The Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine, or UDM, is my new favorite Wi-Fi 5 router. It’s an advanced enterprise-class system packed in a beautiful, compact home-friendly hardware box.
You can use it as a simple single router via a sleek mobile app like it’s no big deal. Or you can dive into the web user interface and get overwhelmed by so many things it has to offer.
The UDM can work as the center of a robust mesh and security system when supported UniFi hardware units, such as the BeaconHD, jump into the mix. But that’s a topic of a different review. This time around, I looked at it as a single-unit Wi-Fi solution. And there’s already so much to unpack.
Here’s my quick take. Like most things, the UniFi Dream Machine is not perfect. But it has more than enough for anyone wanting a total and complete Wi-Fi solution to look past whatever minor shortcomings it might have, including the semi-beta state and the relatively hefty price of $300.
So, go ahead and get it now. You probably can’t go wrong with it.
Table of Contents
UniFi Dream Machine: A simple yet sophisticated design
The UDM comes in beautiful packaging that resembles an Apple product. At first sight, the tall square box briefly reminded me of the Apple Airport Extreme. But the similarity ends there — for one, Apple got out of home networking years ago for a good reason.
The UDM looks super sleek in an elongated egg shape that measures 7.25-inch (184.2 mm) tall and is 4.33-inch (110 mm) in diameter. At 2.32 lbs (1.05 kg), the compact device feels solid and has a good heft — it stays put on a surface and won’t topple easily.
There are five Gigabit network ports on the back, one WAN, and four LANs. And that’s it. The whole thing is beautifully simple from the outside. By the way, it’s worth noting that the UDM has a built-in power supply and will work with any standard 2-prong power cord (one included.)
Ubiquiti: UniFi vs AmpliFi
UniFi and AmpliFi are two major networking product lines from Ubiquiti. They serve two demographics and therefore have different architectures and separate mobile apps and web user interfaces.
The UniFi family — represented by the Dream Machine (UDM), UDM-Pro, UDM-SE…, or the Dream Router (UDR) — aims at business/pro users. They are comprehensive routers that can also function as the central controllers of various products.
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, ease-to-use but with a limited feature set.
The UDM is the first UniFi product that also works well as a home router, thanks to the friendly design. In a way, it’s a bridge between the two product lines. And the UDR further solidifies that approach.
Still, Ubiquiti’s UniFi products can be overwhelming and overkill in many cases. Generally, home users should go with AmpliFi instead of UniFi.
Large status light, big fan, loudspeaker
The moment I turned it on, the UDM made a loud sound that startled me. That turned out to be the fan revving up for a brief moment. You might experience this with a computer, especially a laptop, but that was my first in a home router.
So yes, there’s an internal fan, which can be an issue since fans generally mean tricky maintenance. However, in my testing, the fan never turned on again, even during extended operation, other than during bootup.
Another odd thing is the UDM has a built-in speaker, which makes different sounds during the setup process, and a three-tone welcome chime each time the router boots up.
And I’m talking about relatively loud chimes here, similar to those preceding airport public announcements. Keep that in mind, don’t restart the router late at night.
Finally, the UDM has a large ring of light on top that changes color or flashes to show its status. For example, solid blue means the router is working as expected — you see this most of the time — flashing white means the router is booting up, or flashing blue means the router is in recovery mode.
Unlike the chimes, I couldn’t figure out how to turn them off; you can manage the light using the mobile app.
UniFi Dream Machine: Detail photos
UniFi Dream Machine: Hardware specifications
The UDM has one of the most powerful hardware specs I’ve seen. It runs a 1.7 GHz quad‑core processor, one of the beefiest on the market.
