UniFi AC Lite WiFi
This device is a dual WiFi band access point with speeds up to 300Mbps at 2.4GHz and 867Mbps at 5GHz, known as AC1200. It's easy to install on the ceiling, wall, or shelf using PoE through the network cable. Combined with other Ubiquiti access points, it creates a seamless WiFi reception area across multiple rooms and floors, automatically switching to mesh without Ethernet cables. It can handle over 250 simultaneous users and costs $165.
Are you looking for a Ubiquiti extender? There is Ubiquiti's Amplifi router and extender line. However, Amplifi though beautifully designed, needs to be better supported in the Australian market and costs around $750 for three devices. We support them but do not install brand-new ones.
AP vs WiFi Extender
The Access Point requires Ethernet cabling, but the extender does not. Extender or, in other words, repeater piggybacks to an existing 'master' WiFi network. WiFi extended via repeater is slower and less stable than the master WiFi network; thus, WiFi repeater is the cheap way of extending WiFi. Some WiFi repeaters can work as access points and vice versa. The mode of the network devices is chosen during the initial setup or changed later.
For private outdoor installations, such as backyards, verandas and house extensions, I recommend the UniFi UAP-AC-M. It provides a speed of 300Mbps on 2.4 GHz and 867 Mbps on 5GHz, which is sufficient for a dozen simultaneous devices. It is designed for pole or wall installations, providing coverage within a 180-meter radius. Ideally, it should be connected with a PoE network cable, but it can also work as a mesh in a few units or linked with an UniFi non-Mesh AP. Price $200
Fix or buy a new Ubiquiti?
If access points are over 4-5 years old and you have just a few of them, replacing them is quicker than fixing them. Up to 3 APs are cheaper than spending hours troubleshooting, resetting and updating firmware. Ether resetting or new, you still need UniFi control panel with WiFi network settings.
How to reset Ubiquiti WiFi password
UniFi settings, including WiFi password, WiFi network name, firmware updates etc., are controlled via the panel on either:
- A device called Cloud Key from $390 or UniFi router with console from $450
- A remote Cloud Console for a monthly fee of US$30.
- A free software application on a local computer or mobile.
The last one is a usual installation method for small setups like in private houses.
Losing access to the control panel will not stop the WiFi, but changing the WiFi password, updating the firmware, etc., won't be possible.
You can set up a new control panel. Then reset all points and adopt them into the WiFi network in the new UniFi control panel.
Orbi mesh systems
|AX6000 (RBK852-3-4)||2400Mbps + 2400Mbps + 1200Mbps, 8 antennas, 5 LAN ports||$1199 for 2 pack|
|AX4200 (RBK752-3-4)||600Mbps + 1200Mbps + 2400Mbps, 6 antennas, 4 LAN ports||$899 for 2 pack|
|AX1800 (RBK352-3)||600Mbps + 1200Mbps, 2 antennas, 4 LAN ports||$429 for 2 pack|
|AC3000 (RBK50)||400Mbps + 866Mbps + 1733Mbps, 2 antennas, 4 LAN ports||$499 for 2 pack|
|AC2200 Satellite (RBS20)||400Mbps + 866Mbps + 866Mbps, 2 antennas, 2 LAN ports||$229|
All Orbi systems have 2.4 and 5Ghz WiFi, but speeds are different. The difference is due to the number of antennas and amplifiers. Orbi has a dedicated wireless channel for mesh connection, except for AX1800. The mesh is not used if satellites are connected by Ethernet cable, which is always better than wireless. All models have the same WiFi features, security, Quad-Core 1.4GHz processor, Netgear Armor, and control app. The performance of the AC2200 vs AC1800 is unnoticeable until you use a dozen WiFi devices simultaneously and the NBN plan with speeds over 100 MB. AX6000 may need 30 simultaneous devices before WiFi speed degrades.
Google WiFi vs Nest
The other popular device is Google WiFi, now called Nest. You may buy them in a set for mesh or add them later as needed. Devices are compatible with each other wirelessly and have the same control app for Android and iPhones - Google Home. Here is the specification comparison. Minor differences were omitted, such as size and materials.
|WiFi AC1200||Nest router AC2200||Nest point AC1200|
|WAN and LAN Gigabit ports
||zero ports, wireless mesh with Nest router or Google WiFi only|
|Speaker and 3 far-field microphones. Bluetooth 5.0, touch controls|
|512 MB ram|
4 GB flash
|1 GB ram|
4 GB flash
|768 MB ram|
512 MB flash
Google WiFi Specifications
The following specs are the same for all models: 802.11s mesh, dual-band (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, beamforming, 802.11k/v client roaming, up to 100 connected devices, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), WPA3 encryption, automatic security updates, Quad-core CPU, 15 W power adaptor.
Google WiFi and Nest routers can work as an access point or router or join the mesh. Nest Point can only join Google Mesh.
TP-Link extender or router
TL-WR841N is a router, Access Point or Range Extender. The maximum WiFi speed of this device is standard 300Mbps at 2.4GHz. Why is it so cheap? The number of simultaneous connections is limited due to the cheap CPU. However, it is sufficient for up to a dozen people using WiFi simultaneously. $26
Routers with Antivirus built in
Underrepresented Netgear Armor is a Bitdefender antivirus built into a router. It protects all devices on your WiFi network, whether PC, Mac, iPhones, Androids, printers, or TVs. The price of the Bitdefender licence for the router is around A$120/year. However, not all Netgear routers are with Armor. Orbi also has antivirus.
TP-Link also offers Antivirus built into the mesh routers. The cheapest one is TP-link Deco X20-DSL for $250. Free Antivirus in TP-link devices is a part of the network security suite with comprehensive features and control called HomeShield.
updated Aug 2023