Ubiquiti Unifi Review Part 1 – Is This The Best Networking Hardware Around?

Here is a spoiler for you, yes it is!

Ubiquiti is a famous technology company that manufactures wireless data communication devices for the enterprise. They also have wireless broadband providers that mainly focus on emerging and under-served markets. Ubiquiti is a company that sells wireless and wired networking devices under different brand names, and one of these is Ubiquiti UniFi.

Ubiquiti UniFi is the global leader when it comes to managed Wi-Fi systems, and the company aimed to design their products to be more than “just Wi-Fi”. We’ve noticed that they’re working to expand to a full SDN or Software Defined Networking solution via seamlessly integrating high-performing gateways, switching, and a lot more.

Previously we have reviewed the AmplIfi HD, AmpliFi Instant and AmpliFi Teleport products that are geared towards home users. Today, we’ll be focusing on multiple products under the UniFi line to give you a good idea of what the company has in store for you. These are the UniFi Security Gateway, UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch, UniFi G3 Flex Video Camera, UniFi Cloud Key Gen2 Plus & UniFi Protect, and the UniFi NanoHD.

UniFi Security Gateway

The Ubiquiti UniFi Security Gateway or USG is a small non-wireless router that’s packed with a lot of useful and advanced features. The characteristics integrated into the UniFi Security Gateway go beyond those commonly found in regular home routers, especially the ones combined with the UniFi controller.

One of the most notable features of the UniFi Security Gateway is that it can block outgoing and incoming IP addresses by country. You can also set up VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) with the USG. The best thing about this is that there aren’t any license fees required. Having no license fees means that when you purchase, you’ll be able to get free updates for the life of the product.

What’s in the Box?

Upon receiving the UniFi Security Gateway, you’ll see that it comes in a durable, clean, and neat-looking box. They opted for a white theme for it with just a few details on the package to leave it looking less-cluttered.

The front displays the actual image of the product, the company’s name and logo on the upper-right corner of the box, while the name of the device found on the lower-left edge.

When you open the box, you will find a nicely-made customized cardboard that works as a piece to hold the UniFi Security Gateway. And aside from the USG, other items included are the power adapter, quick reference guide, and the mounting screws: precisely two anchors, and two screws.

UniFi Security Gateway Overview

The UniFi Security Gateway from Ubiquiti works by extending the UniFi Enterprise System to give you reliable, competitive, and an advanced security system for your network. It is also a 4-port device with an I/O that includes three 10 | 100 | 1000 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and a single dedicated console port.

From left to right, the Gigabit Ethernet ports are all labeled as WAN, Lan, and the VoIP. However, those who are comfortable utilizing a CLI -based interface can easily set and configure the ports to do anything, which makes it a great device.

The UniFi Security Gateway uses the Cavium Octeon + CN50xx dual-core 500MHz, MIPS-64 that includes hardware acceleration for packet processing. For its RAM, it has  512MB DDR-2 with a storage of 2GB.

This device has a layer three forwarding performance of 1,000,000 PPS + 3Gbps while having three 10 | 100 | 1000 Ethernet ports for its network interfaces. Also, the UniFi Security Gateway comes with an extra RJ-45 serial port and a 7-Watt power draw.

For its measurements, the UniFi Security Gateway is 135 x 135 x 28.3 millimeters and weighs 366 grams.

Product Features

UniFi Controller Integration

Device discovery, management, and provisioning of the UniFi Security Gateway are all conducted by the UniFi Controller software. Other UniFi devices are also managed using this centralized software.

Excellent Firewall Performance

The UniFi Security Gateway comes with advanced firewall policies. It keeps your network and data protected at all times.

Convenient VLAN Support

The UniFi Security Gateway can form virtual network segments to manage network traffic. It also provides security to your network.

VPN Server for Communication Security

A site-to-site VPN keeps private data communications traveling over the internet secured and encrypted. With that, you can ensure the safety of your private information.

