Are you looking for the best mesh Wi-Fi router that you can find in the market? If so, then you have landed at the right place! In this article, we will break down all the features of the two best mesh Wi-Fi routers and will let you know what we thought was our top pick. So, without any further ado, let’s get started!
Our Top Pick
What Do I Need to Know Before Buying?
Before you invest in a quality router, there are a few considerations that you should keep in mind. Let’s go over some of the important ones that you should certainly look for:
Some users really focus on the exterior of the product. If you want a router that is sleek and sophisticated, then this is a factor that you must look for when buying a modem. The size and portability of the modem are important factors for some users. If you want a small and compact modem that you can easily tuck away or hide in the corner, then make sure you look for that in your modem before buying.
This is one of the most important factors to consider before buying a modem. You must look at the coverage required for your home, based on the number of family members and the size of your house. If you have a small apartment, you will not need a high-end device to do the job, but if you have a multiple-story building, then you might need a more high-performing Wi-Fi router.
You must also need to know the prices of the routers mentioned in this review so that you can decide which one is a better option for you, and which suits your budget. If you do not want to spend a lot of money on a router, then you should cancel out the options that are over your budget.
Orbi vs. Eero Comparison
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move on to the actual review of the two most sought-after routers to decide which one is the best. There are five categories for differentiating the performance of each router, and through the help of those categories, you can point out the superior model out of the two. Let’s begin!
Encryption is one of the most important categories that you need to look for in your router. Let’s compare the encryption facilities provided by each of the internet router providers.
Orbi uses the security standard of WPA2 in order to encrypt the data, such as the Wi-Fi transmissions and the network. However, this is the weaker or less secure security standard, as the old WEP standard is not supported. This means that if your PCs are made before 2005, then you will be unable to connect to the network. Orbi also supports the Wi-Fi Protected Setup or WPS configuration protocol, which does not offer much protection. However, Orbi updates the firmware on its system on its own, which, according to Netgear, is encrypted as well as verified. This provides some level of protection from hackers or viruses.
While most Wi-Fi routers require the users to configure the system with the help of a computer or a laptop, the Eero system relies on a mobile application for the setup of your internet. You do not have to go on to the laptop and type the credentials or IP address to get connected, but with the simple gestures of your finger on the app, you can be connected in no time. Once you verify the code that you get on your smartphone, the app requests you to choose a network name or SSID, as well as a password. The device becomes default to one of the strongest security available in a wireless router – WPA2 PSK (AES) for encryption.
The best one in terms of encryption is Eero because it provides optimal security for your devices.
Wireless Speed Rating
The second most important feature that users desire in their routers is exceptional speed. Let’s compare the two devices to see which one has a better speed rating:
Orbi is a 2x2 router, which means that it is able to handle two streams of data simultaneously per frequency band. The Orbi also comes equipped with the latest MU-MIMO Wi-Fi technology that allows it to send focused streams of data to multiple devices at the same time. Even if you set up the Orbi router 30 ft. away, the extension projects about 429.1 Mbps to a computer on the above floor, making its performance exceptional. One Orbi router can deliver about 552.1 Mbps at a distance of 5 ft. Even if you distance the router to about 150 ft, you can still receive more than 200 Mbps of speed on your device.
Eero is also a dual-band router that comes with an MU-MIMO configuration, which means it cannot connect to multiple devices at one time. However, it does have a model that comes with an MU-MIMO setup. Eero is not as fast or high performing as Orbi in this regard. When its wireless transfer rate from a single device was measured at different distances, Eero actually finished last. Even though Eero transferred data through Wi-Fi to a computer at about 5 feet away with an exceptional speed of 488 Mbps, the speed dropped drastically at 30 ft, which is worse off than the Orbi, since that performs at spectacular speeds, even at a distance of 150 ft.
Overall, Netgear’s Orbi takes the cake in this round for the best wireless speed rating in a router.
Let’s move on to the third feature that everyone considers important: streaming capabilities.
Compared to any traditional router, this mesh Wi-Fi router by Netgear has exceptional speed and streaming capabilities. This system can ensure lag-free gaming in HD constantly, without any hiccups or buffering. It also allows you to enjoy fast and speedy internet in the basements, where you may usually face dead spots. Moreover, you can stream movies in high-quality using this device, and feel relaxed as there is no buffering or lagging in between. This is possible because Orbi’s signals function at three different bandwidths, 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and another 5 GHz, which can be unlocked from the access point.
Eero’s wireless router can transmit 240 Mbps at the 2.4 GHz and 600 Mbps at the 5 GHz, and if your connection is wired, then it can deliver a maximum speed of 1 Gbps. While the router delivers good, consistent speeds throughout, there is some level of bottlenecking between the satellite and the router. You will be able to stream the shows on Netflix in 4k quality at ease, but the streaming of Eero is just above average and not the best. It does not connect at long distances, which means you will find dead spots in the house, especially if you have a large home with many floors.
Overall, the streaming capabilities of Orbi surpass the performance of Eero.
