After my recent disgust with Netgear knowingly and intentionally breaking the Orbi installations of customers using wired backhaul, and my decision to yank the entire thing out of my house and return it to Costco, I was left with the fallback of my previous WiFi set-up: A pair of Apple AirPort Extreme units. Given that their performance and coverage was insufficient to start with, and coupled with the fact that they are end-of-lifed, well, it was somewhat urgent that I acquire and install what was, last August, my second choice in home mesh: Linksys Velop. So how did that go?
A couple of weeks ago, Netgear rolled an update to its Orbi pseudo-mesh WiFi system, version 18.104.22.168. Netgear’s own release notes seem to acknowledge that they effectively broke wired backhaul with the update:
When user has two or more Orbi satellites connected to Orbi router using Ethernet backhaul connection, an Orbi satellite might not connect to the Orbi router after the firmware update. A workaround solution is to reboot the Orbi router and then wait for 2–5 minutes.
The problem? The “workaround” doesn’t actually work.