I have been a long time UniFI user for our home network. This review is going to be my two-cents about the overall UniFi platform, and its use in home networking. I deliberately did not include a lot of background on this review as I wrote an entire rambling article on my journey with UniFi, so far.
What is UniFi
UniFi by Ubiquiti Networks is a line of enterprise networking products. The product line is designed to work together, and be centrally managed through a web-based controller. The platforms core products are Wi-Fi Access Points and Switches. Over the last few years, the product line has expanded to include security cameras, phones, door locks and more. All of which is intended to be part of centrally controlled ecosystem.
Usefulness / “Betterness” 4/5
The biggest thing that UniFi has here is that everything works together, and is configured (mostly) automatically once connected. It also scores points for its easy to use central management system. Additionally, the freedom of choice the platform offers. For example, you can buy a number of different UniFi “console” devices from Ubiquiti to run the controller, or you can download it free and host it on your own hardware. Finally, the amount of built in and easily available stats or “insights” are awesome. In our opinion, this qualifies as better than some other systems available.
Value – 5/5
The UniFi platform provides enterprise level features at a very affordable price. You can get a basic setup for the price of a higher end consumer router. The amount of hardware and features that you get for the price vs some competitors is very good. Despite some minor quality issues, UniFi earns full marks here.
Design/User Friendliness – 4/5
In general, the UniFI platform is very user friendly. The physical design of the hardware is sleek (for networking equipment anyway), using a lot of silver and white (ala Apple). The majority of the devices are rack-mountable, sometimes with add-on brackets. The UniFi console web interface generally works well and looks good. Basic functionality is easy to find, with advanced features out of the way, but still easily available. Only deduction here is there are some minor quality issues that affect user friendliness (see below)
Quality – 4/5
Overall quality is good. Equipment is solidly built, and not flimsy. I’ve had some equipment running for over 6 years continuously, with no major issues. A detractor here is that sometimes products ship seemingly unfinished, or limited. An example of this was the USG3 with a port intended only for VoIP. This was later fixed so it could be used other purposes, but why not just ship it that way. Another irritation is that software updates sometimes ship incomplete, an interface change makes it impossible to control older features, or features seemingly disappear without explanation.
Overall – 17/20
I absolutely love the UniFi platform, I have used it in my home network for years. I love it so much I have staked my reputation on it and installed it for several clients in my “IT guy” side hustle. The UniFi platform is powerful enough for enterprise users (as it is intended); however it remains approachable (and affordable) enough for use in home and small office networks. The admin interface is easy enough that anybody with some basic networking (and googling) skills, to manage. The price point for an entry level setup, is around the cost of some high end consumer routers.
There are some minor issues, and they have gotten better over the years. The UniFi platform is overkill for most home networks. We don’t recommend this for something like Wi-Fi over at grandma’s house. But, for those power users, the super customizers, and people with large home networks, this is for you.