But what knocks all other routers I’ve seen totally out of the park is the amount of memory. The UDM has 16GB of flash storage — tens of times more than usual — and 2GB of RAM system memory, which is also many times higher than the next router.
|Full Name||Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine|
|Product Type||Dual-band 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 Router|
|CPU||Quad-core 1.7 GHz, 16 GB of flash storage, 2GB of system memory|
|Dimensions||4.33-in (110 mm) in diameter; 7.25-in (184.2 mm) tall|
|Weight||2.32 lb (1.05 kg)|
|Networking Interfaces||Four Gigabit LAN ports, one Gigabit WAN port|
|Max. Power Consumption||26W|
|Power Method||2-prong standard AC power cord|
|Power Supply||Internal AC/DC Power Adapter,(24V, 0.6A)|
|Supported Voltage Range||100 -240VAC|
|Max TX Power||2.4 GHz: 23 dBm / 5 GHz: 26 dBm|
|Antenna Gain||2.4 GHz: 3 dBi / 5 GHz: 4.5 dBi|
|Wi-Fi Standards||802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ac-wave 2|
|Wireless Security||WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise (WPA/WPA2, TKIP/AES)|
|Special Feature||Built-in Ubiquiti UniFi Controller|
|Operating Temperature||-10 to 45° C (14 to 113° F)|
|Operating Humidity||5 to 95% Noncondensing|
The reason for these over-the-top specs is the UDM is no ordinary router. It’s a system that includes an UniFi controller, a 4-port managed Gigabit switch, and a 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 Wave 2 access point.
All routers have similar components but lesser capabilities, such as a simple routing function and an unmanaged switch. So, the UDM can do more than a typical Wi-Fi router.
UniFi Dream Machine: Excellent mobile app
But first and foremost, the UDM is a Wi-Fi machine that anyone can use. Even if you don’t care about any fancy features, you can enjoy it.
To start, you’ll first need to download the UniFi Network mobile app, which will walk you through the setup process. You’ll need to create an account with Ubiquiti, which will also work as the credentials to use the UDM’s web interface.
The setup process was smooth and fun, but make sure you do it at a time or place where the router’s noise won’t bother anyone. Mine was straightforward; there was nothing unusual I needed to note here.
If you have a smartphone, understand the idea of a Wi-Fi network — namely, the network name and password — and have used some apps before, you’ll be able to set up the UniFi Dream Machine.
Excellent Wi-Fi overview with deep packet inspection
For most users, the mobile app is enough. Upon launching the app, you’ll get an overall Wi-Fi rating using a percentage point, the number of connected clients, and a detailed live graph chart of real-time Wi-Fi activities.
Digging deeper, you’ll find access to some basic and a few advanced router settings, such as IP reservation, connection statistics, and deep packet inspection (DPI). DPI is part of the router’s Internet Security feature, which displays the Internet connection to a specific client in detail.
As a result, you can find out what website a particular connected computer is accessing in real time. So if you’re a nosey one like me, you’ll love this feature. Overall, the app is great when you want to check your network or manually block a client quickly. You can also change the settings of the Wi-Fi network.
Optional remote management
By default, the app has the remote access feature turned on. As a result, you can use it to manage your UDM even when you’re out and about, as long as your phone has Internet access.
Clearly, for this to work, the app connects to Ubiquiti, which connects to the UDM, and the whole thing might pose privacy risks — Ubiquiti can potentially know the router’s activities.
But you can turn the remote access off in the app’s Settings section. Now the app will only work when your phone connects to the local Wi-Fi network of the UDM.
It’s unknown, however, if the UDM still pings the vendor with this feature turned off.
UniFi Dream Machine: A sophisticated web-based system
The UDM’s web user interface, available at its IP address, 192.168.1.1, opens up a different world. There are two separate web interfaces — one for the UDM itself and the other for the UniFi controller it houses.
The UniFi Dream Machine’s interface allows for some essential functions, including views of its hardware, updating its firmware, changing its name, etc. The UniFi controller interface — designed to control all supported UniFi devices — allows you to customize your network to the max.
Lots of advanced enterprise-class settings and features
First of all, there are so many settings and features, some of which you might have never known existed. The controller is that of enterprise applications that allow lots of in-depth configurations.
Take the Wi-Fi settings; for example, you can create up to four virtual Wi-Fi networks, each with a completely different set of in-depth parameters. There’s also Wi-Fi Ai, a feature that automatically detects and excludes specific busy channels so the virtual network(s) won’t use it.
For the Guest network (or hotspot), you can create a captive portal for the guest users to log in or accept the term of service before they get connected. You can even choose to charge users for the Internet connection and, in this case, also issue coupons for different rates.
You can also manage each LAN port and assign each one for a particular purpose. And needless to say, the UDM can have all features you’d expect from a high-end router, like QoS, Dynamic DNS, and so on.
