Orbi Outdoor Satellite adds Wi-Fi coverage to your back yard


I’m a big fan of the Netgear Orbi line of mesh access points and now there’s more to love. Netgear is now shipping the RBS50Y, a new satellite that is weatherproof and allows you to add coverage to your back yard or garage without worrying that your access point will short out in the rain.

The new device requires an Orbi Router – the RBR50, RBR40, RBR20 or SRR60, specifically – and connects to your home network via an easy-to-use app. The outdoor router adds up to 2,500 square feet of extra coverage and it increased my Wi-Fi coverage in the back of my house from about -80 dBm to -51 dBm, a marked improvement. This means we have better access to the Sonos indoors as well as to the camera in the back yard.

Overall the Orbi is an excellent hardware solution for whole-home Wi-Fi and I’m pleased to note that the app has been improved since my first foray into the product. Now the app supports granular device control – you can kick folks off the network – and it now supports Disney’s Circle for parental controls. This lets you filter the Internet automatically and even pause the Internet to keep the kids from browsing for a few hours.

The outdoor Satellite costs $329 while a router and two satellites costs $291. This is a bit pricey for a home router setup but it did improve my Wi-Fi speed considerably throughout my old brick Brooklyn home and it it now lets me switch songs and keep an eye on things from the back yard. It’s a small price to pay for complete and total wireless domination of your domain.

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Orbi Outdoor Satellite adds Wi-Fi coverage to your back yard


I’m a big fan of the Netgear Orbi line of mesh access points and now there’s more to love. Netgear is now shipping the RBS50Y, a new satellite that is weatherproof and allows you to add coverage to your back yard or garage without worrying that your access point will short out in the rain.

The new device requires an Orbi Router – the RBR50, RBR40, RBR20 or SRR60, specifically – and connects to your home network via an easy-to-use app. The outdoor router adds up to 2,500 square feet of extra coverage and it increased my Wi-Fi coverage in the back of my house from about -80 dBm to -51 dBm, a marked improvement. This means we have better access to the Sonos indoors as well as to the camera in the back yard.

Overall the Orbi is an excellent hardware solution for whole-home Wi-Fi and I’m pleased to note that the app has been improved since my first foray into the product. Now the app supports granular device control – you can kick folks off the network – and it now supports Disney’s Circle for parental controls. This lets you filter the Internet automatically and even pause the Internet to keep the kids from browsing for a few hours.

The outdoor Satellite costs $329 while a router and two satellites costs $291. This is a bit pricey for a home router setup but it did improve my Wi-Fi speed considerably throughout my old brick Brooklyn home and it it now lets me switch songs and keep an eye on things from the back yard. It’s a small price to pay for complete and total wireless domination of your domain.

  1. IMG_0455

  2. IMG_0456

  3. IMG_0457

Particle announces the Mesh board, an easy way to make your DIY talk to itself


Particle – which used to be called Spark – has released the third generation of their tiny, networked computing boards. Their new product, called Mesh, allows you to connect wither to a Wi-Fi or cellular network but also allows you to create a mesh network between multiple Mesh devices. This lets you create a mesh network similar to popular IoT devices from Nest and Netgear. The system, called Thread, lets you select which network you’d like to use – Wi-Fi, LTE, or even Bluetooth Low Energy – and then offers programming via OpenThread technology.

There are three models, the Argon, the Boron, and the Xenon. The Boron, $29, supports LTE while the Argon, $15, connects to Wi-Fi and the $9 Xenon connects only via Bluetooth.

The Particle Mesh essentially allows you to create large mesh networks of sensors, letting you connect multiple disparate devices together wirelessly in order to collect a wider range of data. You could, for example, connect to a pressure sensor to control gas or water valves or put it on a farm to sense soil moisture.

It is shipping in July and is available for pre-sale now.

“In the five years since we launched our first Wi-Fi and cellular connected hardware, more than 140,000 developers have brought their devices online with Particle,” said Zach Supalla, co-founder, in a release. “From the front lines of bringing IoT to life, our developer community uncovered challenges with building local networks, so we designed Mesh to better connect those spaces in between. We’re excited to see the next wave of real IoT take hold by solving real problems with connected products.”

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Particle Mesh from Particle on Vimeo.

Netgear is spinning off its Arlo security camera business


Netgear announced this afternoon that it plans to spin off its Arlo wing into a standalone business. The networking hardware giant’s board of directors has unanimously approved the decision and plans to have the separation to be completed by the second half of this year.

Netgear is planning an IPO as  part of the process, issuing under 20-percent of common stock in the process and retaining interest on the rest. Of course, all of this is subject to the standard SEC and other regulatory scrutiny. Once completed, Netgear SVP will step in as the CEO of the newly formed company. It’s quite the promotion, with the executive having only joined up four months ago.

Arlo has been a big bright spot for the company since launch. In fact, recent earnings reports for the company have singled out the security camera line as a driving force in Netgear’s financial successes, as the rest of its business remained somewhat flat.

The line is a relatively new addition, but it’s come to be be a dominating factor in the connected security camera space here in the States. And line’s offerings have been equally well reviewed in spite of higher price points, clearly bringing a breath of fresh air to Netgear’s decidedly staid world of networking hardware.

Of course, the space is bound to only grow more competitive as the connected home gains more relevance in the U.S. market. The company’s competing with startups like Canary, along with with larger players like Google (through the Nest Cam) and Amazon, which recently entered the category with the ultra affordable Cloud Cam.