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AmpliFi HD review

Posted on 14-Oct-2017 17:27 by @l43a2 | Filed under: Reviews


Unboxing Experience - initial impressions

 

From opening the box to setting up the main router AmpliFi was designed with ease of use in mind for general consumers. The box was well laid out ensuring the router and mesh units were well protected:

 

 

Initial setup was pretty straightforward as the router prompts the user to download the app required for setup from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store depending on the mobile device you have:

 

 

In this review, we will be using iPhone for the setup. First, you’ll need to enable Bluetooth as this is how you will connect to the router for the initial setup part. The AmpliFi app will scan for the router then prompt you to enter the network name and wireless password:

 

 

At this point you can plug in the mesh units in the locations around your house where you would normally have a weak signal and wait for them to seamlessly connect back to the main router:

 

About the app

 

The app is designed with simplicity in mind making it perfect for beginners and novice users.

 

The Home screen displayed useful information at a quick glance - connected devices, bandwidth used, (perfect to find out who's hogging all of the bandwidth making your gaming lag) and the signal between the mesh units and the main router.

 

Between the iOS and Android versions I found a major difference in setting for how the mesh units connect back to the main router as on iOS it doesn't allow you to change the frequency  to 5GHz where on Android it allows you to change it from 5GHz to 2.4GHz for a longer range be it slower connection between the mesh unit and the main router. This does seem to be a little bit of an oversight however since the product is new I would guess they’ll fix this in a later app version.

 

 

Router Features

 

The AmpliFi comes feature packed with all of the goodies a modern wireless network needs: 

 

  • Easy to use mobile app - with built-in 24/7 chat support.
  • Super fast dual-band Wireless AC connectivity up to 1750mbit - making it perfect for HD and 4K streaming.
  • 4x Gigabit Ethernet Ports and 1x Gigabit WAN port.
  • Network Monitoring.
  • Built-in Internet Speedtest.
  • Built-in QoS - with a simple swipe to the left you can set gaming, streaming or normal prioritisation enhancing the experience for the selected task.
  • Easy to use Parental Controls with easy to use profiles with timers to disable wireless during sleeping hours to stop the kids staying up all night using the internet.
  • Touch Screen on the main router itself that displays useful stats like bandwidth usage, devices connected and other statistics (also doubles as a clock).
  • Simple to use guest features - perfect if you have friends and family come over and want to share your network quickly.

 

 

Router / WiFi Performance

 

I have been testing this Unit in a 1910s Villa around 2270 sqft (210 sqm) with a very closed living plan, a ton of walls with mixed materials including some brick where the old fireplaces were. I struggled with getting full WiFi coverage and had to use a total of three routers I had gathered over the years to partially cover it.

 

First I tested the internet speed - connected directly to the main router by ethernet I got around 42 Mbps download and 8.11Mbps upload using speedtest.net. I am on a VDSL plan so this essentially maxes out my available internet bandwidth. I’ve had Michael (@MichaelMurfy) test this router on his Gigabit UFB connection and he stated he had no issues getting full Gigabit out of it so the routing performance is there and waiting for when I finally get UFB installed.

 

The mesh units are positioned in a bedroom at the north of the house and the second mesh unit positioned in a living room near the south of the house (both on opposite sides of the house). The living room mesh unit has ~86% signal strength to the main router whilst the bedroom unit has ~96% signal strength. Normally in these parts of the house, I’d have little to no coverage.

 

For the first lot of Wireless Testing, i used a Samsung Galaxy Tab A 10.1 (2016) which will max the WiFi at around 466 Mbps. I tested in every single room of the house, allowing for the tablet to connect to the strongest signal it could. Every time it connected (no matter where I was in the house) I was able to achieve my full internet speed. I also noted that general performance to network shares was extremely good.

 

For the other device, I used an iPhone 6S running the iOS 11.7 beta. I managed around 44MB/s (352 Mbps) to the main router (around 9ft away) and the 2nd lot of testing (around 22ft from the main router - between two thick walls) was able to achieve a respectable 22MB/s (176 Mbps). This is with the mesh points turned off - it seems the main router is extremely good even on its own where my other router would struggle.

 

Would you recommend this to others?

 

I would have no problem recommending this unit to friends and family with a medium to large sized home where it would be the most beneficial. With the added Parental Control functions you can disable the wireless when the children should be sleeping or doing homework. The ease of using the app combined with the simple and straightforward setup process makes this perfect for many households.

 

As a test, I got my 64yr old father to set this router up and he found it extremely straightforward and easy to use so I feel this router would be a great fit for everyone.

 

Technical users should not dismiss this unit even with its reduced function set as it is an excellent way of extending WiFi to the hardest to reach corners of your household whilst looking nice doing so.

 

Final impressions

 

Bottom line the AmpliFi HD will greatly improve your wireless coverage in your home allowing better connectivity to all your wireless devices.

 

Coming from a technical background I feel this router will be a perfect fit for anyone who wants a zero fuss network that “just works”.

 

The coverage around my larger home is excellent 4-5 bars in most areas and outside, even the neighbours can enjoy some wireless goodness (if I were to share it with them!).

 

The wireless throughput is perfect for HD and even 4K HDR streaming either straight from a video on demand service like Netflix or even from a home NAS.

 

I did, however, note that sometimes the mesh side of things can cause some devices to not connect first time to the closest unit however after a bit this did fix itself. I would think with future firmware updates this can improve.

 

For more technical people this setup might not be your cup of tea due to the limited function set and control however if you’re wanting a network that is zero-fuss and just works it is an excellent buy and unlike some other products out there looks darn good in the centre of your house too.

 

This router comes in different configurations ranging from the base router up-to the full kit with both mesh nodes. Additionally, mesh nodes can be purchased separately if you wanted to start off small and work your way up.

 

Thank you to Ubiquiti for sending this unit out for us to review and a huge thanks goes too @michaelmurfy for allowing me to take this device for a spin - greatly improving wireless network removing every dead zone with full coverage! amazing.