Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD Review

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by DakotaGuy, May 6, 2018.

  1. DakotaGuy, May 6, 2018
    Last edited: May 7, 2018

    DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #1
    I thought I'd give a quick review of this system for anyone who might be looking to upgrade their AirPort Wi-Fi router (or any other router for that matter) since Apple is phasing these products out. I had been an AirPort user for about 12 years and I owned a couple different Extremes over the years as well as a couple Expresses. I always found the AirPorts to be reliable and the software to manage them to be well laid out. Anyhow I decided to upgrade about a month ago and ended up with buying the AmpliFi HD router first. I live in a small enough house that one good router will cover it and the AmpliFi was about the same in coverage as the last generation AirPort Extreme. With that said, although my house is small it is older construction which includes heavy lumber and plaster/lath walls so it's not exactly the easiest house to cover. I also need to have my router along the wall in the back bedroom so out in the living room coverage drops quite a bit. I had some money left on a Best Buy gift card so I decided to add 1 mesh point in the center of my house. It is small enough to be hidden behind a book shelf so you don't even notice it. Wow! That made all the difference. Now my house has excellent and very fast Wi-Fi signal in every room and my device connections are stable and flying! Even when connecting though the Mesh Point my iPad is hitting a stable 750+ Mbps all over the house. My S8+ is seeing similar speeds and streaming video on Wi-FI devices is almost instant. I have a 100 Mbps down and 10 Mbps up Internet connection so I know this is overkill, but everything is just so responsive on a robust network.

    As you can see in my first picture I have a very simple networking set-up in my house. I'm using an Arris SB6183 cable modem connected to the AmpliFi HD. I also have a Motorola MoCA 2.0 bonded adapter that networks my two TiVos though the coax. I just did a restart before taking these pictures because I was messing around with stuff, but I can say the AmpliFi has been very reliable since I installed it. The app is very comprehensive and is really a much better and more modern app then what Apple is using for the AirPorts. You can customize it so all of your devices are properly named on your network. It gives you a lot of details as you can see by the attached pictures. Set-up was very easy for me and I am not a networking pro at all. If you can configure an AirPort you can configure this system. I like the guest network features and although I'll probably never use it the "Internet pause" feature might be handy if you have kids you are trying to get to dinner or bed. Haha! You can broadcast all SSIDs if you want (each router and MP will broadcast a 2.4 and 5 Ghz SSID) or just broadcast 1 that will work for everything whether it's 2.4 Ghz or 5 Ghz. That's what I do and it allows devices to roam between the main router and the mesh point depending on what is more powerful at that location. Sometimes it takes awhile for a device to jump to the closer point, but I think if you have a larger house that won't be as much of an issue.

    Both the router and the mesh point run rather cool and do not have any fans. The "power brick" for the main router is tiny so it's not an issue at all. I feel the power cord is too short for the main router though (about 3') and you'd need a USB-C extension to add length to it. The light on the main router touchscreen LCD can be dimmed, turned off, or run on a schedule. The same is true for the base lighting. The last thing I will say is depending on your needs you might not need the whole package that includes the router and two mesh points. If you have a small house or apartment you might just need the router which is about $150. I was able to buy the extra mesh point for about $100 so the total for my system was $250. That's cheaper then an AirPort Extreme and AirPort Express combo and this is a much more robust solution.

    After I use this system more I'll be happy to report back on how reliable it is. Like I said, so far I really like it and as someone who owns iOS and Android devices I really like the fact that the identical app is available for both. Like I said before I am no networking expert and this system may or may not meet your needs. I do find it very comparable to the AirPorts though so I figured it might be a good option for people moving on from their AirPort systems.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
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    on the land line mr. smith.
    #2
    Thanks for the quick review.

    Amplfi has been on my short list for a while, because—on paper—it checks most boxes for most folks that would attracted to the Airport line: Sexy, easy, reliable.

    Good to hear it is that and more. As I don't have one, always good to get more confirmation from real-world users.
     
