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AmpliFi Alien Review: Still a Peculiarly Solid Wi-Fi 6 Router after Two Years

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In a good way, Ubiquiti's AmpliFi Alien has been a weird router.

That was my initial impression more than two years ago, and it's even more so today. I've reviewed dozens more Wi-Fi 6 routers in the past couple of years, yet none was like the Alien.

This router is somewhat similar to the Asus RT-AX92U in hardware specs but without a full web interface and extensive network settings. However, it manages to have some valuable and unique features. And the cool design never gets old.

Here's the deal: If you're looking for a dead simple-to-use and reliable router that will deliver any sub-Gigabit broadband connection in full, the Alien is your friend, still totally worth its current street price of around $450 today. And I dare say you may even love it.

But, if you're expecting standard settings and the ability to customize your home network to a great extent, the Alien is just a bit, well, out of this world. You might get mad. And in that case, for the price, you'd get a lot more with the Asus GT-AX11000 or TP-Link GX90 instead.

Dong's note: I first published this review on December 9, 2019, and, per the requests of many, updated it on March 1, 2022, after extra testing using the latest firmware, which, among other things, has the support for the 160MHz channel width.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Wi-Fi Router
The AmpliFi Alien feels solid and has a good heft. And the touchscreen is quite sleek.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien: An attention grabber

You either love the Alien's design or find it annoying, but one thing is for sure: you will talk about it.

Ubiquiti: UniFi vs. AmpliFi

UniFi and AmpliFi are two major networking product lines from Ubiquiti. They serve two demographics and have different architectures.

The UniFi family—represented by the Dream Machine (UDM), UDM-Pro, the Dream Router (UDR), or UDM-SE...—aims at business/pro/enterprise users. They are comprehensive consoles acting as the central controllers of various products, of which networking devices are only part of the picture.

On the other hand, the AmpliFi family, represented by the HD Wi-Fi system or the Alien, is for the home environment. They are simple Wi-Fi routers, easy to use but with a limited feature set.

The UDM is the first UniFi product that works well as a home router, thanks to its friendly design. In a way, it's a bridge between the two product lines. The UDR further solidifies that approach, making the UDM-Pro or UDM-SE applicable to demanding homes.

Eventually, Ubiquiti might phase out AmpliFi to focus on UniFi as its only encompassing platform.

A design to impress

If the name itself is not enough, everything else about the Alien's look is about putting on a great first impression. The router comes in a packaging generally reserved for expensive gifts—like a nice bottle of cognac or something fancy of a similar shape.

Out of the box, the Alien is a black cylindrical box with matte soft plastic skin that's 9.84-inch (250 mm) tall 4.33-inch (110 mm) wide. The router feels solid, and at 2.65 lb (1.2 kg), it's heavy enough not to topple easily. Overall, it's slightly taller and narrower in diameter than the SURFboard mAX Pro.

And then, there's this beautiful bright color 4.7-inch vertical (274 x 1268) touchscreen on the front, similar to that of a high-end smartphone. Ubiquiti's idea of putting a touchscreen on a router started with the AmpliFi HD, but the Alien is where it shines.

You can swipe between this screen's pages to view different sets of settings, including port status, the total amount of data transferred per period, the number of connected clients, and the router's IP addresses.

In the beginning, the only interactive thing you can do with the screen is an Internet speed test. But over time, via firmware, Ubiquiti has added more and more functions to this screen.

By version 3.6.x, you can perform the initial setup, update the firmware, and change/check on all sorts of settings, such as volume, brightness, fan speeds, temperature, connected clients, etc. It's by far the best touchscreen you can find on Wi-Fi routers.

On the bottom, the Alien has a ring of greenish light that shows the router's status. The light flashes (and the touch screen also responds) each time you apply a setting or when you want to locate it via the mobile app—like you could misplace something that ostentatious.

By the way, this bottom ring of light is similar to the one on UniFi Dream Machine's top but much brighter. Also, like the UDM, the Alien has a built-in speaker that plays a tune each time it starts or when you apply a new setting.

As soon as you plug it in, the Alien gets busy fast with a flashing bright light and different chimes playing. The whole thing makes the setup process a bit too exciting—don't do that at night when your family is asleep.

After the initial setup, you can manage the router's sight and sound via the mobile app or its touchscreen.

AmpliFi Alien’s detail photos

AmpliFi Alien Front
The AmpliFi Alien's retail box looks a bit out of this world, or at least like a nice bottle of fancy spirit.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Wi-Fi Router
Inside the packaging, you'll note the AmpliFi Alien looks like an expensive bottle of spirit.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Router
The AmpliFi Alien has no multi-gig port, just four regular Gigabit LAN ports on its back.

AmpliFi Alien Box WAN
And Gigabit WAN port on its underside.

AmpliFi Alien Router Light
The AmpliFi Alien can put out an overwhelming amount of light. But you can dim or turn off the bottom light or the screen separately.

App-operated, super quick setup

You might like the Alien's frills, but if you don't, you'll be happy to know that you won't need to make the router play sounds or flash its colorful light often. The setup process was short in my case—there weren't many settings to change.

Indeed, using the AmpliFi mobile app, which is used for all AmpliFi hardware, I could get the router up and running in less than 5 minutes. There was nothing to note here, other than the fact you'll need to get an account with Ubiquiti, which I had already created for the AmpliFi HD's review.

Aliens AmpliFi Mobile App
The AmpliFi mobile app makes managing the Alien an easy job.

