Netgear Orbi Vs. Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien

Table of Contents


The Netgear Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) is a mesh Wi-Fi 6 system known for its solid performance and outstanding connectivity, facilitated by its two-piece setup. It is suited to large homes and users seeking broad network coverage, with a measure of configuration that the AmpliFi Alien does not provide.

The Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien on the other hand, is loaded with above-the-cut specifications that will immensely please any large homeowner. It is much more suited to users who seek comprehensive coverage without too much work setting things up.

It, therefore, resonates pretty well with non-tech-savvy users due to its signature user-friendliness and comprehensive coverage. The AmpliFi Alien comes as a standalone router or a mesh set of two; the router alongside an excellent range extender.

Differences between the Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) and the AmpliFi Alien

Let’s take a look at the specifications of the Orbi and Amplifi side by side. We have highlighted the significant differences between the two products.

Specification | DeviceOrbi WiFi 6 (RBK852)AmpliFi Alien
WiFi TechnologyTri-Band AX6000Tri-band AX8000
WiFi standardWiFi 6WiFi 6
Transmission Rate5 GHz to 2400 Mbps, 2.4 GHz to 1200 Mbps5 GHz to 4804 Mbps,
2.4 GHz to 1148 Mbps
WiFi SpeedUp to 6 GbpsUp to 7 Gbps
WAN Speed2.5 Gbps1 Gbps
Combined Speed6000 Mbps7685 Mbps
Wi-Fi Compatibility802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
5GHz-14×4 AC
Up to 1733 Mbps
4×4 AC
Up to 1733 Mbps
Coverage5,000 sq. ft20,000 sq. ft.
No. of Connected Devices100249+
AP ModeYesYes
Mesh OptionsRouter + 1 Satellite (up to 4 more maximum recommended)Router + AmpliFi Mesh Point (unlimited additional mesh point capability)
Channel Width Support20/40/80 MHz20/40/80 MHz
Gigabit Port (as Single Router)4x LAN, 1x WAN4x LAN, 1x WAN
Link AggregationYesNo
Mobile AppOrbiAmpliFi
Web InterfaceYesYes
Voltage120 Volts110-240 Volts
Special Hardware FeaturesProgrammable light, 
Built-in Speaker
Processing Power2.2 GHz 64-Bit 
Quad-Core CPU 
1GB of Flash, 512MB of RAM
2.2 64-Bit Quad-Core CPU,
8 GB of Flash, 2GB of RAM
MU-MIMO Support8×88×8
Dimensions (LxWxH)10 x 2.8 x 7.5 inches (x2)4.3 x 9.8 x 4.3 inches (x2)
Power SupplyInternalInternal
Weight2.86 lb (1.30 kg){x2}2.65 lb (1.20 kg) {Router}/ 2.4 lb (1.09 kg){Mesh Point}

Orbi (RBK852) Pros and Cons


  • The device has tri-band tech
  • The 802.11n coverage guarantees four great simultaneous streams
  • The Orbi is backward compatible with previous WiFi 4 and WiFi 5 devices
  • Extensive WiFi sq. ft. coverage that effectively eliminates dead zones
  • Installing the system is straightforward and eliminates unnecessary wiring (dedicated wireless backhaul of 2.4 GHz), though it also supports wired backhaul if a user desires
  • It offers excellent performances with consistent throughput, high internet speeds (Multi-Gigabit network speed, with 2.5Gbps of wired Ethernet)
  • Netgear offers worthwhile security solutions for users with network separation and client separation (VLAN-SSID tie-in functionality)
  • Extensive user parental control for child-safe internet usage
  • Multiple Ethernet ports (8)
  • Multi-gig WAN


  • The system is costly, and given groups of users will not afford it
  • There’s no provision to manage 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz bands manually
  • The setup may be unfavorable for users who desire a measure of inconspicuousness
  • Users have complained about the mobile app being worthlessly lacking in functionality and resetting to default settings in some instances once the app is relaunched
  • The 90-day support policy may not be favorable to users
  • Users may find the RBk852’s weight bulky
  • No USB ports
  • Less coverage

AmpliFi Alien Pros and Cons


  • Very easy to setup
  • Very comprehensive WiFi coverage
  • Reliably fast WiFi
  • Consistent WiFi connectivity
  • Teleport VPN feature guarantees user security
  • An excellent ad-blocking feature
  • Signature user-friendliness will delight users
  • Ethernet backhaul to match the RBK852’s wired backhaul feature
  • Multiple unique user-focused features
  • Intuitive touchscreen user interface


  • Limited advanced configuration capabilities
  • No dedicated backhaul in wireless mesh mode
  • Not wall mountable
  • No link aggregation
  • It doesn’t support the 160Mhz Channel
  • Absence of a multi-gig port

Which device is better?


