Netgear continues to very quietly buck the mesh networking trend. Its new Orbi RBK30 WiFi System is based on a tri-band router that operates on a hub-and-spoke topology, instead of a true mesh. So it’s very similar to its pricier stablemate, the Orbi RBK50, that we picked as best mesh Wi-Fi router in April.
Both systems consist of a router and a satellite that uses a dedicated third network (a second network on the 5GHz frequency band) for data backhaul. But where the RBK50 uses a 3×3 radio for that task, the RBK30 has only a 2×2 radio. In a true mesh network, backhaul traffic hops from one node to the next back to the router.
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