Having recently reviewed the excellent Zyxel Multy X mesh wifi system I thought it would be worth comparing it to the market leader, the Netgear Orbi.
With the growing number of Mesh Wi-Fi options on the market, each manufacturer approaches the problem at a different angle. For example, the BT Whole Home Wi-Fi is one of the cheapest options, and each disk only has one port making it only usable as an access point.
The Netgear and Zyxel have a similar setup they both have 4 ethernet ports, and they both use a dedicated 5Ghz back channel for reliable connections.
With the Zyxel, you can use either module as the base station or satellite, but with the Netgear, you have dedicated modules.
The Netgear product range is a bit more confusing though, as it has various options at multiple price points, there is the RBR20 which is slower and only has 2 ports, the RBK50 with 4 ports and AC3000 there are also then numerous satellite options including the wall plug style RBW30 with no ethernet.
The Netgear product line up is quite confusing, but it gives you plenty of options and caters for multiple budgets.
While it won’t affect many potential users one of the most significant differences worth noting is that the Netgear Orbi has the option to use a dedicated ethernet backhaul, while the Zyxel does not. If you have done to the trouble of hard-wiring your home, this will provide the most reliable solution.
The Netgear also has the option to manage the set-up via a web interface, and after experiencing the slow app from Zyxel, I would say this is a big selling point.
For a 2-pack system they are the same price on Amazon, and with the Netgear being more established while also offering more features such as ethernet backhaul it looks like the better option.
That being said, it is not entirely as black and white as that, the Zyxel works out cheaper for a three pack. The price difference comes down to Netgear charging a lot more for additional modules; the Netgear RBS50 costs £168.99 while each additional Zyxel module costs £129.99
While the Multy system has fewer reviews on Amazon, they are much more favourable with an average of 4.6 out of 5. While the Netgear has 4.1 out of 5. In particular, the Netgear has 13% of its reviews as 1 star with nearly all of them criticising dropouts. The Zyxel has no such complaints.
Of course, one issue with user reviews is negative bias, Netgear has sold many more units, and people are more likely to leave a review a product after a negative experience than a positive experience.
Overall, I would place them even, if you are on are only ever going to use a 2-module system then the Netgear maybe the best buy, it has better features and is a more mature product. If you have an extensive system, then the Multy X looks like an excellent choice once you hit 3 or more modules it becomes quite a bit cheaper.
If you use someone like Amazon, you get the reassurance of their excellent customer service if you do opt for Netgear and experience the issues many people have reported.
|Orbi RBK50||Multy X|
|Coverage||5,000 sq ft||Up to 7500 sq. ft|
|Wireless Transfer Rate||3,000 Mbps||3,000 Mbps|
|Wireless dedicated backhaul||Yes||Yes|
|Ethernet dedicated backhaul||Yes||No|
|Percentage of 1 star reviews||13||0|
|2 pack price||249.99||249.99|
|3 pack price||399.98||369.99|