The Netgear Orbi mesh WiFi system is among the best in its class. It has great wireless coverage in homes and offices and breakneck speeds on the WiFi air channels. By default, the system, which includes the Orbi router unit and the Satellite units, works well with a single SSID name that is the same for both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands.
One of the best things about mesh WiFi systems is that they are easy to use. Client devices can move around freely without switching WiFi networks by giving the house only one WiFi SSID name.
Modules can be added to the Orbi unit with the best signal, speed, etc., regardless of their location, because the SSID name is the same whether the router or satellite unit is in use.
The Orbi’s “client-facing” frequency bands (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) use the same SSID name for their signals. The device can choose either the 5 GHz band or the 2.4 GHz band automatically. If the client supports dual-band, it will usually try to connect to the faster 5 GHz band first.
Even though the above setup works well for most homes, if you are still confused about how to add 2.4 GHz on Orbi Router, there are some situations where it doesn’t.
“Smart home” devices like security cameras, doorbells, smart locks, smart thermostats, and so on are now connected to many home networks.
Most of the time, the above smart devices only work on the 2.4 GHz band, and it can be hard to connect to an Orbi system, which only has one SSID for all bands.
Also, it might not work if you try to use your smartphone, which is automatically connected to the 5 GHz band, to manage and set up a smart device connected to the 2.4 GHz band.
I have different SSID names on my home network for the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequencies, like “my wifi-2.4” and “my wifi-5.”
I manually connect smartphones and other client devices that don’t need a lot of data bandwidth to the 2.4 GHz band. I connect laptops and tablets with faster speeds to the 5 GHz band.
Setting up the above might be a little tricky initially, but it gives me more control over my home network.
Also, if you get a new smart home device that only works with the orbi router 2.4 GHz, I can easily connect it to the separate SSID set up for this band.
In this article, I’ll show you how to give the Orbi router two different SSID names so that, as I said above, the two bands can be kept separate. This can’t be done through the graphical user interface for management (GUI). You will need to use Telnet (command line) to connect to the router, but I’ll show you how easy it is to do so below.
First, you’ll need to use the router’s web address (URL) to go to a special page:
Go to http://192.168.1.1/debug.htm in your browser to get to the Orbi debug URL.
(I think the internal LAN IP address for Orbi is 192.168.1.1.) (the default).
On this page, there is a link that says, “Enable Telnet.” As shown below, check the box next to this choice.
Now, you need to attach to the Orbi router from a computer using a Telnet client.
On a Windows computer, you will need to install and turn on a Telnet client or download the free PuTTY software (or another program that can work as a Telnet client).
You can use Telnet from a command terminal window on MAC OS.
After using Telnet to connect to the Orbi device, as shown above, run the following commands:
Config gets wl SSID (This command will show you the 2.4 GHz SSID’s name.)
example output: OrbiWiFi
Config gets wla SSID (This will show you the 5 GHz SSID’s name.)
example output: OrbiWiFi
As you can see, both SSID names (like “OrbiWiFi”) are the same by default.
Now, we need to change what 2.4 GHz is called.
2.4 GHz SSID’s name can be changed with the commands below:
Set wl SSID to “OrbiWiFi 2.4GHz” in config.
Check to see if it’s changed:
configure orbi router for 2.4 GHz get wl ssid
As you can see above, the 2.4G band has a new SSID name. Your client devices can see this name in the WiFi networks.
By doing the above, you can solve the question of how to setup 2.4 GHz on the orbi router, and Created a new SSID on the 2.4 GHz band for use with items that won’t respond to Orbi using the factory settings.