As far as I can tell, the only downside to living in the country, besides the wildlife plotting to kill you at any moment, is the claustrophobic range of my home wi-fi router. But Netgear claims to have just the device to bring sweet, sweet internet into the great outdoors.
The new Orbi Outdoor Satellite, announced today, promises to expand your high-speed connection beyond your home’s walls and into the backyard using mesh networking, adding up to 2,500 square feet of wi-fi coverage anywhere you like, according to Netgear. The Orbi Outdoor Satellite has an IP56 rating for weather resistance, which means it can withstand dirt, rain, and sub-zero temperatures, allowing you to mount it on the side of your garage, pool house, or chicken coop carefree.
Mesh networking works by connecting multiple routers to each other, creating a web-like wireless network that allows you to move around a covered space without having to switch to a different, full-bandwidth wi-fi connection.That’s what makes them perfect for offices, large homes, houses or apartments with extra-thick walls, or, in my case, a sprawling woodsy backyard where I play fetch with my dogs, work on dirt bikes, and burn things in an obscenely large fire pit.
The Orbi Outdoor Satellite connects to Netgear’s Orbi router using a dedicated 5Ghz, 1.7Gbps channel, while your devices have their own channel that deliver full bandwidth and speeds up to 3Gbps. The system also creates a guest channel to keep all those pesky visitors off your personal connection. Setup for all of this take only “minutes,” Netgear claims, and connecting the new outdoor satellite is a simple as pushing a button or using the Orbi app.
The downside here is, of course, the cost. The original Orbi home wi-fi mesh system, which covers up to 5,000 square feet, will put you back about $300 — significantly more than our tests with the competing Eero mesh networking system found its high speeds to be splendid.
While I may not be able to afford to bring wi-fi to every corner of my three-acre compound, the thought of being able to work outside in the summer sunshine, stream Spotify seamlessly while fixing my lawnmower, or watch Netflix under the stars sounds like a dream for this country bumpkin that just might be worth the hefty price tag.