Jump to content
RESET Forums (homeservershow.com)

Amplifi HD Layman Review


fossilnews
 Share

Recommended Posts

Got it last week and am not doing anything advanced (port forwarding, plex server, etc) with it.  Caveat emptor.

 

Set up:

About as easy as everyone says it is.  Took out my old Archer C7, put this one in it's place and ran through the setup wizard on the app.  Router (which is very small and nice to look at) was up and running in about 5 minutes, including finding and switching cables in my fairly messy media cabinet.  After that you just plug in the extenders wherever you want coverage.  They boot up, find the router, confirm their connection and that's it.  You can swivel and tilt them to optimize the connection, but I didn't need to bother.  The build quality on all three components is very, very good.

 

The management:

It's all through the app.  This is one of my few gripes because if I want to make a change I have to grab my phone off the charger rather than doing it via a web interface that would accessible and also testable on the laptop on my lap.  That said the app is really nice.  It's fast, intuitive and much more comprehensive than what Orbi offered via their web interface.  My biggest complaints about the app are: 1) Takes a second to connect to the router when you first load the app.  Not a big deal, but if I'm already connected to the network why the need to show a connection screen?  Perhaps it's authenticating with the router, I don't know.  2) The guest network has a limit of 10 devices which is too few.  You can leave the guest network on all the time but you can't allow unlimited guests as well?  Hopefully this is fixed in a future update.  3) Can't rename devices unless you're assigning them a static IP.  The device management on this is actually very nice so this seems like a glaring oversight on their part.  Hopefully it comes out in an update.  Speaking of updates, firmware 1.5.1 came out right before Thanksgiving.  I upgraded to it with zero problems (change log below in case anyone is interested).  Thought it was pretty ballsy to put out the release right before the holiday, but they did and it worked.

 

Performance:

Very solid.  The only time I've had to restart it was to apply updates or the new firmware.  I'm on a 200MB/s TimeWarner connection and fast.com will show me 230-240mb/s at the router and 65-70mb/s at the extenders.  You might be thinking that's terrible performance from the extenders, and I agree it's not ideal, but consider the following.  1) No ethernet or wireless backhaul. 2) The routers are set to 2.4ghz because I have devices that only support 2.4.  If I had to knock the system the extenders is where I would do it.  At the least they should support both 2.4 and 5ghz simultaneously (especially if you buy the HD version) like the router does.  This would lessen the drop for devices that support 5ghz.  My guess is that this is not a upgradeable feature that could be in a future release so I'm stuck with it.  It would also be nice if they had at least one ethernet port.  

 

But it's not as bad as it seems.  While I haven't done any extensive testing the latency feels minimal at the extenders and if you're doing email, youtube, etc you really don't notice much of a drop in real world performance.  I don't game so I have no idea how well they would work for an MMO.  Also the handoffs are seamless.  You can walk around with your phone or laptop and never miss a beat.  The extenders also offer nice range (again I have them set for 2.4ghz).  I have a 2000 sqft house and can walk anywhere on my 7000 sqft property with complete coverage.  I have one extender in my garage at the back of the property, the router in the backroom's media cabinet and the second extender at the front of the house behind a sofa.  I haven't tried walking down the street to see how far I can get and still maintain coverage, but I suspect the transmitter in my phone would give up before the extenders.  One nice feature of the extenders is their size.  You can hide them very easily and not lose coverage.  I tried out Orbi and had to give up because the units are too damn large and impossible for me to hide (yes, I'm factoring aesthetics into this review).

 

Overall:

I think I'm sort of Amplifi's ideal client for this system.  I'm not doing anything complex with home servers, etc so the system really was plug and play for me.  It has all the performance I need, and while not perfect, is also better than the Orbi alternative that I tried because it offers more complete coverage at a cheaper price.

 

Hope this helps anyone trying looking to buy a mesh system.