After that, follow the steps on the phone's screen, and you'll get the router up and running.

The app is easy to use and allows for an overview of your home network. You can monitor connected clients in real-time and manage the speaker and lighting. You can also schedule to turn off the touchscreen during certain hours.

The mobile app has the option to enable remote access, which allows you to manage the Alien even when you're out and about. Using the apps, you'll also be able to get access to the router's few extra settings. These include port-forwarding, some basic Parental Control functions, and the Teleport VPN—more below.

In return, just like the case of any router with a login account, using the AmpliFi mobile app might put your privacy at risk, as I detailed in this post on router management.

The Alien has a simple one-page web user interface that you can use to manage without a login account—more below. But in this case, you'll have no access to all the extra settings mentioned above.

Spartan network settings

No matter which you use, the Alien doesn't have a lot of settings to customize.

As mentioned above, using the app, you can set up port forwarding and fixed IP addresses. But in both cases, it's a bit of a pain considering the phone's screen.

And that's about all of the conventional settings and features you'll find. There are no standard extras, such as Dynamic DNS, online protection, game-related features, and so on. (Similar to the case of the AmpliFi HD, the Alien might have a game version that comes with built-in QoS.)

As for Wi-Fi settings, you can customize the Alien's Wi-Fi network, namely separating the 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands, or create a new virtual network for each band.

You can also pick the channel you want a band to work on (or leave it as Auto) and the channel bandwidth.

Excellent firmware updates

I initially reviewed the Alien using firmware version 3.2.2. Since then, Ubiquiti has released a dozen updates, some of which added valuable improvements to the hardware.

Most noticeable, version 3.6.0, released mid-2021, added the support for DFS and the 160MHz channel width for both of the Alien's 5GHz bands. This version is why I decided to re-test the router and update this review.

While the 160MHz support was welcome news, keep in mind that the router doesn't have any Multi-Gig port, meaning you might not see many improved performances—more below.

Also significant, before this, version 3.4.0 (released mid-2020) added the unique virtual private network (VPN) feature. That was by far the most valuable improvement.

AmpliFi Teleport: Sleek VPN for travelers

Indeed, Teleport, which was also added to AmpliFi HD via a firmware update, was a complete bonus. It's a proprietary VPN server that initially required a separate hardware unit.

Designed primarily for mobile devices, Teleport works via another app called Teleport. On Windows or Mac computers, you need a separate Android emulator application.

(By the way, to compete with Teleport, in mid-2021, Asus released a similar feature for its routers, called Instant Guard. )

Cool VPNs for mobile users: Asus Instant Guard vs. Ubiquiti Teleport

AmpliFi app Teleport Code
Steps to generate a Teleport code using the AmpliFi app.

But in either case, Teleport is dead simple to use. First, you create a Teleport Code using the AmpliFi mobile app. Then, within an hour, enter that code into the Teleport app of a mobile device.

And that's it, now that device will connect to the Internet using a VPN that links to the Alien. In effect, that keeps the connection secure as though the remote device is connected directly to the home Wi-Fi network.

A VPN like that is an excellent way to stay protected when you use public Wi-Fi, and it doesn't incur costs or have data restrictions like one of those popular paid VPN services.

Teleport App Connected
Enter the code into the Teleport app and get the remote device connected.

What's more, if you happen to have two AmpliFi routers at different locations, you can use Teleport to link them together.

In this case, all devices of one location will enjoy the VPN benefit by being part of the other place, making the feature quite fitting for businesses with two small offices.

Simple, but sufficient for basic usage, web user interface

Other than the mobile app, the Alien also has a one-page web interface you can get to by pointing a browser to its IP address, which by default is, and using the same password for the mobile app to log in.

(Note that this default IP might change from one Alien router to another, but you can easily find out what it is.)

AmpliFi Alien Old Firmware ModeAmpliFi Alien New Firmware
The AmpliFi Alien's web interface old vs. new (right): Version 3.6.x comes with a lot more options. But either will allow you to set up the hardware as a standalone router or an access point.

You can use the web page to set up the Alien as a router or an Access point and toggle some settings, including a DNS-based ad-blocker. Once turned on, this feature will stop online ads from coming into your home network—more below.

With the latest firmware, this webpage allows access to even more settings, as shown in the screenshots above, including customizing the Wi-Fi network.

But still, you can't use this web interface for any extras, such as port-forwarding, IP reservation, VPN, or Parental Controls, nor can you use it to access the router remotely. Again, there's no Dynamic DNS support.

Nonetheless, if you're happy with the Alien at the basic level, you can use the Alien via its web interface completely without the need to register an account with Ubiquiti.

In this case, remember that you'd have to rely solely on the touchscreen for the lights and volume, and you'd need to be physically by the router itself to adjust those. But your privacy might be worth the little inconvenience.

A largely working ad-blocking feature

By the way, I tried the ad-blocking out for an extended period, and it worked pretty well. The feature indeed blocked most ads of all kinds. However, it's far from perfect.

That's because there's no way to fine-tune it—you can only turn it on or off. Since some videos and sites put ads as part of their content, they might not work at all unless you can turn ad-blocking off for them.

That said, with ad-blocking turned on, certain websites or streaming services will not work as intended, and you might not know what happens since there's no warning or meaningful error message.