What impressed me the most was the online protection feature.
Robust online protection feature
The UDM can guard the entire network against online threats via Internet Security. It’s similar to the Netgear Armor or Asus’s AiProtection, but it’s much more advanced.
For example, there are two levels of Threat Management, including the Intrusion Detection System (IDS) and the Intrusion Prevention System (IPS). The former detects and alerts users, and the latter does all that, plus automatically blocks the threats.
Internet Security also includes GeoIP Filtering, which blocks traffic from specific countries on a world map. It will come in handy when there’s a wave of ransomware attacks from particular parts of the world.
I spent quite some time with Internet Security, which has a few more functions, and it worked well. It’s free to use, but there’s a big catch. Once Threat Management is turned on, the UDM’s max Wi-Fi speed reduces to 850 Mbps.
By the way, it’s worth noting that many settings and features of the UDM are in beta, or even Alpha, state. I have asked Ubiquiti about its plans to finalize these settings and will update you when I hear back.
Apart from the beta designation, which might keep you hanging, the UDM also has a few other minor flaws. For example, in my testing, many connected clients weren’t consistently identified, if at all, by names. Instead, they appeared on the network map as their MAC addresses.
While you can manually name a client to your liking, knowing which one can be hard if you have lots of them. Most routers I’ve tested had trouble figuring out all clients’ hostnames, but the UDM definitely could do better on this front.
Another thing is the UniFi Network app isn’t exactly designed purely for home users. It includes a lot of settings and features and uses technical terms for the advanced audience. It’s not all bad here, but if you’re expecting something completely layman-friendly, similar to the AmpliFi HD, you’ll be in for a surprise.
UniFi Dream Machine: Excellent performance
I tested the UniFi Dream Machine for more than a week, and it grew on me. For one, it was generally fast to get things done. The router could apply many settings without restarting, which was helpful considering the chimes mentioned above, and most changes took effect instantly.
Both the app and the interface were responsive, and things just worked as intended, including the beta settings and features. Overall, the router was a pleasure to use.
As for throughput performance, the UDM wasn’t the fastest 4×4 Wi-Fi 5 router I’ve worked with, but it wasn’t slow at all.
I tested the Wi-Fi speed with the Threat Management turned off, and it delivered a sustained rate of more than 830 Mbps on the 5GHz band at a close distance. From some 40 feet (12 m) away, it now registered some 530 Mbps.
On the 2.4GHz, things were a bit worse, but the router was still fast enough for most Internet applications. Keep in mind that the speed on this band varies a great deal and, therefore, is not a reliable factor to judge any router. It’s only for reference.
The UniFi Dream Machine passed my three-day stress test with no disconnection. It proved to be a reliable router.
As for coverage, it has about the same range as a typical high-end Wi-Fi 5 router, like the Asus RT-AC86U or the TP-Link Archer C5400X. Generally, if you have a 2000 ft² (186 m²) or smaller house, a UDM placed in the middle will take care of it.
Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine's Rating
Built-in UniFi Controller with lots of useful features
Fast and reliable Wi-Fi performance
Beautiful design, responsive web user interface, excellent mobile app
Threat Management feature reduces Wi-Fi speeds
The many settings and features, some still in beta/alpha state at review, can be overwhelming for home users
Requires an account with UniFi
No Wi-Fi 6, not mountable
With lots of advanced features and settings, the UniFi Dream Machine is overkill for any home — it’s a router for pro users. Also, it has some elements in the testing phase (beta), which means it’s not entirely ready.
But its beautiful design and easy-to-use app make it fit anywhere. And then, the reliable performance and fast Wi-Fi speed won’t disappoint. That’s not to mention add-on hardware and features for future use.
So, if you intend to hold up on the move to Wi-Fi 6, as you probably should, this is a Wi-Fi 5 router worthy of taking a chance on right now.
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81 thoughts on “Ubiquiti UniFi Dream Machine (UDM): The Ultimate Wi-Fi 5 Router for Nerds”
Hi Dong. Great article. I am looking at upgrading my home network. Was thinking about ‘future proofing’ with wifi 6 but I think you’ve convinced me that I dont need to yet. I have been really confused by all the different routers and set ups but now think I have settled with the UDM. What access point would you recommend (I have wired points throughout the house)
Get UniFi APs, Ryan.
