Orbi Mesh network with NDX-2 - AP mode instead of router mode

Hi all,

Today I have set up a new Mesh Wifi Network to work with my Roon Rock and Naim set-up. The installation is quite easy, the signal strength enormous and the transfer rate is huge. I choose for Netgear Orbi 20 setup

My question is: I noticed that the Orbi can be in either “Router mode” or “AP” mode. I noticed that AP mode was the only mode where the Orbi satellite “sees” the NDX-2 and RoonRock on my iNuc, so I chose that one. What is the diffreence between AP and Route mode? My setup and situation-description is below.

The situation in my house is probably like many others have: my Internet enters the home in a place quite far away of my living room. Unfortunately hardwire UTP is not possible so I need “something” to get the Wifi signal to my living room. Other requirements I have is that I do not want my NDX-2 to use a wireless signal; I want it to be hardwired to a Cisco router next to the system that also holds NAS and the NUC for Roon. Till today I used a bridged set-up of an Airport Extreme (wired connected to the Internet router where Internet enters my house) that is wireless connected to an Airport Express (AE) in the living room. That AE has a wired connection to the Cisco where all pieces are linked to via hardwire too. Even though the “wireless Apple Extreme / AE” did well, I had sometimes (not often) drop-outs when I streamed a Tidal MQA.

The Netgear Orbi that I purchased creates a Mesh wifi network where the individual satellites (3 in total) have three signals to connect to each-other. It is utterly fast. One of the satellites is now next to my Naim setup. The satellites have UTP outputs, so I can connect it wired to the Cisco router. Works great, and on top I have a ridiculous fast Wifi in my house :slight_smile:


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I’m interested in your solution as I’m thinking for Christmas updating my Airport Extreme/Express (which has served me well) setup. Any pointers would be most appreciated. My current situation resembles your old situation.

this helped a lot: https://youtu.be/3YwkjTXrlsA

also : https://youtu.be/H7LOcJ8GdDo

general installation is not difficult at all !

Thanks I’ll check them out when I get home.

In Router Mode, your Orbi will be acting as the router giving DHCP, etc etc. In AP mode, it is just functioning as an Access Point and all the routing is done by something else on your network, like your ISPs cable modem.

Having Router Mode active AND having router functions also being done by something else on your network, like your ISP’s cable modem is not a good idea.

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Likewise, having no firewall is a bad idea too. Straight cable modems don’t contain router and firewall functions. Orbi config must be Router mode to enable the firewall, along with other network functions like DHCP.

Netgear is stretching quite a bit to call this mesh. It’s not mesh, the satellites are dependent on the ‘router’ unit. yes, they can now pass through one another but two or more satellites cannot talk to each other. True mesh has a ‘master’ or two but all nodes are as capable as the others, lose a node, the others boost power to fill in.

Regardless, I have the 3 unit set and it does work very well. So well in fact, I’ve reduced the power when I found the signal strength was over 90% across the street from my place.

While it has a firewall, it can only allow port forwarding/triggering. No stateful inspection or ability to restrict to ip/net from external. Be sure to disable upnp too.


Gents so my assumption is I should run this in AP mode, since I have a router/firewall already(pfSense) which dispenses DHCP addresses etc. Similar to what I currently have with my AirportExtreme.

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Yes, AP mode is most appropriate for your setup. How do you like the pfSense firewall?

I’ve been looking for something load on an old PC to give me more protection and control over ingress/egress and this looks like it’s worth some time to evaluate.

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I’ve been running pfSense for years. Love it. Yep I turned an old PC into a pfSense firewall/router. It gives you so much control it’s great along w/a bunch of other features. Just don’t use a too old PC as they’ve updated their software and now it requires a little beefier of a box. It’s really an amazing product IMHO

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I’ve got a 2013 small desktop that should do, just need another NIC. Thanks.

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Oh no problem at all with a 2013 model. Have fun!