Review: AmpliFi Mesh Wi-Fi System and AmpliFi Teleport Kit

Posted:
in General Discussion edited July 11
Amplifi, a subsidiary brand of Ubiquiti, sells Wi-Fi mesh routing systems that target the same market Apple's AirPort routers were focused on: easy-to-manage networks with high performance and industrial design pleasant enough to put in the home.

amplifi hd router
"Wi-Fi perfected"

What it is

Amplifi sells two kits, as well as separate routers and mesh nodes to extend routers. AppleInsider went hands-on with both a mesh node kit, consisting of a router and two mesh nodes, and a separate Teleport kit, made up of one router and one Teleport unit.

The Router HD is a cube with a circular touch-sensitive display on the front that cycles through IP address, throughput up and downstream, and which ports are connected around the back. The router has four gigabit Ethernet ports, USB-C for power, and a single USB-A port that is reserved for future use, but isn't functional at this time.



The mesh nodes are tall units that stand out from the wall a little. They're an interesting design: They're actually two units that are held together by magnets, with spring-loaded pogo pins applying power at the magnetic joint. This allows the top part to be repositioned, which can help with improving the signal.

The construction puts the power supply in the section that connects to the wall outlet, while the processor, memory, network interface and other similar components are in the upper portion. From a manufacturing standpoint, this makes it easy to build units for different power requirements around the world, even though the mesh nodes are 120v-240v, 50Hz-60Hz, even on the units equipped with North American style outlet prongs.

What it gets right

Focusing on the router-with-two-mesh-nodes kit first, the system is quite easy to install. Connect the router to power and Ethernet to the modem from your ISP, and install the app on your iOS or an Android device.

The router's initial configuration is available via web, but it only covers the barest amount of configuration there: any advanced features are available only from the app. This should satisfy both the people that liked used the AirPort Utility from iOS, and crusty old sysadmins and PC users that are accustomed to administering routers from a browser.

The app set up is quite smooth, with only a few pages to step through from initial discovery of the router to being up and running. This is important, as unlike some of the other systems we've tested, having a fast path to being up and connected to the Internet leads to a pleasing out-of-the-box experience.

app setup
The app setup is really pretty easy.


The cube-shaped Router HD is nice to look at, and the touch-sensitive display is a nice feature. At rest, it's a clock, and with a tap, it shows what IP address it's assigned. The app allows it to turn off the display with start and end times for Night Mode.

The mesh nodes are not quite as elegant. Both households I've installed them in have called them "candles". They're tall, don't sit flush against the wall, and in American homes, outlets are low to the ground and liable to be kicked, or brushed up against. In European construction homes, outlets tend to be closer to waist height.

We put one in a kitchen outlet, and it wasn't exactly what we'd call "matching the decor."

Initial results

We installed Amplifi HD with mesh nodes in two homes with known signal blackspots. In both cases, the nodes restored signal to those portions of the home, bringing it up to an acceptable amount of signal strength coverage.

small house, bad wifi
This is the signal when using the built-in Wi-Fi in the cable modem. Clearly, the back half of the residence is poor for signal coverage.


This is what a blackspot looks like. It's disappointing, and we had tried many solutions before using a mesh system: powerline-to-powerline, to link an iMac in the back room with the cable modem at the front of the house, or powerline to a powerline-Wi-Fi access point to try and do the same. They didn't work reliably.

For many people, that's all it has to do. If you can get signal where you couldn't before, and run a laptop, iPhone on Wi-Fi, or an AppleTV, most people consider this a job well done.


small house good wifi
This signal strength map shows what it looks like when we add a node and the signal problems are all resolved. This house is an apartment with concrete construction.



big house, bad wifi
Another signal strength map for much larger house with a common American wood frame construction. Note the dead zone in the lower right. That's where the home entertainment lives, including Apple TV.


When we put the Amplifi HD Mesh Wi-Fi system with both nodes in place, that problem went away completely.

big house, good wifi
Look again at the lower right, and see how it's flooded with good signal. This made the homeowner much happier.

What didn't go to plan

Networking is complex. It's a monumental task to simplify it and still give the user in the home enough flexibility to somewhat custom configurations, whether those are things like parental device access restrictions, or other slightly boutique options.

