AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market
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Our verdict of the AmpliFi HD (High-Density) Home Wi-Fi System:
Beautifully designed, easy to use, performant and reliable, the AmpliFi HD has everything you need for no-nonsense home Wi-Fi.
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With the smorgasbord of networking options on the market, choosing one that ticks all the right boxes can be tedious. Ubiquiti has established themselves as a worthy competitor in the enterprise space, but what about their home AmpliFi HD options? Let’s find out, and at the end of this review, we’ve got a complete AmpliFi HD starter kit to giveaway.

We recently did an overview of Ubiquiti’s UniFi system What is Ubiquiti UniFi, and How Can It Fix Your Wi-Fi Woes? What is Ubiquiti UniFi, and How Can It Fix Your Wi-Fi Woes? Nearly everyone has experienced limited Wi-Fi functionality and poor coverage, especially in crowded areas. An Ubiquiti UniFi network could be the solution. Here's what you need to know. Read More and how it works. The average consumer may find the learning curve a little daunting. There are a lot more moving parts that may be overkill for a simple home solution. But simpler, cheaper options often compromise on performance, usability, and features. Home Wi-Fi is usually an exercise in frustration.

AmpliFi HD Specifications

Router

  • Dimensions: 99.5 x 97.8 x 99.6 mm
  • Weigh:t 410g
  • Radios: 2
  • MIMO Chains 6
  • Total Speed: 1750 Mbps
  • Wired Networking Interface: Gigabit Ethernet (1) WAN, (4) LAN
  • Max. Power Consumption: 11W
  • Display: Touch / Full Color
  • Wi-Fi Standards 802.11ac/n/a/b/g
  • Power Save Supported
  • Wireless Security: WPA2-PSK AES/TKIP

MeshPoint HD

  • Dimensions: 243.83 x 54 x 57.75 mm
  • Weight 224g
  • Radios: 2
  • MIMO Chains 6
  • Total Speed: 1750 Mbps
  • Wi-Fi Standards 802.11ac/n/a/b/g
  • Power Save Supported
  • Wireless Security: WPA2-PSK AES/TKIP

Price

  • Mesh Wi-Fi System: 1 x Router + 2 x MeshPoint HD units $339.99
  • Individual Router Price: $133.99
  • Individual MeshPoint HD Price: $119.00

AmpliFi HD WiFi System by Ubiquiti Labs, Seamless Whole Home Wireless Internet Coverage, HD WiFi Router, 2 Mesh Points, 4 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 WAN Port, Ethernet Cable, Replaces Router & WiFi Extenders AmpliFi HD WiFi System by Ubiquiti Labs, Seamless Whole Home Wireless Internet Coverage, HD WiFi Router, 2 Mesh Points, 4 Gigabit Ethernet, 1 WAN Port, Ethernet Cable, Replaces Router & WiFi Extenders Buy Now At Amazon $320.99

Overview

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi router

There are two components to the AmpliFi HD system. The router or base station, and a Mesh HD point. For a basic setup, just one base station is needed which will hold all the settings that a typical router will have. From there, to expand your Wi-Fi coverage, you simply add Mesh HD devices, or more base stations.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi multi mesh

The base station has a 4-port wired Ethernet switch built-in, so if you wanted to extend your wired network elsewhere in the house, you’d use this. However, if you just needed Wi-Fi, the Mesh HD points will do just fine.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi meshpoint

The AmpliFi devices can be purchased separately or as part of a kit. The caveat here is that Mesh HD points that come as part of a kit are hard coded to only work with the base station they were bundled with. That means if the base station dies, there is currently no way to reassign the Mesh HD points that came bundled to another base station.

Ubiquiti claims the reason for doing this was for an easy out-of-the-box setup, which is understandable. However, I hope to see an option to reuse orphaned Mesh HD points in the future.

Mesh Networks

We covered mesh networks a little more in-depth in our UniFi guide What is Ubiquiti UniFi, and How Can It Fix Your Wi-Fi Woes? What is Ubiquiti UniFi, and How Can It Fix Your Wi-Fi Woes? Nearly everyone has experienced limited Wi-Fi functionality and poor coverage, especially in crowded areas. An Ubiquiti UniFi network could be the solution. Here's what you need to know. Read More , but they’re designed to create a large Wi-Fi network using only Wi-Fi or where it’s not possible to run cables to each access point.