  3. daven85 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2011
    #3
    I like the ease of use of the Amplifi. It gives you alot of power in an easy to use item that people will like. Want I would love is some more control for example.

    I like it but don't want to replace by UniFi AP's, and the ability to not be able to use it as just a Router is frustrating.

    I also wish it gave you more control over the IP ranges.

    Don't get me wrong a great device, and I have one seating on my desk right now. But I would love an 'Advanced Mode' for people. To me I love the LCD screen that can tell my phone if the internet is up or down! Saves me so much time when she bitches it is down but the internet isn't... its more her site isn't working.
     
  4. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    on the land line mr. smith.
    #4
    Agreed. Typically we get one or the other: simple/easy...or sophisticated and granular control. Rarely both.

    I won't give up my Unifi APs either...but once more mature I might try the Unfi security gateway (router) in place of my current Edge. But I like having 4 LAN ports and POE on it too so....maybe not.
     
  5. chabig macrumors 603

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2002
    #5
    I got one last week. Love it so far. One unmentioned “Pro” compared to Apples Airport products is that it doesn’t have to reboot when you change settings.
     
  6. palebluedot macrumors 6502a

    palebluedot

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    Jun 29, 2008
    #6
    What about privacy? I am debaitng between buying another Time Capsule (for when my current one dies/replace the current) or Ubiqiti Amplifi. Obviously Ubiqiti is a well known brand in the corporate space. What scares me is the cloud phoning home and privacy issues with the same. Have you looked into it/packet sniffed/are comfortable? To me, AirPorts are awesome because they are "dumb" in the sense that they are traditional routers with minimal leak to Apple. A current AirPort AC will last you until the end of support (5 years) and adoption of the next wifi standard.
     
  7. belvdr macrumors 603

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    #7
    I have never heard of any Ubiquiti gear phoning home or uploading data as you mention.
     
  8. hobowankenobi, May 9, 2018
    Last edited: May 9, 2018

    hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #8
    For the Unifi APs, you can use a downloadable free config tool to setup and monitor (Mac or Win). Don't have to use the iOS app. One great thing about it...if you are really worried about a company sniffing, is that it does not have to run, once setup. Can't get "dumber" than that.

    I go months and months without the tool on; no path to sniff anything. And, you can run the tool without an internet connection (LAN only).

    I can't confirm anything as I have no knowledge as what goes on behind the curtain, but I can say that I would be surprised if there were any flagrant privacy issues with UBNT. Tons of large orgs with wicked smart techs use them, and I doubt they could ever get away with ANY snooping.

    I think Amplifi is mobile app only...for simplicity.
     
  9. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    Location:
    The Finger Lakes Region
    #9
    Just remember to use CAT 6 cable from your Modem to your main router!

    I have seen many times even professionals look over that sometimes! Heck they even write the CAT number written on most Ethernet cables!
     
  10. DakotaGuy thread starter macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #10
    Isn't Cat 5e good enough? I think it's only a 1 gigabit port anyhow. I think the supplied cable was stamped Cat 5e. I just don't see the reason to waste money if you don't need to I guess.
     
  11. hobowankenobi macrumors 6502a

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    #11
    Short answer: Yes. Good enough. Most internet connections (modem to router) are well under Gig, and are usually very short cable runs.

    Still, whenever buying cables, the price difference is minimal (or should be), so go CAT 6. Literally larger gauge copper. Better shielding. Good write up here.
     
  12. DakotaGuy thread starter macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #12
    This advice makes sense. I was just saying that if you already have short CAT 5e cables then they are probably plenty good for this application. If you are going out and purchasing new then yes I would say it's smart to buy CAT 6 ones.
     
  13. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Singapore
    #13
    Thanks DG that's a useful review. I have only recently (in the last 6 months) discovered Ubiquity myself and now have a USG (firewall) and UniFi wireless product in my household. I really do enjoy them, price is great too!

    May I inquire why you chose the Amplifi over the UniFi products? I'm not that familiar with the AmpliFi myself...
     
