The UniFi Dream Machine router is a superb entry level for networked nerds.

A number of weeks in the past, Ubiquiti unveiled UniFi Dream Machine, an all-in-one community machine that, for $ 299, combines a router, a swap with 4 Ethernet ports and a Wi-Fi hotspot. Ubiquiti name it a built-in cloud key that permits you to management your community.

I've been utilizing UniFi Dream Machine on my house community for 2 weeks, so take into account this as a evaluation of the machine.

Ubiquiti is a well known community model. Most individuals know the entry factors of society – these rounded antennas that yow will discover round faculties, companies, and public areas.

However the preliminary funding has at all times been a bit excessive for private use circumstances and even for small companies. The UniFi Dream Machine is completely positioned between skilled gear and client units. This can be a appreciable improve if you’re utilizing the router with the Wi-Fi capabilities supplied by your ISP.

Grouping of UniFi units

Ubiquiti presents a line of routers underneath the AmpliFi model for shoppers searching for a plug-and-play answer. The corporate lately introduced a brand new machine with wonderful specs if you don’t want to get misplaced within the community settings.

However if you happen to're studying this, it's possible you'll know that UniFi merchandise supply some customizations that you just assume are missing in mainstream merchandise.

Switching from an all-in-one community machine to a UniFi system has at all times been slightly sophisticated. The corporate has damaged down the networking stack into totally different units to provide you extra management.

Which means you must purchase a safety gateway (a router, the "mind" of the community), a swap (similar to an influence strip, however for Ethernet ports) and an entry level (a Wi-Fi antenna ). As well as, a UniFi cloud key’s an important buy if you wish to handle your community with the corporate's management software program.

In case you are connected to the UniFi ecosystem, you’ll stay an unforgettable expertise. You’ll be able to handle every Ethernet port of your swap individually, you possibly can management Wi-Fi settings from wherever on this planet and extra. Lee Hutchinson (Ars Technica) fell into the UniFi rabbit gap and wrote an attractive story about his expertise house networking.

UniFi Dream Machine takes a special method. It brings collectively all of the distinct items that give life to a UniFi community. You should buy the $ 300 UniFi Dream Machine and management each little element in your community.


A number of phrases concerning the specs of the UniFi dream machine. The pill-shaped machine has a built-in safety gateway that permits you to run a DHCP server, create firewall insurance policies, benefit from a number of VLANs, and extra.

Along with the WAN port for connecting your machine to the Web, there are 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. By way of Wi-Fi, the Dream Machine helps the 802.11ac Wave 2 normal ("Wi-Fi 5") with a four × four MU-MIMO antenna – no Wi-Fi 6, sadly.

Behind the scenes, the machine makes use of an ARM Cortex-A57 processor clocked at 1.7 GHz. It has 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage and consumes as much as 26W.

Use the dream machine

The set up of the UniFi Dream Machine is a superb expertise. Ideally, you need to join an Ethernet cable to your router supplied by your ISP and put it in bridge mode. On this approach, it can act like a foolish modem and let the uniFi Dream Machine do all of the work.

After downloading the cell app and turning on the UniFi Dream Machine, you get a pop-up window that mimics the AirPod's pop-up window. You’ll be able to then management your community from this cell utility or use an internet browser in your laptop.

That's when it will get attention-grabbing.

UniFi controller software program normally lists all UniFi units which might be working in your community. With UniFi Dream Machine you could have one machine. However if you happen to develop this machine, you possibly can see an inventory of three separate UniFi parts: a gateway, a swap, and an entry level.

As anticipated, you possibly can management each little element in your community. Once more, this isn’t for everybody and you’ll have to be taught lots about networking to optimize your setup. However if you happen to're a digital handyman, it's a breath of contemporary air.

UniFi Dream Machine acts as a DHCP server at house. I renamed my units and assigned fastened IP addresses to all my units to seek out them extra simply. You’ll be able to see in actual time the community used and in the event that they get a very good Wi-Fi sign.

I've additionally configured the Cloudflare public DNS on the community stage.

There are a ton of prospects if you happen to care about safety. I've created a visitor Wi-Fi community that solely permits my mates to entry the web. They will browse Twitter and watch Netflix broadcasts with none issues, however they can’t entry my computer systems on the native community.

I've additionally created one other Wi-Fi community for IoT units, corresponding to related audio system, a printer, and a robotic vacuum cleaner. Linked units don’t obtain many safety patches and have extra vulnerabilities than a pc or smartphone that you just hold updated. I’ve assigned a special VLAN to this Wi-Fi community. VLANs permit you to create a partitioned community with totally different units of guidelines.

I've utilized firewall guidelines to this VLAN so I can management units from my private units, however they can’t concern requests to my units by themselves. That is exaggerated for most individuals, however it's enjoyable to have the ability to do it from the UniFi controller. Extra particulars right here.

Relating to Wi-Fi, every thing is customizable and efficiency is outstanding. I stay in a small residence, however the balcony has at all times been an issue. I usually work from the balcony and use an affordable Wi-Fi extension that I discovered in a field of devices and cables.

I've unplugged the Wi-Fi extension and tried to connect with the UniFi Dream Machine. I get higher efficiency, even when I lowered Wi-Fi transmission energy on a medium medium.

These are just some examples of issues you are able to do with UniFi Dream Machine. I’ve the impression of at all times underutilizing the machine (you possibly can join by way of SSH and management every thing from the terminal), however I might not take into account going again to an enter router vary with Wi-Fi options.

Goal the prosumers

UniFi Dream Machine is the community machine that I didn’t know I needed. I’ll by no means have tons of of Wi-Fi units related to my house community. I don’t want a dozen Ethernet ports. And but, I need to management my community. In case you miss Apple's AirPort Excessive or if you happen to're a networking fan, it is best to take into account the UniFi Dream Machine.

Small companies and shops usually make dangerous choices early within the enterprise. An affordable Wi-Fi router on Amazon doesn’t reduce it when your small business grows. The Dream Machine is usually a good entry level as a result of you should utilize this primary machine.

However if you happen to assume you could have larger wants, don’t attempt to handle a big community from a UniFi dream machine. Ubiquiti sells superb rack-mountable units that offers you much more flexibility. UniFi Dream Machine is a constrained machine in spite of everything. This makes it each inadequate for enterprise and preferrred for shoppers.

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