Orbi Satellite Connectivity: 11 Things You MUST Know!

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Orbi Satellite connectivity problems are annoying, I know!

In order to cover the lack of information online about them, I did some research online and compiled this article for your reference.

Read on in this article to find out how 11 things you should know about Orbi Satellites and their connectivity issues!

If it’s your first time getting into Orbi routers, I’d recommend getting the Orbi RBRE960, which has support for Quad-Band WiFi 6E.

(Sometimes, an older router can’t keep up with faster internet connectivity demands, so getting a new one is a good way to start afresh!)

1. How to Sync Orbi Satellite?

Before we dive right into how to sync, you should read up on how Orbi Satellites work to get a better understanding of how to operate them well:

Whether you are setting up your Orbi Satellites for the first time or you somehow lost connection, syncing Orbi Satellites is relatively easy.

Here’s how to sync them:

  1. Place the Orbi Satellite near your Orbi router.
  2. Connect the Orbi Satellite to a power source.
  3. Wait for the bottom Light LED to light white.
  4. Once the pulsing white light turns solid, the satellite has finished its booting process and is ready to sync.
  5. Press the Sync button on the back of the Orbi Satellite
  6. Within two minutes, press the Sync button on the back of the Orbi router.
  7. Wait for the Orbi Satellite to sync with the router.
  8. It might take about six minutes for your satellite to sync.

If you find some difficulty in following the above steps, watch this video instead:

You might note that after 6 minutes, the light might change into a different color.

Here’s what the colors mean and how you can fix them:

LED Ring Light ColorMeaningAction to Take
BlueOrbi Satellite successfully connected to Orbi RouterNothing
AmberOrbi Satellite is too far from Orbi RouterMove Orbi Satellite closer to Orbi Router
MagentaOrbi Satellite sync has failedTry syncing again

If you want more information on Orbi light colors, check out this article I wrote all about them:

2. What is the Sync Button on My Orbi Router?

You might notice that I mentioned the sync button above in my explanation.

Here’s where the Sync button is:

The sync button on the Orbi Satellite is found on the back of the device, usually to the side, away from the rest of the ports. The Sync button is usually labeled with the “Sync” word above it.

Although the button may vary between each new Orbi model that NETGEAR releases, you can always check the NETGEAR website.

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Here are a number of screenshots to guide you to find the User Manual for your Orbi:

Select your Orbi model from the list. I am selecting RBK50 here.

Click on Documentation.

Click on User Manual.

Open the User Manual and hit “CTRL + F”. Type in “Sync your Orbi satellite”.

You’ll be redirected on how to set up your Orbi Satellite. Some User Manual show pictures and some do not.

As a general rule, Orbi will label their Sync button with a Sync button either above it.

If you want to know how Orbi Routers work, read this helpful article I wrote:

3. How Do I Fix Orbi Satellite Not Syncing?

To fix Orbi Satellite not syncing, check whether the Orbi Satellite is compatible with the Orbi Router, and whether the Orbi Satellite is close enough to the Orbi Router, resync the Orbi Satellite, and reset the Orbi Satellite and Orbi Router.

(a) Check whether your Orbi Satellite is compatible

Just because the device bears the “Orbi” name doesn’t mean that they are compatible. If you own a very old Orbi model, it may not be compatible with the newer ones that Orbi releases.

The newer models tend to work on WiFi 6 or even WiFi 6E, new technologies that may not work with older models that still work on WiFi 5.

As such, certain older Orbi Satellites cannot connect to the Orbi Pro series of Orbis.

A user from Reddit also noted that even though some models of Orbi Satellites work, they will be limited to WiFi 5 speeds and connectivity, so there’s no point upgrading.

According to Orbi, there are a maximum number of Orbi Satellites that can be connected, depending on its WiFi standard:

WiFi 5WiFi 6
Maximum 6 Orbi Satellites, 2 Orbi Satellites in a daisy chainMaximum 4 Orbi satellites, 2 Orbi Satellites in a daisy chain

This may be a problem you are facing too.

(b) Place Your Orbi Satellite Nearby

Where and how you place your Orbi Satellite can affect how well it will be able to sync too.