The router hides many options routers commonly exposed to users, including options Apple Airport exposed to users, back when Apple made routers.

Notably, you can't set a specific DNS IP to be assigned to DHCP clients. We happen to run pi-hole.net DNS on the LAN and assign it automatically to client devices, but Amplifi's only means of making that work is to put their router in bridge mode, let some other device assign DHCP, which has the downside of disabling mesh routing with its nodes.

DHCP settings
This is pretty much it when it comes to managing your local DHCP.


Fortunately, you can use the app to help check for node placement. The goal is to have a node close enough to the main router to get strong signal back and forth, and yet far enough away to spread coverage where you need it. The app gives some guidance on this when you look at node settings.

great placement
The mesh node settings showing great placement


mesh node showing only good signal
The mesh node settings show good placement


Hardware-wise, the mesh points are hardware locked to the router. This is clearly an edge case, and outside normal expectations, but we had the Teleport system and the regular Amplifi mesh kit.

What happens if we took a mesh node from the kit and tried to pair it with the Teleport kit Router HD? You can't. Even though the same router is sold as a part of the router - teleport kit, Amplifi's support explained in chat that it is impossible to add mesh points from one kit to the other.

The main problem we experienced with the mesh node system was it occasionally losing connection with its nodes, even when the app had said they were positioned well for great signal. The only way to tell that a node was offline was to suspect something was wrong, open the app to see one missing, and then power cycle the node. Most users may not suspect anything's wrong, and may not pursue it by investigating in the app.

Signal coverage did increase measurably while using the nodes, so they do appear to function, and empirically, devices were able to connect in areas that were formerly black holes for signal.

Additionally, Amplifi has some nice tools in the works, including a "Controller" web interface in beta. The interface allows you to draw a map of your building, specify the materials for the walls, and place the router and nodes on the map. It then shows you what coverage and reflections of the wireless signal look like in your environment, which is helpful if you're having difficulty planning placement of the routers and relying on the signal strength indicator in the app isn't clear enough.

In the course of this review, we updated the app whenever the app received a public update, and we updated the firmware regularly, starting from 1.5.9 all the way up to 2.7.1. We wanted to make sure that we gave the product every opportunity to perform its best.

amplifi beta controller interface showing 5ghz
The web-based controller is in beta, and allows you to see where Wi-Fi signal dispersion is likely go to. This image shows 5 GHz being stopped by some of the concrete walls.


amplifi controller interface showing 2.4 ghz performance
2.4GHz goes further and through more materials, as shown by the controller.


It's difficult to force the client to connect to a specific node for testing, and as long as you get signal dispersion and speeds aren't too bad, you might be satisfied. If you're the sort of person who regularly runs speed tests, or notices when traffic feels slightly slow like a tingling Spidey-sense, you might not be satisfied with this kit.

The Amplifi Router HD has remote access as a feature in its app, requiring Google or Facebook accounts to sign in. Readers of AppleInsider are well aware of Facebook's mis-handling of user data and Apple's position on it.

A vocal number of our readers are also skeptical of placing trust in Google, especially with reports of Google permitting third parties to read Gmail contents. Amplifi support assured us that they have developers working on an alternate solution to requiring Google or Facebook.

remote access
Remote Access, required for the Teleport device, requires Google or Facebook. Amplifi support indicated that their developers are working on an option that doesn't rely on Google or Facebook.


When using Teleport, if Remote access has not been set up, it won't work. That's fine, except setting up Teleport doesn't seem to insist or require that remote access be set up.

The setup process is very clunky, requiring you to simulate being off-site for Teleport device setup. Practically, this means you have to connect the Teleport to a phone-as-hotspot or some other network to get it set up.

We set it up using both the phone-as-hotspot and joined it's Wi-Fi network with a Mac, and then alternately, we connected it via Ethernet to the ISP modem directly instead of to a router so that it would be set for using Ethernet when we traveled. This means, when you travel with Teleport, you have to predict how it will connect to Internet before your trip.

If you know where you're going has Ethernet, great. If you find as we have, that hotels that used to have Ethernet in rooms have remodeled and now only provide Wi-Fi, take that into account.