The point is that you should use this feature with care and be aware that you have a router-based ad-blocking when troubleshooting your broadband.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien: Unconventional specs, no multi-gig port

The Alien has the five usual Gigabit network ports, the WAN port in on its underside, and the LANs are on its back. There's no multi-gig port. That said, in a wired-to-wireless connection, its speed caps at 1Gbps.

In reality, the lack of faster-than-Gigabit network ports doesn't matter much since 1Gbps is significantly faster than the required speeds of any application.

But faster is always better if you ask me, especially Gigabit and Gig+ broadband have been getting more and more popular.

Lopsided tri-band setup

When it first came out, the Alien was the first Tri-band router with lopsided 5GHz bands.

Traditionally, a tri-band router includes one 2.4GHz band and two identical 5GHz bands. The Alien, however, has two different 5GHz bands.

One is a straightforward 4x4 Wi-Fi 5 band that caps at 1733 Mbps. The other is a 4800 Mbps Wi-Fi 6 band with a bit of controversy. Ubiquiti calls this an 8x8 band, but that's just marketing, as I mentioned in this post on Wi-Fi 6.

Initially, the Wi-Fi 6 band only supported up to 80MHz channel width, but, as mentioned above, firmware version 3.6.0 added the support for the 160MHz.

Later on, there were more and more routers with this type of Wi-Fi specs, with the most popular being the Asus RT-AX92U, which I also reviewed twice.

AmpliFi Alien vs. Asus RT-AX92U: Hardware specifications

Full NameUbiquiti
AmpliFi Alien 
Mesh Router
Asus RT-AX92U
Wi-Fi 6 Router
Dimensions9.84-inch (250 mm) tall
4.33-inch (110 mm) wide
6.1 x 6.1 x 2.07 inc 
(15.5 x 15.5 x 5.26 cm)
Weight2.65 lb (1.2 kg)1.43 lbs (651 g)
5GHz-1 Wi-Fi Specs
(channel width)
4 x 4 AC
Up to 1733 Mbps 
(low band)
2×2 AC
Up to 867Mbps 
(low band)
5GHz-2 Wi-Fi Specs
(channel width)
4 x 4 AX
Up to 4804 Mbps 
(high band)
4 x 4 AX
Up to 4804 Mbps 
(high band)
2.4GHz Wi-Fi Specs
(channel width)
4 x 4 AX
Up to 1148 Mbps
2×2 Wi-Fi 4
Up to 400Mbps
Backward Compatibility 802.11ac/n/g/a/b802.11ac/n/g/a/b
Touchscreen Specs4.7-inch (110.38 mm),
 274 x 1268, 279 PPI Resolution, 
G+F Touch, 
Full Color
Mobile AppAmpliFiAsus Router
Web User InterfaceYes (simple)Yes (full)
AP (Bridge) ModeYesYes
USB PortNone1x USB 3.0
1x USB 2.0
Gigabit Ports4 x LAN, 1 x WAN4 x LAN, 1 x WAN
Link AggregationNoYes
Multi-Gig PortNoneNone
CPU2.2 GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core CPUDual-core 1.8Ghz CPU,
512 MB RAM, 256 MB Flash
Release DateDecember 2019January 2021
Firmware Version
(at review)
1st try: 3.2.2
2nd tri: 3.6.2
1st try:
2nd try:
US Price
(at 2nd review)
(Single router)
AmpliFi Alien's hardware specifications

No dedicated backhaul

The Alien is mesh-ready. You can get two or more units to form a mesh system—just like the RT-AX92U. There's also an Alien Mesh Kit that includes a router and a mesh point which I reviewed separately.

Alien Mesh Kit's in-depth review

One thing is for sure: The Alien's non-conventional Tri-band specs mean when you get multiple units to create a mesh, the system has no dedicated backhaul.

In this case, the routers would create a separate virtual network on its Wi-Fi 6 band that links the hardware units.

This virtual network shares the bandwidth with the main network, so this band will still have to do two jobs simultaneously, linking the routers and serving clients. As a result, it will suffer from the standard signal loss found in dual-band mesh routers.

That said, if you intend to go with a mesh setup, it's best to use the Alien via the wired backhaul.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien: Reliable performance

Before this second try, I had used the Alien for almost two years, and it proved to be reliable—just like the case of the AmpliFi HD. The router is generally a pleasure to use.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien 5GHz Wi-Fi Performance
The Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien's performance while hosting a 5GHz Wi-Fi 6 client

In terms of performance, it wasn't the best I've seen, especially when compared with newer hardware. But it wasn't slow, either.

Interestingly, the addition of 160MHz support didn't change much in its throughputs, likely because it has no Multi-Gig port. I tested it using this channel width and experienced no improvement at all.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien 5GHz AC Performance
Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien 5GHz AC Performance

In fact, for better reliability, which is at risk when you use DFS channels, I'd recommend using this router with its default 80MHz channel.

The Alien has always had excellent Wi-Fi coverage. It's on par, if not better than some high-end Wi-Fi 6 I've tested. Put it in the middle, and chances are it'll cover a house of some 2000 ft² (186 m²) with no problems.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien .4GHz Performance
The Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien's performance while hosting a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi 6 client

In all, the Alien had excellent performance for its specs. And my two-year experience is a testament to its reliability and enduring attraction.

Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien's Rating

8.5 out of 10
AmpliFi Alien
8.5 out of 10
8 out of 10
Design and Setup
9 out of 10
8.5 out of 10


Reliable and fast Wi-Fi with excellent coverage

Sleek design, sufficient web interface, and well-designed mobile app

Convenient and free Teleport VPN

Built-in ad-blocking feature



Limited in conventional settings and features

Unconventional tri-band setup with no dedicated backhaul when used in a mesh setup

No Multi-Gig port, not wall-mountable


As the name suggests, the AmpliFi Alien is an unconventional Wi-Fi 6 router.

On the one hand, it has some unique and valuable features. On the other, it lacks the conventional settings and features you might assume from a home networking device of its caliber.

That said, if Wi-Fi speeds and coverage are what you care about, this router has enough to justify its cost for anyone with a sub-Gigabit broadband connection. And the unique and useful Teleport VPN is an awesome bonus.

If you're comfortable with using the mobile apps—and all that implies——the Alien has a lot for you to love.

I've had it for more than two years and still don't want to let it go. And that's definitely something for a guy who has the possibly largest collection of home routers.

By the way, if you're wondering if you should get a second unit from a mesh, I address that in a separate review of the Alien Mesh system.

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94 thoughts on “AmpliFi Alien Review: Still a Peculiarly Solid Wi-Fi 6 Router after Two Years”

  1. Dong, great review. I was just looking at the Web UI you mentioned in their Update. Could you clarify?

    If you manage the Amplifi Alien purely via the web browser and touchscreen (thus without a login account which the App requires), can you manage more than one Alien if you added another Alien (router model) to the home network via the web browser as well?

    I’m talking about Ethernet backhaul in the context of a wired home network. And setting up two Aliens as Access points in a Mesh network (with wired backhaul).

    As in, can you set up “Ethernet backhaul mode” using just the Web browser UI or the Alien’s touch screen?

    From what I can see online on the Unifi Amplifi website, it’s a bit unclear. Their manual mentions somewhere that you can simply tap the screen to add another node. Their website mentions using the App to select Ethernet backhaul mode. It doesn’t list a method via the Web UI (although it lists the Web UI as a method to set up an Alien Router for the first time without using the App at all).


    • I think you can manage it completely without the app. However, the app makes things easier.

      It’s hard to say since a firmware update can change things dramatically.

  2. Hi Dong, you have a great website!

    We have Gigabit internet and recently got our home wired with CAT 6A ethernet cable to different corners of the house.

    Even though devices like the computers and smart TVs now have wired connections, we’re looking for a Mesh system of Access points with Wired backhaul.

    At the moment we don’t have any 6Ghz devices (our phones are all Wifi 6), though I suppose those will eventually come along. We’re willing to wait for or buy a Wifi 7 system if they are suitable for wired backhaul.

    Here in the UK, the Alien routers are around £370-£400 each whereas other brands like Asus, TP Link or Netgear seem to be the US price with a £ sign in front.

    1. Would the Amplifi Alien be a good choice (probably two of them in our case) for wired backhaul or would a system like the Asus ET12 be a better choice? The Alien seems “cooler”. I like the fact with Asus you don’t need to have a vendor account at all, although from what I understand you can also set up the Amplifi with a computer initially and then use the touchscreen. Or is there a better option?

    2. On another note, do you have any recommendations for unmanaged network switches that can handle 26 connections (1 from the router and 25 wires going to different points in the home)? Having a look online, it seems that buying multi Gig switches with more than 8 ports is quite expensive. At the moment, the fastest speed being sold in our area is 1.6Gbps (we have a 1Gbps package & the main national FTTP network here will probably not offer speeds faster than 2.5Gbps in the next 5 years.)

    Many thanks in advance

    • 1.I’d go with the ET12, the Alien is great but it’s rather dated. Alternatively, you can go with a any (non-Wifi) router and a couple of access points — more here.
      2. If you want to go with Multi-Gig, it’s still quite expensive — but you can pick a few of any of these. I’d recommend getting a 48 Gigabit switch (a couple with fewer ports) for now. You can also use a Multi-Gig switch and a Gigabit one, not all of your devices will benefit from a faster-than-gigabit connection anyway.

  3. I really enjoyed your article, and it’s got me thinking about my own network setup. I’ve been using Google Wifi mesh for quite some time, but I’ve been disappointed with the slow speeds I’ve been experiencing lately. So, I decided to give the Deco XE75 a try, which seemed promising at first, but then I started facing issues with devices dropping connections.

    Upon further research, I found that these issues are somewhat common with the Deco system. I’ve been considering other options and the Asus XT8 caught my eye since it’s highly recommended on various review sites. However, I’ve noticed that some users have reported connectivity problems after a year or two of use.

    Now I’m debating whether to switch to a non-mesh solution like the Asus GT-AX11000 or go for two Ubiquiti Alien routers, as I’ve seen numerous mentions of their reliability. I’m a bit unsure about what to do, and I’d really appreciate your advice. Should I reconsider either of the Asus options or stick with the Ubiquiti Alien routers? It’s been quite a challenge to navigate through all the information and make a decision.

    Thanks in advance for any insights you can offer, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts on this!

      • Thank you for the reply. I read over the two posts. My main question is about reliability and was worried about hardware failures over time or other technical issues like constant dropped clients.

        My house is two story and around 2,500 feet. I could probably get by with a single router if the range was good enough but if not, a 2 node mesh would work. Everything will be wireless with no wired connections and with all my smart home devices, I have around 50-60 clients. Currently at 500mbps internet but could likely upgrade to 1gig in the future.

