Can Orbi Router Be Used as a Satellite?

While Obri routers are incredibly effective devices, they cannot be used as satellites for the purposes of setting up your home network. 

I have spent a good chunk of my life working with and creating various at-home internet connections. That experience, combined with additional research on Orbi and Orbi products, is what allowed me to break down the topics in this guide.

The following sections analyze Orbi routers and satellites to explain, not just how they work or why they’re effective, but why they can’t be switched for one another.

Key Takeaways

  • Orbi routers and satellites are distinctly different in that the routers serve as a hub that interacts with your modem, while the satellites are focused on catching the signal and extending/strengthening it over a much wider area.
  • Orbi routers and satellites are not interchangeable, meaning that satellites can never be used as routers and routers can never be used as satellites.
  • Setting up your Orbi router in AP mode is a great way to get more out of the device without needing to go out and purchase additional electronics.

Obri Routers vs. Orbi Satellites: The Differences

Orbi is an incredibly reliable service that, when used properly, creates a solid mesh WiFi system for your home or office. It generates strong internet and does so by taking advantage of two distinct devices: the Orbi Router and the Orbi Satellite. 

Both of those devices work together to create a fully functioning network, but they do so by operating in distinctly different ways. The router, just like a traditional device, connects to the modem in order to receive internet from an ISP. 

In addition, it links up to Orbi satellites. You can even connect it to your devices via a wired ethernet cable if you want to switch it up. That way, it runs the internet in your home and allows your various devices to function properly.

On the other side, Orbi satellites are not able to connect straight to a modem. Rather, they link up to the router and work to help extend your network’s range. The router acts as the main hub, where the satellites are what bring your internet to all places around your house.

Using an Orbi Router as a Satellite

Orbi routers and satellites are both great devices that directly feed off of each other. They also fill distinctly different roles. Roles that, while useful, are so different that they cannot be swapped in and out for each other. There’s no way to use a router as a satellite.

That’s because, where satellites are used to increase general WiFi coverage, the routers are only designed to extend the range of any signals coming from devices. You will get a stronger network, but they cannot catch onto any signals using the satellite features.

In that same vein, satellites can also not be used as routers. The routers interact directly with modems and ISP, where the satellites focus solely on creating larger coverage and a much stronger signal. Together they are great, but they both want other devices to work.

Alternative for Orbi Router as a Satellite

Many users may get discouraged to find out that they can’t mix-and-match Orbi products. However, just because Orbi routers cannot be used as a satellite doesn’t mean you can’t get creative. There is an alternative if you know where to look.

While you can’t put Orbi routers into bridge mode, you can put them into AP (Access Point) mode. That turns them into a wireless access point, which allows other devices to be looped through that point. It’s not exactly a satellite, but it will act as a pseudo-extender or hotspot.

To kick off the process, first, log into your router on Orbi’s website. Enter the username and password, then click the “Advanced” tab. From there, go to the “Advanced Setup” and click on “AP mode.” Apply the settings and you’ll be good to go. 

This process may not be as efficient as actually getting a satellite, but it’s a decent alternative for people who want to get more from their router without purchasing additional items. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box from time to time.


These are some of the most common questions users ask about Orbi products.

Can You Use an Orbi Satellite by Itself?

Unfortunately, Orbi satellites are not able to stand on their own. If you want to use them, they need to connect to a router or with other Orbi satellites within a mesh WiFi system. They need to have some link back to a modem in order to work properly.

Can You Use Orbi Satellites as WiFi Extenders?

Orbi items, while useful, cannot be used as WiFi extenders. As they operate in a way that creates a network, they cannot boost other connections. A traditional extender is the only way to boost a traditional router. 

How Far Away Can Orbi Satellites Be From a Router?

Orbi satellites should sit roughly 40 to 60 feet from a router. That’s not a strict number, and you can be flexible with it from time to time, but it’s important to make sure the satellites are never too far away from the source.

Final Words

Orbi routers and satellites may not be interchangeable, but they are both solid technological devices that work together to create a strong network. If you don’t mind pairing them up and know their limitations, they can deliver some of the best WiFi on the market.

Do you use Orbi products? How have their router and satellites been for you? Let us know in the comments below!

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