Netgear Orbi – Whole Home WiFi That Works

I have installed over 100 WiFi routers in homes and signal coverage is the biggest issue I encounter.  This is especially true in our area due to the sprawling layout of  our homes.  And now that we want fast WiFi connections for our streaming devices wherever we happen to be in or around the house, coverage has become even more important.  Multiple access points and WiFi extenders can work, but aren’t ideal when you and your devices move throughout the home and need to switch WiFi connections.

Netgear and other networking companies have introduced new products that provide 2 or more WiFi devices that operate as a single, coordinated system.  The base unit is connected by wire to your cable modem or router.  The second unit is placed in another area of the home and communicates with the base using a wireless connection.  Both units work together to provide a blanket of WiFi coverage throughout your home.  Homes larger than 5000 sqft  or with special signal challenges may require an additional satellite unit.

Orbi from Netgear has received some of the best reviews and I brought in a set to test. I replaced 2 separate WiFi access points with an Orbi base station and satellite and I am more than pleased with the results.  My WiFi coverage as measured by signal strength and throughput has improved markedly and I no longer need to manually switch WiFi networks when I move around the house.

Installation can be done using the Orbi app on iOS or Android if you have a very basic setup.  I prefer the control that I get from the web-based interface.  Setup took less than 10 minutes and performance has been fantastic.  The only drawback of Orbi over standard WiFi devices is the cost.  The 2 station AC3000 set retails for $379 on Amazon.

If you find yourself with WiFi coverage or throughput challenges, I recommend that you check out Orbi.  As always, please contact me with any questions or to schedule an installation.


RING Brings Floodlight Camera to Market

RING, the company known for their doorbell cameras just released a floodlight camera consisting of 2 LED lights and an HD camera on a fixture that is intended as an easy replacement for dual floodlight outdoor fixtures.  Priced at $249, this is in the same price range as many of the outdoor WiFi-enabled cameras and it has two advantages – it controls the included LED light fixture and it is wired into house power so there are no batteries to charge or replace.

The packaging is first rate and includes a screwdriver and socket that you will need for installation.  New installations will require a round electrical box with power.  Installation instructions are clear and there is video available through the Ring phone app to help at each step.  You will need a clear WiFi signal at the installation point to support the HD images that stream from the camera.

Once mounted, all interaction with the light and camera is done through the Ring App.  The app allows you to easily control settings for the light, motion sensitivity and range, and what kind of alerts you will receive.  You can be notified anytime there is motion in the area that you have set to monitor.  You can swipe on the alert to bring up the app and see exactly what is happening.  You can also go to the app and use the Live View function to get a live video stream from the camera at any time.

The camera includes a speaker and microphone that allows you to hear what is happening as well as speak to someone near the camera.  The small speaker will not allow you to broadcast your voice throughout the yard, but is may be useful for instructions or warnings.

Each unit comes with 30 days of free recording before you will have to pay for a video storage plan.  Annual plans are $30 per camera or $100 for unlimited cameras.  Video is retained for 6 months.

I have installed 2 units in the past 2 weeks and I am impressed with the picture detail, build quality, and installation ease.

They are available in white and black and can be ordered through Ring.com or purchased at some Home Depots.  I expect broader availability as production ramps.

Contact me if you have any questions or would like to schedule an installation.


Smart Irrigation Control From Rachio

How many times have you gone by a home or business in the rain and the sprinkler is running? Do you ever wonder if you should turn off the sprinkler because it has rained or it is forecast to rain? Do you need your landscaper in order to change your irrigation settings?

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