July 26th, 2017
I wish my house had ethernet in every room as I’ve been plagued with wifi issues for years and years. I don’t want to get ethernet retrofitted throughout the house as it would be a massive undertaking and something I’m just not willing to do.
Thankfully, over the last few years, new wi-fi routers have come out that are capable of creating home “mesh networks”. These new systems work by having the primary router connected to your broadband, then a series of satellites placed around your home. Each node can talk to the primary router and each other, this helps the satellites furthest away from the main router still deliver a good wifi signal.
There’s obviously more to it than that, but that's the basic idea behind it.
Anyway, there are a few systems on the market, Netgear Orbi, Google WiFi, Linksys Velop, and Amplifi from Ubiquiti, all of them look pretty great. After doing some research I decided to go for Amplifi — Mainly because the customer reviews seemed good, it’s small, looks nice, and it’s not made by Google.
Amplifi is not the cheapest out of the bunch, but as I was getting fed up with my wifi dropping out and having areas in the house where I couldn’t connect I decided to go ahead and order it.
In the main package, you get a rather nice base router with a built in display, plus two satellite receivers that you plug straight into the wall. I also purchased two extra satellites as I wanted to make sure everywhere in the house was covered.
Setup was pretty quick and done via an iPhone app, no web interface or IP address required. After installing the router, you can just plug in the satellites, and they automatically set themselves up.
The iPhone app is also used to manage the network. The app is simple but has a few nice settings, for example, you can see how the network is performing, along with all the devices connected to it. You can also create “Profiles” for a set of devices, so for example, I could group the kids iPads together and block internet access at certain times. The kids are still young so we don’t need this feature, but it’s good to know it’s available for when we do.
There’s also the ability to create ad-hoc guest wi-fi access from the iPhone app; you can even set a duration for the network to be active, then have it automatically expire.
Amplifi is not cheap, but it fixed my wifi issues, and I’ve had good coverage throughout the house along with no downtime or router reboots since installing it. Fingers crossed it continues to be just as reliable as it has these past few weeks.