Ubiquiti UniFi Switches Review

Rock solid stability with adjustable voltage configuration for PoE

What is our primary use case?

I use Ubiquiti UniFi Switches. I like the Ubiquiti PoE EdgeSwitches, but I have to use their switches in certain cases because I have 24-volt and 48-volt PoE. Ubiquiti runs 24-volt PoE in a lot of their radios. We use our switches to have programmable voltages. Our day-to-day use cases with Ubiquiti UniFi Switches is basically internal LAN switches for routing WiFi by normal LAN traffic and telephony. We also have to worry about load balancing, because of our telephony in cameras on the same networks.

What is most valuable?

For the world where you have to balance traffic and traffic loads and bandwidth, their GUI makes it really easy because the switches, though they are enterprise grade level two or level three switches, the GUI is designed so that it's easy to set up VLANs where you need to control your traffic so that your phones don't break up and get choppy because of other people loading the network down too heavily. Telephony is pretty tricky to get right on a heavily loaded network.

What needs improvement?

When working with doing pedals and things like that, you have to go down underneath the hood, into the Linux occasionally, which is unfortunate. They have great papers on how to do it and the documentation online is wonderful. They've got lots of guides. Plus, these guys that do videos all the time, they have tons and tons of videos on Ubiquiti that are excellent guides. But, you do have to once in a while go under the hood and people don't like that. If you have Cisco, you don't care. You're always underneath the hood of the Cisco. They have a GUI but no one uses it. With newer stuff nowadays, everybody tries to stay in the GUI. 50% of the time, after I once set the unit app fixed for the time, I'm probably down in the GUI, in the CLI. Like setting up a VPN, instead of a VPN, there's a point-to-point VPN. You can get most of it in the GUI, but there's always a little tweak here, a tweak there in a VPN to a client. In your own system it always matches up. But going to a class, there's always a tweak. You have to go underneath the hood and tweak it.

For how long have I used the solution?

We have been using the Ubiquity UniFi Switches for about eight years.

What do I think about the stability of the solution?

The Ubiquiti is a rock and that's why we use them. It's the same as their WiFi equipment. The Ubiquiti hardware, though they're software, they don't bill you for it and their software is not as pretty as others. Their Iron is our rock which is more important than anything else to me. I can remotely fix software. I've got to go on site to fix hardware.

How are customer service and technical support?

Ubiquiti has had a bad rep for the support. I don't see that the best because I work with lots of people. I am a guy that gets up in the middle of the night to contact support. So, I'm working with a support guy that I know works at a particular shift. I know when to get ahold of them and we talk. I think the Ubiquiti service is actually pretty darn good. Some people complain that they're hard to get ahold of. They're a little busy in the daytime. I have learned to work with them. I think it's fabulous. Sometimes, they get a new guy. I have to take a little bit of time to get past him, but they're pretty good at filtering entry level guys and upper level guys through their support structure. Their chat's pretty good. So, I don't have any problems at all with them as far as support. But, I've read lots of complaints that in the daytime, it takes 15, 20 minutes. I've adjusted my ways to work well with Ubiquiti because it's a partnership. I know they're 24 hours. And so, I just grab them when it's a little bit slower in the evenings. Their support is good. But in the daytime, it could be a little sluggish to get to them. But, I haven't experienced that problem because I've adjusted my ways. The answers are accurate, which is a big deal.

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

Before using Ubiquiti UniFi Switches we were kind of a Netgear house. I'm Cisco licensed, but I don't like Cisco. I don't like Cisco engineers. They're kind of uppity. And so, I'm kind of an anti-Cisco guy. So, it was Netgear. And then, it was basically Ubiquiti. 

How was the initial setup?

I've been using Ubiquiti UniFi Switches for a long time, so I just slap them in. I would say they're a little bit harder than most for the initial install if you are a pro-consumer. For an IT guy that has at least a little bit of background in networking and things like that, they slap right in. But if you are faint of heart, I would have to say that they're a little trickier than just buying a Netgear and slapping it in. It is a level two, level three switch. So, you can't just expect to slap it in. It's smart.

What was our ROI?

Like I said, it's a rock. The big deal is that a lot of the other companies charge you for software and Ubiquiti doesn't. You buy the gear. You don't ever pay for software. When it comes to software, it comes with updates and it made a huge difference in our ROI because of that. Now, I'm infringing other areas because the real expenses for the software like is in the WiFi and the access points and things like that. With Cisco, you pay money for all that. Cisco is a rip off. I'm sorry, I'm so down with Cisco.

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

The price performance is amazing, but it's a little bit of faint of heart for somebody who's brand new. But, they can get past it. The videos are really great with it. Physically, they use this turnkey. But for experienced person, if they're doing networking and don't know Linux, I don't know what they're doing in the IT business. So, I think they're doing just fine. I like them to continue to focus on great hardware. If the software's a little bit harder, I can live with that because, to me, it's all about the Iron, high-performance Iron, that this runs.

What other advice do I have?

I would give Ubiquiti UniFi Switches a rate of Nine on a scale of ten. I just really do like them. Having programmable voltages is fabulous on the ports. Nobody's got programmable voltages on the ports. Ubiquiti have to be because of the gear, but it makes it really slick. That's one place where the GUI is kind of cool, is that you can toggle a port on and off. You can toggle a group of ports off. You can say, "Hey, kill my cameras." It toggles all my cameras for me and bring them back online.

Which deployment model are you using for this solution?

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