QoS for Enterprise VoIP

For voice and video call traffic, QoS priority is set for lag-free video streaming and crystal-clear calls.

Using the Product

The first step in setting up the UniFi Security Gateway is by adopting the device to the controller. After this, we plugged the WAN connection before rebooting the cable modem which is necessary to pick up the new MAC address readily. With that, we were able to link to the internet without any problems quickly.

The next thing that we did was to set up the static DHCP entries. The devices that we had were online and appeared in the controller, utilizing the addresses assigned from our router. We have the UniFi switches that make the controller populate every device that it sees. It was generally a simple task of choosing each product, clicking the “use fixed IP address” checkbox, then clicking apply afterward.

When it comes to the performance of the UniFi Security Gateway, we can say that it did serve us well. It was fast and not sluggish, and it didn’t struggle under our HFC 100 Mbit down the connection. It’s generally easy and convenient to configure port forwarding or something similar to the UniFi controller GUI. Just note that this product is sold separately and can be hosted on a Linux or Windows computer for free.

A firewall should function as an element to protect those outsides from seeing what’s occurring on the inside. Ubiquiti does an excellent job of utilizing and a useful default set of firewall rules that have already been integrated and enabled upon initial setup.

When we utilized the UniFi controller, modifying and adding the firewall rules was generally simple and easy. If you plan to use CLI and have some familiarity with different Cisco commands, then this shouldn’t be something tricky.

We utilized the controller to make rules for separating all our VLAN traffic, and amazingly, we were able to do this in just 30 minutes or so. This router is very stable and is as solid as a rock. It didn’t incur any issues similar to that of other routers where these would lose their connection or randomly freeze, requiring you to restart this every so often. The router is designed for business use, for small to medium business enterprises where stability and reliability are highly necessary. The UniFi Security Gateway is also perfectly geared for home use if you want something that gives you complete control over your network.

Also, the UniFi Security Gateway is something perfect for anyone who plans to distribute several access points via their home. It comes with a variety of settings that you can tinker with that’s accessible through a very clean-looking and neat user interface.

The UniFi Security Gateway is an excellent product at a very competitive price. What sets this apart from other similar products is that it can integrate and combine into the UniFi ecosystem. If you’re looking for a device to provide you with the UniFi Controller interface with a plethora of information, then it’s a smart move to consider the UniFi Security Gateway.

If having the having complete integration into the controller’s software is not a requirement, then the company does sell other routers such as the Ubiquiti EdgeRouter Lite. Aside from its physical appearance, it is a similar product as the UniFi Security Gateway, but without sporting the UniFi Controller integration.

If you want to compliment your UniFi network, then it’s undoubtedly a recommended product. The pros of the Security Gateway are that it’s easy to configure. It was also able to adapt quickly with the UniFi Controller software.

You will find a ton of great built-in options, and what we liked is that the company adds more to these every time. One thing to note is that the hardware’s latest version no longer has the VoIP outlet. Now, it’s a WAN2 / LAN2 port instead.

When it comes to the firewall, it’s still easy to manage and setup.  Once we completed the process, it worked perfectly, and we were pleased about it. Right out of the box, the Security Gateway has all the necessary service ports in stealth. But what we liked about it was that it responded well to external pings.

With that said, we love this product since it’s configurable for dual WAN and can support DNS. And since the company continues to roll out significant updates, this device will function well.

Our internet connection is a 100mb fiber connection and the USG was able to pretty much max the connection speed out at 94.87mb download speed and 5.63mb upload speed with 3ms ping.

All in all, the UniFi Security Gateway is an excellent device. With that, it’s something that we’d very much recommend. It’s sure one of the best network devices that we have ever used. Plus, Ubiquiti guarantees constant software updates to keep their product efficient and convenient.

UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch

The company also sells POE switches that are UniFi-compatible that are suitable for both data centers and home-lab use. It’s a good thing that Ubiquiti expanded its line of UniFi switches with an additional model that has been enhanced and designed further for home use in the form of the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch.

