I had a look at the UniFi system back in 2013 . Since then I have installed 2 complete systems and I’ve always been impressed.
Now Ubiquiti Networks have released the UK version of AmpliFi, billed as a top quality domestic system that promises to be “the ultimate Wi-Fi” whilst being even easier to roll out and maintain than the UniFi…
AmpliFi is more than a common home router: it’s the ultimate Wi-Fi system. With turbocharged 802.11ac Wi-Fi, AmpliFi utilizes multiple self-configuring radios and advanced antenna technology to bring ubiquitous Wi-Fi coverage to any home.
The dual radio hardware supports 802.11b/g/a/n/ac and WPA2-PSK AES/TKIP. The mesh router can be used stand-alone or with other AmpliFi components for multi-hop, self-healing wireless coverage and enhanced range.
In the Box
There are three SKUs for the AmpliFi hardware available in the UK. The £150 AmpliFi HD Home Router, the £132 AmpliFi HD Mesh Point and the 3-piece £360 AmpliFi HD Kit which includes the router plus 2 pre-paired mesh points.
The 10 cm soft touch matt white cube router is a very pretty thing with its sleek design and touchscreen display. It’s certainly something you won’t be embarrassed to have on display in your living room. The glowing LED on its base and the touchscreen can both be dimmed or turned off completely.
While most of us start off using the built-in WiFi on our ISPs router, it’s usually not long before the unholy mess of wireless extenders and powerline adapters appear in an attempt to plug the gaps around the house.
AmpliFi’s router and mesh points work together to eliminate dead spots in your home and provide a seamless experience for your family and all their devices.
Setup is elegantly simple. There’s a Gigabit Ethernet port on the back to connect to your main router or switch. It has a further 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports you can use for hardwired devices in the room.
The USB port on the rear is “reserved for future use”. It would be nice to be able to add a hard drive on here for some file sharing action. Or how about a 3G/4G USB dongle for sharing a cellular connection.
Once it’s plugged in and booted the screen prompts you to download the iOS or Android app to continue the setup (you can also do this via a web browser of you prefer). The app uses Bluetooth LE to talk to the AmpliFi hardware.
We measured the router consuming around 6 watts (manufacturers quotes max power consumption of 11 Watts) and the mesh points using around 4 watts each.
The column of little blue LEDs on the meshpoint are an instant visualisation of signal strength and these LEDs can be turned off from the app too if you prefer.
Ubiquiti promise “Super Antenna Technology” for superior range and speed. In our un-scientific tests the AmpliFi provided coverage for our entire house (3,250 sq ft) with impressive speed.
If you have the cable in your walls then using wired access points like the UniFi UAP-AC-LITE will still be a little faster. However for most people the AmpliFi should be perfect,
You can enable the guest network (not in bridge mode) and leave it on permanently or have it operate only in a timed window. The QoS feature allows you to prioritise your devices services and the parental controls give the the ability to schedule ‘quiet times’ for your children.
You can access your system remotely with the built in Cloud management facility. However I couldn’t see a way to sign in without using my Google or Facebook account. I’d rather not have to do that and just setup a separate email account for the AmpliFi.
The main unit displays the time and date but a tap of its circular screen cycles through other information like internet traffic and port status.
The mesh point electronics and antenna are attached to the mains plug with an innovative magnetic coupling which includes contacts to pass the power.
This allows you to steer the antenna for maximum reception. In reality the range of movement is bit limited. A more useful benefit of the mag-mount is its ability to cope with curious little people that may find swinging on the unit to irresistible. Other manufacturers WiFi access points may not survive the rug rat test so well 🙂
The AmpliFi website currently promises an IoT add-on in the future. This image named NVR suggests it’s a Network Video Recorder. So perhaps there’s going to be some kind of smart home IP CCTV accessory coming.
The AmpliFi is a premium product that has to compete with other mesh WiFi system like the Netgear Orbi, Linksys Velop, Eero, Google WiFi and even BT who have got in on the act recently. But AmpliFi comes from one of the most respected names in enterprise networking.
It provides an incredibly simple setup and seamless connectivity on a single WLAN around your home making everything invisible to the user.
Supported Data Rates (Mbps):
802.11ac 13 Mbps to 1300 Mbps (MCS0 – MCS9, VHT 20/40/80)
802.11n 6.5 Mbps to 450 Mbps (MCS0 – MCS23, HT 20/40)
802.11a 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps
802.11b 1, 2, 5.5, 11 Mbps
802.11g 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps