What you need to know
- The Orbi 970 is Netgear’s first mesh system to utilize the Wi-Fi 7 standard.
- The mesh system features 320MHz channels and a total throughput of 27Gbps.
- It uses quad-band connectivity, 10 Gigabit wireless backhaul, and 10 Gigabit LAN/WAN ports.
- The Orbi 970 is now available for $2,299 for a 3-pack.
The Orbi 960 is one of the best Wi-Fi 6E mesh routers you can buy today, and Netgear is rolling out an upgraded variant that’s based on Wi-Fi 7. The Orbi 970 features a new design that looks rather nice, and it takes advantage of the latest Wi-Fi 7 standard to deliver unmatched connectivity. I’m not kidding — the mesh system has a throughput of 27Gbps, which is overkill to say the least.
Those gains are due to the introduction of the new 320MHz channels over the 6GHz band, and Netgear notes that Wi-Fi 7-enabled phones and notebooks can hit 5Gbps over Wi-Fi. There’s quad-band connectivity with 4×4 streams on each band, and you get a 6GHz band, dual 5GHz bands — with one serving as the wireless backhaul — and a 2.4GHz band.
There’s 4K QAM — four times higher than Wi-Fi 6E — and coverage of 10,000 sq. ft. via the default 3-pack configuration with a router and two satellites. The mesh system uses a Wi-Fi 7 feature called Multi-link Operation to combine the 5GHz and 6GHz bands, offering greater bandwidth and reducing latency.
The Orbi 970 is designed for multi-Gigabit connections, and it has a 10 Gigabit WAN port in addition to a 10 Gigabit LAN port alongside four 2.5 Gigabit ports. What’s particularly interesting is that the satellites also have 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, giving you the ability to create a 10 Gigabit wired backhaul. You also get dual 2.5 Gigabit ports on the satellites — ideal for when you need to connect to a gaming rig or console.
The design has received an overhaul as well, with Netgear switching to a cylindrical chassis that looks rather elegant — particularly in the white color variant. The design provides 360-degree coverage, and has 12 high-gain antennae that beam rock-solid coverage to every corner of your house. Oh, and like the Orbi 960, you’ll be able to pick up the Orbi 970 in a black variant exclusively at Netgear.
There’s clearly a lot to like here, but what you won’t be enthused about is the price. The Orbi 970 retails for an astounding $2,299 for a 3-pack including a router and two satellites. Netgear is also selling a 2-pack with a router and satellite that costs $1,699, and should you need additional nodes down the line, they cost $899.
The Orbi 970 is aimed at enthusiasts, and if you’ve already invested in a multi-Gigabit internet connection or plan to switch as soon as it’s available in your area, the mesh system is worth looking into. The benefits of Wi-Fi 7 mean that you should be able to see a noticeable uptick in connectivity even on Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E devices, and if you have any of the best Android phones of 2023, there’s a good choice that your device has a Wi-Fi 7 modem and is able to leverage the full potential of the Orbi 970.