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Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Netgear Orbi 970 Series review: Revolutionising home WiFi with unmatched coverage

Read our comprehensive review of the Netgear Orbi 970 Series to discover how it transforms home WiFi with advanced features like WiFi 7, Quad-Band technology, and unparalleled coverage.

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The Netgear Orbi 970 Series steps into the spotlight, setting a new standard for what a home WiFi system can achieve. As households across the globe become denser with internet-connected devices—from smartphones and to smart home gadgets—the demand for a robust and reliable WiFi network has never been more critical. The Orbi 970 Series promises to meet this challenge head-on, boasting next-generation technology and features that aim to transform your digital home environment, making buffering and dead zones a thing of the past.

With its future-proof configuration, the Orbi 970 Series supports advanced connectivity features such as Multi-Link Operation (MLO), which enables simultaneous data transmission across multiple frequency bands. This capability ensures that your network can manage various tasks simultaneously without any drop in performance, which is crucial in homes where multiple users are streaming, gaming, or engaging in high-definition video calls. The Orbi 970 thus stands out for its robust performance and ability to adapt to the evolving digital needs of contemporary households.

WiFi Bands: Quad-Band
WiFi Speed: 
Up to 27 Gbps
WiFi Technology: 
WiFi 7 (802.11be)
Coverage: 
Up to 10,000 sq ft
Connected Devices: 
Up to 200
Other Features: Advanced Cyber Threat Protection with NETGEAR Armor, 360° WiFi coverage, 10 Gig internet port, Create up to 3 separate networks for guests and smart home (IoT) devices

Elegance meets advanced technology

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Gone are the days when routers were mere functional boxes tucked away from sight. The Orbi 970 Series is proof of the idea that technology should be both powerful and aesthetically pleasing. Each unit features a sophisticated, cylindrical design that complements its surroundings rather than clashing with them. This design philosophy extends beyond mere appearance, as the shape and structure of the Orbi 970 have been meticulously engineered to enhance antenna performance and maximise signal dispersion throughout your home. The router and its satellites are available in two colour schemes—black with black trim and white with gold trim—allowing them to blend into various home decors subtly or stand out as modern tech art.

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The Netgear Orbi 970 Series router and satellite units measure 294.03mm in height, 144.38mm in width, 130.79mm in depth, and 1.79 kg in weight. These dimensions and weight make them sufficiently compact and manageable for placement in various home environments without being overly conspicuous.

The router offers an extensive array of connectivity options. It includes four 2.5Gbps Ethernet ports to accommodate high-speed wired connections for devices such as gaming consoles, smart TVs, or desktop computers. A 10Gbps Ethernet port is also designed for connecting to high-speed internet services or high-performance devices that require substantial bandwidth. Additionally, a 10 Gig internet port is available to support the fastest internet speeds, future-proofing the router for upcoming advancements in internet technology.

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The satellite unit is equipped with a similar but slightly smaller set of ports, featuring two 2.5Gbps Ethernet ports that provide additional wired connections in the area where it is placed. This is particularly useful for connecting devices in remote parts of your home. Like the router, the satellite also includes a 10Gbps Ethernet port to ensure high-speed connection capabilities, maintaining consistent network performance throughout your home.

Exceptional performance for modern demands

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Performance is where the Orbi 970 Series shines, demonstrating its prowess through superior coverage and reliability. The inclusion of WiFi 7 technology allows this system to reach faster speeds and maintain high performance under load. This is particularly evident in households where simultaneous streaming, gaming, and large downloads are common. The system's ability to distribute bandwidth efficiently ensures that all connected devices operate with minimal interference and maximum throughput.

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The Orbi 970's real-life application highlights its capability to manage multiple high-demand applications across various devices. For instance, during peak hours when multiple devices are connected and active, the Orbi system maintains high speeds and low latency, which is critical for applications like real-time online gaming and high-definition video streaming. This robust performance is further supported by advanced features like beamforming and MU-MIMO, which optimise the signal strength to individual devices based on their usage and location within the home.

