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Ubiquiti Dream Machine review

Posted on 20-Apr-2020 20:51 by michaelmurfy | Filed under: Reviews

Ubiquiti Dream Machine review

I've been attempting to find a decent all in one router for quite some time which combines an excellent WiFi access point, fast routing along with expandability down the line without too much luck, the truth is the standard consumer grade offerings are just not that good - often a complete waste of money for what you get with lackluster performance along with specifications that simply don't match up (5000Mbit WiFi with a single Gigabit Ethernet port anyone?). I've personally been using Ubiquiti access points in my household for quite a number of years and have found their products to be excellent - and without a doubt, this router is indeed excellent however, with some caveats which I assume will be fixed in a future firmware update.


Truth be told, I've been camping on this router for a couple of months now attempting to get an issue resolved (with Ubiquiti) with getting it connected to my UFB test network. I just simply could not get it to connect due to no VLAN tagging within the setup guide along with it not detecting internet on my DHCP test network. In the end I found out this is due to my own DNS server blocking sites it tests connectivity to - once I assigned my ISP's DNS servers directly to it things worked a charm and I was able to get through setup. For the moment, here in New Zealand you're needing to connect it to your old router, run through the setup and then configure the VLAN tag on it if you're hooking it up to UFB. No biggie, but I really wish providers would think of this before launching a product to market. Edit: This problem has since been resolved with later firmware however could still exist in the event of older firmware running on the router out of the box.


If you've got the UniFi app installed on your phone it'll automatically detect the Dream Machine and guide you through a very quick setup so you're up and running with the basics. Some of the advanced features include IPS / DPS network protection at nearly line speeds (around 850Mbit from testing, and as quoted in the Dream Machine interface) along with full deep packet inspection capabilities so you can check what the kids are up to at any given time (Screenshot). One killer feature of the UniFi line now is Wireless AI which automatically tunes your wireless network at a particular time to ensure you're getting the best possible performance from it.


The web interface of the router is based off the very powerful UniFi controller software complete with the same features - instead of screenshots this round, Ubiquiti have a great demo of the UniFi software here: - basically, with this software (which runs on the router itself) you're able to manage the integrated Router and Access point from anywhere in the world (via your Ubiquiti sign-in) along with any other Ubiquiti networking devices you have connected to your network. If you wanted to expand in the future, Ubiquiti have a range of Switches and Access Points to further expand your network just by simply plugging them in and "adopting" them to your network. Settings automatically get pushed out to these access points and switches. Access points can also be meshed together if you're needing WiFi at the far reaches of your home, but simply have no ability to run Ethernet to them.


On the performance side - I had no issues achieving full Gigabit speed to an iperf3 server sitting behind the NAT. With IPS turned on this dropped to around ~800Mbit average. On WiFi I was able to achieve an average of around ~700Mbit which in my books is an excellent test considering it is having to fight a rather busy area in terms of wireless interference. I however didn't have any devices to fully take advantage of the 802.11ac 4x4 Wave 2 capabilities of this router.


Design wise, this router doesn't look like a router - it looks like a "Chonky Pill" with a blue LED ring around the top to indicate it is working. That's it. Doesn't have any flashing LED's to annoy you. The router also has a built in speaker (which makes a nice chime to indicate it has booted) along with a fan blowing upwards to dissipate heat. During my tests, heat wise it did get warm to the touch but the fan never really kicked in to full "jet engine" mode. On the back you get the basics - 5x Gigabit ethernet ports along with a Figure 8 power socket (yes, this has a fully integrated power supply!). Button wise, there is a single one for power recessed on the bottom (and reset if you hold it for long enough) and that is it.


I personally recommend this router to anyone considering something that is all in one - it has great performance, doesn't claim to improve gaming and looks good in most households. Also, acts as a handy nightlight (many with UniFi products can vouch for that!) - if you however don't like the blue LED ring this can be turned off or dimmed for a fully stealth pill shaped router.


You can buy the Dream Machine from the kind people at Go Wireless (Here). Coincidentally, they were also the ones who provided this router to me to review so kudos to them!


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