The fanless UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch gives you a powerful yet quiet performance with its ten independent switching ports. In total, it shares 150W of POE, and the 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports give you 802.3 af/at POE+ / 24V passive POE, as well as two SFP ports that provide optical connectivity.

What’s in the Box?

The UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch also comes in a nice, clean, and simple-looking white box that features an image of the actual device at the front portion of the package. Similar to their other devices, the UniFi US-8-150W also displays the name of the unit on the lower-left part of the box, while the company’s name and logo can be found on the upper-right corner of the package.

Inside the box, you will find the device itself, a power cord, two mount brackets, eight M4 bracket screws, four M4 mounting screws, four M4 screw anchors, and a quick start guide, all neatly placed to keep things organized and intact.

UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch Overview

The UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch from Ubiquiti is slightly bigger than your usual home switch, and this is mostly because of its length. Its length is somewhat similar to its width and stretches back slightly over 20 centimeters, plus it also has durable rubber feet to give it a small yet adequate amount of space beneath it. Other than the feet, the bottom portion of the device is featureless.

The switch also doesn’t feature any screw holes along its face for your rackmount ears. Basically, your options as to where the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch can be stacked are quite limited. If you’re someone who’s planning to rack-mount the product, you will need to stick it to a shelf; or if you’re someone who’s also into DIY accessories, you can rig some unique wall-cradle designs using zip ties to rack the switch there.

If you take a look at the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch, you’ll see that it’s a plain-looking product that doesn’t really have any remarkable design. It comes with an aluminum powder-coated exterior, a total of 2 empty SFP sockets in front, eight dual-LED 8P-8C ports, as well as a power socket on its rear. As with the other UniFi family, you’ll spot a color-altering square LED logo that readily lights up in a variety of colors to display the health of the switch.

This specific switch weighs close to two kilos, which is slightly heavier than how it looks. The thing is, it isn’t near as hefty as its UniFi siblings under the switch line, which is good. We were able to position it on our work desk and even stack it on our other office switches. It was quite warm to the touch, but despite this, we didn’t encounter any issues or warnings about its temperature.

With the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch, it becomes much easier to boost the reach and capacity of a current network. The switch has 8 Gigabit Ethernet ports together with 2 SFP ports which make it easier to combine high-speed local storage networks to this specific setup.

In addition to Gigabit Ethernet connectivity, the available network ports support 802.3af / at POE networking standards made explicitly to power up different devices like access points, VoIP phones, IP cameras, and a lot more. Once you get to install the switch, it can support Ubiquiti’s UniFi Controller, making the process more straightforward when it comes to managing network resources, port statuses, switch arrangements, and a ton more.

The UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch has a total non-blocking throughput of 18Gbps, 36Gbps of switching capacities, and a forwarding rate of 26.78Mpps. Its total power consumption is 150 Watts while the power method ranges from 100 to 240 VAC | 50 to 60Hz, universal input. The UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch has an AC/DC internal 150 Watt DC power supply with RJ-45 data ports (link /POE, speed/activity) and SFP data ports (speed /activity/link).

The switch includes 16 x 10 | 100 | 1000Mb/s RJ-45 Ethernet ports, and 2 x 1Gbps SFP Ethernet ports. The management interface has an RJ-45 serial port which is kept for future use, an Ethernet in / out band, with CE, IC, FCC certifications.

This switch comes with a rack mount that is 1U-high with air ±24 kV and contact ±24 kV for its ESD / EMP protection. For shock and vibration, the switch uses the standard ETS-I300 -019-1.4; it also comes with the POE+ IEEE 802.3 af/at plus pins 4, 5+, 7, 8-.