Another important factor that users take into consideration is the design of the router. Let’s look at the construction of both of these routers to see which one is the best:
Orbi’s host, as well as extensions, are basically towers measuring up to 8.9 inches x 6.7 x 3.1. You can use it as a bookend or a paperweight, but this router is way too huge to hide or slip behind something. The router also comes with color-coded LEDs. The lights display the quality of internet connectivity, so you can easily determine what the issue is. If the light is blue, it means that the internet connectivity is at its peak, and it’s working perfectly fine. However, if the light is amber-colored, then you may need to check the internet settings as it indicates that the signal is weak. Red-colored lighting shows that there is no internet connection available.
Eero routers come with a sleek and attractive design. They are super adorable and compact, making them easy to hide on the shelf. They are circular-shaped and are thicker than CDs, but are smaller in size. They are much smaller than Netgear’s Orbi and are beautiful and appealing to look at. They are also very unique and powerful in performance. Eero also comes with changing LED lights, which determine the status of the router. The blue light indicates that the router is ready to be configurated. When you configure the device, and it sets up and becomes online, the LED light changes to white. If there is a problem in the connectivity, the light turns red.
Eero wins this round, as it has one of the most cutting-edge and innovative designs for a router.
This is also an important point of consideration, as most routers should be making use of this facility to ensure easy access for the users.
For installation, one of the best things about Orbi is that even if the user doesn’t have any prior knowledge about encryption, IP addresses, or internet setup, they do not need to familiarize themselves with these terms. This is because the devices are pre-paired, and the setup can be done through any device by logging in to the website. Netgear Genie App can be used as well, which is available for both Android as well as iOS. However, Orbi’s mobile application uses portrait mode and has very limited features. It does not even come with a speed-o-meter to check for network connectivity, and for diagnostic information and control, you have to log in to a computer or PC.
Eero Wi-Fi setup is quite simple and very easy. Eero has its own mobile application, which can be downloaded from the App Store in iPhones or PlayStore in Android phones. You just need to install the router and choose a username and password. Once the router is connected to the power supply, you can connect the router with your mobile application over Wi-Fi. You will be able to control the network and the people who are connected to your network using this application. It also comes equipped with features such as parental controls and the addition of guest users, and you can fully customize the network online.
Eero wins this round, too, as it has a more detailed and user-friendly mobile application that is preferred widely by users.
Orbi and Eero Differences
Let’s look over some of the main differences between each of these models to determine which one is better suited for you:
Range of Connectivity
Orbi can reach a whopping 5000 square feet in distance and is also able to support 1 main router as well as 3 satellites. It can provide good signal strength even at a distance of 150 feet. So, if you live in a large house, this would be very suitable for you to eliminate any dead zones.
Both devices can offer network connectivity to long distances. However, Eero is more flexible, as you can add on more devices for better connectivity. For example, if you bring 3 Eero extenders, then the internet connectivity can reach up to 3500 square feet. This is more customizable based on the home size.
Sometimes, you must connect your device using hardwire or a device. Orbi’s router comes with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports, of which only one can be connected to the router. The other three ports can be used to connect to other devices such as network storage devices, your personal computer, or even printers. You will also find a 2.0 USB port at the back of the device.
Wired connection in Eero routers is more difficult as compared to the relatively easy set-up using Orbi. While you might find dual Gigabit ports for LAN and WAN, there are no ports present in the beacons. This may create a problem for those users who want to connect multiple devices to the router.
Apart from the basic features that the wireless router provides, and the staggering tower size that it comes in with multiple lights to indicate wireless connectivity status, there is no other additional feature present in the Orbi router.
Eero does offer an additional feature called ‘The Nightlight.’ The outlets come with 10 Lumen LEDs, all that is projected downwards and are activated automatically. They can be brightened or dimmed using the light sensor or Eero’s mobile application. They definitely add a visual appeal to the small device.
Overview of Our Winner
The clear winner for us is the Orbi router by Netgear. This is because of the aforementioned reasons. As discussed in the quick-take section, the device has the following benefits over the Eero router:
Netgear works at a much faster speed than Eero and is more consistent in terms of its speed. It can provide great internet connectivity through MU-MIMO technology and has a super-powerful processor. The processor is a quad-core 710 MHz, ARM-based chip that comes with flash storage of 4 GB. With this processor, it is able to reach a speed of 552 Mbps at just the range of 5 feet. This definitely makes it one of the best mesh routers created in the market.
Since Orbi comes with one of the most powerful processors to be equipped in a mesh router, it is capable of streaming 4K quality videos in multiple devices at one time. It also allows users to enjoy seamless online gaming without any interruptions or hiccups and is great for watching movies online. It can handle large amounts of data, no matter where you are in your home, and is outstanding for heavy-duty tasks.
The coverage of this router is far more superior to Eero’s. It functions on three bandwidths, the 2.4 GHz one, the 5 GHz, and another 5 GHz one with locked access. This allows it to eliminate any buffer spots or dead zones in the house and gives it the potential to reach up to 5,000 square feet without any internet connectivity issues. The Eero router, on the other hand, has to have 3 different extenders connected to reach up to 3500 square feet of internet coverage. Eero is good for small homes, but for the price and value, Orbi offers much better internet coverage.
This article was not meant to downgrade one router over the other. Both of the routers are exceptional in quality, and in the end, it is you who is going to decide which one is better for you. However, in light of all the features and tests conducted, Orbi is the winner of the best wireless router.