Disappointingly, we set Teleport up at home, had Remote Access enabled, had it working by all appearances, went on a 6000 mile trip to the home with the router and mesh node kit set up, and found we were unable to access the home network. After much communication with Amplifi Support, this was their advice:
"In order to see the router that's at home 6000 miles away, you should have enabled remote access. So this teleport can send a pairing request on your home router and using Remote access option, you can accept that request. This is how this Teleport will establish the connection to your home router's network.

As the remote access isn't set up and as there's no way to accept the pairing request on your home router, I'm sorry you will need to wait until you get home. Once you reach home, you can set up the remote access option and after that, you will be able to connect to it from outside the network using Teleport."
This was disappointing, considering that we did have it fully working at home. With all that said, Teleport is a neat idea. The notion that you can plug in a device and have a VPN come up configured to connect to your home network can be a very handy thing when traveling. It's a shame that it didn't work.

It is noted that Teleport is claimed to work with other routers as well. We didn't try this feature.

Teleport Score: 2 out of 5

image

But, the Amplifi Mesh Wi-Fi system has a lot going for it. The Router HD unit is a nice looking cube with a display that conveys useful information right up front, without over-complicating things. It's easy to set up. On its own, we're pretty pleased with the hardware aspect of it.

Amplifi HD Wi-Fi Mesh System Score: 3 out of 5

image

Unfortunately, the entire experience hasn't been as smooth as we hoped. The unpredictable disconnection of nodes, the inability to specify options like DNS for DHCP clients without disabling mesh networking, and the requirement of Facebook or Google sign-on to enable Remote Access leave us a little less enthused about this kit.

The Teleport Kit presented even more difficulties, with a difficult setup that, even when it seemed to be working correctly, it failed to work while away from home. Being advised to go home and try and set it up again for a future trip was not a satisfactory answer from the support team.

We recognize that networking is a complex subject, but the entire point of these products is to make the complex accessible to people who don't know much about networking. This package is not that.

Where to buy

The Amplifi HD Wi-Fi Mesh System is available for $339.00 with free shipping at Amazon.com. The Teleport system is available for $234 with free shipping, also from Amazon.com
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    SoliSoli Posts: 8,366member
    I never took a serious look at Amplifi when buying a mesh winter system because of the built-in display. Too gimmicky for a device that become invisible once setup. I went with Eero. Zero complaints.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    o4blackwrxo4blackwrx Posts: 382member
    I've installed dozens of these and dozens of Eero's - replaced 6 Eero's so far and 0 of these.  Also why such a low score on edge cases like DNS for DHCP Clients when the average user doesn't even know what DHCP and they are safeguarded currently from not being able to connect to the internet.  I also remember when Eero first came out it missed the same features but received a higher (albeit .5) star rating.  Seems that the author doesn't take into account the average user and knocks Amplifi because it uses Facebook and/or Gmail (last time I checked they had 100's of Millions of users) and because of the DNS issue which is a shame because overall it seems like the heat maps were better then Eero. 
  • Reply 3 of 25
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 881member
    I have the Amplifi.

    Works great for mesh WiFi. Not super powerful as a PPPOE device. I was able to buy into CenturyLink Gigabit Fiber for $80/mo recently. I didn't want to lease/buy their modem/router. Saw the Amplifi can login to PPPOE (which I need to get my Fiber connection going) but saw my Gigabit speeds go down to 300Mbps speed. The Amplifi couldn't keep up. I guess PPPOE is computationally demanding? Not my area of expertise.

    I eventually settled on a Unbiquity (the makers of Amplifi) EdgeRouter. It can keep up with the full-Gigabit-speed with PPPOE.

    Turned off the Routing on the Amplifi. Works great.

    Sent back the CenturyLink Technicolor monstrosity and save another $10/month.

    If I ever switch ISPs, all my custom DHCP reservations & port forwards live in the EdgeRouter, which I won't need to replace until someone can deliver 10Gb to the house.
    fastasleep
  • Reply 4 of 25
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 1,887member
    The problem I have with this home system is that you can't plug in the 2 smaller units into your Wired Network if you have one for better results like some of the others. I think you can with the Eero's.

    We did install a Commercial Ubiquiti system here at work. So we have quite a few units all over the place. From the front offices, to the production area's, outside for the loading docks to even the large walk in freezers. Yes they are even in those. Not the Unit it's self which is mounted on the outside wall of the freezer, but the Antenna, at least one of them is mounted inside up high, sticks right ot, and an Antenna wire connecting the 2. Most of these rooms are Metal walls with insulation in between. Almost like a Faraday cage. Also good because when there is a single in there, it bounces all over and can in fact go quite a ways away. These things all only have a Ethernet connection ONLY. So they are getting PoE (Power Over Ethernet). Just a matter of running Ethernet Cables everywhere. Using PoE Routers of theirs. You can set them up and configure them in the web browser. They all show up on the same page.

    There's only a few people access t this network besides myself. For everyone else, they're on a different Wifi Network up in the front office area Only. In the break room to the bathrooms. Those are on a couple cheap normal routers. Completely different network. I can have one of my AirPods in, so I can still hear around me and people, and stream Music all over the place now and not get any drop outs. That was completely impossible only a few months ago. I'd have Wifi in my Office in the middle of the factory, and Wifi the the other Warehouse office at the side, and Wifi in the front office area. It was all so so around those area's. Everywhere else was a Faraday Cage. Ok, not 100% True. A while back using a Cheap Router with Removable antenna's. I actually dropped 1 of the 2 antenna into the #1 Packaging Room. That way at times they could in the front office program the Box Printer in that room remotely. Well that 1 antenna works really good. A really strong signal in that room and it bounced around into the other larger room though the door openings with just curtains, and into a smaller Cooking room past that, though weaker. I was amazed with the results. In fact, this Ubiquiti Units with 2 antenna's on them, we actually removed those antenna's and using antenna extension wires, we spit those 2 antennas on each unit and dropped 1 into each room.

    Doing this allowed us to use fewer Ubiquiti, yet get a strong, fast Wifi access everywhere. So we have 1 antenna going into each of our walk in freezers which are around -15, to the Refrigeration units. Some we didn't remove the antenna's, like the 2 we have on each end of out warehouse to the 2 mounted up high on the outside wall. We plan to add a bunch of Security Camera's to this system in the future. So they'll be IP PoE Camera's Wired is really the way to go, and getting it's power from the same Ethernet, Best yet. Trying to get power to all these devices would have been a ton of work. Running lower voltage Ethernet, not a big deal. Run the wires anywhere you want. Running Electrical power. That would have been a ton of work. I could have done it, but why? So we're using the UniFi® Mesh units. Which are $99 each. They're Indoor and Outdoor. The Antenna's are removable. Then we have a few of the UniFi® Switch 8-60W. Which are the PoE versions. So these things work over 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. https://unifi-mesh.ubnt.com/#home It may be a good Home Solution for some people also.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,332member
    I've installed dozens of these and dozens of Eero's - replaced 6 Eero's so far and 0 of these.  Also why such a low score on edge cases like DNS for DHCP Clients when the average user doesn't even know what DHCP and they are safeguarded currently from not being able to connect to the internet.  I also remember when Eero first came out it missed the same features but received a higher (albeit .5) star rating.  Seems that the author doesn't take into account the average user and knocks Amplifi because it uses Facebook and/or Gmail (last time I checked they had 100's of Millions of users) and because of the DNS issue which is a shame because overall it seems like the heat maps were better then Eero. 
    I am n the market for a replacement wifi router right now. At present I have an old n netgear gateway modem/router that keeps losing its settings, with a netgear extender to boost performance at the other end of the house which doesn’t work that well. The modem component seems OK, and I will have to change plan eventually so I don’t want a modem/router at this point as they will send me a new one.

