Alien EU version or US version?

  • Hi all,
    It is my first message on this forum so please be kind if the subject was already discussed.
    I'm a European guy currently working in Canada nevertheless I will go back to my country (France) in some months. As a consequence I could buy the Alien US version in Canada or wait to be in France to buy the EU version.
    I saw on several topics that there are key differences between this 2 models.
    I'm not an IT specialist so I'm seeking some advices from experts.
    Thanks by advance for your advices.

  • @F-S the US Alien router has a extra WIFI AC (5) Radio inside.... the European model is a FULL WIFI AX (6) device 😉 i don't know what else is different.. but yeah, this is one of them.

  • @dexx64 thanks for your reply.
    I have been through the datasheet and I also noticed that the performance are not the same for the 802.11ac band:
    EU version it is written: 1733 Mbps + 800 Mbps
    US version it is written: 1733 Mbps + 3466 Mbps

    It seems strange to me but perhaps I misunderstood. Any advice? Idea?


  • Hi @F-S - the AmpliFi Alien datasheets are known to be inaccurate and confusing, especially in the case of the EU model

    We have asked AmpliFi to correct and/or clarify them, but that will unlikely ever happen

    My advice would be to ignore the theoretical "marketing numbers" listed for 802.11ac as they are not really meaningful

    But it is possible to speculate what they are trying to communicate for both models...

    802.11ac only officially applies to the 5GHz band, 256-QAM up to 4 streams @ 160MHz channel widths...

    However, vendors and manufacturers have added their own additions to the spec, and the EU Alien is very likely reporting different capabilities than the US model, so they are not directly comparable

    As @dexx64 mentioned, what is important to understand between the 2 models is the number of radios, the types of radios, and the total number of steams available

    Specific to 802.11ac on the EU model, in my opinion they are trying to communicate:

    • 800 Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio using MCS9 (256-QAM) on 4 streams with 40 MHz channel widths (not standard)
    • 1733 Mbps on the 5GHz radio using MCS9 (256-QAM) on 4 streams with 80 MHz channel widths

    802.11ac doesn't actually exist for 2.4GHz, but is marketed as "AC Class" and this is loosely an unofficial extension of 802.11n from 64-QAM to 256-QAM that many vendors supported but was never implemented in the actual standard

    Specific to 802.11ac on the US model, in my opinion they are trying to communicate:

    • 1733 Mbps on the lower 5.2GHz 802.11ac radio using MCS9 (256-QAM) on 4 streams with 80 MHz channel widths
    • 3466 Mbps on the upper 5.8GHz backwards compatible 802.11ax radio using dual MCS9 (256-QAM) on 4 streams with 80 MHz channel widths (x2)

    It doesn't appear to me they are reporting the 2.4GHz radio "AC Class" numbers on the US model datasheet

    But again this is all speculation since AmpliFi will not answer any questions to clear things up

    Choosing between the two models depends on your needs

    If you can take advantage of the additional 802.11ac radio and accept the fact that the 802.11ax radio only operates in the upper 5.8GHz band, then the US model is probably the better choice

    If you don't need or don't plan on taking advantage of the additional 802.11ac radio, or you want to cover the full 5GHz spectrum with 802.11ax, then the EU model is probably the better choice, but I have never used one myself personally to make a direct comparison

    For the US model, because it is FCC certified, we have access to the teardown images and you know what you are really getting inside

    We don't know what exactly was changed for the EU model, only that the additional radio was removed, and the datasheets and spec's communicated by AmpliFi have caused more confusion than anything else

    Some users in Europe have also expressed disappointment regarding the EU model's coverage and that is a little worrisome, but it is very much environment dependent as well

  • To add to what @Derek-Saville said,i have the alien in France, in a dense environment, and coming from the amplifi hd, the range and speed are much improved (especially being able to hold onto 5Ghz where the hd would switch the device over to 2.4).

    À note, I use the alien in Bridge mode to avoid double Nat (all isps except a couple of freeboxes don't allow bridge mode).

  • Hi,
    Thank you very much for your valuable points.
    As I don't have any specific need of an extra 5GHz radio I will wait my next visit in Europe. I just need 2 different SSID (2,4GHz and 5GHz) on 2 channels that I can define manually.

    Today I'm running an Asus RT-AX55 and it is more than enough in term of radios for me.

    I'm looking for improving my range and speed without a mesh system. Regarding what @Raghu-Kannan said I think the EU version of the Alien will satisfy me.

    Thanks again.

  • @F-S in this case, any access point will do. A unifi 6 long range in standalone mode is cheaper and will probably perform as well..

  • Thanks @Raghu-Kannan.
    I should have precised that I have the asus router here in Canada with the house that I rent.
    In France I have a Freebox Crystal ☺
    My Crystal with an access point is also a good idea

    Edit: I have 3 kids so I also need a good parental control ☺ and I don't have Wifi 6 devices today.

    I've also seen the UniFi Dream Machine, any comment on it?

  • @F-S not sure about parental controls on the udm, it's probably simpler with the alien (or even the amplifi hd). I think the crystal can be put in Bridge mode (but that's soooo old! :))

  • Thanks.
    Yes it's an old one. It seems that the Crystal can be put in bridge mode.
    So at the end of day, I think I will go for the EU Alien.

  • @F-S If you live in EU for long for sure to get the EU version. I have one US version and 2 EU version, US and EU cannot be in one mesh system, but in bridge mode there's no issue.

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