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Additionally, the system's performance is underpinned by its security features, with NETGEAR Armor providing a comprehensive suite of cybersecurity tools that protect your network from external threats. This integrated security ensures that all devices connected to your network are safeguarded against a wide array of cyber threats, enhancing not just performance but also the safety and privacy of your internet usage.

Whole-home connectivity tested

The results were impressive when testing the Orbi 970 in a two-story apartment (approximately 1,600 sq ft) with the modem installed on the first floor. The primary router's strategic placement near the entrance maximised the initial reception and distribution of the signal throughout the ground level, ensuring robust connectivity in the living room and surrounding areas. This setup highlighted the system's ability to push strong signals even to the outer limits of the first floor, facilitating seamless streaming and browsing experiences.

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On the second floor, the addition of a strategically placed satellite played a crucial role. The satellite extended the range of the network, effectively broadcasting the signal to areas that typically experience weaker coverage, such as the study or master bedroom. The satellites ensured that devices upstairs received as strong a signal as those closer to the primary router downstairs, demonstrating the Orbi 970's capability to deliver consistent and reliable WiFi across different levels and through various obstacles.

LocationDownload Speed (Mbps)Upload Speed (Mbps)Signal Strength (dBm)
A (Modem & Router)832.2912.0-50 (Very Good)
B139.6180.3-70 (OK)
C (Satellite)796.3908.3-34 (Very Good)
D707.3806.6-64 (OK)
E814.1848.5-52 (Very Good)

Comprehensive coverage is also aided by the Orbi 970's smart roaming technology, which allows devices to connect automatically to the strongest signal as they move through the house. This feature is particularly beneficial in multi-level homes, ensuring that devices seamlessly transition between satellites without dropping the connection, thereby maintaining optimal performance regardless of location within the home.

Effortless setup and seamless management

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Setting up the Orbi 970 Series is designed to be user-friendly, with the Orbi app guiding even the most novice users through each step of the installation process. The app not only helps with the physical setup but also assists in optimising the placement of satellites to enhance coverage and performance. This interactive setup process includes diagnostics and real-time feedback on signal strength, helping users make informed decisions about satellite placement for optimal network performance.

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Once the network is up and running, the Orbi app is a central control panel for network . It allows users to monitor internet speeds, control access to the network, and manage device connectivity. This level of control and customisation makes the Orbi 970 not just a tool for internet access but a comprehensive management system for home connectivity.

In addition to the mobile app, the Orbi offers a web-based management console, which provides more granular control over the network settings. Advanced users can customise their network further, setting up guest networks, adjusting the strength of firewalls, and even managing VPN settings for added security. This dual approach to network management—both user-friendly and advanced—ensures that all users can optimise their Orbi 970 system to meet their specific needs.

The verdict: Netgear Orbi 970 Series

The Netgear Orbi 970 Series is positioned at the premium end of the market, with a price tag reflecting its advanced features and capabilities. The system represents a significant investment in home networking technology at S$3,799 for a three-piece setup (S$2,799 for a two-piece). However, for households where the internet is integral to daily activities, the Orbi 970 offers a WiFi solution and a pivotal enhancement to the home's digital infrastructure.

The investment in the Orbi 970 is justified by its exceptional performance, extensive coverage, and future-proof technology that can adapt to evolving internet standards and usage patterns. For users who prioritise reliability, speed, and advanced features in their home network, the Orbi 970 provides peace of mind, knowing that their system is equipped to handle today's digital demands and tomorrow's innovations.

Tech Edition has partnerships that involve sponsored content. While this financial support helps us with daily operations, it doesn't affect the integrity of our reviews. We remain committed to delivering honest and insightful content to our readers.

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Vincent Wee
Vincent Wee
As a managing editor at Tech Edition, Vincent brings a whirlwind of marketing expertise and data wizardry to the table. When he's not conjuring up digital magic, catch him geeking out over anime or levelling up on his Nintendo Switch!

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