Ubiquiti UniFi Review

Ubiquiti's support model is community driven and it enables us to manage multiple networks from the same cloud logon


What is our primary use case?

Ubiquiti UniFi is the most cost-effective network (wired and wireless) solution on the market. I think the reason they are so cost effective is that their support model is community driven. If your needs are rather basic and you are willing to dig in and learn the solution, it will pay dividends for years to come. The advanced feature sets are lacking, but for small businesses, Ubiquiti UniFi checks most of the boxes for features required. Ubiquiti UniFi offers a lot of enhancements through software (which is free) as time goes on making the hardware a better value all the time. No support contracts required.

How has it helped my organization?

For switching and wireless, Ubiquiti UniFi is a hit, and as long as your requirements are pretty basic, Ubiquiti UniFi will make you look like a star with the bean counters. It's enterprise hardware for the price of happy homeowner equipment. We've deployed Unifi solutions in numerous small and medium sized businesses without and problems. With the cloud management each network can be managed from the same logon. Ubiquiti has two factor Authentication (2FA) to secure the cloud management.

What is most valuable?

The software developers at Ubiquiti are awesome. I think of Ubiquiti as a software company as much as a hardware solution. Ubiquiti offers a cloud-managed solution connecting to your controller that can be hosted locally, in the cloud, or on Ubiquiti's Cloud Key controller. 

The Cloud Key Gen2 is a huge improvement over the Gen1 solution mainly because it offers battery backup to keep the onboard MongoDB from getting corrupted when a power failure is experienced. You can manage multiple networks (sites) from the same cloud logon.

What needs improvement?

The weak link to Ubiquiti UniFi's solution is the USG (gateway/firewall appliance). While the USG offers basic features, it doesn't have much above basic. It's also underpowered to handle the advanced features that it does offer at Internet connection speeds above 250 Mbps. This could (and probably will be resolved) in a future hardware/software upgrade. At most sites, we have installed alternate security appliance solutions to the USG.

Some end users will miss the advanced features and technical support. But considering the cost, this can be seen as a plus once you get your bearings on how to configure the equipment. For large enterprises used to the feature set of Cisco, Juniper, and the other big names, this is not a good solution. There are simply too many feature shortcomings for most large enterprises. 

If you need more advanced features, Ubiquiti offers another product line called EdgeMAX. It's not as advanced as Cisco and Juniper, but it is much closer.

For how long have I used the solution?

More than six years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

Carrier-class stability. RMA is available while under warranty. The product is cheap enough to be able to afford cold spares.

What do I think about the scalability of the solution?

Can be scaled out to large networks as long as your requirements are basic.

How are customer service and technical support?

The community forums are very populated with others that are more than willing to help. The biggest concern with this is if you run into something that is a show stopper there is no one to call to get a fast resolution. The equipment is so cost effective you can afford to keep cold spares on a nearby shelf though.

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

Previously we used Cisco small business solutions. The cloud management and price brought Ubiquiti to the front runner position.

How was the initial setup?

Pretty straightforward. If you have network experience, the quick start guide will have you off and running and impressed in no time.

What about the implementation team?

In-house. Ubiquiti was very simple to learn for me. If you are familiar with network systems you will be up and running in no time.

What was our ROI?

Ubiquiti is a value leader for those looking to dig in and learn a network solution that is pretty unique in the industry with regard to value and bang for the buck.

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

It's very cost effective! There is no licensing required with the Unifi product line.

Which other solutions did I evaluate?

Cisco small business equipment, Netgear.

What other advice do I have?

Purchase one of each device (switch, AP, USG) and try them out in a lab environment with a PC based controller. They are so cost effective you will find them impressive. Ubiquiti was founded by a former Apple employee, Robert Pera, who was a wifi engineer at Apple. 

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

Private Cloud
**Disclosure: I am a real user, and this review is based on my own experience and opinions.
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