    Do I get a new router, like a linksys EA8500 and see how I go with that on its own, or do I go for a mesh system? And if I get a mesh, do I go for a netgear orbi, linksys velop, Eero or these amplifi?
    reliability, range performance and price are the considerations.
  • Reply 6 of 25
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 881member
    entropys said:
    I've installed dozens of these and dozens of Eero's - replaced 6 Eero's so far and 0 of these.  Also why such a low score on edge cases like DNS for DHCP Clients when the average user doesn't even know what DHCP and they are safeguarded currently from not being able to connect to the internet.  I also remember when Eero first came out it missed the same features but received a higher (albeit .5) star rating.  Seems that the author doesn't take into account the average user and knocks Amplifi because it uses Facebook and/or Gmail (last time I checked they had 100's of Millions of users) and because of the DNS issue which is a shame because overall it seems like the heat maps were better then Eero. 
    I am n the market for a replacement wifi router right now. At present I have an old n netgear gateway modem/router that keeps losing its settings, with a netgear extender to boost performance at the other end of the house which doesn’t work that well. The modem component seems OK, and I will have to change plan eventually so I don’t want a modem/router at this point as they will send me a new one.

    Do I get a new router, like a linksys EA8500 and see how I go with that on its own, or do I go for a mesh system? And if I get a mesh, do I go for a netgear orbi, linksys velop, Eero or these amplifi?
    reliability, range performance and price are the considerations.
    You are right about the considerations.

    Can you rank those in order of importance?
  • Reply 7 of 25
    I've installed dozens of these and dozens of Eero's - replaced 6 Eero's so far and 0 of these.  Also why such a low score on edge cases like DNS for DHCP Clients when the average user doesn't even know what DHCP and they are safeguarded currently from not being able to connect to the internet.  I also remember when Eero first came out it missed the same features but received a higher (albeit .5) star rating.  Seems that the author doesn't take into account the average user and knocks Amplifi because it uses Facebook and/or Gmail (last time I checked they had 100's of Millions of users) and because of the DNS issue which is a shame because overall it seems like the heat maps were better then Eero. 
    Perhaps average users don't need this, but I suspect most of us who visit sites like this do. Honestly, I stopped reading the article as soon as I saw this limitation. I'm in the market for either a mesh or extendible WiFi system, but I need DHCP reservations and port forwarding, and (preferably) QoS to support our VoIP phone lines (my wife and I both work from home).
  • Reply 8 of 25
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,563member
    Biggest differentiator with the eero seems to be subscription cost of the eero.  I like the ubnt products, but right now any time you get over ~300Mb uplink it seems to stretch their capabilities.  I use mainly the EdgeMax line for routing and a mix of Unifi and EdgeMax for switches.  Access points are all Unifi.

    For most tech-savvy people I think you would be better off with the Unifi Security Gateway plus wired Unifi access points.  Wireless Mesh routing isn't really about speed performance. 
  • Reply 9 of 25
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,332member
    polymnia said:
    entropys said:
    I've installed dozens of these and dozens of Eero's - replaced 6 Eero's so far and 0 of these.  Also why such a low score on edge cases like DNS for DHCP Clients when the average user doesn't even know what DHCP and they are safeguarded currently from not being able to connect to the internet.  I also remember when Eero first came out it missed the same features but received a higher (albeit .5) star rating.  Seems that the author doesn't take into account the average user and knocks Amplifi because it uses Facebook and/or Gmail (last time I checked they had 100's of Millions of users) and because of the DNS issue which is a shame because overall it seems like the heat maps were better then Eero. 
    I am n the market for a replacement wifi router right now. At present I have an old n netgear gateway modem/router that keeps losing its settings, with a netgear extender to boost performance at the other end of the house which doesn’t work that well. The modem component seems OK, and I will have to change plan eventually so I don’t want a modem/router at this point as they will send me a new one.

    Do I get a new router, like a linksys EA8500 and see how I go with that on its own, or do I go for a mesh system? And if I get a mesh, do I go for a netgear orbi, linksys velop, Eero or these amplifi?
    reliability, range performance and price are the considerations.
    You are right about the considerations.