Thanks Dong. They sure have a few different ones. I’m leaning towards the Flex HD. My existing wiring doesnt lend itself to wall or ceiling mounted. And the specs look okay (I think) But I’m not sure about the antenna gain (dbi) I cant quite get my head around that. The Flex HD has firstname.lastname@example.orgBi and 5@4dBi. How important are those numbers for home use set up and is that too low?
Those numbers are irrelevant, Ryan. They indicate the directions of the Wi-Fi beams, in this case, would be away from where you mount/place the AP. I’d ignore them.
From your write ups, I jumped in on the UDM. I’m running into an issue in that I have a multi-floor home that seems resistant to getting good wifi coverage. I picked up the UDM router and a BeaconHD as my extender since we’re unable to get wiring run through between floors and i’m not sure if there’s a better way I can set this up since access through the Beacon results in less than 1/3 of the bandwidth that i’d get if I connected at the base router (I get 300/300 at the UDM router and I struggle to get 100 off the Beacon).
That seems normal, Mike, due to signal loss. Here’s my full review of the BeaconHD.
Thanks for the response, Mr. Ngo.
Given our current circumstance with being unable to lay down wiring, do I have any options (either with Ubiquiti or any other) to get a better solution going to mitigate the signal loss?
You need a tri-band system, Mike. More on mesh in this post. But you would consider the Asus XT8, Linksys MX4200, or Orbi RBK752. Try the site’s search!
Thank you! I’ll have to read through these
What’s the coax cable layout like where you live? If there’s a coax connection near your router and the area where you want to put the Beacon, you might be able to set up a hardwired MoCA 2.5 link between them.
The Beacon has no network port, John.
As Mr. Ngo has mentioned, the Beacon has no ports. It’s purely a plug in wifi extender. The difficulty I have with my current home layout is that the fiber wire comes into my home at the front of the home on the second floor and with the way it’s laid out, the rooms that need a connection are frustratingly the room the fiber wire comes in (front room on the 2nd floor) and then the room on the opposite end of the house – the room at the back of the home on the first floor.
I am a somewhat unique use case in that I need a high quality and durable access point for use in a live sound production, that I would like to be able to plug in at home when not working. I was looking at the UDM to be my main router at home (2,500 Sq ft, 2floors, lots of walls, but wired with cat6 to every room) and use a UniFi Flex HD AP or UniFi Mesh AP as an AP at home and for my production needs.
Production needs boil down to low number of connected users, great signal strength to overcome hundreds of cell phones in a small outdoor space, mostly line of sight operation and ideally rated for outdoor use.
Is this a cost effective /good solution?
Another option is a Ubiquiti EdgeRouter X and one of the APs
That’s too specific of an use case, James, and I’m not familiar with it. It looks like a good setup, though.
What an incredible amount of useful info you put out – thank you!
I have been running 4 Linksys Velops (the original v1) for over 2 years and am really sick of it – mainly because the best I have been able to get out of it is speeds of 200ish off a 1gb connection.
My ISP modem is in the basement, and I run ethernet to devices (iMac, Apple TV etc.) and the Linksys router for wifi. That’s daisy chained to another Velop on the main floor and one on 1st floor. I also have a wireless Velop in the kitchen on the main floor (can’t run a cable there and that is at one long end of the house and the wired Velop is on the other end on the main floor).
Try as I might (I put the Velop in bridge mode, that improved things a bit), even with the wired ones, the best speed I’ve seen is around 275.
So I narrowed it down to getting the Dream machine, one AP and one BeaconHD (for the kitchen where I can’t run a cable).
Question is: would even be worth it waiting for wifi 6 Unify products (specifically the UDM)? I can see they have started to roll out APs though.
I’ve read a lot that says for home use, it’s not going to matter a lot for a long while – while I want to future proof as much as possible, I would love to hear your thoughts on this aspect.
If you want to be future-proof, definitely go with a Wi-Fi 6 set, Ahmed.
So just so I’m clear – if I want to stick to the Unifi solution – is the current UDM + their Wi-fi 6 AP constitute a Wifi 6 setup? Or do I need to wait for their Wifi 6 Dream Machine?
