My business is to consult and install various networking devices from Ubiquiti, and so I am all to aware of how much better and more configurable they are compared to the run of the mill routers that come with our ISP subscriptions. In my office, which is part of my home, we are connected to the internet through an older model D-Link AC1900 router. It’s between three and four years of age and has been generally a good replacement for the cheaper Netcom router provided when I connected to the NBN: more features and a better WiFi signal coverage. But is it as good as the Ubiquiti access points?
Unfortunately when I came to conduct this experiment I didn’t have a more suitable Ubiquiti Unifi Access Point on hand, so I have had to do it with a Unifi AC Mesh unit. There’s nothing wrong with this particular unit, other than its main function is to be link with one or more other units wirelessly, to give good WiFi coverage of open spaces: caravan parks, markets etc.
One major difference between the two access points being compared is the almost simple plug and play of the D-Link, compared to the time and knowledge it takes to “adopt” the UAP-AC-M into the Unifi Controller software running on my laptop. Again for this exercise I used a Unifi controller on a Windows laptop rather than a Ubiquiti Cloud Key or some other configuration.
I didn’t go into the details of setting up the UAP-AC-M on the controller, or show the huge range of possible configurations available, including VLANs, but if you are interested in knowing more please contact me. Also there are some really good YouTube videos done by Willie Howe at H5 Technology and Chris Sherwood of Crosstalk Solutions detailing a lot of information on the deploying of Ubiquiti devices.
The network was set up with two WiFi access points, both broadcasting 2.4GHz and 5GHz. Using the WiFi Analyzer and Speedtest apps on my Android phone, I conducted both speed and signal strength tests at specific distances from the two access points: 2m, 13m and 25m (outdoors). The results are summarised in the table above.
Putting aside any technology differences between the two devices, and the fact that the UAP-AC-M is not designed to be just a standalone access point, the results show that there is little difference in upload and download speeds between them. The biggest difference is in the signal strength, and the ability of the UAP-AC-M to penetrate building walls etc.
When I have a Ubiquiti Unifi access point, such as a UAP-AC-Pro, then I will conduct this same exercise again.
For the complete run down on this exercise, please watch the video.