Alien and Dream Machine

  • Looking for advice if anyone can help.

    I currently have 2 Alien routers. 1 as master, the other as slave via wired backhaul.

    The Alien doesn’t give me enough control over the network. One use case is I have Home Assistant and need to do presence detection from the router (I have looked into all other avenues but none are accurate enough for my needs). I can set up constant ping to detect when someone comes home but I don’t want 4 lots of ping packets constantly going out to detect when each of the family arrive. Geolocation is just not good enough - the closest I can set the home location in HomeKit automations is 100m which is far to far away.

    So the UDM does allow tracking on HA which is great.

    I understand I can put one of the Aliens into bridge mode (and will loose features listed If that Alien is connected via wired backhaul, can users seamlessly roam between the Alien Wi-Fi and UDM Wi-Fi? Would I need to do anything to make wireless roaming seamless? Pretty much mobiles are iPhone X onwards up to iPhone 12 Pro Max and iPads are relatively new. All other Wi-Fi devices don’t need to roam.

    Will the Dream Machine give me all the features back that I loose from Alien being put into bridge mode ie family profiles (or something else so I can disable select devices having internet access) etc? (Obviously I will only have Wi-Fi 6 on the Alien)

    or would UDM Pro be a viable option with both Aliens in bridge mode (1 directly connected to UDM pro for downstairs Wi-Fi and the other Alien on wired backhaul upstairs) - would UDM pro handle this and still keep seamless roaming?

  • As per our private chat; the Alien is a good solution in Bridge Mode, with Ethernet Backhaul for the best performance.

    The UDMP will give you the ability to manage clients, however it is not yet as solid as you might expect.

    One thing I have done (and will need to update) when the UI WiFi 6 AP's come up I will need to upgrade a single unit again, for my legacy IoT's I am not running any legacy IoT on the Aliens, there was a performance hit.

    Read this article I posted a while ago, as I went through various configurations and tests.

    UI is releasing something that will do your localized motion sensing, which might have some use, as well as other features, but it will require a capable UI AP. You can login at UI shopping and opt into the BETA program to see details. It's called Protect Sense

    You will need one of these, and BETA software for that. I would note, that like the Alien, UI does not seem to be broaching the 160Mhz topic. Even on their claimed 3.0 Gbps radio speed, that supports a full duplex 1Gbps Ethernet port, not sure how that works with the claimed 300 clients.

    As far as the particulars, on the Alien App, you can still pause an individual client, as you can now, or "Pause Internet on all devices"

    As far as the UDMP-- you can "block" or reconnect clients in the client list, but it seems clunky at best. The real advantage of the UDMP is the fact you can integrate Protect (cameras) WiFi (UniFi) with Access control, and telephony. (beta at best) as well as some level of firewall protection, internally and externally (work in progress)

    Of course, it also offers you the ability to do a SFP+ port to an additional switch (I did) as well as SFP+ for WAN (WAN2) connectivity. What that means in reality in your case for example, is have an Internet Connection supporting a 2.5Gbps or faster port, and you can get that throughput across multiple clients. With two Aliens for example, with busy AX clients, if you had a 1.2GBPS connection, you could potentially do nearly 600mbps simultaneously on each AP, or faster if one was not as busy. Speeds faster than 750mbps seem unobtainioum at this point, but you get the idea.

    The switch built into the UDMP (I do not use it) is a 1Gbps switch, so it's questionable you can do more than 1Gbps combined on it. I got around that with the SFP+ on the PoE 24 Pro. I post my topology to give you a sense of my layout. Notably, the laptop I am on, is missing from the topology mysteriously, until Alien or UI bug is identified and fixed I guess.

    Notably; the Alien is capable of displaying the correct topology, even for itself in Bridge Mode, however, the UDMP has no idea what is happening, as a result, you will note the flat toplogy, on each level where a Alien is service clients, however they all show on the same router. Someday, they will identify this and fix it I hope.

    I am overall happy with my choice of Alien +UDMP and would do the same way again.

    I hope this meandering response is helpful for you, or the next person.


  • I would note, that like the Alien, UI does not seem to be broaching the 160Mhz topic.

    Hi @unseenone - both the U6-LR and the U6-Pro both list 160MHz support

    The problem is both still have 1Gbps wired connections

    The U6-Pro beta is in stock every so often as I picked one up today, but it seems like the U6-LR pre-order has been the longest 2 weeks in history

    One of them doesn't have 802.11ax on the 2.4GHz band, but off the top of my head I can't remember which...

  • @Derek-Saville Agreed on all points, however, neither has released 160Mhz proper. Support, means it will be compatible with an AX client, I'm sure they are working on it, but it is not supported just yet. It's been discussed on this board for a year, with no hint, other than they are working on it. The same goes for WPA3. While others do have it, I would still opt for the reliability of the Alien when you just want it to work.

  • neither has released 160Mhz proper

    Hi @unseenone - my personal definition of "proper" is having passed FCC testing for VHT160, HE160 and being DFS compliant @ 160MHz, which the U6-Pro has done, and that's about as proper as Ubiquiti gets...

  • Hi @unseenone thanks for the info. I'm new to these products so this helps me figure out couple things. I just received the Alien Router + Meshpoint and so far is running great. But I'm looking for a way to expand the mesh. When I looked at your topology picture I noticed that you combined Alien's with Unifi AP's.
    So if I buy a UDM pro and the U6-LR, I can combine all these in one big mesh?

  • @Pordelmans they will be different mesh systems. Alien works perfectly in bridge mode on UDM Pro however all clients connected to the Aliens are shown as wired devices. However you can’t manage Alien settings or Wi-fi from Unifi controller. Your best to stick with one type or the other. I already had 2 Alien routers but if I was starting out from scratch I would go all Unifi kit so you can control everything in one place

  • @townsmcp Thanks for the info, appreciate it!

  • Hi You can't manage the both via the UDM Pro, but then, the Alien really doesn't need management. Running in Bridge Mode here. As @Pordelmans mentioned. I don't agree completely with just going with UI / UDMP it wasn't even available when I started, and it is still not available properly (AX WiFi 6)

  • @unseenone Thanks for the reply, still considering which route to take

  • still not available properly (AX WiFi 6)

    Hi @unseenone - U6-LR pre-orders are shipping, but the "Usually ships in 2-4 weeks" is more like 2+ months

    Beta EA U6-Pro's (not properly available) are actually shipping more often and I have been testing one for about a month now

    Interestingly, my 802.11ax Dell laptop cannot roam from a U6 AP to the Alien's ax radio if they have the same SSID (iOS devices don't have this problem) and I need to forget the network and then rejoin for access, but it can roam from the Alien to a U6 (this issue doesn't exist with FlexHD AP's)

    The UniFi Network app also just added WPA3 support, so UI have now made strides towards 160MHz & WPA3

  • Hi @Pordelmans - if you have Ethernet backhaul access, another alternative to consider is testing UniFi AP's in standalone mode (limited functionality), sort of the reverse of running the Alien in Bridge mode, if you just need a single AP to expand your coverage

    It won't be "meshed" with the Alien but you have some basic control over the power settings, you can turn off radios, and use manual channel selection to limit interference or client contention

    FlexHD's can be used this way for outdoor expansion

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