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If you didn’t set up your Orbi Satellite right, you might have some problems.

If you are syncing your Orbi Satellite with an Orbi Router wirelessly, make sure that the Orbis is in the line of sight of each other, or better yet, right next to each other.

You can always pick it up and move it later, it will sync up again. (When the initial sync is done!)

It’s only when syncing up for the first time, you’re going to want to with both of them together.

(c) Re-Sync the Orbi Satellite

If you’ve attempted to sync the Orbi Satellite once and it failed, turn it off and try to sync it again.

You may have missed the 2-minute window to sync up your Orbi Router and Orbi Satellite.

(d) Reset the Orbi Satellite and Orbi Router

If all the above steps still don’t work, you can try factory resetting both your Orbi Satellite and Orbi Router.

This can be done so by the Factory Reset button on the back of both the Orbi Router and Orbi Satellite. I recommend resetting the Orbi Satellite first, and if that doesn’t work, reset both of them with the Orbi Router first, then the Orbi Satellite.

You can do so by pressing the reset button for 5-10 settings until the power LED on your satellite pulses white.

Once that’s done, your Orbi Satellite/Router will be factory reset to give you a clean slate at attempting to sync up your Orbi Satellite.

However, this may require your IoT device (smartphone, smart speakers etc) to be reconfigured back to the new SSID you create in a factory reset.

Things like your Orbi Smart Parental Controls will also be erased, so you’ll need to set that up again!

If you want to learn more about Orbi Smart Parental Controls, read this article:

4. Why are My Orbi Satellites not Connecting?

Orbi Satellites are not connecting because they are either not updated to the latest firmware, are too dated, are interrupted by new sources of interference, bugs in the Orbi Satellite firmware, ISP maintenance is being done, or the power source is intermittent.

(a) Not Updated to the Latest Firmware

Many times, Orbi Satellites can’t connect to their routers because they aren’t updated to the latest firmware.

NETGEAR periodically sends out updates to update its firmware. If you’re facing problems with Orbi Satellites not connecting well, consider updating it.

(b) Orbi Satellite is Too dated

Sometimes, it may just be that your Orbi Satellite is too old.

πŸ“– GET A FREE EBOOK: Learn to Build Your Smart Home From Scratch! ->

Over the course of time, wear and tear have run your Orbi Satellite down and it may not be able to connect well.

Also, note that older Orbis Satellites may not work with new mesh wifi systems because they work differently.

For example, some older Orbi Satellites are on WiFi 5, whereas many new systems are not on WiFi 6.

(c) Interrupted by New Sources of Interference

Orbi Satellites can suffer from a poor connection to a router when they face lots of wireless interference over the air.

There are a number of sources of interference:

  • Microwave oven
  • Cordless phones that use the 2.4GHz or 5GHz range.
  • WiMAX
  • Other 802.11 networks
  • Power lines, power stations, or railroad tracks
  • Radio leakage from Direct Satellite Service (DSS)
  • Older coaxial cable from certain types of satellite dishes
  • Fluorescent lights
  • Bad electrical connections
  • Radar

As the objects in a home can add to the electromagnetic wave clutter, your Orbi Satellite may struggle to establish a connection with the Orbi Router, especially if it’s near the far end of its range limits.

If you’d like to learn more about the best places to place your Orbi, check out this article I wrote:

(d) Bugs in the Orbi Satellite Firmware

The unfortunate truth is that sometimes, things can get really complicated with all the changes to firmware for all the different Orbi models that NETGEAR maintains support for.

When code is being written for firmware, there are bugs in them that need to be constantly addressed.

Particularly, if you are using an older Orbi Satellite, these bugs may be fixed, as they receive less priority from the support team.

(e) Maintenance in ISPs

Orbi Satellites can fail to connect also because of ISP maintenance or outages.

Servers from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) can fail from time to time, so do make sure that this is not a problem by trying to access the internet using your Orbi Router.

This way, you’ll be able to isolate the problem as solely due to the Orbi Satellite.

(f) Power Source is Intermittent

If your Orbi Satellite is a little older, check the power cable.

Ensure that there aren’t any nicks of damage to the wiring, as this can intermittently cut off power to the Orbi Satellite.

