Netgear Orbi routers and satellites upgraded to firmware v4.6 work well with HomeKit devices

Cupertino, October 4, 2021

The recent release of Netgear Orbi firmware v4.6 seems to have finally stabilized transactions with my HomeKit setup of around 50 devices. In firmware v3.x there were constant timeouts and not responding messages. The Orbi RBR 850 is used as an access point in our network providing Wifi only. The router is a Cisco 1941. The Orbi RBR 850 is configured with a fixed IP address to help eliminate dropped video streaming when DHCP leases are renewed. Unfortunately Neatgear doesn't seem to support setting fixed IP address for the two RBS satellites in our configuration. The CISCO router is set up to assign fixed IP addresses to the satellites so IP address renewals still occur, but not kill video streaming that was a common daily occurrence in V3.x firmware. After upgrading the ORBI firmware from v3.x to v4.x the DHCP address assignments started failing. It looks like Netgear redefined the satellite devices MAC address types from "client-identifier" to "hardware-address" when making DHCP requests.


The working CISCO IOS definitions for DHCP Pools for the ORBI satellites are now:

ip dhcp pool orbisat1
hardware-address 6ccd.xxxx.yyyy
client-name orbisat1
ip dhcp pool orbisat2
hardware-address 3894.xxxx.yyyy
client-name orbisat2

This change seems to allow HomeKit requests to traverse the ORBI WiFI network well. Before there were constant failures when HomeKit tried to connect to process SIRI commands and devices would often show as not responding in the HOME app.

For the first time in 3.5 years HomeKit is now running very clean using Netgear ORBI WiFi.

Maybe this change in the Orbi firmware will now meet the requirements for Orbi Wifi setups to be HomeKit "compliant" . It's been really nice having HomeKit finally working far more reliably than when using Orbi 3.x and before firmware.

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