Netgear has been at the forefront of giving consumers networking products with the best performance. They are known for fast and high-performing routers. Two of the company’s best Wi-Fi routers are the NightHawk line of routers and the Orbi Wi-Fi System but who will win in the Netgear Orbi vs Nighthawk match?
Main Differences Between Netgear Nighthawk vs Orbi
Netgear NightHawk Orbi vs Nighthawk – what are the main differences?
- Netgear Nighthawk uses the latest technology, whereas Orbi allows you to blanket your entire home without compromising the Wi-Fi signal.
- Netgear Nighthawk is great for big homes, whereas Orbi is very easy to install.
- Netgear Nighthawk comes with Plex Media Server, whereas Orbi is more expensive.
First Up: NightHawk Routers
Netgear’s NightHawk routers make use of the latest technologies to deliver fast Wi-Fi signals. There are several routers being offered under the Nighthawk line:
- Nighthawk X8
- Nighthawk X10
- Nighthawk RAX200
- Nighthawk AX12
- Nighthawk 8-Stream AX6000
All Nighthawk routers have 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology and could be used for very big homes. The earlier NightHawks also use Beamforming+ technology, which can focus signals for faster speeds and better reliability and range.
Focus on the NightHawk X10
The NightHawk X10 has explicit beanforming while the X8 has implicit and explicit beamforming for the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. They also feature two USB ports and at least five Ethernet ports (the X8 and X10 has seven Ethernet ports).
The NightHawk X10 allows you to enjoy 4K videos without lags. The smooth viewing experience can even accommodate virtual reality games.
It also features the Plex Media Server, which allows you to consolidate your photos, music, video, TV shows, and movies all in one place, allowing you to use any device to access these. The X10 also has a 1.7 GHz quad-core processor that can handle heavy surfing, gaming and video streaming.
Moreover, NightHawk X10 supports 802.11 ad technology, which is rated to be three times faster than the previous 802.11 ac. According to Netgear, with the NightHawk X10, transfers take less time. More specifically, it takes:
- 53 seconds to transfer a 20GB virtual reality video, vs. 120 seconds on an 11ac router
- 21 seconds to transfer a 8GB 4k movie files vs. 64 seconds on an 11ac router
- 8 seconds to transfer a 3GB backup file vs. 24 seconds on an 11ac router
NightHawk routers also have a companion mobile app – the NETGEAR Up app – that allows you to install a router easily. The app also enables you to view network information remotely, download and install updated firmware, and
NightHawk X10 works with Amazon Alexa devices as well. You can just ask Alexa to turn on or to disable the guest network. You can also ask Alexa to tell you your Wi-Fi Settings. It also supports MU-MIMO, which allows you to stream to a number of devices simultaneously.
Other features of the NightHawk X10 include:
- ReadyCLOUD USB Access, which can give you access to the files you stored on your USB storage, even remotely.
- ReadySHARE Vault, which automatically backs up your USB hard drive
- Support for VPNs
- Better parental controls, which allow you to configure accessibility and filters based on devices or profiles.
- NETGEAR genie, which is a network manager that you could control remotely.
- IPv6 Support
What you would like about the Netgear Nighthawk
The Netgear Nighthawk X10 is undoubtedly fast, with support for the new 802.11ad standard that allows for faster Wi-Fi connections. The NightHawk X10 is great for speedy wired connections, too. The router also allows for fast network storage.
The Plex Media Server also performs well when it comes to media streaming. You can plug in an external hard drive using the router’s USB 3.0 ports and these media files may be streamed to all devices connected to it via the
What could be better
The 802.11ad speed is not consistent. First, you would need an 802.11ad-enabled computer and a 10Gbps server, both of which are expensive, like the Nighthawk X10. You also cannot move too far from the router in order to benefit from this feature.
In fact, if you transfer to a spot only a few feet away from the router, the speeds become similar to quad-stream routers like the NightHawk R7500, which is much cheaper than the X10.
More than that, however, the NightHawk X10 suffers from an expensive price tag.
Furthermore, the X10’s Web interface is too slow and not intuitive to use. Netgear has put in a lot of menus that it is difficult to find advanced features, or the features you want to tweak. For an advanced router, there is not much that you can do to customize your Wi-Fi.
Final recommendations about the NightHawk X10
The Netgear NightHawk X10 is a great router that delivers great performance and the fastest Wi-Fi speeds. However, it might be way ahead of its time to make it useful. Home users would not really be able to take advantage of the 802.11ad compatibility unless they have the right equipment.