As Orbi Satellites do not have any batteries within them, when the power is cut to them, they won’t be able to function.

5. How Do I Know if My Orbi Satellite is Connected?

To know if an Orbi Satellite is connected, look for a solid blue light. A solid blue light will indicate a successful synchronization between the Orbi Router and the Orbi Satellite. After the sync, the Orbi Satellite will be successfully connected to the internet via the Orbi Router.

Here are the different colors that indicate different meanings on the Orbi Satellite:

Blue. Your Orbi router and satellite successfully synced, and the connection between the router and satellite is good.

Amber. Your Orbi router and satellite successfully synced, and the connection between the router and satellite is fair. Consider moving the satellite closer to the router.

Magenta. Your Orbi router and satellite failed to sync. Move the satellite closer to the router and try again.

If you’d like to know more about the colors of an Orbi, check out this article:

6. Why Does My Orbi Keep Going Offline?

Orbis keep going offline when they are running obsolete firmware versions, have bad placements within a home, have too much electromagnetic interference in the vicinity, and when Orbis become worn from long usage.

7. How Do I Get My Orbi Satellite Back Online?

To get an Orbi Satellite back online, ensure that the power is ON. Then press the SYNC button on the Orbi Satellite and press the SYNC button on the Orbi Router within 2 minutes. A solid blue light will indicate that the Orbi Satellite is synced and back online.

Power outages can sometimes cause the Orbi Satellite to disconnect for some weird reason. All you have to do is to resync the Orbi Satellite.

You may refer to the earlier parts of this article on how to do this!

8. How Do I Relink My Satellite Orbi?

To relink a Satellite Orbi, press the SYNC button on the Orbi Satellite and press the SYNC button on the Orbi Router within 2 minutes. A solid blue light will indicate that the Orbi Satellite is synced and back online.

If you don’t know where the SYNC button is on your Orbi Satellite, it’s most likely at the back and on the left.

You can refer to point no. 2 in this article for the full details!

Here’s where it is:

9. How Do I Reset My Orbi?

To reset an Orbi, press the “Reset” button on the back of the Orbi for 10 seconds. When the LED light on the back starts to pulse amber, release the “Reset” button and wait for about 10 minutes for the Orbi to reboot. The same can be done for Orbi Satellites.

10. What Happens When You Reset an Orbi Satellite?

When an Orbi Satellite is reset, all of its memory is deleted and it is reverted back to its factory settings. Things like passwords, personalization details, and the network name will be deleted permanently. A reset of the Orbi Satellite must be done with caution.

Important note: When you reset your Orbi, you’ll be permanently deleting all of your passwords, and network names (SSID).

What this means is that your IoT devices like your smartphone, smart lights, smart doorbells, and smart cameras around your house need to be set up all over again.

So only perform this action if it’s your last resort!

11. Can I Hardwire an Orbi Satellite?

An Orbi Satellite can be hardwired to form a wired connection between an Orbi Router and itself. This can be done through an Ethernet cable connecting the Orbi Router and the Orbi Satellite. The Orbi Satellite will be used as an access point for IoT devices to connect to.

Final Thoughts

Orbi Satellites can cause all kinds of problems with connectivity. As a result, it’s important to know how to reset them and resync them where appropriate!

Although this process of figuring out the solution to your Orbi-related problem can be arduous, it will be worth it when it’s solved!

If you’re still struggling with problems related to Orbi and you live in Singapore, you can always check out the complimentary support here.

If you want to prevent further issues like this, consider signing up for NETGEAR Pro Support. They provide warranties and timely help at a cost.

If you want to read more about the other mesh wifi options out there other than Orbi, check out this 2 article on the Amazon eero and the TP-Link Deco:

I hope this article has helped you in some way. Thanks for reading all the way.

Stay smart!

Justin Chia

Justin is the author of Justjooz and is a data analyst and AI expert. He is also a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) alumni, majoring in Biological Sciences.

He regularly posts AI and analytics content on LinkedIn, and writes a weekly newsletter, The Juicer, on AI, analytics, tech, and personal development.

To unwind, Justin enjoys gaming and reading.

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