The maximum POE+ Watts per port by PSE measures 34.2 Watts with 17 Watts for its total POE Watts per data port. When speaking of its voltage range, it is 802.3at mode ranging from 50 to 57 Volts. For the operating temperature, it often ranges from 23 to 104-degrees Fahrenheit (-5 to 40-degrees Celsius) while its operating humidity ranges from 5 to 95% and is non-condensing. The switch measures 443 x 43 x 221-millimeters and weighs 2.89 kilograms.

System requirements for the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch include Microsoft Windows 7 / 8, Mac OS X, or Linux while its Java Runtime Environment should be 1.6 or above. Web browsers that are compatible include Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, and Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 or higher.

Product Features

Configure Ports Flexibly

With eight Gigabit RJ45 ports, the US-08-150 Switch can offer a variety of options for power output.  These ports allow the device to auto-sense IEEE 802.3 af/at POE / POE+. For the SFP ports, these provide options for optical fiber connectivity.

POE+ Versatility

Models under the UniFi Switch feature 8, 16, 24, or 48 POE Gigabit Ethernet ports of auto-sensing IEEE 802.3 af/at or a 24V passive POE that you can configure to make your infrastructure easier and simpler. With that, the UniFi Switch automatically detects 802.3 af/at devices so these can receive POE by default. For passive 24V POE devices, these are manually enabled via the UniFi Controller Software.

Wall Mounting

The UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch comes with mounting accessories that support any orientation for wall and desk or shelf mounting.

Switching Performance

At line rate, the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch has the capacity to process traffic on all ports. These are all done simultaneously without packet loss.

Fiber Connectivity

The UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch offers options for fiber connectivity, which allows for simple network expansion. This includes two SFP ports for up to 1 Gbps of uplinks. Each 48-port model includes two SFP+ ports for high-capacity uplinks of up to 10 Gbps, which enables direct connection to a high-performance storage server. This also allows the deployment of a long-distance uplink to another switch.

Sleek Design

With the compact design of the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch, you can place this on your desktop.

Centralized Management

The UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch is integrated with the UniFi controller software. This gives you centralized management for all of your UniFi devices. This does not only make things easier, but it also reduces bloatware since you can manage everything using a single software.

Advanced Enterprise Switching

The UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch supports static & dynamic VLAN tagging, 802.1X authentication, storm control, guest control, as well as port isolation.

Non-Blocking Throughput

This 8-Port switch comes with up to 10 Gbps of completely non-blocking throughput. The unit brings a switching capacity of 20 Gbps. Aside from that, it can also process traffic on all ports at line rate, all at the same time, with no packet loss.

Using the Product

The initial setup of the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch is effortless, and you won’t have any problems with this.

Ideally, an efficient and operational switch is straight forward in its functions and basically just stays in one place and works by making your network work.

Thankfully, the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch does just that: it stayed in place and worked efficiently without casually rebooting, dropping packets, or doing any random abnormal behavior. This is the best praise you can give a network switch unless you’re required to alter its configuration, then the device is technically invisible.

The aesthetics, build, and design of the switch is what you can call unparalleled.  It has an attractive, clean, and minimalist design with vital indicators to boot. These allow you to know everything that the product is doing and all you have to do is take a quick glance at it.

The LED and labels of the  UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch do an excellent job. It’s also nice that the company ensures that the LEDs are bright and easy to see.

The switch makes less fan noise than most other switches that are available but keep in mind that this is not entirely silent. You will still hear some sounds, but it is certainly tolerable. This is most evident in situations where the switch is set out in the open or in close proximity to other devices.

Now when it comes to configuring the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch, it is relatively easy. The task becomes much more comfortable when using the UniFi Controller. In addition, the controller also manages the rest of your UniFi devices except for their UVPs. If you cannot find a feature from the GUI, you can access this via the CLI.

So all in all, if you are looking for a feature-rich and capable POE switch, then you’re sure covered. Now if you also want a switch with a simple GUI setup, then the UniFi US-8-150W Switch 8 POE Switch is definitely for you.

Go to Part 2 of the Ubiquiti Unifi Review.