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

14 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.

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    • 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.

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