Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 AX4200, hands-on: Affordable WiFi 6 coverage for homes and businesses

Written by Cliff Joseph, Contributor
  • Editors' review
  • Specs

Mesh Wi-Fi systems were almost tailor-made for the remote-working era. There are millions of people now working from home and making daily video calls, while also competing for a slice of wireless bandwidth with a variety of smartphones, tablets and games consoles. Increased Wi-Fi use can put a strain on even the fastest routers -- let alone the low-cost units often provided by broadband suppliers. Mesh networking systems are the ideal Wi-Fi upgrade for many homes and offices, as well as public venues such as restaurants and hotels. Mesh systems typically use a main router with a wired connection to a broadband modem, plus two or more wireless nodes or satellites that can be placed in different rooms or locations. These link together to provide greater range and reliability than a single conventional Wi-Fi modem/router.

Pricing & options

Netgear was one of the first companies to combine mesh networking and WiFi 6, with its Orbi Wifi 6 AX6000. That first model was a high-end system, providing tri-band WiFi 6 performance with a combined top speed of 6Gbps. Its price was also top-of-the-range: £709.99 (inc. VAT; £591.66 ex. VAT)/$699.99 for a two-piece system, or £969.99 (inc. VAT; £808.33 ex. VAT)/$999.99 for the three-piece option.

That sort of pricing can make even larger organisations think twice, so Netgear has recently released a new version called the Orbi WiFi 6 AX4200 that is still suitable for larger homes and offices, but with a more competitive price. Admittedly, it's still fairly expensive, costing £449.99 (inc. VAT; £375 ex. VAT)/$449.99 for the two-piece kit shown here, although it's designed to provide extensive Wi-Fi coverage for larger homes, offices or other locations up to 5,000 square feet in size. There's also a three-piece kit available that can cover 7,500sq.ft, priced at £629.99 (inc. VAT; £525 ex. VAT)/$599.99.


The 'router' unit plugs into your broadband modem via the WAN port ('Internet', above); it has additional Gigabit Ethernet ports, as do 'satellite' units. A two-piece kit should cover up to 5,000 square feet, according to Netgear.

Images: Netgear

Design & features

As the name suggests, the Orbi WiFi 6 AX4200 supports tri-band WiFi 6 (a.k.a. IEEE 802.11ax) with a combined top speed of 4.2Gbps. That's slower than the 6Gbps of the AX6000 model, but still far faster than most current-generation 802.11ac routers. And, as well as providing greater performance, WiFi 6 is also designed to transmit data more efficiently to large numbers of devices all at once, with Netgear claiming that the Orbi WiFi 6 AX4200 is suitable for use with 40-60 devices. That sort of capacity should be enough to cope with even the most gadget-crazy households, as well as many busy offices and public locations. 

SEE: Hiring Kit: 5G Wireless System Engineer (TechRepublic Premium)

The Orbi systems don't include a modem, so the first Orbi unit, known as the 'router', includes a Gigabit WAN port for connecting to your existing broadband modem or router, along with three additional Gigabit Ethernet ports for devices requiring a wired network connection. The second 'satellite' unit includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports as well.

The only disappointment is that Netgear's Orbi app tends to treat certain features, such as its Armor security system (which is based on the popular BitDefender), as an additional revenue stream. This is provided with a 30-day free trial, but then requires a monthly subscription fee for continued use.

Top ZDNET Reviews

Raspberry Pi 4

Top ZDNET Reviews

Raspberry Pi 4

Raspberry Pi 400

Top ZDNET Reviews

Raspberry Pi 400

Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro

Top ZDNET Reviews

Samsung Galaxy Xcover Pro

reMarkable 2

Top ZDNET Reviews

reMarkable 2

Image: Netgear


As we remarked with the original Orbi Wifi 6 earlier this year, the WiFi 6/802.11ax standard is still in its 'early adopter' phase, and many homes and businesses may find that more affordable mesh systems based on WiFi 5/802.11ac will meet their current needs perfectly well. However, the ability to support ever larger numbers of devices means that WiFi 6 is very much designed with future IoT environments in mind, so a Wifi 6 mesh system such as this is still a sensible investment if you want to future-proof your home or office network.


Netgear Orbi RBK752 delivers Gigabit Wi-Fi 6 mesh for under $500

Netgear Orbi WiFi 6, hands on: State-of-the-art mesh Wi-Fi with a price tag to match

TP-Link Deco M4 review: A reliable mesh Wi-Fi system on a budget

Slow Wi-Fi? 8 ways to speed up your home office network

Best Wi-Fi routers for your home office in 2020: Google Wifi, ASUS ROG, and more

Read more reviews