Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Netgear combines mesh wifi, smart speaker and Amazon Alexa

Steve Rogerson
September 11, 2018



At last week’s IFA trade show in Berlin, California-based Netgear announced a mesh wifi system with Orbi Voice smart speaker and wifi mesh satellite with built-in Amazon Alexa.
 
Orbi Voice as part of any Orbi wifi system creates expansive whole home wifi coverage up to 186 square metres or more of wifi up to 3Gbit/s combined wifi speed, along with premium audio by Harman Kardon. With the built-in Amazon voice assistant capability fully integrated into Orbi voice satellite, Alexa can be asked to play music from the most popular music services as well as set alarms, control IoT devices, check traffic, weather, sports scores and more, without needing a separate Amazon Echo device.
 
“The two fastest growing consumer trends for smart home technology have been the popularity of the voice assistant control and the growth of wifi mesh systems,” said David Henry, senior vice president at Netgear. “Netgear today is driving the next step in innovation with a built-in Alexa assistant and wifi mesh satellite in a single consumer solution. Orbi Voice is the result of combining the three key technologies used in the smart home environment to deliver both exceptional wifi and quality sound from our audio technology partner Harman Kardon.”
 
The most popular skill employed with smart speakers is to enjoy streaming music services. To address this, Netgear has taken its expertise in wifi and married it with Harman Kardon to deliver sound quality while aligning with the providers of streaming music.
 
Premium audio by Harman Kardon creates rich, room-filling sound. A built-in four-microphone array and far-field voice recognition enables Orbi Voice to hear users from across the room. The Orbi mobile app can be used to adjust the volume and equaliser controls.
 
“Products that solve multiple consumer needs are increasingly in demand, and the exquisite sound quality of Harman Kardon elevates the dynamic Orbi Voice smart speaker,” said David Rogers, president of Harman’s consumer audio business unit. “We’re pleased to partner with Netgear to bring this product to consumers looking for a single device that offers tremendous audio, in addition to its voice intelligence and wifi capabilities.”
 
The combination of a voice assistant, high-end audio and high-performance wifi in one device eliminates the clutter of three individual products to deliver the same features. With Orbi Voice, users will be able to enjoy music from music streaming providers such as Spotify, Amazon Music, Pandora, iHeartRadio, TuneIn and Deezer. Orbi Voicecan also playback audiobooks from Audible, podcasts, radio stations, news briefs and more
 
The tri-band mesh wifi system with Orbi Voice smart speaker and wifi satellite (RBK50V) delivers up to 3Gbit/s wifi coverage for homes up to 418 square metres for a nearly zero buffering and no dead zones wifi experience.
 
The system is ready out of the box and will work with current internet service providers. Setup uses a mobile device through the free Orbi app. It offers easy network management and helps keep the device current with automated software updates for new features and wifi enhancements. Through the app, Circle smart parental controls manages content and time spent online on a per-child or per-device basis. Other features include a separate guest wifi network and advanced router features
 
Each satellite offers two Gigabit Ethernet ports for connecting wired devices for faster file transfers and reliable connections.