 2.4-only devices). While reading Netgear’s support forums, some people do say: I only have a few of those in my house, and they connect perfectly fine with beam-forming disabled, so that’s where I leave it. We have similar feelings.

I’ve experimented with having it “on” too, and didn’t have any issues, but I also didn’t notice any improvements.  So, in an effort to just keep things as simple as possible, I leave that option disabled.


Fast Roaming

  • Recommendation: Disabled
  • Exception: Your home/space is greater than 5,000ft. In larger homes, it is less likely to have satellite signal overlap; overlap = devices rapidly switching.
  • Orbi Settings > Advanced > Advanced Setup > Wireless Settings (bottom of page)

From our experience with Orbi, it’s recommended to set Fast Roaming to be disabled. Many Orbi owners, myself included, allege ‘fast roaming’ causes devices to aggressively switch between the various satellites, and the router, causing frequent connectivity disruptions when moving rooms or walking. This is especially evident in smaller homes and apartments.

Netgear’s brief explanation of Fast Roaming is: “When you enable this feature, Orbi directs your client devices to the most optimal WiFi band quicker.”

Owners share their experiences of the negative repercussions from enabling Fast Roaming in the Netgear product forums: “I have this feature disabled, since it caused my phone to bounce back-&-forth between my router and sat way too much.  I am very dependent on wifi-calling, so that’s how I noticed it.  My wifi-calling is super stable with this feature disabled, but it’s certainly worth playing around with in your own setup – maybe it’ll work great in your particular environment.”


UPnP (Universal Plug and Play)

  • Most common/less secure: Enabled
    • If you have an Xbox/Playstation, we recommend you ENABLE UPnP on Orbi
  • Less common/more secure: Disabled
  • Exception: you don’t need devices inside your network to talk outside your network. UPnP is helpful for devices like Xbox/game consoles, VoIP phones, IP cameras, etc.
  • Orbi Settings > Advanced > Advanced Setup > UPnP

Depending on what types of devices are on your network, you may need to Enable this. But by default, and with security in mind, it’s best to keep UPnP disabled unless necessary. This article has more information about the vulnerabilities of UPnP and its impact on network security.

If you don’t have any devices that absolutely require UPnP to function, disabling it will help keep your network secure. Even if you have some devices that say they require UPnP, it’s worth experimenting if the function as expected with UPnP disabled.


Reminder! Physical location of nodes is critical to optimizing signal strength and wifi speeds. It is highly recommend to experiment with various placements of your router/wifi extenders, especially before purchasing a newer router or mesh network to remedy your network speed problem.

Check out this post for more location-optimization tips.

Our home Wifi has been running on Netgear Orbi mesh network for over 2 years. Since switching to Orbi, the signal strength has been stronger than ever before, in every corner of our 3,000 square-foot house. In addition to signal strength, the speed of the network is quite impressive – even with over 100 wifi devices on the network, Orbi continues to deliver over 700Mbps on 5Ghz band. Buy Netgear Orbi on Amazon

28 COMMENTS

    • Netgear Orbi offers more customization and settings in the admin portal. Eero is a great system, and has super simple setup, but doesn’t offer the full suite of settings and options like Netgear does. In terms of performance, the two systems are comparable. If you want to plug it in and never mess with the system again, I’d recommend Eero.

  1. When I originally commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox and now each time a comment
    is added I get four e-mails with the same comment.
    Is there any way you can remove me from that service?
    Appreciate it! Thanks for the post! So helpful.

  2. Great awesome things here. I?¦m very happy to look your post. Thank you a lot and i am taking a look forward to contact you. Will you kindly drop me a mail?

  3. Installing is not fun at all, but it’s all worth it when the automation is completely setup. Thanks for the advice!

  4. Spot on with this write-up, I truly believe this site needs far more attention. I’ll probably be back again to read more, thanks for the advice!

  5. Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept talking about this. I will forward this page to him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

    • 1 Router and 1 Satellite running V2.5.1.8.
      1 plug-in Satellite is running V2.3.5.6
      These are the most recent FWs as of 4/15/2020.

  6. I just received my Orbi RBR 750 today. I have Firmware Version
    V3.2.10.10_1.2.12. I do not see any of the settings you have mentioned. It is in router mode and I have gone through all the screens including the advanced tab > advanced sidebar > wireless. Did they remove these options on the newer firmware?

  7. Do you need to update / telnet into each Satellite node as well and repeat that OR does it mirror it by doing it only for the main router 192.168.1.1

    My biggest requirement is roaming without it dropping for voip calls

  8. You do not justify enabling 20/40Mhz Coexistence with respect to enhancing signal strength and speed. Indeed, that is because it is best to disable the option for strength and speed.

  9. This post is a great find. I did notice on Implicit Beam forming, you highlight “enabled,” yet then go on to say leave it off generally. Can you clarify which way you recommend? It looks like the recommendation should be “disabled”. Thanks

  10. I see that you’ve got the RBW30 satellite (AC2200, 866MHz Backhaul) mated with your RBK50 network (AC3300, 1733MHZ Backhaul).

    My understanding is that the entire Orbi network will throttle down to the speed of the slowest component, and while your 400/866MHz speeds on the 2.4 and 5.0GHz bands are identical, I’m wondering if you notice any appreciable impact of the slower backhaul. I’m asking because I’m considering adding a 2nd satellite to my own RBK50 network and the price of the RBW30 makes it an attractive option over a 2nd RBS50, but I don’t know if the Backhaul between the RBS50 and RBR50 (1733MHz normally) would be impacted by the existence of the RBW30 on the same network.

  11. The setup process is very easy, but you must know the steps very well. Below mentioned are the steps:

    Firstly, you have to connect the main orbi router to any internet source like a broadband modem and after that you have to turn it on.
    Then you have to place the add-on satellite unit at a distance away from the main router.
    Once it is properly placed you have to turn it on and that’s all you are all ready to start using it.

  12. I could be mistaken but I think you don’t need UPnP if you are IPv6 enabled. If that is correct then the information above is missing that detail.

  13. What is “risk” of not enabling daisy chain under backhaul? My Orbi security comes up as a vulnerability now saying I should update the router software but I am running the current FW V2.6.2.104

  14. Is anyone having internet connection issues with Orbi “parental controls” ON/engaged? Specifically, for those devices that have ZERO restrictions associated with them within parental controls (Circle). The issue is that they cannot connect to certain websites. The member that parental controls are turned off (within the Orbi – system preferences tab), the issue resolves instantly. Thank you.

  15. Usually I never comment on blogs but your article is so convincing that I never stop myself to say something about it. You’re doing a great job Man, Keep it up.

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