Two and a half years after the launch of its Livebox 5, Orange is signing a new internet box whose goal is clear: to bring the incumbent operator up to the technical level of its main competitors.
To exist in the telecom market, both fixed and mobile, you need to be able to regularly present new offers, as well as many opportunities for technical updates to keep up with the latest developments. In this game, Orange had suffered a lot of delay on the side of its internet boxes. The latest Livebox to date, numbered 5, is more than two years old and has failed to impress with its technical innovations. At the time of its release, Orange had mainly focused on its eco-design and a more controlled impact on the environment.
A commendable philosophy partly carried over by the new Livebox 6. Its production includes 100% recycled and recyclable plastic, while a two-level standby mode is easily accessible to limit power consumption when the box is less (or not at all) ) has been asked.
The presentation of this new box by the boss of Orange France, Fabienne Dulac, took place halfway through the metaverse. A way for the operator to emphasize his taste for the latest technologies. Above all, we learned about the technical developments of this new offering. Orange had to catch up at least competition by – finally – offering a more modern and high-end box.
A 2.5 Gb/s port, but an offer with a 2 Gb/s downstream speed
Compatible only with fiber optics (not with xDSL technologies), this box is the first from Orange to offer an RJ45 port compatible with 2.5 Gb/s in addition to four 1 Gb/s ports. Everything is powered by a fixed downlink speed of 2 Gb/s for 800 Mb/s uplink. This is an unpleasant surprise, given that the competition offers up to 5 or 10 Gb/s and that with the Livebox 5 you could already benefit from a download speed of 2 Gb/s (600 Mb/s upload speed). According to Fabienne Dulac, this would not meet the current needs of customers. However, the speed increase will be an essential step in the future, she believes.
Another interesting novelty, the presence of a WiFi 6 module on the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, and even WiFi 6E on the 6 GHz band. The latter, less cluttered, guarantees a lower amount of signal interference and better performance. Flat, to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6, and even more so from Wi-Fi 6E, it is necessary to use devices compatible with these two standards. For WiFi 6, more and more devices are integrating compatible modules, but it is still very rare to use WiFi 6E. However, this remains a choice for the future that we can welcome. Orange has a more efficient offer here that can compete with the small bombs of Bouygues Telecom and Free.
Physically, the Livebox 6 plays the sobriety card. Small, rather thick square, it is designed for: “integrate more harmoniously into the home”, explains Oranje. The box can be installed horizontally, but Orange says it is designed to be used vertically, which would optimize Wi-Fi coverage. We see fabric finishes on both sides of the box, such as speakers. On the front, in addition to a thin orange bezel with backlight that indicates the activity of the box, there is a small e-Ink touchscreen. A choice explained by the quest for electrical sobriety, this screen also simplifies installation, diagnosis, speed tests, Wi-Fi management, activation of standby mode, etc.
Services, no new TV decoder and a €55/month offer after one year
In addition to these hardware aspects, Orange is integrating the Wi-Fi Serenity program into its Livebox 6 offer. This is support for customers who can ensure that they benefit from a correct installation and practical advice to optimize the network coverage of their home. With Wi-Fi Serenity, already offered with other Orange offers, you can be put in touch with a business specialist. In some cases, the installation of one to three WiFi repeaters may be recommended. Each of these devices will be charged €10 upon commissioning, but there will be no additional charges thereafter. An Airbox (4G wifi key) combined with a 20 GB mobile data package per month is also part of the commercial offer, while the telephony part includes unlimited calls to fixed and mobile numbers in Europe, the United States and Canada.
On the other hand (necessarily a disappointment for many) Orange did not think it appropriate to associate this new box with a new TV decoder. The “TV player” remains the UHD 4K decoder already included with the Livebox 5, which the operator considers up-to-date because it is compatible with 4K and Dolby Atmos standards. In practice, many Orange customers were waiting for the arrival of a new decoder and, above all, a more modern platform and interface, better adapted to recent television use.
For the time being, there is no question of Orange offering this Livebox 6 to Sosh customers. It will be reserved for Orange customers in the company’s stores from tomorrow, Thursday, April 7, 2022. It is offered on a priority basis to new customers as part of the Livebox Max offer, billed at €34.99/month for the first year (€54.99 thereafter). It is therefore Orange’s most expensive offer, at €5 more than the Livebox Up Fiber package. Orange ensures that all its fiber customers can make a migration request if they wish to switch to the Livebox Max offer and take advantage of the new box.