 

1.5.1 Change log:

Stand-Alone Router as Mesh Point:
* Fix ARP issue with duplicated records for roaming clients
* Connected to 3rd party Router shows its IP address on LCD info screen
* Disable WAN port after setup (avoid Ethernet loop)
* Removed internet connection settings from WebUI
* Fix UPnPD post-routing (Plex server connectivity issue)
* Do not allow to add router from one bundle as additional Mesh Point to another router
* LCD info screen: rename "ROUTER IP" to "DEVICE IP"

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice review but I'm confused about the 2.4 setup. My understanding is the full system (router and extenders) support simultaneous connections on both bands. They should also support band steering (although I'm not sure you can control this via the app). Additionally, they are to release an update for web access. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great write up.  Thanks for sharing this.

 

I would be curious about two things.  What are you replacing and what speeds were you getting with the Orbi?  Just curious questions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Nice review but I'm confused about the 2.4 setup. My understanding is the full system (router and extenders) support simultaneous connections on both bands. They should also support band steering (although I'm not sure you can control this via the app). Additionally, they are to release an update for web access. 

I think only the router supports simultaneous band broadcasts.  The app asks you to choose the which band the extenders should use.  But in the app it labels the choice as "Mesh point backbone band" but the online user guide says "Mesh Point Band Displays the radio band used by the Mesh Point. Select 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. The default is 5 GHz."  So it's hard to say if that's the channel it uses to communicate with all devices or just the router.  Also, there is band steering but it is only an option under the router, not the extenders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great write up.  Thanks for sharing this.

 

I would be curious about two things.  What are you replacing and what speeds were you getting with the Orbi?  Just curious questions.

I'm replacing an archer c7 router and tp-link powerline extender.  

 

With the orbi I was getting pretty consistent speeds whether on the router or the extender, but I don't remember the exact numbers.  The orbi felt half done to me particularly the online admin area.  The 3rd channel backhaul was a good idea, but the units are both really large and you only got one extender.  So for me that would cover either the front of my house or the back yard, but I couldn't cover both without buying another extender - which isn't cheap.  Sorry I don't have more specifics about the speed.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think only the router supports simultaneous band broadcasts.  The app asks you to choose the which band the extenders should use.  But in the app it labels the choice as "Mesh point backbone band" but the online user guide says "Mesh Point Band Displays the radio band used by the Mesh Point. Select 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. The default is 5 GHz."  So it's hard to say if that's the channel it uses to communicate with all devices or just the router.  Also, there is band steering but it is only an option under the router, not the extenders.

 

Okay thanks for that clarification. But that's to dedicate a band for backhaul. I believe the extenders do support dual band for connected devices. And band steering is performed at the router but propagated to the extenders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Okay thanks for that clarification. But that's to dedicate a band for backhaul. I believe the extenders do support dual band for connected devices. And band steering is performed at the router but propagated to the extenders.

We'll you're exactly right about this, thank you!  I've switched both over to 5ghz and will update my original post now.  Thanks again!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

If I had to knock the system the extenders is where I would do it.  At the least they should support both 2.4 and 5ghz simultaneously (especially if you buy the HD version) like the router does.  This would lessen the drop for devices that support 5ghz.

whsbuss was kind enough to point out that the extenders do indeed support both 2.4 and 5ghz devices simultaneously.  The setting in the app where you choose 2.4 or 5ghz for the extender controls the band that they use for their backhaul.  So I have now set both to 5ghz.  The app says that this will provide better performance, but my initial tests (just going to fast.com) seem to indicate that the speed is about the same as the 2.4ghz band.  If this changes I'll be sure to post an update.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I saw in the google thread you dropped the amplifi system?  Can you give some more info about the speed drop-offs you were seeing?  Or what was it that ultimately made you switch?

Edited by jagowar
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have a 240mb/s connection and it would drop to about 30mb/s until I switched the wifi channel.  This was the main reason I returned the system.  I really wanted to like amplifi, they do a lot of things right, but I also realized their system is rather outdated already (no ethernet backhaul, no ethernet ports on the satellites, no 3rd channel wireless backhaul).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...