Buying advice

  • I am considering the AmpliFi Alien router, possibly with a MeshPoint, but I'm not sure if it is the best option for me.

    Background. 1,800 sq ft house, 3 levels. Verizon Fios (75Mbps but will upgrade to 200Mbps once I get new equipment). Currently use a Verizon router but not its wifi. For Wifi I have two Apple Airport Extremes. The house is wired with cat 5e and 6 but need wireless for phones, tablets, a MacBook Pro if not at a desk, cameras, doorbell, and Ecobee thermostat. I administer a UniFi Dream Machine Pro at work. Fios is used only for data, no phone or cable services. I am deciding between Dream Machine or AmpliFi Alien.

    Goal. Have a home network that allows me to upgrade Fios and replace the coax connection from the ONT with Cat 6. The DM or AA will connect directly to the ONT via Cat 6. I want to be able to segment all IoT (aka IoS) devices from my computers for security reasons. If a device cannot talk directly with an iPhone or Mac but talks via a web server then for security reasons I want that device off of the main network. I know I can do this with a DM but I don't know of the abilities of a Amplifi router. I understand that the 2 lines and incompatible.

    Questions. Can a Amplifi Alien create separate networks that cannot see each other? I used to have a single Apple AirPort Extreme but added a second because the signal to the 2nd floor was weak. Is the antenna in the Amplifi Alien likely to be strong enough to eliminate the need for the mesh unit or should I just buy it with the mesh unit to be sure? Is it possible to buy the mesh point separately? I saw that the router and mesh unit are linked so perhaps they must be purchased as a set?

  • @pchernoff I can’t offer anything on the security settings you want but the Alien I have has greater range than the Apple Time Capsule it replaced. The TC was the last version produced by Apple.

    My previous home was a 3 story townhouse approximately 1900 sq. feet. The TC was located on the 2nd floor about at the center of the home. It reached essentially every area that I used a device. And as I said the Alien appears to have even greater range so if you can locate it in a similar central area one Alien would probably be sufficient. All of my devices connect over WiFi. If not, depending on where specifically your devices will be used, you may need to think about a second one.

    I’m currently on Verizon Fios 200/200 tier and consistently get 300/300+ on all my devices when on the 5GHz band. Verizon does pad the nominal speed tier to give you more. That’s why I’ve seen no reason to go beyond this level unless they heavily discount it or offer it for free. The 5GHz band reaches every corner of my current home but it is a 1600 sq. foot one story apartment. But the TC’s 5 band reached everywhere in my previous home.

  • @John-Pappas Thank you. This is very helpful to know (1) I can connect it directly to the ONT if I replace the coax with Cat 5e or 6 (I have both prewired) and (2) the base Alienware unit should do. I have no plans to move to a larger residence, but if I can't add the mesh unit later I should probably play it safe and get the base + mesh.

  • Keep in mind that, while they don’t sell the “mesh unit” (no LCD Alien device) separately, you can always add as many additional “regular” Aliens as you like as “RAMPs” (Router As Mesh Points)... it’ll cost you about $50 more that way but it’s also something you could later reuse or resell independently.
    You could also even consider going with a UDM as your main router device since you are familiar with them and then add Aliens as wireless Access points (or other traditional UBNT APs)

Log in to reply