Ubiquiti UniFi Review

The cloud management has revolutionized the way we provide services to clients

What is our primary use case?

Provide WiFi and Networking to School and Business Campuses that are Clients of our MSP, because we manage the networks too we can't just install some equipment and walk away, we need to be able to quickly make changes. The UniFi line gives us that ability through the Cloud Management feature. We host our own cloud management server so we are not tied to the manufacture's whims, schedules, and changes. The software easily resides on other cloud-based servers we already had so the additional monthly cost is minimal. 

How has it helped my organization?

The cloud management has revolutionized the way we provide services to clients, onsite trips have almost ceased and once complicated changes are made in minutes.

In the old days, if I client needed a change we had to find a PC or Server we could use to access the switch, worse is if they were having problems you couldn't even tell if the switch was up, and you had to track all those IPs. With the Ubiquiti Unifi line the switch checks into the server, so if it has any ways of reaching the internet we can see what is going on.

What is most valuable?

Definitely Cloud management, to be able to monitor and work on remote equipment has saved us a fortune in travel and diagnostic time. And not just making changes, but being able to remotely power cycle and individual POE port has helped us troubleshoot issues that had nothing to do with the switches themselves. So say an AP or VOIP Phone is completely locked up, a quick search for the mac address, if the port isn't already labeled, lets us find the device and power cycle it without affecting any other devices.

What needs improvement?

Documentation could be improved, especially regarding known issues or new features. It relies heavily on the user community to provide support and info. There is a vast user group with support groups on both the dedicated forums as well as most social media platforms. So far we have been able to find solutions to all our issues but there is always the fear an issue will come up we can't resolve and we won't be able to reach out to the company directly. They do offer a subscription support service, but it doesn't make sense for the large number of devices we have.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the UniFi line of Ubiquiti products for the past few years, we moved over when Cloudtrax was purchased and closed the free cloud service offering.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

We use this in sites from 6 ports to over 600 and have had no issues.

How are customer service and technical support?

The one bad part, it is almost nonexistent and relies on a user community.

Which solution did I use previously and why did I switch?

We came from the OpenMesh CloudTrax system, we liked it a lot but they were bought by Datto and the free cloud service went to $10 per device/month and that wasn't something we felt our clients would accept.

How was the initial setup?

Very Simple once you get the cloud controller working.

What was our ROI?

Well looking at other options at $10 per device a month our ROI is in the $1000s.

What's my experience with pricing, setup cost, and licensing?

Take the time to read through the forums and groups first and you will learn some neat tricks, pricing is straight forward with no hidden costs so no surprises there. Play with it first before your first install, we actually build the whole network before a single piece of equipment goes onsite.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

We came from OpenMesh so we kind of knew what we wanted, we looked at a few other options like Datto and Cisco but they were too expensive. We also looked at the ZyXEL cloud line but we found the command link was blocked by some of the firewalls we used.

What other advice do I have?

Try it, you will be pleasantly surprised at all it does for such a low price.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud

If public cloud, private cloud, or hybrid cloud, which cloud provider do you use?

**Disclosure: My company has a business relationship with this vendor other than being a customer: Reseller and System Integrator.
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