Netgear is taking Wi-Fi out of the house and into your backyard. The networking and switch maker is unveiling the weather-resistant Orbi Outdoor Satellite, a mesh-based device that extends your Wi-Fi network an additional 2,500 square feet.
The company made the announcement today ahead of CES 2018, the big tech trade show taking place in Las Vegas next week. The satellite connects to any Orbi Tri-Band Whole Home Wi-Fi system. Unlike other routers and extenders, the Orbi system uses dedicated bandwidth to deliver separate channels that can operate at high speeds.
The Orbi creates a dedicated 5-gigahertz, 1.7-gigabit per second channel between the base Orbi and the extended unit so you can get full internet access for devices that connect to the satellite Orbi unit. And it delivers maximum internet speeds no matter how many devices are connected. That’s important, because the average broadband household has more than seven connected devices that can stream video, and smart home devices are increasingly common, according to market researcher Parks Associates.
The Orbi System can cover about 3,500 square feet, with each satellite adding another 2,500 square feet. For your backyard, that might mean you could watch 4K HD videos on your mobile device or stream music to speakers in the backyard, guest house, or poolside.The outdoor Orbi satellite connects through walls to an indoor Orbi router, and you don’t have to haul additional ethernet cables to the yard. Netgear has gotten speeds of 10 megabits a second at one kilometer using line-of-sight, but speeds are faster for closer distances.
If you’re using the satellite at work, you can separate guest or employee traffic, and you can schedule ambient lighting for connected lights. The Orbi Outdoor Satellite is available now in the U.S. for $330. You can manage it with a mobile app, and it allows you to add Wi-Fi enabled Arlo security cameras to cover greater distances in large backyards.
“We built it to be weather resistant, for everywhere from Arizona to Minnesota,” said Amit Rele, product lead for Orbi at Netgear, in an interview with VentureBeat. “If you are streaming music by your pool or you’re grilling, you can get the access you need.”