Orange presented its Livebox 6 this morning, a new WiFi 6E-compatible internet box. A brief overview of its qualities and its shortcomings.
Within a day, the Livebox 6 could have been the first WiFi 6E compatible operator box. Bouygues must have pulled the rug from under him a day before. This does not detract from the qualities of this Livebox 6, which was the first to be presented in VR”, in the metaverse †
Usage has changed, operators adapt
Uses change. With the Covid, our way of life has been permanently revolutionized, and this is just the beginning. According to OpinionWay, 61% of French men and women have discovered new uses of the Internet in the past two years, such as telecommuting, video conferencing or teleconsultation. These applications have experienced exceptional growth on this occasion and have established themselves as a new way of thinking about our interactions. Coincidentally, the Livebox development began in March 2020, in complete confinement.
According to Fabienne Dulac, deputy general manager of Orange, we won 5 years [d’évolution] in just 2 years » and the future has yet to be written with eyes clearly on the metaverse, present on everyone’s lips, though few have any real interest in it at this point. This is also why this press conference was preceded by a quick presentation in virtual reality: in the room, around thirty journalists set up an Oculus connected via Wi-Fi to a Livebox 6 to show the resilience and stability of the network, because this is the main interest of this Livebox 6: WiFi.
The latest generation of Wi-Fi
The Livebox 6 is therefore the second box Ready for Wi-Fi 6E after Bouygues’ Bbox ultym. Cette nouvelle norme repose sur l’utilisation de la bande 6 GHz (en plus des traditionnelles bands 2.4 and 5 GHz), peu encombrée et donc plus rapide, plus fluide et plus fiable dans les logements comprenant un très grand nombre d’appareils connected. For example, Orange promises to be able to offer download speeds of up to 2 Gb/s wirelessly, three times more than what a Livebox in WiFi 5 offers. During the tests we performed, we were able to get 1800 Mb/s for 600. Mb/s upload speed on a Pixel 6†
The Livebox 6’s wired connection is also gaining traction. Such as we expected itthe Livebox 6 offers 5 Ethernet ports: 4 that can offer a speed of up to 1 Gb/s and a last that – theoretically – goes up to 2.5 Gb/s, for 800 Mb/s inupload(and up to 1 Gb/s for the Pro).
No symmetrical current
At a time when Free and SFR offer symmetric (theoretical) speeds of up to 8 Gb/s with 10G-EPON technologies for free and XGS-PON for SFR, you might wonder whether the primary access provider to the Internet is limited to such “low “speeds. However, to take advantage of such technology, the entire core network has to be overhauled and at the moment very few users can take advantage of it at Orange.
In addition, there are currently few devices that are compatible and of extremely limited use in the context of a consumer household. If this is clearly the future, Orange therefore prefers to stick to more current technologies, in order to offer a new box in a few years’ time that will take the next step in particular Wi-Fi 7†
Technically this is indeed justifiable, but ecologically it could lead to a certain number of users having to renew their equipment in a few years instead of keeping their Livebox 6. A point that can therefore be discussed, especially since the historic ISP shows great ecological ambitions.
Ecology central to Orange’s discourse
Because yes, ecology is an important point in the communication around the Livebox 6 in order to stick to the company’s net 0 carbon target in all its activities by 2040. First in the design (with recycled and recyclable plastic and increased reparability), then in the sleek packaging, but also in the basic operation and power consumption.
A connected Livebox, but “inactive(without data transfer) according to Orange, consumes between 8 and 10 W. With the Livebox 6, Orange has integrated two standby modes that can be activated from the Orange & Me app† The former cuts off the main features of the box (Wi-Fi, etc.), but leaves the phone active so you can be reached. This simple function nevertheless requires keeping deeper layers of the box active and the savings are therefore minimal: barely more than 25% with a consumption of 5 W.
The second mode immerses the box in a deep sleep mode and then consumes only 0.5 W. However, you lose your home automation functions that require a LAN network (surveillance cameras† connected speakers…) for minimal savings. Fortunately, it is possible to program standby times or manage them remotely from the application.
In the same kind of detail, Wi-Fi band 6E turns off automatically when no compatible device is available to save some power. On the scale of a household it’s negligible, but on the scale of millions of Orange customers it’s all that…
A Livebox Max subscription that’s more restrictive than anything else
Livebox 6 comes with a new package: the Livebox Max offer. This makes it possible to exceed the limit of 1 Gb/s per device and take full advantage of the possibilities of the box. It is also a bit more expensive: 34.99 euros per month for the first 12 months, then 54.99 euros per month. By crossing the psychological threshold of 50 euros with little change that a router (albeit expensive) in combination with a Livebox 5 is enough to take advantage of Wi-Fi 6EOrange does not allow itself to flood the market with its new products.
The offer is of course available in Open format (quadruple play with a telephone subscription) from 57.99 euros per month (33.99 euros the first year). However, for a telephone subscription with 70 GB of data, you pay 42.99 euros per month in the first year, then 76.99 euros.
All offers will be available from Thursday 7 April via the link below, in mainland France, but also in Réunion, Guyana, Guadeloupe and Martinique:
It’s expensive, but Orange makes several points to justify such a price: up to 3 WiFi repeaters, a free wall mount available on request, the second free TV decoder and its Internet Start service (which offers 200 GB in 4G). new customers awaiting the activation of their line), but also the after-sales service in the event of a move or breakdown and the simplicity of its box.
The Livebox 6 is easy to use
With its new slim and vertical design (to focus the Wi-Fi antennas on the top and improve the dispersion of the waves), the Livebox 6 displays all the information on its screen in electronic ink on its touchscreen. For example, there is a QR code to facilitate pairing, as well as an extremely simplified initialization for installation. The box even takes care of reconnecting all your devices connected to an old box if you are already an Orange customer.
Will this be enough to justify the 55 euros per month while the TV decoder does not evolve on its side? Have…
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