I recently upgraded my home network after doing quite a bit of remodeling elsewhere in the house. It was time to upgrade my home WiFi and switching as my old gear was released in 2009 and was showing it's age. In the before now I was using an older WNDR3500 with OpenWrt which worked very well for a very long time. I had very few issues with the device and while its wireless performance was good it wasn't AMAZING and there're better ways out there to skin this cat.
There are quite a few things I could've upgraded to but mesh network seemed to be all the rage and I gave into my inner hipster.
Ubiquiti Networks has a line of residential routers and mesh endpoints being built under the "AmpliFi" product group. This little device is a marvel of engineering, network capabilities, and simplicity. The base unit has an incredibly powerful set of antennas which is coupled with the latest 802.11AC technology built into it. Read the data sheet, it's quite impressive what they've been able to build in such a small form factor.
After receiving the AmpliFI HD I opened it like a child scrambling for Christmas presents. The box is small, a lot smaller than I was expecting. Holding the box and looking at the graphics and messaging you can tell they're paying close attention to detail which left me with the immediate feeling that this was a quality product.
Once I cracked open and unfurled the box, yes the box unfurls, I was immediately filled with excitement; I'm aware that I was getting excited for a white cube with fancy messaging.
Pulling the unit from the box I was delighted by the minimalistic approach and the consistency in cabling and documentation.
Getting up and running on the AFI-R HD is simple. Plugin.
connect via the app
Connect the WAN port to the modem provided by your ISP
It's that easy.
Application and Overview
Managing the AmpliFI HD is simple. Everything is done via the mobile application and it has a very IOT like feel to it. While options are minimal they're generally complete for the typical consumer. If you're a power user and you don't want to have any other device in your home you may want to look elsewhere however if you're in the typical consumer camp, or don't mind running other network gear in your home for more advanced features, this device is near perfect.
Thoughts on my initial setup:
- Running the AFI-R with an ISP's modem in front as-is in without needing any more advanced networking features gives you a fantastic mesh network with amazing features and functionality, all of which are plug and play.
Thoughts on my current setup:
- Setting the AFI-R HD in bridged mode with an EdgeRouter Lite in front provides the best combination of services possible for the more advanced users and provides amazing mesh network capabilities at an outstanding price.
The AmpliFi HD router is awesome. I love this little device. I wish it had more features packed within it, like native IPv6, better QOS, and configurable MTU/MSS options but I get who AmpliFi is targeting as their consumer and I appreciate their simplicity first approach. If you're in the market for a new router and you want the best possible technology at a great price, consider the AFI-R HD.
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