AmpliFi uses mesh technology, and the Mesh HD points communicate with the base station wirelessly to cover your home in a blanket of Wi-Fi. The main thing to remember with mesh networks is that there is a performance hit the more hops your device needs to take.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi setup1

The best setup will be to have the base station in a central point with the Mesh HD points communicating with it directly. However, some property layouts may simply make this not possible.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi setup2

The diagram above shows how AmpliFi can be set for a mesh point to hop to another mesh point before connecting to the base station. To do this simply disable the router steering setting which forces Mesh HD points to communicate directly with the base station even if the signal is stronger between itself and another Mesh HD point.

Theoretically, there is no limit to how many mesh points you could add, however, just remember: the fewer hops, the better!

What’s in the Box?

The AmpliFi kit is probably the most exquisitely packaged networking equipment I’ve ever set my eyes on. This AmpliFi HD kit comes with a single base station, two Mesh HD points, and a USB-C power adapter.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi in the box

The base station is available in black or white and is this beautifully designed cube which looks stunning regardless of where you place it. It sports a capacitive touchscreen on the front, four Gigabit ethernet ports, a USB-A port and finally a USB-C power port. I hope to see more vendors implementing USB-C as the power standard from now.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi on screen

The touchscreen on the front of the base station allows you to toggle through a few things like the time, current throughput, port status and more. The touchscreen can also be used to upgrade the firmware which saves you having to even open the app.

The Mesh HD points are equally well built with a slight twist. The bottom and top components connect to each other using a magnet. This allows you to directionally position the antenna for getting a better signal. This also means that if someone happens to accidentally kick the Mesh HD point, it will just separate without breaking.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi mesh break

The mesh points simply connect straight into a wall socket, and that’s it. There are some LED indicators on the front for a quick glance at its connection strength. All these features are non-existent on competitor products.

Setup

AmpliFi’s promo video shows a child setting up the system. This seemed like a typical marketing gimmick. But honestly, I was blown away by how intuitive and simple this was to set up. All you need to do is plug in your internet feed from your modem, plug in some power, and you’re prompted on the touch screen to download the AmpliFi app.

When you download the app, your smartphone will detect and connect to the AmpliFi system using Bluetooth. So you just need to enter your desired Wi-Fi SSID and password, and that’s it.

When the mesh points are connected they’re detected automatically in the app; there are no complex web pages to go through. Everything is controlled from within the app. I think they were correct in the promo video; a child could pretty much set this system up from start to finish.

Performance

Performance is arguably the most important part of a network system. To test AmpliFi, I put the system up against one of the tougher opponents.: AmpliFi’s own bigger brother, the UniFi UAP-AC-Pro.

I first ran a speed test in the same room pretty much next to each device and as expected the results were exactly the same.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market UAP Ac Pro speedtest

As soon as I went to a different room that was further away from each device the results were starkly different. When moving to a room that was further away, the 5Ghz signal wasn’t strong enough, so my device defaulted to the 2.4Ghz band. This resulted in the speed test topping out at 25Mb per second on the UAP-AC-Pro.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market AmpliFi speedtest

The AmpliFi system was a very different story. The Mesh network allowed me to get around four times faster speeds because of the wider coverage. This is a huge difference and demonstrates how beneficial mesh networks can be. It’s not the full network speed like I was getting being next to the base station but that’s because the device has to make an extra hop. regardless, it’s a 400% increase, I’ll take it.

By default, AmpliFi broadcasts both 2.4 and 5Ghz, and you don’t have to manually select which one you connect to. The switching between bands happens automatically along with your device moving between different points. You just connect to one network, and that’s it. That’s the way it should be.

The AmpliFi App

Taking a closer look at the AmpliFi application, there are some excellent features available. You can view the status of your mesh network and view the settings for each individual connected mesh point. There’s a performance section which allows you to view some metrics on your network and run a speed test from within the app and a diagnosis section which helps get to the bottom of network issues you may be experiencing.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market Amplifi app 1 401x500

The guest network section allows you to both limit the number of guests that can connect to your network and even set a timer for how long your guest network is active. This is great from a bandwidth standpoint as you won’t have to leave a guest network on indefinitely.