    Can you rank those in order of importance?
    Range, reliability (pretty close to equal though), price.
  • Reply 10 of 25
    polymniapolymnia Posts: 881member
    entropys said:
    polymnia said:
    entropys said:
    I've installed dozens of these and dozens of Eero's - replaced 6 Eero's so far and 0 of these.  Also why such a low score on edge cases like DNS for DHCP Clients when the average user doesn't even know what DHCP and they are safeguarded currently from not being able to connect to the internet.  I also remember when Eero first came out it missed the same features but received a higher (albeit .5) star rating.  Seems that the author doesn't take into account the average user and knocks Amplifi because it uses Facebook and/or Gmail (last time I checked they had 100's of Millions of users) and because of the DNS issue which is a shame because overall it seems like the heat maps were better then Eero. 
    I am n the market for a replacement wifi router right now. At present I have an old n netgear gateway modem/router that keeps losing its settings, with a netgear extender to boost performance at the other end of the house which doesn’t work that well. The modem component seems OK, and I will have to change plan eventually so I don’t want a modem/router at this point as they will send me a new one.

    Do I get a new router, like a linksys EA8500 and see how I go with that on its own, or do I go for a mesh system? And if I get a mesh, do I go for a netgear orbi, linksys velop, Eero or these amplifi?
    reliability, range performance and price are the considerations.
    You are right about the considerations.

    Can you rank those in order of importance?
    Range, reliability (pretty close to equal though), price.
    I’m no expert, but based on the criteria, I’d probably go with the velop or the Amplifi. The eero is on gen 2, definitely a plus, though the others are from established WiFi & router manufacturers, so I give the established brands a nod in reliability. 
  • Reply 11 of 25
    elemn32elemn32 Posts: 1member
    This article is very misleading. I have an Amplifi and I have set static DHCP addresses for my cisco and tv devices. The QOS is very simple but you can set each connected device to "normal", "optimised for gaming" or "optimised for steaming". I've tested this and it gives my cisco (phones) priority when the connection is busy. There are also port forwarding options which are the same as those on any SOHO device I have seen before. When I moved to a higher speed connection I did see a drop in performance, but the option to enable hardware NAT was added in a firmware update some time ago and this fixed my issues. The latest firmware (released in the last 6 weeks or so) also allows named networks to be linked to specific mesh points which is great for IOT devices. I am not an Amplifi evangelist at all, but mine works extremely well and has all of the options that I need to tweak my network. I would certainly recommend considering it along with the other options if you are looking for a home mesh system
  • Reply 12 of 25
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 596editor
    elemn32 said:
    This article is very misleading. I have an Amplifi and I have set static DHCP addresses for my cisco and tv devices. The QOS is very simple but you can set each connected device to "normal", "optimised for gaming" or "optimised for steaming". I've tested this and it gives my cisco (phones) priority when the connection is busy. There are also port forwarding options which are the same as those on any SOHO device I have seen before.

    When I moved to a higher speed connection I did see a drop in performance, but the option to enable hardware NAT was added in a firmware update some time ago and this fixed my issues.

    The latest firmware (released in the last 6 weeks or so) also allows named networks to be linked to specific mesh points which is great for IOT devices.

    I am not an Amplifi evangelist at all, but mine works extremely well and has all of the options that I need to tweak my network. I would certainly recommend considering it along with the other options if you are looking for a home mesh system

    Hardware NAT has always been in place, but there haven't been options for it. You can have it, or not, can you adjust the DHCP range, but the rest? It's a glass-half-full-half-empty situation. The options aren't there, but they do keep adding more overtime with firmware, and they've been very active with firmware releases.

    One reader mentioned to me that the option IS there for DNS assignment on a local network, but only if you use the web interface (which is very limited) - this wasn't exactly accurate. In my experience, you can use the web interface to assign upstream DNS (google, openDNS, Norton, etc.) but not a local network one you want your lan clients to get via DHCP - that is, they'll still get the gateway address as DNS.

    You're right - if you don't want to tweak much, you can do quite well. At the same time, think about it from this perspective:

    The Apple AirPort was both simple to set up and administer, and had a large range of options that could be configured. Apple discontinued them, and one possible reason was that other routers are getting good enough to fill the need. Does this fill the need? Sure, if you don't need as much as AirPort could do. I apologize for not making it more clear that this is where I was coming from.