And even with the expensive laptops or desktop computers, the NightHawk’s 802.11ad connections have a very limited range.
The NightHawk X10 does deliver a good and fast connection for 802.11ac connections, so if that is the kind of speed you would be satisfied with, then you might consider buying a NightHawk X4, from Amazon.
Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi System
The Netgear Wi-Fi Orbi System helps you say goodbye to dead zones, or areas in the house without Wi-Fi coverage. With the Orbi, you can get speedy Wi-Fi signals no matter where you are in the house, or even outside your home.
Each Orbi package has two devices, one that acts as the router and the other – called a satellite – acts as range extender. The satellite connects to the main router using a dedicated Wi-Fi band.
This allows the satellite to rebroadcast the Wi-Fi signal it gets from the main router without losing speed as it does not share the same bands that are used by your connected devices.
Setting up your Orbi is very straightforward and simple. Just connect the main router to your Internet source and then turn it on. Then, find a good place to put your satellite unit in and then turn it on.
That is all you need to do because the main router and the satellite are preconfigured to work with each other. The satellite unit will also automatically use the Wi-Fi setting you have for the main router.
How do you know if you are placing the satellite too far from the main router? The satellite unit has color changing LEDs that will shine blue to let you know you have a good signal and will change to amber if you need to move the satellite unit closer to the router. If it is too far from the router, the LED will
Some of the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi System’s features are:
- Single Wi-Fi network for the entire house. Unlike Wi-Fi range extenders where you get disconnected from one Wi-Fi network and then reconnected to another as you go around the house, the Orbi system will give you only one Wi-Fi network to connect to. No more disconnections!
- Easy setup. You can set your Orbi very easily using the Orbi App. With the app, you can customize and configure your Wi-Fi network without the need to create an account with Netgear. It can also help you set up guest networks, monitor the status of each device, and get support when you need it.
- Works with Amazon Alexa. You can use voice commands to control your Orbi.
What you would like about the Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi System
Blanketing your home with a strong and fast Wi-Fi signal is now easier with the Orbi. You do not have to worry about configuring anything; you just have to connect the main router and then deploy the satellite and you are done. The Wi-Fi signals are relayed from the router to the satellite with no loss in speed.
What could be better
The Orbi Wi-Fi system can really put a dent in your wallet if you have a big home. You can buy an Orbi system that can cover up to 5,000 sq. ft. of space.
And that only includes the main router and one satellite. You can add more satellites if you have a bigger home, with an additional cost.
If you have a smaller home, the good news is that you can get a cheaper system that can cover up to 4,000 sq. ft., or one that can adequately cover 3,500 sq. ft. which is more affordable.
Comparing the Netgear Orbi vs Nighthawk WiFi System
Let’s summarize the main points of our Orbi vs Nighthawk debate. Netgear employs the latest networking technologies in their routers, and this is very evident in the NightHawk X10, which is one of the first routers to support 802.11ad Wi-Fi technology. It is one of the best and fastest routers out there for home use.
NightHawk Routers are great for big homes, and they can withstand heavy use even as you stream 4k videos, play virtual reality games, and connect a lot of devices to the network.
However, if your NightHawk router cannot cover your entire house with Wi-Fi signals, you would need to invest in Wi-Fi range extenders to get rid of
The problem with range extenders is that these can easily result in slower Wi-Fi speeds the farther away you are from the router. You can experience a 50% signal and speed loss even with just one Wi-Fi range extender.
Wi-Fi range extenders also require you to use two or more Wi-Fi networks. This means that as you go from one network to another, you will get disconnected.
With Netgear Orbi, this is not a problem. Netgear Orbi allows you to blanket your entire home with strong Wi-Fi signals without degrading the speed, and you only use one Wi-Fi network.
Which one should you buy?
Netgear NightHawk Orbi vs Nighthawk? Which one should you invest in? Well, it really depends on what you need.
For bigger homes, then Netgear Orbi is the obvious choice.
But for smaller ones, the Orbi does not really make sense as the Netgear NightHawk X10 can effectively cover a big enough area.
NightHawk X10 available here is also a lot faster, with more features such as more Ethernet and USB ports, fast network storage, and the Plex Media Server.
If you are turned off by the price you need to pay for a NightHawk X10, you can choose a more affordable alternative like the Netgear NightHawk R7500.
Want to see other comparisons? Check out our Asus Lyra vs. Netgear Orbi review piece.
Hmm I have a nighthawk but its just a box with two satellite boxes. All antennas are internal. Great signal but I dont think mine has plex.