Optimal Netgear Orbi Router Settings for Signal Strength and Speed

orbi-router-mesh-network

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

Remember: 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.

Netgear Orbi Advanced Router Settings Explained

To access these settings, go to Advanced > Advanced Setup > Wireless Settings. These settings are only available if your Orbi is in ‘Router mode’. Below are the settings we use and have had reliable, consistent Wifi from our Netgear Orbi router mesh network.


  • Daisy Chain Topology: Disabled (unless you have 3 or more satellites)
  • MU-MIMO: Disabled
  • Implicit Beamforming: Disabled
  • Fast Roaming: Disabled
  • UPnP: Enabled
  • WMM (WiFi Multimedia): Enabled
  • Enable 20/40Mhz Coexistence: Enabled

Daisy Chain Topology

Most common setting: DISABLED
Unless… You have 3 or more satellites, and they are in a linear layout.

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. If you have just two satellites, or the multiple satellites positions are ‘hub & spoke’ (S-R-S), then leave Daisy Chain Topology disabled.

Netgear provides a basic description of this setting: This feature only applies if you have three or more Orbi. When you disable this feature, Orbi Satellites can only connect only to the Orbi Router. Enabling or disabling this feature causes all your Orbi to reboot.

MU-MIMO

Most common setting: Disabled
Unless… you know you have MU-MIMO devices that could utilize it.

If you have a MU-MIMO device (they’re rare as of this post), then you definitely want it enabled. If you’re unsure whether you have MUMIMO or not, you likely do not.
Enabling MU-MIMO offers no advantage if you have zero, or even just 1 MU-MIMO device. Even with multiple MU-MIMO devices , the performance gains from enabling this feature are minimal at best.

To paraphrase one of the wise old-heads on smallnetbuilder.com, MU-MIMO is the “3-D TV” of the wifi world these last couple years — a lot of glitzy hype, but no real substance.

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. The info has popped up in reviews and comparison articles rather than as a statement from Apple, so I won’t swear to its authenticity.

Implicit Beamforming

Most common setting: Disabled
Unless… Implicit beamforming 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.

Update December 2019: Confirming recommendation of disabled. We recently experienced Hulu streaming issues on Apple TV (periodic dropouts and slow/no reconnect) when Implicit Beamforming was enabled. When we disabled Implicit Beamforming, the Hulu streams to wireless Apple TVs were constant and reliable.

It’s our understanding that implicit beamforming 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 beamforming 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

Most common setting: Disabled
Unless… the home/usable space is greater than 5,000ft. In larger homes, it is less likely to have satellite signal overlap; overlap = devices rapidly switching.

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

Most common setting: Enabled
Unless… you have a super basic setup and don’t need devices inside your network to talk outside your network (ex: Xbox, VoIP, IP cameras, etc).

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.

We don’t have any devices that absolutely require UPnP to function, so disabling it keeps a potential security loophole closed. Even if you have some devices that say they require UPnP, it’s worth experimenting if the function as expected with UPnP disabled.

8 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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