I’ll work if you turn off the UDM’s Wi-Fi and use it solely as a UniFi controller.
Many thanks – that’s brilliant! I did not think of that.
I’ m still hesitating between Asus solution (AX88U) or the Ubiquity (UDM).
I will use a stand alone router at the beginning but would add a wired access point later if needed.
Which one would you choose between Asus and Ubiquiti ?
I’d go with the former, Cib. Among other things, it’s a Wi-Fi 6 router. But even the RT-AC88U is still better if you’re thinking of extending your network later.
Thanks for your reply.
So you prefer Asus as a solution ?
I bought ASUS. ASUS AImesh is a DISASTER. Endless clients disconnecting, some wouldn’t connect, high jitter signals, constant crashing. Oodles of options, none of which work or make any difference. There is even an option to reboot your router on a daily schedule. What router should need that?!!! It is genuinely not fit for purpose. If you want it’s plus points – I agree that the signal from the wifi 6 is quite powerful. Otherwise avoid like the plague.
I sold it and now run UBIQITI UNIFI It is INCOMPARABLY BETTER.
I have read your articles about the Dream Machine and Alien. I wasn’t even considering Ubiquiti until those articles. I currently have a last gen Apple Airport Extreme and a Netgear PROSafe GS752TPS as my backbone. I feel like the Airport might be getting a little long in the teeth, might be time to consider an upgrade. My Routers of choice currently are the Linksys MX5 Velop AX5300 and the Unifi Dream Machine. Very very briefly the round Asus was up there also. Unfortunately it would take considerable amount of work to fab a wall mount for my Router location which is up on the wall in my kitchen, high and centrally located.
Just call me Dong, Scotty. I don’t see a question, but it looks like you’re going in the right direction.
Oh sorry I meant to ask your opinion but based on your reply I’ll take it as one. Do you know if there are plans for Dream Machine to support WiFi6. I am looking to upgrade an don’t know if the performance better or same as what I currently have to justify it. Love your site an thanks you
That’s a no, Scotty. The current UDM will not support Wi-Fi 6, but there might be a newer similar device that does. Only Ubiquiti can answer this question by the way. It has had no Wi-Fi 6 router so far.
Buy a UDM Pro and you can upgrade the access point later.
The Pro is a full business router, JP. I don’t think it’s really applicable to the home environment. But you’re right.
I tried out PiHole for a short time with my previous router but it had issues blocking certain things I didn’t want it to block. I might revisit that in the future if I pick up a Unifi DM router.
And my need is to do device-specific DNS. (Kids use different DNS than my wife and I).
I may have back-burnered the new router at this point. The Asus RT-AX58U is working better for me now (we had some issues with the internet service that have now been resolved – there was an LPF to block outgoing MOCA signals on the incoming cable line that was interfering with the signal, and removing it has made things more stable – along with assigning fixed channels to the wifi).
This is certainly an interesting question and I wonder if the reddit /r/ubiquiti or /r/unifi folks might have a good answer for you, since it’s pretty specific. Most corporate/pro/business routers/etc these days do not have parental controls or DNS filtering. That ends up left up to the admins. 🙂 I know that Cloudflare recently came out with a Families version, and perhaps something like Pi-Hole might work too? Worth a look!
If you’re so savvy, you can do that yourself via DSN. OpenDNS for example has a good set of Parent Control that will work with ANY router.
Since this is more of a commercial/pro model of router, does it have something akin to parental controls (not necessarily the scheduling type of controls, but content-based filtering or DNS-level filtering)?
I am looking to upgrade my Asus RT-AX58U (which runs Merlin firmware), and it has the capability to specify different DNS servers for specific clients (by MAC address). I use this to lock down the connections to my kids’ devices using cleanbrowsing.org’s predefined filtering DNS servers.
I need to get better reach to one end of my house so I would likely add a BeaconHD to the hallway where these bedrooms are. We only have 400Mb internet, and I don’t see paying for Gigabit anytime soon. I would LIKE to have WIfi 6 support, but only one device in the house has a Wifi6 radio in it (soon to be one more, but it isn’t critical to me). I know the Alien Router is Wifi 6 but I don’t like the increase in cost, unless it was strong enough to broadcast my signal without a mesh. My parental controls question would apply to the Alien too!