The Orbi RBK852 and the AmpliFi Alien have WiFi 6 capabilities, yet the latter edges the former. Here’s why. AmpliFi provides up to 1,148 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 4,804 Mbps at 5GHz, while the Orbi RBK852; 1,200 Mbps at 2.4 GHz and 2,400 Mbps at 5 GHz.

The AmpliFi Alien’s additional 5 GHz band connects mesh nodes at 1,733 Mbps while the Orbi RBK852’s; 2,400 Mbps.

The 2.5 Gbps WAN port that the Orbi has is essential for users with a wired network as it beats the Alien’s 1 Gbps. The feature allows users to connect the router to the satellite using Ethernet to unlock full wired backhaul capabilities. Since the 1Gbps is robust enough, the 2.5 Gbps does not matter for most users and will not for years to come.

The ample headroom in the Alien’s wireless connection is suited to multiple devices even though some speed is lost for the 1Gbps WAN port and absent link aggregation. As more superfast Ethernet devices hit the market, high-end enthusiasts will want more from the WAN port. With its 10 Gbps Ethernet option, the new Mac Mini is a perfect example of one of the devices that could push users towards the Orbi. We can expect Ubiquiti to offer a timely response.


Here’s where the AmpliFi Alien leaves the Orbi RBK852 behind by miles. Even the older AmpliFi HD doubled the Orbi’s 5,000 sq. ft. coverage, while the AmpliFi Alien more than triples it at 20,000 sq. ft.

It simply means large homeowners get a great connection without worrying about speed drops and dead zones on their property. The huge bonus is that they don’t have to make additional expenses acquiring more Orbi satellites.

The singular Alien router will serve owners of smaller homes perfectly and comes at about half the Orbi’s price. The latter’s 5,000 sq. ft. coverage is sufficient for small homes, too, though central placement is still essential for both.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many mesh points can I add to AmpliFi Alien, and how many satellites can I add to the RBK852?

You can add an unlimited number of mesh points to the AmpliFi Alien, while the maximum recommended number of additional satellites to the RBK852 is four.

Do the AmpliFi Alien and the Orbi RBK852 have monthly payments?

The AmpliFi Alien has no monthly payments or subscriptions, while some features of the Orbi RBK852 require a premium monthly subscription. These include Antivirus Protection, ProSupport for Home, and Smart Parental Controls.

Is AmpliFi Alien a good router? Can I say the same about the Orbi RBK852?

Yes, the AmpliFi Alien is a good router that meets even the most advanced connection needs that users have. The same can be said for the Orbi RBK852, which is also among the best WiFi 6 related devices.

Can you have two or more AmpliFi routers at the same time?

You can have two or more standalone AmpliFi routers at a time meshed into one network. Users who do this stand to have a consistent network strength everywhere as the routers are now the would-be mesh points.

Can you also mix and match Orbi satellites?

Remember that you can’t mesh two independent wireless kits together but only standalone routers. For the Orbi, you can mix and match them as long as they are all WiFi 6 units and not backward to WiFi 5.

Do the AmpliFi Alien and the Orbi RBK852 have a dedicated backhaul?

The AmpliFi Alien has a dedicated wired (Ethernet) backhaul though it has no dedicated wireless backhaul. The Orbi RBK852, on the other hand, has both a dedicated wireless and wired backhaul.

How do I connect two AmpliFi Alien routers?

Set up one AmpliFi Alien to operate as the primary router, then switch on the other within proximity. The primary router will detect the other as a new mesh point, and you can then add it to the network. After giving it a new name, your new setup should be ready to run the show seamlessly.

Is AmpliFi a modem or router?

No. The AmpliFi is not a modem and will not replace it since it’s just a router. You will still need your modem as a bridge between your ISP, any devices, and the AmpliFi router.

Is it better to hardwire the Orbi satellite?

You can hardwire your Orbi satellite to eliminate network inconsistencies and in cases where your router signal does not reach the satellite. You should consider acquiring a standalone access point instead if you don’t already own the initial setup. A huge consideration is the cost involved in the former case, yet you can achieve similar results with the latter.

That said, you can also link your router to the satellite using an Ethernet cable, and the same works for a satellite to a satellite.

Does Orbi RBK852 require a modem?

The Orbi RBK852 is not a modem even though it works effectively with existing modems or gateways. The only catch is that the modem or gateway should have router functionality; otherwise, you will need to turn off their WiFi feature for improved performance.

If I switch to AmpliFi Alien from the Orbi RBK852, would I have to replace everything?



In this post we have compared two market leading access points and compared their performance. Clearly each has its advantages. Increased WAN speed of 2.5 Gbps for the Orbi WiFi 6 (RBK852) to higher WiFi speed of up to 7 Gbps for the AmpliFi Alien.

AmpliFi Gamer’s Edition WiFi System by Ubiquiti, Seamless Whole Home Wireless Internet, HD WiFi Router, 2 Mesh Points, 4 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 WAN Port, Ethernet Cable, Replaces Router & WiFi Extenders