A Network Revolution: Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine and Access Points Review

In a world dominated by technology, a stable and reliable network is paramount, especially for a household heavily invested in Apple products. After experiencing connectivity issues with their previous setup of three AirPort Extreme routers (a product Apple has now discontinued and hasn’t replaced), we decided it was time for a network overhaul. Our journey led us to the Ubiquiti UniFi ecosystem, including the Dream Machine rack edition and two UniFi 6 Long Range Dual Band Access Points. This review delves into our experience, from setup to performance, and evaluates whether this significant investment was worth it.

The Ubiquiti UniFi Setup: A Dream Come True

The heart of this transformation is the UniFi Dream Machine rack edition. What sets it apart from traditional routers is its all-in-one functionality, incorporating a router, switch, and access point into a single unit. The first notable advantage is its accessible interface. Even for those with limited networking experience, the Dream Machine offers an intuitive setup process that guides users through the initial configuration. The user-friendly interface doesn’t compromise on advanced functionality either, making it easy to set up features like VPN, security protocols, and more.

We already had a Synology rack, which simplified the integration process. Combining the Dream Machine with the existing rack allowed for a clean and organized setup, with the added benefit of centralised management. Having everything neatly organized in one place minimizes clutter and enhances aesthetics while keeping the network components cool and well-ventilated.

Enhancing Coverage with UniFi Access Points

To extend our network’s reach and eliminate dead spots, we opted for two UniFi 6 Long Range Dual Band Access Points. These were strategically mounted on the ceiling at opposite ends of the house. Mounting the access points in this manner ensures optimal coverage throughout the entire property, as signals propagate effectively from ceiling-mounted positions.

One standout feature of these access points is their ability to provide a stable and high-speed connection. By hardwiring them into the existing Ethernet infrastructure, we ensured a reliable connection without the risk of access points dropping off the network. This eliminates the need for frequent reboots, which was a recurring issue with their previous setup. This setup allowed us to be confident that we could easily scale in the future by adding another access point if we needed one.

Ubiquiti vs. Apple: A Paradigm Shift

The decision to switch from Apple AirPort Extreme to Ubiquiti UniFi was driven by the need for a more robust and dependable network. Ubiquiti’s founder, an ex-Apple employee with experience in the Wi-Fi sector, inspired confidence in our choice. We were intrigued by the promise of a better way to transmit signals over long distances especially since we regularly worked from home, played PC and console games and also transferred video files online.

The comparison between the two systems is striking. While Apple’s AirPort Extreme units had served us well, the reliance on Wi-Fi repeaters created a dependency that often required network reboots to reestablish synchronisation. Ubiquiti’s approach, however, focuses on a seamless and robust network architecture that minimises the need for such interventions.

The Price of Performance: Was It Worth It?

The journey to revamp the network did come at a cost. The Dream Machine rack edition, along with the two UniFi access points, set us back AU$1,700. Of this total, AU$1,000 was attributed to the Dream Machine alone. It’s important to note that there are more affordable options available, such as the smaller Dream Machine, which costs roughly a third of the rack edition’s price.

But when it comes to value, the investment in the UniFi Dream Machine and access points makes sense. The price point aligns with the added functionality and business-level network capabilities that users gain. Whether it’s for a home setup or an office environment, the reliability, scalability, and control offered by the UniFi system justify the expense.

Is the UniFi Dream Machine Worth It?

In summary, the answer is a resounding yes. The UniFi Dream Machine and accompanying access points have not only resolved the connectivity issues that plagued the our network but have also transformed how they view their network infrastructure. The accessible interface, robust performance, and analytics tools that allow for optimisation based on usage patterns have elevated their network experience to new heights.

Final Thoughts: A Network Revolution

In an age where connectivity is key, the reliability, speed, and price point of the Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine and Access Points make them a compelling choice for anyone looking to revamp their network. The seamless integration of components, intuitive setup, and the ability to hardwire access points ensure a consistently high-quality network experience. While the initial investment might seem steep, the long-term benefits in terms of performance, stability, and control make it a worthwhile expenditure.

For our household, the transition from Apple’s AirPort Extreme to Ubiquiti UniFi has been a network revolution. The days of frustrating reboots and signal drops are behind us, and we now enjoy a robust, high-speed network that meets their Apple-centric needs. For anyone seeking a reliable and feature-rich network solution, the UniFi Dream Machine and Access Points are a top-tier choice that delivers on its promises.