Over the summer, I upgraded my home network to Ubiquiti gear. Ubiquiti do business Wifi, all the way up to covering stadiums. I first heard about them from Troy Hunt and then again from Marco Arment on Accidental Tech Podcast. Ubiquiti are popular in prosumer space - for people serious about good Wifi.
So far it’s been an excellent experience and I’d highly recommend it. After setting it up (there is a few moving pieces) it has been running without any intervention from me. Being a professional product, it’s not just a home router (with inbuilt wifi), there is a few more pieces you need to buy:
- Gateway - this connects to your home router, and serves as an access point (approx. €120)
- Switch - this is to distribute the internet from the gateway to all other devices (approx. €105) [plugs in to Gateway]
- Cloud Key - this is the management ‘computer’ that gives you a web control panel to control all the Ubiquiti gear (approx. €85) [plugs in to Switch]
- Wireless Access point - this is the ‘Antenna’ which actually gives you wifi (approx. €90) [plugs in to Switch]
Basic connection diagram would be like this:
Your ISP Modem ∧ | ∨ Gateway ∧ | ∨ Switch <-> Cloud Key ∧ | | |-> Any other Wired Devices ∨ Access Point ∧ | ∨ Your Wifi Devices
This is the basic Ubiquiti setup, you need to purchase at least 4 devices to give you Wifi. So at this point, you may think it’s all expensive and you’d be right. For the 4 devices, you are looking at at least €400 outlay - which is much more expensive then even the high-end Wifi routers from Netgear etc.
The big advantage is: expandability and ease of control. The Ubiquiti dashboard is highly configurable, you can search for Wifi channels which the neighbours aren’t using. Also, if you have dead spots in your house, no problem, just buy another Wireless Access Point and plug it in: job done!
Another big advantage for me, if I change internet service provider, I just plug a new modem in to my gateway. Nothing changes (like IP addresses) for my local devices. Also, you could configure Ubiquiti gateway to have two connections (like cable modem and 4G modem connected) and load balance or fail-over between them - but I haven’t gone that crazy (yet!). Also, if a new standard of Wifi comes? Just pop on another access point.
Overall I’m very happy with the setup. It feels like an investment that you get payback over time on, so I’m looking forward to being able to manage my network much easier and incrementally upgrade over time with much less hassle.