Taking a daring leap into the popularity of both mesh Wi-Fi and smart home, Netgear expands on their Orbi WiFi lineup once again, this time by building a smart speaker directly into their hardware. Adding a speaker to a router doesn’t really paint a picture of something we normally see–nor have ever seen, marking this as the first of its kind.
Normally, the Orbi system, like any other mesh network, involves a base unit and a number of satellite units that can be expanded on to cover as much square footage as necessary. All of these units work together to broadcast Wi-Fi evenly throughout your property. You can typically choose from a regular base unit, or one that includes a modem built into it as well (Netgear was the first to the table with one of these). Some systems even offer outdoor satellites to cover your backyard with, while being able to endure the weather.
Now, with their new Orbi Voice WiFi setup, the base unit remains the same, but you can now make one of your satellite units a smart speaker as well thanks to Netgear building a Harman Kardon smart speaker directly into the unit that is powered by Amazon Alexa. Not only does this allow you to combine two objects into one, helping to reduce the footprint of objects lying around, but it also enhances the visual appearance of the satellite allowing you to place them virtually anywhere. Is it a router with a smart speaker built-in, or is it a fancy looking (and sounding) smart speaker with a router hidden inside?
Since it features Alexa, can use it to control all of your Alexa compatible devices throughout your property, making Netgear’s mesh network an all-in-one for Wi-Fi, internet (if you choose the base unit with built-in cable modem), digital assistant, speaker and smart home hub. This drastically cuts down your setup process when it comes to building everything out.
Of course if you are a Google Assistant fan, this might not be the immediate solution for you, but it is an interesting step toward developing new hybrid environment for homes that do lean towards Alexa in preference.
You can find the Netgear Orbi Mesh WiFi System with Orbi Voice Satelite both in stores and online coming September 21st when it launches. For now, you can pre-order from places like Amazon. You can do so by using the following button/link which will take you straight there.