Upgrade from Instant to HD….much difference?

  • Hello.

    I have the Instant Mesh and it works pretty great for me. After reading on the forum I see the value in buying 2 Instant routers vs the kit.

    1. Does anyone have experience in upgrading from and Instant setup to a HD setup?

    2. Would there be much benefit? Instant w/ 1 mesh(what I have now) vs. HD as main router and Instant as RAMP.

    Thanks for the help!

  • @richfetcho and I know that I can’t use the Instant I have now to pair with the HD. I’d have to get a new one. Not a prob. I can repurpose the kit I already have.

  • Hi @richfetcho - there could be a benefit from installing an HD as the primary router if you can take advantage of the improvements, but it is a very specific list that might be hard to justify

    The HD has a faster processor, so it can process packets faster if you are trying to drive a lot of throughput or it may provide lower latencies than the Instant

    The HD can implement hardware NAT to accommodate gigabit Internet service on the Ethernet side which the Instant cannot do (note that the HD still cannot achieve gigabit WiFi for many reasons explained elsewhere)

    The HD can implement QoS profiles but I personally have not found them all that beneficial

    The HD is 3x3 SU-MIMO, although this isn't much of a benefit as most clients are 2x2, so the only time it might come into play is if you have a second wireless HD as a mesh point, but even then the gains would be minimal since the HD's do not have dedicated backhaul radios

    More importantly the HD does have a higher gain antenna, so it could achieve better range or throughput at the same range (higher SNR) than an Instant, but that is highly dependent on the environment

    I would say the 3 HD antenna polarities are a little more '3D' than the single polar antenna on the Instant, so that may or may not be a benefit based on your installation location and the environment (i.e. two story vs single story dwelling)

  • @Derek-Saville What is the ethernet limitation of the Instant. Perhaps the better way to frame this is to ask why hardware NAT is needed to achieve Gb.

  • Hi @Matthew-Leeds - the Instant's limitation is in Brett's words, "a lower grade processor" which does not have hardware NAT capability and was also slower at software packet processing compared to the HD

    Before the HD's implemented HW NAT they couldn't support gigabit internet from an ISP either

    The Instant has a slower processor and does NAT in software only

    Here are some posts by @UI-Brett...

    Depending on network workload, the Instant is not a prefered device for gig performance. It has a gig LAN port, but majority of customers never achieve gig speeds with the lack of performance that the Instant offers. Also, hardware NAT which in most cases is required to achieve gig speeds is not supported on the AmpliFi Instant.


    With the Instant having only 1 LAN port, a 2x2 antenna and a lower grade processor, it may be worth the extra cost to get the HD router...

    And when asked about coverage claims, which seem inflated by AmpliFi for the HD...

    You will see quite the difference in coverage when comparing the two, with the Instant delivering 2,000 sq. ft of coverage compared to the 10,000 sq. ft from the AmpliFi HD. The max coverages as you know are referencing what you will be seeing from the 2.4 GHz frequency.

    They have never posted any claims for 5GHz coverage to my knowledge, which would be far more useful

  • @Derek-Saville thanks Derek.

    My needs are pretty minimal I think. I have a 200mbps internet plan and I mainly want solid 2.4 and 5 auto switching. And our smart TV to not drop signal for playing YouTube.

    So far the instant kit has worked great for me.

    I don’t need to tinker with many settings other than the app and the web interface. I think the HD would be better for some more coverage but for now the instant will do.

    I just discovered a better spot for the mesh unit and switched it to 2.4 backbone and it’s working much better in my house.

    Thanks for the info!

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