Top positive review
After multiple attempts to configure this system myself on an existing network - the frustration level was pretty high after the nodes stopped communicating with the front-end ...
Reviewed in the United States on April 20, 2018
I've been looking for a more flexible (and option rich) alternative to the many different mesh-type wireless systems on the market. My initial intrigue with the Orbi Pro System was the plethora of positive reviews in the ether of the web. Multiple sources proclaimed that this system was a 'plug-n-play' ready solution for those wanting a business class product that could be attached to an existing network back-bone as a wireless AP. This had me excited. Unfortunately, the setup routine for anything but the Router front-end scheme is anything but simple. After multiple attempts to configure this system myself on an existing network - the frustration level was pretty high after the nodes stopped communicating with the front-end router and I was placed on hold multiple times with the technical support team at Netgear. Just the process of getting in touch with the right 'business' support department left me hugely disappointed; with unreasonably long hold times on the phone and improper routing of my calls more than once. I was even provided a direct business support team phone number which invariably routed me through to the consumer support folks that were less than professional in their execution.
All that said, after multiple attempts to follow any and all published procedures from Netgear & multiple hard resets of the router node, I was able to connect with one gentlemen in the business support department who prudently walked me through the steps to determine that the only way to initially setup up the Orbi Pro as an Access Point arrangement was to 'hard code' a static IP address within the range of addresses 'served' off of the existing front-end network. In a nutshell, the Orbi Pro is unable to successfully assign (or pick) an IP address in an automatic fashion and would repeatedly throw the Ring LED indicator into a magenta status. That said, now that the Orbi Pro is solidly assigned a route in my network environment, it's performance has been stellar. With it not being the traditional "mesh" wireless product, it actually works better for me in this regard. The back-haul (private and independently routed) dedicated communication between the Router and the Satellite(s) creates a conduit that rivals a hard Ethernet wired path from one end of my operational 'space' to the other. There is still enough flexibility in the internal configuration to make fine adjusts to the wireless operation that I was able to optimize the performance characteristics of the system - unique to my environment. Connectivity is rock solid, the channel assignment is precise to the congestion present and packet handling is clean. For the record, this system quickly replaced a Velop (three node) mesh system I had been using for over a year in the bridge mode. That system is less than optimal in terms of configuration control in either bridged or normal mode. And its performance is significantly inferior to the Orbi Pro.
There are a few areas requiring attention from the Orbi Pro engineering team:
The setup wizard process is seriously broken for the 'out-of-box' and immediate configuration of the AP mode of operation - both from a direct Ethernet connection or through the Orbi app wirelessly. That process needs to be smooth as silk for the best customer experience.
The mobile app wizard demonstrates a common app development issue - not enough testing and debugging.
Secondly, the Ring LED indicator will remain solidly magenta in color for a static IP assignment in the AP mode of operation on the Router node, even when everything is communicating normally, which goes against common sense and intuition after reading the user manual & online support forums. It just makes sense that in a forced, static IP address assignment configuration - where no DHCP server calls are made out to the primary, back-bone network - that the firmware should be intelligent enough to know that the status indication where " if it is unable to obtain the IP address from the router" exists because the Router node is forced into a static IP address assignment (from within its own configuration tables), that the Ring LED should into an off state and not "throw" a false flag. An alternative solution would be to add a configuration option in the Orbi node GUI to allow the user to simply disable the Ring LEDs completely for any of the individual devices in the arrangement.
I look forward to continued product improvement for this system from the engineers and hope that they take my recommendations under careful advisement.
Clean lines and design considerations - including the multiple mounting options and the inclusion of something as simple as the stand cover plates.
Solid back-haul operation. Kudos to the engineers for this ingenuity.
3/4 Ethernet port switch inclusion.
Solid performance once it is set up.
The two node (2 pack Orbi Pro) is a solid performer in a 2500 sq/ft space and performs remarkably well outdoors, along the perimeter.
Netgear needs to address their commonly reported, technical support operations. My experience was absolutely horrible.
The Wizard guided setup process has issues and locks up, requiring the user to hard reset the system.
The Ring LED indicator functionality is broken for the AP mode and throws a false flag.
The Orbi app can actually be worse than a hard-wired setup attempt even with the inclusion of the QR code functionality - which creates a poor customer experience - yet neither method is smooth when attempting to initialize the system as an AP (access point) arrangement out-of-the-box.