UL MU MIMO, 160Mhz channels, & WPA3

  • The Up Link MU MIMO, 160Mhz channels (AKA DFS channels), & WPA3 support is what we need to make the Amplifi Alien the perfect WiFi 6 router. As other routers are offering 160Mhz channels at lower price point. And the chipset that Ubiquiti is using for the Alien (Qualcomm networking pro 1200) supports all these features of WiFi 6.
    I really hope we will start seeing them soon in the next firmware updates, and especially the 160Mhz channels.


  • I hear you, I am dying to get that update too. A few months ago we were told it’s in the pipeline, but at this point I don’t know what’s taking so long. They need those turn on to get Wifi 6 Certification, so you think they would be rushing it. I picked up an ASUS router for my Travel trailer. It was $160 with all those features.

    I would say I am very happy with the Alien router, but I am disappointed that some of the main WiFi 6 feature are missing.

  • @Timothy-Farley The thing is if I use 160MHz 802.11AC wifi link, I can get faster download/upload speeds than 80MHz 802.11AX, specially if I'm using 802.11AC wave 2 client. This is by itself voids the need for this alien router altogether. I've ordered the ASUS ROG Rapture GT-AX11000 and I will compare them both to see which one is faster, and I will keep the faster one and return the slower.

  • @ayalmaliki I also have that router. It’s going on eBay. Too buggy, yes it’s faster because 160mhz is enabled, but I have zero connection issues and better range. Long term the Alien will be better. Once they get it updated it will destroy that Asus.

    I had connection issues with it, I would reboot it and my ecobee thermostats would not connect. I had to manually unplug them. Also the Alien can be left on forever. The Asus had to be rebooted 1 or 2 times a week. Also just a warning on Asus. Their warranty sucks, bad! I had an issue with my last one. It died, so I called them. They said it would be 3 to 6 weeks before they have stock. So I would need to wait. I had even paid for the premium 2 day warranty and they didn't care.

  • @Timothy-Farley I hear you and I know first hand how robust Ubiquiti products are, but this Alien has a very minimalistic approach for wifi, very few customizable settings, no VLAN support, no web interface, no QoS in AP mode. It really lacks a lot!

  • @ayalmaliki There is a web GUI (limited) and it does have Qos in the web GUI. Also on feature it does have that Asus does not is a PI-Hole (ad blocker) built in and it blocks ads on everything on my network.

  • @Timothy-Farley 0_1590252427432_Screenshot_20200523-114519_Chrome.jpg
    These are all the options that I have on the web interface. I have a pfsense router to do the DNS sink hole and I wanted the Alien to work just as a fast access point, which is definitely not there yet.

  • @ayalmaliki You are in bridge mode so I think Qos does not show up.


  • Even in router mode it's only giving a geberal latency improvement option for QoS and nothing based on the type of the data being transferred. It really needs a comprehensive web configuration interface. For God's sake ubiquiti's first Nanostation has more options and customizable settings than this Alien. If they want they can put such settings under advanced settings but they just can't justify not having them at all!
    That's my opinion and I've been installing networks for houses and small businesses for over 15 years now.

  • It sure seems like the UDM and the Alien might be sharing a similar, albeit slightly different platform...
    The rumored UDM-SE might even get a little closer to the Alien

    Do you guys think the Alien is running UbiOS with a custom AmpliFi OS container versus the Unifi OS container of the UDM?
    If that is the case then some of the UDM's "Automatic QoS" might be ported over at some point

    That also gives some hope that the Alien may get added to UniFi Controller someday should AmpliFi ever want to go down that route again versus the aborted attempts with the HD series

    I am still personally 50/50 on whether they will get the 160 MHz channel width implemented for WiFi-6

    Up until 3 months ago Ubiquiti hardly cared about WiFi Certification...

    But it is a positive sign that there is some movement here, although the UDM series is still not AC certified

    Ubiquiti now has three 802.11ax access points (Lite, IW & LR) through the FCC (good news), but all three only utilize up to 80 MHz channel widths (bad news)

    The big question mark is the Alien's 12 polarity antenna, which is complex
    While the underlying SoC can handle 160 MHz, the RF front ends most likely can, the antenna probably can too...but does it all comply within the certification requirements at a meaningful distance?

    The original Alien marketing pitch touted its "single stamping antenna" and it is interesting that the language has recently changed on the website... https://amplifi.com/alien
    ...although the technical spec still states "(1) Internal Dual-Band Metal Stamp with 12 Polarity"

    A stamped antenna allows AmpliFi to implement their ID styling, and can be okay if it is very precise with very high quality control, but they didn't certify the Alien for 160 MHz out of the gate and if it's added in, they need to be absolutely sure every one of those already shipped very complex antennas meets the requirements too

    Alien delivers "...7685 Mbps total capacity and 16 spatial streams from a single AmpliFi Alien unit."
    (note: I thought they originally claimed 12 spatial streams, so this means they can do 4x4 + 4x4 + 8x8 simultaneously?)

    The total capacity of 7685 Mbps appears to be band derived from 1148 (2.4) + 1733 (5.2) + 4804 (5.8), compared to the 802.11 specs...Max. Supported Data Rates

    • 802.11n 600 Mbps + 600 Mbps (2.4 GHz + 5 GHz?)
    • 802.11ac 1733 Mbps + 3466 Mbps (5.2 GHz + 5.8 GHz?)
    • 802.11ax 1148 Mbps + 4804 Mbps (2.4 GHz + 5.8 GHz?) (Available to Clients)

    Isn't 802.11ac limited to 4x4 MIMO streams?
    So a single device 3466 Mbps 'ac' data rate would require a 4x4 @ 160 MHz stream?
    This could imply they have a 160 MHz channel width working on 5.8 GHz 802.11ac VHT160 although I have not seen an FCC test report yet confirm that is the case
    Or are they using dual simultaneous 802.11ac 4x4 MIMO @ 80 MHz connections to achieve 3466 Mbps???

    Not sure how they are deriving 1148 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band for 'ax' - 4x4 @ 40 MHz?

    MCS numbers sure would help clarify things like they provided for the HD routers in the past

    On the business side, it doesn't seem like they need 160 MHz channel widths or WiFi-6 certification to sell units
    They still can't seem to produce enough units to keep them in stock as it is

    With all of the Ethernet ports (WAN + LAN) limited to 1 Gbps, which is relatively satisfied by a common 2x2 @ 80 MHz MIMO WiFi-6 connection, does it make sense to put in the effort for 160 MHz channels?

    Can the Alien even support a WLAN to WLAN connection greater 1200 Mbps across radios anyways?
    Seems unlikely except maybe in a lab

    I hope the tech spec implies they actually have 160 MHz channel widths working on 802.11ac as a sign of progress for those that need it for 802.11ax

    Just not sure if it really makes sense to implement 160 MHz on 802.11ax though until the move to the open 6 GHz band (WiFi-6E), or specifically on the Alien without multi-gig Ethernet to support it...unless they just want to 'tick the box' to obtain WiFi-6 certification, which they probably also don't really need from a business perspective

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