    I should mention, Amplifi support is very responsive. I contacted them a number of times throughout the time I was writing this, and they answered every time.

    edited July 12
  • Reply 13 of 25
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 596editor
    polymnia said:
    entropys said:
    polymnia said:
    entropys said:
    I've installed dozens of these and dozens of Eero's - replaced 6 Eero's so far and 0 of these.  Also why such a low score on edge cases like DNS for DHCP Clients when the average user doesn't even know what DHCP and they are safeguarded currently from not being able to connect to the internet.  I also remember when Eero first came out it missed the same features but received a higher (albeit .5) star rating.  Seems that the author doesn't take into account the average user and knocks Amplifi because it uses Facebook and/or Gmail (last time I checked they had 100's of Millions of users) and because of the DNS issue which is a shame because overall it seems like the heat maps were better then Eero. 
    I am n the market for a replacement wifi router right now. At present I have an old n netgear gateway modem/router that keeps losing its settings, with a netgear extender to boost performance at the other end of the house which doesn’t work that well. The modem component seems OK, and I will have to change plan eventually so I don’t want a modem/router at this point as they will send me a new one.

    Do I get a new router, like a linksys EA8500 and see how I go with that on its own, or do I go for a mesh system? And if I get a mesh, do I go for a netgear orbi, linksys velop, Eero or these amplifi?
    reliability, range performance and price are the considerations.
    You are right about the considerations.

    Can you rank those in order of importance?
    Range, reliability (pretty close to equal though), price.
    I’m no expert, but based on the criteria, I’d probably go with the velop or the Amplifi. The eero is on gen 2, definitely a plus, though the others are from established WiFi & router manufacturers, so I give the established brands a nod in reliability. 

    Set the modem-router in bridge mode and turn off the router functionality. If it's still doing okay as a modem, use it as a modem.

    I would lean towards Velop. If you don't need to do anything other than signal dispersion and don't mind checking for frequent firmware updates, consider this Amplifi system. If you're not offended by Google (as some of our readers are), Google Wifi would also do the job.

  • Reply 14 of 25
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 596editor
    Pjbdragon said:
    The problem I have with this home system is that you can't plug in the 2 smaller units into your Wired Network if you have one for better results like some of the others. I think you can with the Eero's.

    We did install a Commercial Ubiquiti system here at work. So we have quite a few units all over the place. From the front offices, to the production area's, outside for the loading docks to even the large walk in freezers. Yes they are even in those. Not the Unit it's self which is mounted on the outside wall of the freezer, but the Antenna, at least one of them is mounted inside up high, sticks right ot, and an Antenna wire connecting the 2. Most of these rooms are Metal walls with insulation in between. Almost like a Faraday cage. Also good because when there is a single in there, it bounces all over and can in fact go quite a ways away. These things all only have a Ethernet connection ONLY. So they are getting PoE (Power Over Ethernet). Just a matter of running Ethernet Cables everywhere. Using PoE Routers of theirs. You can set them up and configure them in the web browser. They all show up on the same page.

    There's only a few people access t this network besides myself. For everyone else, they're on a different Wifi Network up in the front office area Only. In the break room to the bathrooms. Those are on a couple cheap normal routers. Completely different network. I can have one of my AirPods in, so I can still hear around me and people, and stream Music all over the place now and not get any drop outs. That was completely impossible only a few months ago. I'd have Wifi in my Office in the middle of the factory, and Wifi the the other Warehouse office at the side, and Wifi in the front office area. It was all so so around those area's. Everywhere else was a Faraday Cage. Ok, not 100% True. A while back using a Cheap Router with Removable antenna's. I actually dropped 1 of the 2 antenna into the #1 Packaging Room. That way at times they could in the front office program the Box Printer in that room remotely. Well that 1 antenna works really good. A really strong signal in that room and it bounced around into the other larger room though the door openings with just curtains, and into a smaller Cooking room past that, though weaker. I was amazed with the results. In fact, this Ubiquiti Units with 2 antenna's on them, we actually removed those antenna's and using antenna extension wires, we spit those 2 antennas on each unit and dropped 1 into each room.