        The gt-ax11000 could be a good option for range and speed but the amplify alien seems like it may be more reliable. I noticed you recommend the ubiquiti dream router but only under sub gig Internet. I also saw the pro version of the gt-ax11000 recommended but seems the biggest advantages were the 5.9 band which it’s only useful for mesh which isn’t used really when only a single router or the advantage of the higher speed wired connection which I wouldn’t use either So I thought the non pro version may be the better buy it I went that route.

        Anyway, I can find many consumer reviews complaining about Asus equipment having issues as they get older but not on official reviews. Any advice at all is appreciated. I just don’t want to drop $500 on a system that cause lots of issues 6 months from now.

        • For your place, it’s best to use a single broadcaster (the router), Chris. If you can place it at the center, chances are any router you mentioned will work. But if you intend to expand your coverage, only wired backhauling can give you reliability. PERIOD. Using wireless backhauling is ALWAYS hit or miss.

          Nobody can say how long a router will last. That’s case by case. As for Asus’s issues, that’s almost always the firmware — more in this post. It’s important to understand how a piece of hardware works. Reading stuff online will always drive you crazy.

          No matter what hardware you use, you might be in a pickle considering the amount of “smart” devices — give this post a serious read.

          Good luck!

          • This is very helpful, especially the “Airtime Fairness”. I will go for the router option. I guess I will trust the GT-AX11000 Pro. Would it possible, or even recommended, to wire my google wifi to the Asus GT and use it as a separate system just for my smarthome devices? Then I could leave the GT to run game consoles, 4k streaming, and other demanding services.

          • You can use the Google Wifi router as access points, Chris — one router at a time. It won’t work as a system in the AP mode. Or you can use it as a double NAT to have a kind of a Guest network. Try to avoid using the same channel as the ASsus router, which will be tough since there’s little customization with Google Wifi.

  4. Thanks for your great site Dong! I am unable to use wired backhaul at the moment, so your reviews on wireless backhaul Mesh systems really help. Could you clarify somethings on this Alien please?

    The ONT is on one end of our house and two rooms where I’d love to maximise my speed are on the other end. I cannot cable my house presently for wired backhaul, so was thinking of purchasing a Mesh system with Wireless backhaul. Things like phones, laptops or tablets can connect wirelessly to the home network and I was going to wire in a computer and console to the Mesh Satellite nodes.

    I was looking at the speed results and was surprised that the Alien managed to beat the Asus XT8 in the single router test. Having a look at your articles, I am trying to decide upon a Mesh network of either:
    a. Amplifi Aliens
    b. Asus XT12
    c. Netgear Orbi RBKE

    In the UK, the price of the Asus and Netgear systems is relatively similar (high!) for three nodes. Whilst the Alien would be (slightly) cheaper (though the price fluctuates a lot over here) and just looks cool I guess. Glad to know you can set up each via the Computer browser to avoid Privacy issues too.

    1. Is the latency/ping significantly higher on the Alien than the other two systems given it doesn’t have the backhaul band? Or is this not noticeable?

    2. I was thinking of potentially connecting my Computer by ethernet cable into the Satellite of a Mesh network and same for a Gaming console in another room (to another Satellite). Given you’d be wiring into the Satellite, is the “speed” at the Satellite in each case going to be significantly higher on the Asus/Netgear than the Alien?

    3. It’s a new Gigabit connection and I know you always say Wired is best, but in terms of Wireless backhaul, overall should I opt for either the Asus or Netgear over the Amplifi Alien?

    The reason I ask is I hear good reviews about All of the three, but worry about the stories you often hear about firmware conundrums with each of the three also. I don’t mind investing in a good system that will last several years. So keen to try and get this purchase right given the price of any of them. My priority is speed, range and minimal hassle. No need for any of the additional features as I would be using these as Mesh Access points.

    Hope to hear your answers on the 3 questions above. Thank you in advance and for the good reviews.

    • You seem to be in the know, Samantha.

      1. I haven’t tested the XT12 yet — it’ll be another month or so before it’ll be available in the US — but judging from the XT8, (which is also a good choice) I think it’ll work great for your case. The Alien will work well, too, but it’ll be similar to the Asus RT-AX92U in terms of speed but with MUCH less in features and settings.
      2. The Orbi will be the worst on this front. It has always been. But wireless backhaul is never ideal on this front.
      3. Similar.

      There’s no one-size-fits-all and nothing is perfect. It’s always a matter of pick and choose, and I think you’ve been on the right track. Good luck! 🙂

      • Thanks. Been doing my research. At this rate Wifi 7 will arrive when I get delivery of a new setup! 🙂

        The XT8 being really good suggests that the XT12 should be a great option and – at least on paper and in theory – it should be faster than its predecessor one would hope. In the UK, the price for 3 units of the Asus XT12 and Netgear RBKE963 is roughly equal (high!) albeit it annoyingly one would have to pay a bit more for a full inclusive warranty for the Netgear beyond the 90 days.

        I am willing to invest in either of those systems if they work. I guess it’s the stories you hear online about people having potential dropouts or having to completely reset their system after an automatic update.

        I did see the Asus RT-AX92U too, and was leaning toward the newer triband cousin the XT8 or the latest XT12 given the backhaul band if I went for an Asus. I’d be using a Mesh network in Access point mode (the new system connected to my ISP supplied router) so though I appreciate the greater options to customise things with the Asus, I am not sure how much it would come into play.