Your question is very specific so I’m not sure, Jeff, but the Beacon does have lots and lots of options for you to configure. Chances are it will have what you need. And it will also deliver in terms of coverage if you get some mesh nodes with it. Note the odd design of the BeaconHD though (it works with other better-designed mesh points, too).
We have a 100% Apple household and since 3 months ago, a UDM and have had zero wifi drops or problems. Speeds are great too. Ubiquiti seems pretty slow at firmware updates for this device, though, and there are some noticeable bugs (see reddit threads) but if you just have 1 access point and fairly normal needs, it’s decent.
Hi Dong. Based on your tests, UDM’s performance seems pretty mediocre, especially in the 2.4 GHz band (in comparison to the likes of Asus and TP-Link). Your overall satisfaction and rating of the device seems to be higher than the tests suggest – why is that? Thanks!
It’s not mediocre at all, Hrvoje. Where I live, the 2.4 GHz is problematic due to the sheer amount of devices in the neighborhood and should be used for reference only. As for why I liked it, if you read the review in its entirety, you’ll find out. 🙂
The Dream Machine is actually at a temp of 63 – 70 c which is way higher then the 45c. Do I have a system that is defective? Can someone that has been using this device for a while state if it gets this hot for them?
Thank you for the quick reply.
I am currently in a 1470 sq ft house and I am using a Synology RT2600AC. I get good signal throughout but hate this synology. My Wifi drops connections to cameras and Apple TV and on accation my macbook seem to be sluggish. There have been people on the Synology forums talking about moving to this UDM because of no firmware updates from Synonlogy to fix the issues with the WiFi. I was thinking to do this. It really looks like a good setup. I am IT and work with networks in a large campus enviroment.
If my place was bigger I may go with AP and a seperate router but this really seems to fit the bill.
To be honest, I’d blame Apple stuff first, Scott. The RT2600AC is quite great, or at least it used to be. You’re right that Synology seems to neglect its networking products lately. So sure, the UDM is quite nice.
RT2600ac issues here too, non-apple products.
Support are good but wth.
I’ve been hearing some negative reviews on YouTube and UniFi own website about this product. Will the management threat work? Will it be able to maintain 500 speeds up and down with security feature on? Does unifi usually has a history of fixing their products via firmware updates? Does it overheat has did not see a lot of ventilation on this product?
Hi Dong, i know about the 26W. I plan to use the UDM in a solar & battery powerd holiday home. So i have to convern about every watt. I read in a blog that the UDM Pro uses 15W idle (33W Max. in the datasheet). So thats why i want to know whats the real word consumption of the device. Thanks, Markus
Got it, Markus. Very interesting. Hope it works out.
Hi, perfect review. Can you give us a hin about the real world power consumption? Thanks!
Thanks, Markus. I don’t test routers’ power consumption, but the UDM uses no more than 26W, about the same amount of energy as any other high-end router. I wouldn’t be too concerned about that.
Sorry if this has been asked before… wanted your take on best Router wired to Mesh or AP. Meaning if I want the best router controls (monitoring traffic, parental, security), and then want the fastest wifi via wired Mesh or AP units, what would you recommend? They don’t have to be in the same unit for my setup. The UDM looks interesting because of advance security (like packet inspection) and hefty options of control. It supports VLAN Wifi if I’m not mistaken?
My internet is cable (960/20), and comes in the corner (garage) of my 4,000 sqft house. Cable modem -> Router -> main switch with cat5e to all rooms. I’ve had two Asus routers (before AC87U). One in the garage, and one on the other side of the house in AP. I had some dead spots so purchased Google Wifi 3pk which worked great. Loved seeing the ISP speed, each device speed real-time, and scheduled parental controls.
Recently with everyone WFH my upload was getting saturated will 3-5 zoom meetings at once, plus ring and amazon cloud cams. I need a way to divide and throttle my network upload. IoT devices (I have ~40), Streaming devices (~10), and work (~5). I can buy multiple routers and double NAT a few on a manages switch with VLAN 1-3. Or should I use something like UDM to manage it all along with Unifi AP or Mesh points.