    Doing this allowed us to use fewer Ubiquiti, yet get a strong, fast Wifi access everywhere. So we have 1 antenna going into each of our walk in freezers which are around -15, to the Refrigeration units. Some we didn't remove the antenna's, like the 2 we have on each end of out warehouse to the 2 mounted up high on the outside wall. We plan to add a bunch of Security Camera's to this system in the future. So they'll be IP PoE Camera's Wired is really the way to go, and getting it's power from the same Ethernet, Best yet. Trying to get power to all these devices would have been a ton of work. Running lower voltage Ethernet, not a big deal. Run the wires anywhere you want. Running Electrical power. That would have been a ton of work. I could have done it, but why? So we're using the UniFi® Mesh units. Which are $99 each. They're Indoor and Outdoor. The Antenna's are removable. Then we have a few of the UniFi® Switch 8-60W. Which are the PoE versions. So these things work over 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz. https://unifi-mesh.ubnt.com/#home It may be a good Home Solution for some people also.

    People are upset with the article because it doesn't take into account that most people don't do anything with settings.

    Many people don't have a wired network installed to be able to use wired backhaul as you are. You're in a uniquely good position to be able to do PoE to everything. Of course, most of us also don't have walk-in freezers in our homes. Commercial buildings tend to be easier because you have drop ceilings and wiring chases built in you can work with. Home construction can be more difficult to install within.

  • Reply 15 of 25

    Any recommendations on iOS apps to check WiFi signal coverage?

  • Reply 16 of 25
    Looks like the only way AmpliFi allows you to set a specific DNS IP to be assigned to DHCP clients is by asking you to shut your pi-hole(.net)...
  • Reply 17 of 25
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 596editor
    I've installed dozens of these and dozens of Eero's - replaced 6 Eero's so far and 0 of these.  Also why such a low score on edge cases like DNS for DHCP Clients when the average user doesn't even know what DHCP and they are safeguarded currently from not being able to connect to the internet.  I also remember when Eero first came out it missed the same features but received a higher (albeit .5) star rating.  Seems that the author doesn't take into account the average user and knocks Amplifi because it uses Facebook and/or Gmail (last time I checked they had 100's of Millions of users) and because of the DNS issue which is a shame because overall it seems like the heat maps were better then Eero. 

    Interesting. Fortunately, I put the Eero v2 in exactly the same locations in the test home as the Amplifi unit, so I'm comparing heatmaps now.

    Facebook and Google have created a number of concerns for people, which we've covered in recent articles. Using them only for remote access is worth commenting on, as we have readers who want to avoid being reliant on them. Synology creates their own remote access system. Eero built their own. It's not as if the only technical solution is to use FB or Google accounts.

    Okay, I'm back after having compared heatmaps. Let's see if I can show the ones that didn't show in the article (thanks, CMS!)


    This is the house first floor with the bad signal problem. One router/modem is installed upstairs. The far side of the house where the black hole of signal is, is where the AppleTV is.


    Above is Eero v2 with two nodes and a main unit. Note that it needs to be rotated 180 so that the picture is upside down, to be oriented the same way as the others. This is what happens when you install these things across different months and walk one in a different order than the others. In this image, the black hole would be in the middle-upper-left of the image. Note that it's green with small bits of yellow signal creeping in. That's pretty strong, and if we didn't have a heatmap would be definitely okay.



    Here's Amplifi with a main unit and two nodes, same placement as Eero v2. The black hole area is back on the lower-middle-right of the image, and is solidly-green, no yellow creeping in. Eero delivered stronger signal, although I would say Amplifi was totally acceptable here. 


    FWIW, the homeowner opted to go with Eero v2 as their day-to-day system, not based on these, but based on them being slightly more subtle at the nodes, and it working at-least-as-well practically. They liked the screen, but it wasn't essential when Eero is doing the job.

    I have heard other reports of Eero being a problem in terms of reliability outside of your report, but so far, for that homeowner, it's going strong. Thank you for bringing up heatmaps, I appreciate it.

  • Reply 18 of 25
    hentaiboyhentaiboy Posts: 790member
    AmpliFi owner here and it’s the most reliable wireless networking device I’ve ever used. Not a single disconnection in over 3 months’ usage. The main unit is surprisingly powerful for its size - I actually sent a node back as not required. 
  • Reply 19 of 25
    sirozhasirozha Posts: 383member
    Would be nice if the article explained what Teleport was to begin with. I had to google it to see what that is.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    The technical details are interesting, but you saved the showstopper for (almost) last. No way that I would enable a remote access feature that requires logging in with one of the two biggest invaders/sellers of privacy.
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