        The Amplifi I guess just looks cool and though almost any brand seems to have various stories about issues, one thing I do note is that people seem to find it very user friendly and relatively stable. The price in the UK fluctuates though. It was £300 about a month ago in the UK for one unit, and now it has risen to around £380.

        Just to clarify! :

        1. So in a system of say 3 Alien routers (2 being used as Satellites), would the speed available at each Satellite be lower than the Asus XT8, or Orbi RBKE963 in theory? Or similar? I am wondering because although the ASUS and Netgear have a backhaul wireless band, the Alien Wifi 6 band seems to have more bandwidth, so does it make up for the lack of a dedicated backhaul band?

        2. Regarding – Latency – does the actual Latency significantly increase in that scenario with an Alien mesh network versus say the Asus or Netgear?

        3. Could you clarify what you meant by the Orbi would be the worst on this front sorry? I had hoped at the very least the Orbi RBKE963 would tick the boxes for speed and range for that price!

        4. Let me put it this way – I know that one can never truly “future proof” with ever changing technology and it’s all going to be based on tailoring to each user’s home setup, but in terms of buying a new Mesh system and given where we are with Wifi 6 and Wifi 6E, would you say buying the Alien at this point in time would be good value for money, or would it be better to opt for the Asus XT12 (or XT8) or the Netgear Orbi RBKE963?

        For reference – The actual ISP router at present is a fairly basic dual band router that on various speed tests using a Wifi 6 iPad Pro seems to deliver around 650Mbps Download speeds wirelessly (my FTTP speed is 1Gbps) for up to two rooms away vertically or at ground level in one direction (1 brick wall) with a Ping of 7ms. The speed dropped to 450Mbps after a second wall in that same direction at ground level and the Ping goes to roughly 8ms. Though down to 250Mbps and a Ping of 10ms in another direction across the house. Upstairs it’s similar ping, but starts going down to 100Mbps. Two floors up in the loft actually gets about 100Mbps and Ping of 12ms. Grateful for the massive improvement of 1Mbps that I used to get on our copper connection! But overall this Router only covers half the house in terms of range. I cannot wire at present and would like to maximise the speed to the office and lounge which are on the opposite side of the house (a legacy of how Fibre ONTs get installed at existing entry points of the old telephone master socket in a lot of the UK). I guess I wondered if the proper triband backhaul of the Asus and Netgear would be significantly noticed versus the greater bandwidth in a single band, but not true Triband Orbi!

        Thanks again in advance!

        • 1. Check the review of each — use the site’s search — there’s a chart on the satellites. More about my testing here. Put two and two together?
          2. You can’t measure that concretely– it changes based on time, application, and locations. But in my XP the Orbi line is the worst on this front.
          3. That depends on how you value money. It’s subjective. I’d just go with whatever fits my needs the most.

          If you’re in doubt, I’d just go with an Asus, it’s the most versatile. By the way, you can always upgrade your router to Wi-Fi 6E.

  5. I need some recommendation. My router went out few days ago and I bought the Alien for $379 to replace it. I love the design and have no issues so far except for the lacking of QOS and such(not a deal breaker)
    Now I just saw TP link AX11000 and ASUS RT-AX92U on sale for $250 so I’m wondering if I should save $130 and go with those instead.
    I have 1gbps and live in a small condo about 1200sqft. We have about 30 devices connected and I will use Ethernet for 1 TV and 2 PC.
    Would you recommend keeping the Alien or one of the other 2? With wifi7 coming out in a year or two I’m hoping I could keep this router for another 4-5 years until wifi7 is solid before buying a new one.

    Thanks for the advice

      • Thanks for the fast reply Dong. So I found RT-AX92u on sale 1 for $150 and 2 for $250. With me being in a small condo should I opt for the one to save some money or is there anything else I would lose by not going for the 2?

        and comparing between AX92u and the Tplink AX11000($250) is there anything important that one is better than the other?

  6. Hi Dong

    I went through your review a few times to see if I missed anything before messaging you. I had the Amplifi arrive yesterday and it’s all set up. It was a breeze! I don’t know if I’m not looking in the right place but when I disable the single SSID it shows me 2 bands, the 2.4 and the 5ghz. Shouldn’t it show me three bands? Or does the 5ghz combine both the Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6 5ghz bands? Is there a way for me to separate the 5ghz band for Wi-Fi 6? Even if I kept it all on a combined SSID is there a way for me to force the devices that are Wi-Fi 6 compatible (it handily shows this on the app with a little 6 symbol) to stay on the 5ghz band and not switch to the 2.4 sometimes? Thanks in advance.

    • You should be able to separate the bands as different SSIDs, Nipun. There’s no way to force band steering if you use smart connect.

      • Thank you Dong

        There is a setting that allows me to create an additional 2.4 and 5ghz SSID so I’ll give that a go although just leaving the router to do it’s thing with one combined SSD seems to be working brilliantly!

    • Nope, not “good”. “Impressive” is more like it, and that’s what I meant, Ano. But, literally, it also means out of this world, as in “Alien”. A bit of a pun. 🙂

  7. Hi Dong

    I read both, your standalone alien router review and the mesh kit. I live in a 1600 sq ft home, should I spend money on the mesh. I have about 60 devices at home that are connected to my router. Your article also said that the mesh system router and satellite were paired out of the box and Tied to the router it comes with. Is it worth me just buying the one unit for now and if I need a mesh system in the future, buying another alien router instead of the mesh kit? Here in the UK I can buy the mesh for £721 or two aliens for £760 so price doesn’t play a big factor here. Thanks in advance.

