Unifi Part Deux wow amazingly easy Dream Machine and Amplifi setup plus 802.11af, at and bf madness

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Ok two quick notes, this week has been mainly about broken network issues. Or rather putting as much care in the home network as that has really become mission critical. So three lessons:

Wow, the setup for the Dream Machine and the Amplifi are even easier than for the Dream Machine Pro. Really hats off to Ubiquity for spending the money to have bluetooth in every product so that setup is just so easy. It is literally turn it on with your phone near these devices.

As an aside, the Amplifi is their pure consumer line. It has a separate installation tool and looks pretty and you can manage it remotely so its even easier than Unifi and the two mesh points that it comes with just works. Really perfect if you are giving someone the gift of decent WiFi, but don’t want to manage it.

The Dream Machine on the other hand is really great for your aunt, uncle or parents where you will be the network administrator. You can manage this device which is a combination firewall and router plus 4 port Ethernet hub and also an access point. It doesn’t come with those mesh points, so you use the more traditional Unifi APs. That’s an advantage for power but makes it more complicated than plugging in the mesh points. So a classic ease of use vs power trade off. it has the same easy setup with Bluetooth detection.

They both use different user interfaces which is a little confusing. There are really three interfaces, the legacy Unifi one, the new one and then the Amplifi so a little confusing.

Finally a quick primer on all these power on Ethernet standards:

  • There are three standard. The first is 15 watts of power and is called POE or 802.11af. This is what most access points and IP cameras need. The POE powered hubs called the Flex-Mini use this as well for the UAP-AC-PRO
  • Then there is the higher powered 802.11at which is used for higher power Sytems like the UAP-AC-HD
  • Then there is the 802.11bt running at 30-60W used for high volume systems like the UAP-XG
  • Then there is a passive 24V that was first used by the early version of Unifi APs called the UAP-AC-PRO, UAP-AC-LITE and UAP-AC-M

The nice thing about the Unifi system is that if you plane things right, you never need AC power anywhere:

  • Unifi POE-48. This is a 48 port monster with up to 750 watts of power.
  • Use this to power the Unifi USW-Switch- Flex through the 802.11bt port and then this can power 802.11at devices downstream.
  • For Unifi APs can also be plugged in directly using 802.11at power.
  • You can also power Unifi cameras from it.
  • If you do not have enough Ethernet, then use the POE-24 which also has other ports.

Finally if you are in a house without much CAT-8, then you have some choices:

  • There is now a 2Gb MOCA connection for cable connections.
  • Use mesh networking for multi gigabit backhaul

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