Netgear offers hotfix for Orbi routers encountering Apple HomeKit problems

in iPhone
Netgear this week released a stopgap firmware update for its Orbi mesh Wi-Fi routers, hoping to cope with a glitch preventing people from using HomeKit accessories.


The patch is a revision of OrbiOS 2.1.4, which triggered the HomeKit issues in the first place. Netgear warns that the new software must be manually installed, and should only be used if HomeKit problems are surfacing.

A "more permanent fix" is in development, the company noted.

Like other mesh systems, the Orbi is designed to blanket a home with Wi-Fi, filling in dead zones. While Wi-Fi extenders can serve a similar purpose, the mesh approach allows a seamless network with a single SSID, instead of creating multiple hotspots.

The technology can be particularly important for HomeKit-equipped houses, since flaky connections can cause accessories like lights, smartlocks, thermostats and security cameras to become slow or unresponsive when they're needed.

The original release of 2.1.4 was meant to solve problems with Google Home, but caused some HomeKit users to get "no response" alerts for accessories.

Apple recently discontinued its AirPort routers, having left them untouched for years. That's left diehard Apple consumers with no choice but to turn to third-party alternatives.


  • Reply 1 of 3
    nunzynunzy Posts: 662member
    Netgear should have caught this before shipping to Apple customers. It is like a slap in the face.
  • Reply 2 of 3
    I have been having HomeKit issues lately. When attempting to launch the Home app it hangs forever in “Loading Accessories and Scenes”. On my original call to AppleCare one of the first questions they asked was what I was using for a router. I had been using the router Comcast supplied but have since switched over to only using AirPort Extreme with 2 AirPort Expresses. 

    My issue hasn’t been resolved. After 2 weeks they told me iOS 11.3 resolved my specific issue. Upgraded. Everything was fine for about 3 weeks and now I’m back to where I started and have another AppleCare ticket. I’m hoping for a fix because resetting the Home configuration has been the only thing that (temporarily) works. Then it’s 3-4 hours setting it all back up again. For the 4th time in 3 months. 

    I wish a router fix was all that was needed and find it interesting that that was one of the first questions. 
  • Reply 3 of 3
    EsquireCatsEsquireCats Posts: 1,139member
    Brands such as LIFX specifically recommend Netgear's Orbi to people having persistent HomeKit issues. Needless to say this is a big deal and yet another barrier to HomeKit adoption.

    The majority of HomeKit issues exist because so much networking hardware is garbage and Apple's Airport offerings alone can't fix that.

    Hopefully Apple can enhance HomeKit to incorporate some level of redundancy and reduce these sorts of teething issues.
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