  14. DakotaGuy thread starter macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #14
    I chose it over a UniFi solution for a few reasons. I wanted a router and access point built into one device like the AirPort Extreme or other home products. It’s just a simple and easy solution to set up a network with these types of devices. I also live in a home built in 1934 which is all plaster on lath. Although the house has been re-wired electrically in the past few years there is no built-in Cat 5 or 6 wiring. I preferred a wireless system in my situation. Last, I really like the AmpliFi app and from all reports the radios and antennas have about the same reach and power as the UniFi access points. Anyhow those are some reasons why I chose it. The UniFi system might work better for others with a different set-up or someone who is looking for more out of their system then a typical legacy AirPort user would want.
     
  15. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    Jun 11, 2007
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    #15
    All very valid reasoning - thanks!

    I have the USG firewall + a few of the UniFi products, and the UniFi controller just makes it so simple to configure. For example, I added an extra wireless AP to my network yesterday, plugged into the network, waited for it to show on the UniFi controller and hit "Adopt". Within a minute or two, it was setup identical to the other devices.

    I find these products to be more business orientated, whereas yours seems to be the 'All-In-One' product for home users, which is great.

    Enjoy!
     
  16. satcomer macrumors 603

    satcomer

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    #16
    Yes and no!
     
  17. DoFoT9 macrumors P6

    DoFoT9

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    #17
    I guess I agree that there's no real need to purchase 6 cabling (7 is also out now, ish) unless you are installing hardwire cabling into your house that can't be changed at a later date. 5e is perfectly capable of supporting 10gb.
     
  18. dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

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    #18
    In my experience, it's always proven best to buy the best that you can afford. In the case of cabling, you don't know what the future might offer... and for a few cents per foot, it makes sense to buy the better cable and not have to worry about redoing the job at some point in the future.
     
  19. mtbdudex, Nov 28, 2018
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2018

    mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

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    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #19
    Searched and found this review, perfect for me, thx OP for doing this.
    I'm leaning towards the Amplifi also, this review
    https://michaelkummer.com/technology/amplifi-hd-review-wi-fi-mesh-networking-technology/

    did reading on AmpliFi vs. UniFi Reviews as follows:
    https://michaelkummer.com/technology/amplifi-vs-unifi-review/

    Also - they have enabled ethernet backhauling now, so if you have a far part that is cat5e/6 accessable you can use that method
    With our loghome, and 2 stories + basement + garage good to know this
    https://help.amplifi.com/hc/en-us/articles/115006826048-Ethernet-Wired-Backhaul-How-To
     
  20. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
    SE Michigan
    #20
    Wow, I installed the AmpliFi last night, quick feedback:

    -it’s so much easier to configure than my Apple AirPort Extreme ever was.
    -stats on each device usage
    -with just the base station signal was significantly stronger
    -adding the 2 mesh points
    Awesome coverage whole home now
     
  21. dwfaust macrumors 601

    dwfaust

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2011
    #21
    Absolutely agree. I've had my Amplifi system installed for about a year and a half... love it to death... solid coverage across my house, garage and back yard... and was a snap to configure... still trouble-free.
     
  22. DakotaGuy thread starter macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    South Dakota, USA
    #22
    Glad I was able to help you make a decision. I'm still loving my AmpliFi system. It works amazingly well.
     
  23. mtbdudex macrumors 68000

    mtbdudex

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Location:
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    #23

    For others on the fence post
    Here’s main window of the app
    [​IMG]

    Click on clients and it knows exactly who’s connected, you can pause any, or all.
    [​IMG]

    Optimize the data type for each device
    [​IMG]

    Do quick internet speed test,
    [​IMG]

    Each mesh point performance also, and tweak placement based on performance
    [​IMG]
     
  24. DakotaGuy thread starter macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2002
    Location:
    South Dakota, USA
    #24
    Thanks for the additional screen shots. I'm still really enjoying my system. This thing is so much further ahead of the old AirPort systems I think anyone who upgrades will be very happy with their purchase.
     
  25. IdentityCrisis Suspended

    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2018
    #25

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