AmpliFi HD: The Best Home Wi-Fi System On The Market amplifi guest and family

The family section allows you to create groups of devices with scheduled internet access, a very useful parental control feature The Complete Guide to Parental Controls The Complete Guide to Parental Controls The world of internet-connected devices can be terrifying for parents. If you have young children, we've got you covered. Here's everything you need to know about setting up and using parental controls. Read More . This can also help if you live with a serial downloader who ruins your late night gaming sessions!

The only criticism with the app is that it wasn’t optimized for iPad. The iPhone version was much more polished and didn’t suffer from any scaling issues. Other than that, all the metrics updated in real time, the app was smooth, and all the settings were readily and easily accessible. The app even features cloud capability for monitoring your home network from anywhere!

Ubiquiti Support

Bigger companies often struggle when it comes to consumer support. Getting to the right department or actual answers can be difficult to come by. In my inherent laziness, I decided not to use Google but rather put Ubiquiti to the test.

When I saw the live chat option, I was expecting another artificially un-itelligent chatbot. One who responded with generic answers or encouraged me to e-mail in. I was pleasantly surprised to get in touch with an actual human being who answered all my questions in a matter of seconds.

There was no long wait in a queue, no protracted waiting for an answer or any incorrect or generic information provided. Full marks.

Should You Buy the AmipliFi HD?

AmpliFi goes above and beyond expectations. Beautifully designed, easy to setup and use, fully featured, performant, scalable and well supported. I’ve yet to find a glaring fault with this superb system.

Enter the Competition!

Ubiquiti AmpliFi HD Starter Pack Giveaway

Explore more about: MakeUseOf Giveaway, Mesh Networks, Router, Ubiquiti, Wi-Fi.

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  1. Tim
    April 6, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    The only issue I found was using this was with the Arris SVG2482. I have Comcast phone and internet. When disabling the WiFi function for the Arris modem, connectivity for gaming consoles, specifically the Xbox One, was troublesome. It would read dual NAT Type and dual IP, which wouldn't properly connect to the internet for gaming. Before I contacted customer service I set the Amplifi into bridge mode, which at the time didn't fix my issue. Luckily the customer service people on the chat were amazing and understanding. I went through all the steps I previously did and the second time around that seemed to work. The thing that disappoints me is that while in bridge mode you can't optimize or prioritize the devices that are connected for gaming, streaming, etc. Hopefully this will be a hardware issue that will be fixed. Overall, my internet speeds are better than what I pay for and I get a better Wifi signal than I have ever gotten in my house.

    • Yusuf Limalia
      April 6, 2018 at 5:58 pm

      Double NAT is terrible. Especially when using things like Plex.

      To be fair, you would have had that issue with many routers in the same setup.

      Does the Arris not have a Modem only mode? Looking at this site

      http://arris.force.com/consumers/articles/General_FAQs/SVG2482AC-Bridge-Mode-Setup/?l=en_US&fs=RelatedArticle

      It looks possible. Maybe set the Arris to bridge mode and switch the AmpliFi unit back to its default setting?

      • Tim
        April 6, 2018 at 6:04 pm

        So when I previously switched the Arris unit to bridge mode, my internet connection completely cuts out. Had to hard reset the unit after waiting over an hour of it constantly resetting itself after it would get to a certain point in the setup. I feel like that because the Arris modem functions as the main access for the internet and the telephone line this causes issues with connecting an outside wireless router. The only reason I say this is because I have a friend who has the same internet package just minus the phone line and he was able to buy a completely different modem for his comcast internet that did not include the phone line function and the Amplifi system was a 10 minute set up with all functionality available.

        • Yusuf Limalia
          April 6, 2018 at 7:04 pm

          Ah I see. Looks like you have tried many options. Is th Arris provided by Comcast? Is there another device Comcast can provide? What About calling their support team to fix the issue with the Arris if it’s supplied by them? Maybe a firmware update on the Arris?