Finally (sorry for the long post). Mesh vs AP units. If both are wired does it matter if it’s Mesh or not? I’m reading conflicting statements.
Hi Joe. For mesh vs. AP, check out this post. The UDM is probably the most capable home router you can get, but its functionality depends on Ubiquiti who can release a firmware update and make a huge change. For your home network, you can get almost any dual-band 2×2 Wi-Fi6 or 3×3 Wi-Fi 5 (or faster) system with wired backhaul and you’re set. Don’t use mesh systems from Google or Amazon. Check out those from Asus, Netgear, Linksys or TP-Link in that order. Good luck! 🙂
Dong it was version 1.5. I auto updated to it and lost access to controller. Ubiquiti sent me link to Beta 1.6 firmware and this resolved issue. A lot of people had this issue here is link to Ubiquiti Community thread:
If you buy this, disable auto update and do not update firmware as you will be unable to access the controller. I My firmware auto-updated and now controller is offline. There is no posted firmware to enable you to get controller online again. Very disappointed in Ubiquiti.
That’s interesting, Stuart. What firmware version are you using? I’m using the latest and was still able to use the access to the controller just fine, as recent as my review of the Beacon.
It’s the worst router I’ve ever used. Completely unusable for gaming, endless lag spikes and dropouts, support were unable to resolve it after over a month of diagnostics. Sent the unit back and went back to my old Asus RT-AC68U which didn’t suffer from any of the same issues.
Thanks, great review. How well does the UDM “manage” the unifi APs and optimize the wifi network? and would it do a better job than 2 standalone Asus zenwifi or similar mesh/AP systems/
It has more advanced and professional features, Vernon. It’s hard to say that’s better or not, which is depends on your taste, but it sure is different.
Can the UDM support the Amplifi Meshpoints? I like the UDM, but would like to use the Amplifi Meshpoints to increase coverage in my house.
No, Rob. It’s an Unifi product so it only works with UniFi mesh points, such as the Beacon HD or the Flex.
Good morning. Thanks for your answer to my other question. Is there any reason you would recommend just buying the Asus WiFi mesh system and using that, instead of the UDM with a WiFi 6 AP later? My understanding was that the WiFi 6 standard is not yet 100 percent finalized, so I wanted to try to avoid buying expensive hardware that might not be fully capable of doing finalized WiFi 6.
If I hooked it up, say, to the Asus WiFI 6 mesh product and enabled threat protection on the UDM, would I still see the mid-range WiFi speeds shown in your review, or would they be better? (Not that 500 Mbit/s is *slow*, but and my current internet is ~230mbps down, but I’m interested in getting gigabit ethernet when it’s not quite so expensive.) I tend to hardwire as much as I can, but with laptops and phones around, there’s only so many wireless radios I can turn off.
I live in a small two bedroom apartment now, but hope to move to a larger home sometime in the next couple years, so I was thinking it would be good to learn the UDM now, and then be ready to use it as the center of a larger, more complex home network later.
Sure, John. All existing Wi-Fi 6 routers will work as final products when the standard is ratified, via firmware updates.
No, the Wi-Fi speed now depends on the Asus hardware and is limited only by the wired cont between the UDM and the Asus, which is 1Gbps.
If you only care about online threads, Asus routers have similar feature called AiProtection. So, you can skip the UDM.
Thank you for this great review. I found your YouTube channel first, and it’s always great to find detailed write-ups paired with YT videos. Though, I imagine it’s a ton of work to do all this. 🙂
I’m assuming it will eventually be possible to pair a WiFi 6 AP with the Dream Machine and turn off the DM’s 5GHz radio and have everything work, correct?
Would using an external AP (WiFi 5 or 6) wired to the DM and placed some distance away (e.g., hung on the wall ~5 feet away or so) raise the theoretical wireless speeds of the DM, or is that more a limitation of the internal CPU/RAM/security software?
Glad you found me here, John! And yes, you can actually do that right now. You can get a Wi-Fi 6 AP (or routers in AP mode) and use it with the UDM. You can even use a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system and use it in AP mode with the machine. All Asus Wi-Fi 6 mesh can work in AP mode, by the way. And in this case, you only use the UDM as a UNFI controller and router (not a Wi-Fi broadcaster).