  8. Hi Dong

    Sorry Im not very technical, but like the Asus AX89X can I plug my gigabit ethernet connection directly into this router so it assumes the role of a modem too? I want to get rid of my modem and use this unit on its own like I could with the AX89X, if that makes sense?

  9. Can you set things up with the Amplifi Alien using the App and just delete the App from there on in? Then just use the Web UI.

    Does that remove any Vendor privacy issues?

    • That only means you’d lose the ability to manage the router, Carla. The router is already associated with the online account. By the way, coincidentally, I’ve been retesting it — there seemed to be a lot of big changes since the original review — check back from the updated review. But to quickly answer your question, yes you can use the Alien, both as a router and AP completely via the web interface. You’ll have access to fewer features and fewer networking options, including the use of the TelePort VPN.

      • So you can set it all up using the Web interface in either Access point, or Router mode. Perfect. Just looking to use it as a Mesh really for Internet access around the home, not the other extras.

        Really appreciate the response Dong as well as the updated review. Thank you!

  10. 1. Dong, does the Alien Web UI allow you to set up the Alien without using the mobile app (from straight out the box)? From what I understood, you can add another Alien router as a satellite using the touch screen controls of the first.

    2. Can you set up the Alien in Access point mode (bridge mode) using the web UI also?

    Looking for something simple and liked the look of this router which is on sale where I am, though from what I read on your site, best to not use mobile apps. I’m usin an existing ISP gateway as my main router. Just looking for a decent secure mesh system with wireless backhaul.

      • Hi Dong, thanks,

        1. I had a brief browse of the Alien website/FAQs and I came across the “Quick start guide”. I think it’s possible to set it up using your Computer without the App now.
        2. I cannot work out about whether you can change to Bridge mode using the Web UI though. Maybe you have to use the App. It seems there isn’t an online Manual for the Alien itself.

        3. I’ll check out that post thanks. Is it possible to “set up” the Alien with the Mobile app using some generic/secondary e-mail, and once you’re set up, just delete the app and not worry? Basically asking whether you can avoid having personal details, or any web activity linked to the Vendor.

  11. Dong, your website is really fantastic! Was just reading your article about NATs as well. Would you say the Amplifi Alien is still a good buy now we’re in 2022?

    It just looks really cool to be honest (Maybe my heart is thinking more than my head in this case!), and I was tempted to add two Aliens to a pre-existing Mesh network (currently an Orbi network) to create another Access point via their own Mesh (2 Alien routers). It actually works out cheaper than buying further Orbi satellite(s).

    I also had another question if that’s okay. Do you have to set the Alien up using the Mobile App versus a Web based setup? If so, are they a data mining/privacy nightmare like what’s happened with Netgear’s new app? It’s one of the reasons I wouldn’t touch the Eero’s with a barge pole! Looks like Asus is the last one standing when it comes to privacy and mobile apps.

    Would appreciate your advice. Also, I am unable to add wiring at the moment, so this is purely in a wireless backhaul setup.

    • Yes, James. You can go with it or the Asus RT-AX92U to have a similar Wi-Fi experience. The Alien’s “web interface” is minimal, so the mobile app (and a login account) is a must — all that implies. It’s still much better than using an Amazon or Google product on this front, though.

  12. Hi Dong,

    I’ve been looking at the AmpliFi Alien for quite a while and read your review, where you comment on the lack of 160 MHz. I was curious about how often they update the firmware and saw the following,

    v3.6.0 (20-Jul-21)

    Fixed FragAttacks vulnerabilities
    Enabled DFS Wi-Fi channels and 160 MHz bandwidth *
    Enhanced stability
    Other improvements and fixes

    * Initially available in web portal settings

    Is the 160 MHz what you are referring to and if so, would you recommend this over the ASUS RT-AX86U if you don’t take price into the equation.


  13. Thank you for the review. Do I need it this router or will be buying it anytime soon? No, but I was lusting over it’s spec sheet and design so I wanted to read more about it. Can’t believe it’s so simplified though with the software.

    • I cannot recommend this router. I used it for less than a week and it is dead. It is stuck at initializing 99%. Search for it. A lot of people have this issue. Now waiting for RMA.

      Bought a Wifi 6 Asus router. May not look as futuristic. But was 5 mins. setup and is up and running.

  14. I am hoping for your take on privacy with the Alien. I think I understand from your reviews that with Net Gear Orbi if one wants to use the app then you need to register and data gets scooped up at some level, but if you forgo using the app then one can escape that monitoring. And with the Asus Zen Wifi 6, if one wants to use the app it then invokes the Quality of Service engine and again more data harvesting in this case by Trend Micro. Do you have a clear understanding of how this works with Amplifi and the Alien?

    • Using any AmpliFi device will tie your network to Ubiquiti, K, and all that implies. But at least, Ubiquiti, so far, is not a known data-mining company, like Amazon’s eero. Generally, it’s a balance between convenience and privacy.

  15. Hey man. Great article. I had a question. I have the alien router but didn’t buy the mesh because I thought it would be fine in my house. My walls are plaster so my primary bedroom has spotty signal. I wanted to know the best plug in extender you think I should use. Ideally I’d want one that could have the same network name so my phone would automatically connect to it, is that not possible when using two different brands?

    I have a NETGEAR Nighthawk WiFi 6 Mesh Range Extender already, would this work with the alien?

