With the official ratification of the Wi-Fi 6 standard last year, more and more routers are hitting the shelves offering the new and faster wireless tech. However, nearly all of the new Wi-Fi 6 routers released so far have been on the higher end of the price spectrum. Netgear’s latest addition to its lineup goes against that trend, giving homes a less costly option to get faster Wi-Fi. Here’s how the new Netgear Nighthawk Mesh WiFi 6 System (MK62) compares against its popular Netgear Orbi (RBK50).
Orbi vs Nighthawk Mesh Wi-Fi System Comparison Chart
|Dimensions||6.7 x 3.1 x 8.9 inches||4.8 x 4.8 x 2.5 inches|
|Weight||3.92 pounds||0.63 pounds|
|Area Coverage||5,000 sq. ft.||3,000 sq. ft.|
|Wi-Fi Type||WiFi 5||WiFi 6|
|Wi-Fi Speed||3 Gbps||1.8 Gbps|
|Ethernet Ports||4 per node||2|
If you’re aware of the
As you can see, it couldn’t look more different than the
The smaller build of the
There’s no doubt that the
Those with a lot of devices that need to be plugged directly to their router, such as printers, TVs and gaming consoles, can find more LAN ports on the
Netgear recommends its Orbi RBK50 mesh routers for homes with Internet plans up to 500 Mbps while the Nighthawk MK62 is best for plans with speeds of 300 to 400 Mbps. Maximum throughput for the Orbi is also higher at up to 3 Gbps, which is considerably higher than that of the Nighthawk’s 1.8 Gbps. In terms of raw speed and muscle, the
What makes the Orbi even better is its tri-band mesh system. It uses a proprietary Fastlane 3 technology to handle devices without lag thanks to its dedicated backhaul, which frees up two bands solely for devices. The backhaul lets the router and satellites to communicate each other, ensuring that connected devices get the maximum speed.
Meanwhile, the Nighthawk only has a dual-band system though it also uses beamforming and MU-MIMO to home in on device connections. Its biggest selling factor is its Wi-Fi 6 EasyMesh standard, which improves overall speed in high-traffic networks with numerous devices. Families who frequently and heavily use the Internet simultaneously will experience better performance from the Nighthawk Mesh.
However, there seems to be an issue with the Nighthawk MK62’s signal consistency, as devices can suddenly not connect and the Wi-Fi speed can fluctuate noticeably. While there are several factors that affect wireless speeds at home, experiencing random dropouts and slowdowns that aren’t ISP-caused can be frustrating.
Software and Other Features
Both of these Netgear mesh Wi-Fi routers can be accessed via mobile app as well as the traditional web browser interface. Most advanced settings can only be found on the web UI though, so if you like tweaking your own network you have the same level of customization as on older routers. That said, most families today won’t enjoy having to go through an admin panel that hasn’t really improved from more than a decade ago.
As such, most users will rely on the mobile app to control their Wi-Fi mesh network. The Nighthawk app has a bit of an edge over the Orbi one since you can accomplish more on it. You can control which devices can connect to the network and set up a separate Wi-Fi channel for guests so your main network remains secure.
With a much wider coverage and greater bandwidth limit, the Netgear Orbi RBK50 is recommended for larger homes, especially if you have several floors or want to extend your Wi-Fi coverage to the backyard. Performance-wise, it’s more impressive too, as you can rely on speedy wireless connections with the tri-band system. The
Perhaps the most attractive aspect of the Netgear Nighthawk MK62 is its relatively low cost for a next-gen network. The EasyMesh standard for Wi-Fi 6 is the future, and all router manufacturers will adopt it soon. If you don’t need to cover too big of an area with Wi-Fi, the Nighthawk Mesh system is a cost-effective choice that’s set to receive further improvements via firmware updates.
Only the Netgear Nighthawk MK62 has Wi-Fi 6. The Orbi RBK50 only supports Wi-Fi 5.
No, you don’t have to pay a monthly fee for the
No, you can’t use the Netgear Orbi RBK50 without a modem. However, other models such as the Orbi CBK40 can replace your modem and router.