Hello Dong, I am kicking around either purchasing a UniFi Dream Machine plus a Unifi Flex HD Access Point connected with a wired backhaul or buying 2 AmpliFi Alien Routers (when they are back in stock) with one operating as a mesh point also connected via a wired backhaul. I currently have a gigabit internet connection and I do not have any WIFI 6 capable devices at this time. I run all our video entertainment on four Apple TV 4K’s with bitstreams that average 29 Mbps. We have multiple phones, ipads, laptops and PC’s and we have a PS4. Which one of these two options would you recommend for my use case or would you suggest a different option?
My current configuration includes 2 Asus RT-AC66U routers (One is a wired AP) and a switch to wire some of the devices. I do have some dead zones and I do notice a delay with the handoff between devices. Not to mention I can no longer get firmware updates and I am looking for good security.
If you have 1Gbps internet, I think the Alien is a better fit, Seth. The UDM will give you only 867Mbps top if you use its security features, which you should. Also, considering you have a wired backhaul. A good set of two Asus AiMesh routers will work very well, too, and gives you more features. Consider the ZenWiFi AX, or even the ZenWiFi AC, both are lot cheaper than the Alien set.
What AP’s Work with the Dream Machine?
All APs work with all routers, Michael.
You say that the UDM is the first Unifi device to work well as a home router. What do you mean by that as Unifi has had the USG out for years and it works very well as a router? I have had one of the those and five UAPs in my house for several years. Do you mean that this is the first device that is like the typical home router/Wifi access point? (By the way, when did the term “router” come to mean a device has WAP capabilities – maybe I am being pedantic, but routing functionality has nothing to do with wifi.)
Personally I like my router not being a WAP. The reason for that is that I own a single family house in Canada. Therefore the best spot for my netwoking gear is a corner of my basement where my cable/phone enters the house and where my cable modem (or whatever) will be situated. But that is also the worst place in the house to put a WAP.
I meant in the sense that the UDM is also easy to use, Wayne. Other UniFi devices require quite a bit of networking knowhow to set up. And you’re right on the Wi-Fi routers, in many homes, it’s good to separate the Wi-Fi AP and the router but again, that’s quite a bit of work, running cables, etc. Since all home routers now have Wi-Fi capability, nowadays, routers generally mean Wi-Fi-enabled routers.
Actually I ran Cat6 to every room from the central location already. So you just plug the mesh point into any available cat socket for wired backhaul?
Hi Dong. I am building a new single level home ~1900 sqft. I was going to get the Amplify Alien mesh kit but as I am in Canada that is not an option. Do you think I would probably be ok with the dream machine to cover my house or would I be better to get a mesh solution like synology? I would like to have wifi6 but not a deal breaker. Thanks!
You should make running CAT5e or CAT6 as part of the project, Adrian. Run a cable, or two, to each room from a closet where your Internet drop is. When that’s in place, you’ll have a lot of options. You can go with any mesh system that supports wired backhaul. AiMesh and Synology Mesh are just some of the options. UDM works, too, but make sure you get wired mesh points (instead of wireless).
Hello, Do you know if the UDM supports 802.11r and also WPA3?
Too of my head, I’d say yes on 802.11r though I haven’t tested it in a mesh yet. As for WPA3, it’s just a matter of firmware updates.
Will the UDM assign 2.4 or 5 ghz to whatever device is connected to it automatically? Thank you.
Yes, Bob. That’s called band-steering and the UDM has advanced settings on that front which works well.
What’s the 5ghz range on this machine?
It’s similar to that of most high-end Wi-Fi 5 routers, Ivan. There’s no specific number because that depends on many factors, but you can expect it to be about 150 feet (45 m).
Some Amazon.com users say that it has poor wifi performance through walls. what is your opinion?
This depends on the type of walls though walls are never good for Wi-Fi signals. But I didn’t find the UDM particularly worse than any routers on this front.
I need an opinion from you please.
I want to up grade my routers I need a router with mesh/ap
I do like ubiquiti i have their ap pro
should I get the UDM with ine of their 4×4 aps or should I go for wifi 6 and if so which one do you recommend?
thank you and also thank you for the great reviews/work
For your needs, I think the UDM is a good fit right now, Ivan.