    • The Netgear will work, Matt. It’s not ideal but definitely cheaper than getting another Alien. Just take your time and set it up properly. I can’t tell you the specifics but if you how Wi-Fi works in general (read my Networking Explained section), you’ll be able to get the best out of it. It will give you the option to use the same SSID, good luck!

  16. Thank you for the very informative review! A quick question about methodology. For your tests with Wifi 5 clients, did you use the 5ghz Wifi 6 radio (high band) or the separate Wifi 5 radio (low band), or both? I’m curious if the throughput for Wifi 5 clients at 40ft improves on the “low band”.

    • Using a lower- or higher-band channel makes no difference in speed, B. It’s the environment and channel width that affect those bands’ actual throughput. And yes, I use them all for testing. More here.

      • Thank you for the quick reply! Sorry, I think my question wasn’t very clear and we might be talking about two different things. I’m referring to the discrete Wifi 5 chip inside the Alien (which they refer to as the “low-band” chip) rather than low vs high channels. My understanding is that the Wifi 5 chip is turned off by default and needs to be enabled in settings. It can then be set to a separate SSID. Based on what we’ve seen with other Wifi 6 vs Wifi 5 routers, I have a hunch that Wifi 5 devices might perform better on the Wifi 5 specific chip. Just curious if you included this particular variable in your testing.


  17. Thank you Dong for the great review of this masterpiece, I am very impressed of the quality, look and display screen of this unit.
    I have a 5000s/f 2 story house, all walls are concrete and bricks.
    I have wired the house to be ready for networking as I am planing to hardwire all my 20 devices to a switch and router.

    1- If I want to make the Amplifi Alien as a main router, and one more as a mesh will it be as good as RT-AX86U or Asus GT-AX11000 in terms of speed to my hardwired DS920+ NAS?
    2- If ASUS is better in that regard, and would like to have the Amplifi Alien’s to work as a mesh, which one of these ASUS will be a good candidate to take the lead?


    • Since you have the Synology, Sam, I’d go with Asus. You can then take advantage of the Link Aggregation and other features. The Alien is fun and easy to use, but it doesn’t have much to offer unless you want the cool mobile-only VPN feature. (Asus has VPN, too, better one in fact, but it’s harder to set up and use.)

      • OK, I will go for the Asus as main router and two aliens as a mesh, which Asus should I go for RT-AX86U or GT-AX11000?

        • No, Sam! There’s no point in using the Alien at all if you use the Asus as the main router (though that’s technically possible). So, go with an AiMesh of your choice, more here. Or go full Alien.

          • Thank you Dong for your guidance, i couldn’t figure out why is it pointless to have Asus as main and aliens as mesh points, can you explain?

            NAS and all other devices will be hard wired to Asus and the switch connected to it, aliens will also be backhaul connected to it as well.

          • Forgive my lack of knowledge, I thought the aliens would work as access points, as if I used two ASUS ZenWiFi XT8 with GT-AX11000 as a main. isn’t that the same?

          • Yes, it would, Sam. But in the AP mode, it’s no longer a router so all the features that make it worth the money are no longer there. It’s now just a simple Wi-Fi broadcaster. You can get an AP that’s half the cost (or even much less) that works the same. But yes, it will work as an AP. That’s the same case for ALL routers that work in AP mode.

          • Great, that’s was a relief, what made like the aliens more than any other is their look with that fancy screen as they show all traffics in a sleek way, and that’s will go in harmony with my decoration and smart home gadgets.

            Thank you Dong for your valuable time and great effort, I’ve learned a lot by reading your posts, you are the best.

  18. Dong I really love the work you do and how you explain things. I am looking at purchasing the Alien A. to replace my old apple router. I don’t know enough about home networking to understand some of the technical limitations. Will my synology NAS work well with the Alien?

    • Yes, Paul, it’ll work well with any router in terms of network connectivity. That’s the same with any router in fact. In case you have set manual IP for the server, you might want to set the new router’s default IP to be the same as that of the old router.

    • There’s no 8×8, Mugen. At least for now. I actually addressed that in the review. But you’re right, the Alien only works with the 80 MHz channel width.

  19. Really look forward to your review on their UniFi AP products, I would choose an EdgeRouter + an UniFi nanoHD over this.

  20. Trying to decide between the Amplifi Alien vs Synology Mesh. Which would provide better range, a single Alien or two MR2200ac in mesh configuration? Home is two floors with 2600sf.

    • A single Alien won’t beat a Synology Mesh in coverage, Darren. But an Alien-based mesh will for sure. But, in that case, you might want to wait until my review on its mesh portion first. Or you can get a single Alien router now and see how it works out.

  21. How would you compare the Amplifi Alien vs the Arris Surfboard Max Pro in terms of reliability, stability and range? Thank you!

  22. I’m familiar with their system cause I have uap ac pro connected to my asus router
    I just don’t know if I should stay on wifi 5 or upgrade to wifi 6 without having wifi 6 client

    • It’s hard because they are very different, Ivan. But if you’re a home user, the Alien is much easier to use. It also has Wi-Fi 6.

  23. Really surprised with the lack of a dedicated backhaul. As such, your review in mesh configuration is what I am waiting for before I make a buying decision. Without one, how is their mesh solution really any better than a typical ‘router/repeater topology? Thanks again, and will your mesh config review come soon?

  24. I’m glad I decided not to open this product and go with the UDM. I am quite impressed ! I’m a home-user but I do enjoy the additional control.


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