Step by Step Guide: Enabling different 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz network SSID's on Orbi Wifi Router

Discussion in 'Networking Guides' started by Nimrod, Apr 7, 2019.

  1. Nimrod

    Nimrod Exotic Vendor

    Jun 1, 2007
    Likes Received:
    London, United Kingdom
    This step by step guide will take you through how to give a separate SSID name to your 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz network on your Orbi Wifi Mesh Units.

    The Orbi's are a great way to give your home a platinum standard of WiFi, I've owned them for a couple of years and since switching to to them my entire house never has any WiFi drops or poor performance. The devices provide a 5Ghz triple backend link between the Router and any Satellites you own, and then produce a full 40mhz 2.4Ghz network and a 5Ghz network from each device. They put ISP provided router/modem combos to shame and even beat the other major mesh networks coming from the likes of Google WiFi.

    However, there is in annoying point I found with them, both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz have the same name. The idea being is it's transparent, and your devices pick and choose between the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz depending on there distance and connection quality. In theory, this is entirely true and for most common setups, I'd recommend leaving this as such as it means all your devices connect the best they can.

    However, the problem arises due to some smart home devices or older devices which struggle to connect. I had a printer, that could see both the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz network (and listed it twice on the WiFi Connection guide)... However it couldn't connect to the 5Ghz (it was an A device, not an AC). The annoying thing is the devices option didn't tell me what one it was, so I had to spend ages trying to pot luck select the 2.4Ghz to get it to connect.

    Other situations can arise, as your network grows due to smart home devices and increasing gadgets (my house has 34 wifi devices connected), you can easily find the 5Ghz or 2.4Ghz get's congested. Sometimes, you may want to prioritise which devices go on what network. As we're in the era of 4K/HDR streams, home working with VoIP conferences/calls and VR / Gaming devices needing quality connections, you could find a lot of unimportant devices start congesting your wireless. By separating them out between 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz, you can put your high priority devices on the 5Ghz network which has massive bandwidth, like Work laptops/phones, gaming consoles, streaming devices like apple tv / android tv etc. I've set mine up for example where all my primary devices like laptops / games consoles and streaming devices and work laptop all use 5Ghz with little interference, meanwhile all my non-primary devices like Thermostats, Smart switches, security cameras, bulbs, alexas, fire alarms etc all use the 2.4Ghz which is more congested as they do not need the speed 5Ghz offers.

    As such, I found the desire to separate them out. This really quick guide will show you exactly how to do that!

    Step 1: Enable Telnet

    To do this, you need to use the usual URL of your Orbi Router to login to the Web Interface, but instead you add /debug.htm to the end of the URL like so:

    Orbi Debug Mode.png

    Once connected, tick the box called 'Enable Telnet'. This will enable the Telnet protocol on your Orbi until it's next reboot.

    Orbi Enable Telnet.png

    Step 2: Connecting via Telnet

    Next step, is to connect to the Router via Telnet. You'll likely have a client already installed if you use Windows/Mac/Linux, however newer versions of Windows need it to be enabled by the 'Add/Remove Features from Windows' where you'll need to tick Telnet Client. Alternatively, you could download a Telnet client like Putty.

    Once you got your client, connect to telnet on the default port (On my mac, it was as simple as 'telnet IP'.)
    You login with the same U/P you do for the web interface.

    Connect Telnet.png

    Once connected, you need to set the wl_ssid and wla_ssid .
    The wl_ssid is for your 2.4Ghz network, and wla_ssid is for your 5Ghz.
    You can run the comment 'get wla_ssid' for example to see the current setting.

    If you wish to set a new one, you can use the command 'set' . I've done an example below where I have viewed both my 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz network name, then set my 5Ghz to "Digiex5". Copy the commands exactly like I have, depending on if you wish to set your 2.4Ghz or 5Ghz.

    Orbi Commit 5Ghz network Name.png

    config get wl_ssid
    config get wla_ssid
    config set wla_ssid="Digiex5"
    config commit
    Once it's all set, type the command reboot to make your Orbi go through a reboot cycle and update the settings.

    Once it's rebooted, you should find your new network names all sorted! :)

    Note: This won't show in the Web GUI, as it will still display your 2.4Ghz network name regardless if you set the 5Ghz differently.
    You may also need to manually reboot any satellites if they lose connection to the base station (once they reboot, they will get the settings and match).

    That's it, you are all done :)

    Step 3 - Optional - Enhanced Settings

    However, while you're in the Web UI, I highly recommend changing some of the other default Wireless settings to further provide a boost. For some reason these are not enabled by default, but I highly recommend.

    The following settings exist in Advanced Tab > Advanced Setup > Wireless Settings.

    Advanced Wifi Settings Orbi.png

    Enable 20/40 MHz Coexistence
    This setting is per WiFi alliances that if you are in a congested area with neighbours WiFi, the device stops using the full 40Mhz spectrum and drops to 20Mhz to assist you and your neighbours from interfering with each other. It's an awkward one, it's considered good manners that this is enabled as it makes you share the spectrum more fairly with your neighbours... All modern devices ship with this enabled by default.
    However if they are using cheap WiFi like an ISP's provided router, you will likely overpower them anyways. So if you want to make sure your WiFi throughput doesn't drop to be a "good neighbour" tick this to disable the drop to 20mhz and keep the full 40mhz. Just maybe try and make sure you are on an uncontested WiFi channel before you do otherwise you will likely have some annoyed neighbours with poor WiFi.

    Enable Implicit BEAMFORMING - Boosts WiFi speed, reliability, & range for all mobile devices
    This setting, I don't understand why is not enabled by default but will allow your router to use beam forming to target devices and attempt to give them better speeds by having the antenna's aimed towards there direction based on needs.

    Enable MU-MIMO
    This enables Multi-user on the WiFi, this means that multiple devices can talk to an Antenna at once instead of taking turns. Again, this is standard in high performance routers so while this isn't enabled by default is beyond me. Even Netgear's own website can sell the benefits better than I can... Just enable it.

    mu-mimo netgear.png

    Enable Fast Roaming
    This enables a smoother transition as you jump between your WiFi networks on Orbi (ie, you move closer to one Satellite than another). It's suppose to improve the efficiency when you jump, and stop a drop as you disconnect and connect to the stronger signal which you are now near. Some users have reported devices jump more often once this is enabled, likely if you have a device which is perfectly between the two and keeps jumping just for the edge. I recommend turning it on and seeing how it performs. In most cases it should be a welcome improvement.

    Enable Daisy Chain Topology
    This setting allows a Satellite to connect to another Satellite directly if its connection is better than to the Base Orbi Router (Ie if Sat B is out of range of Base, but in range of Sat A). It's designed to extend the range even further. However this setting is useless if you only have one Base and one Sat. If so, turn it off.

    Step 4: Enjoy

    Enjoy the new faster WiFi! :)
    InsaneNutter likes this.
  2. Nimrod

    Nimrod Exotic Vendor

    Jun 1, 2007
    Likes Received:
    London, United Kingdom
    Just to bring this guide up to date, it seems since the 2.5 firmware was released, Netgear updated the devices to add a WiFi monitor which detects an issue when the 2.4ghz and 5ghz ssid's are not the same and re-merges them.

    This is an easy fix, just need to add one additional command as part of the config in Step 2.

    config set wifison-monitor_stop=1
    Once done, this will disabled the monitor. If you wish to undo this, the default setting is 0, so just set it to 0 and re-commit.

    Hope this solves the problem for anyone who did an update and suddenly finds there 5ghz network re-merged with the 2.4ghz.
  3. RickJBaker

    RickJBaker New Member

    Dec 13, 2022
    Likes Received:
    Can you also set the guest network SSIDs via telnet?

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