Buying a router can be a tricky thing, and it depends on a lot of things. One of the places where most of the router fails is offering enough coverage to all corners of your house. That’s where Mesh Routers have started gaining traction. In simple words, Mesh routers provide extended coverage in the form of repeaters. You can place the repeaters close to places where the Wi-Fi blacks out. Today, we are reviewing AmpliFi Instant Router. It’s a Mesh Router that comes with an extra mesh point apart from the central unit, so can you put it at a place where the signals are weak.
I have been using the router for 6 months, and it delivers a brilliant performance and easy setup experience.
AmpliFi Instant Router review
AmpliFi Instant is a mesh router from Ubiquiti. They are known to make beautiful router without any extra tentacles, which we have seen in many routers. They come in the form of small square boxes that you won’t be shy placing on the table. It offers 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, Gigabit Ethernet ports, and is powerful enough to cover most small and medium-size homes.
- You can set this up in no time if you have a modem from your ISP. The central unit and the mesh unit connect automatically, and you can configure using the mobile application.
- It features 802.11ac Wi-Fi technology, a WAN port, and one Gigabit Ethernet ports on each of the units.
- It offers an elegant design with an LED light on the bottom, takes little space, and looks attractive.
- It supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz channels.
- It is easily scalable as you can add as many Mesh Points.
- On books, Two of these can cover a range of 4000 Sq Ft. The primary unit has a range of 2000 Sq ft.
- In-built Firewall, which can be edited in Bridge Mode
Design & Specs
Let’s start with the primary unit, which comes with a small LCD. It is also one of the strongest features because you can check data speeds, usage, IP address, and more. Many a time, I need to find the IP address of the router, and I can find it without opening an app or digging into my computer network settings. You can tap on the display to switch between different statuses it displays.
At the bottom, you have the LED light, which circles throughout the base. You can configure the brightness of both the LCD and LED, and that’s about it. Apart from flickering, when the settings are changed, they do not play much of a role. I would have loved it if it could blink differently for situations like Wi-Fi is not working, disconnected from the primary router, and even weak signal.
It does offer Night Mode to increase the life of both the light and the display. It also saves power.
Where to place the AmpliFi Instant Router
If you are serious about knowing where and how to place the router for the best performance, the ApliFi portal can help you with it. This tool lets you draw a blueprint of your house, define the thickness of the walls. Then you can place the router, and the repeaters and see where the signal gets weak, and where it performs best. You can also switch between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz mode to see the difference in the range.
You can only use it when you have added the router in your account. The router will show up automatically, along with all the repeaters. You can then place them at places to see how it will fill up the place.
How to Setup AmpliFi Instant Router
Everything you want to configure can is possible through their mobile app. You do not need to connect to a computer to set it. Launch the app, select the type of product you want to add, power the routers up, and set it. If you do not have a configured modem, it supports DHCP, Static, and PPPoE.
- When setting up the app for the first time, you will have to create an account. So make you do it.
- Click on Setup AmpliFi Mesh System, and it will ask you to first power off your modem, then connect the ethernet cable coming from modem to the WAN port.
- Next power on the modem followed by the Mesh Router
- It will then scan for the new router, and when found, tap on it and follow the setup wizard to complete the setup.
Once the basic setup is complete, the app will offer a dashboard where you can see the main router and connected mesh points. At the bottom, you can see the number of connected clients, upload and download speed. Tap on the Main router, and it will reveal all the configuration details.
- General: Device name, Time Zone, option to locate, change password, Reboot, and Factory reset
- Wireless: Setup security, guest account, create additional SSID, configure Band steering, Router Steering
- Internet: If you need to configure DHCP, Static, and PPPoE.
- LED and LCD brightness control and Night Mode
- Apart from this, you can also configure UPnP, Clone MAC address, VLAN ID, IPv6, Port Forwarding, and Bridge Mode.
I have used both the PPPoE and DHCP on this. The only drawback for PPPoE is that it doesn’t have any option to configure Service Name. Though it is an optional feature, my ISP said it was compulsory, and without this, it will not work. So I had to configure an extra router (essentially became a modem), and use the Amplifi in DHCP mode. The bright side of this experience was that I could confidently say that the two-minute setup claim is legit!
I measured the download speed at different distances, download speed in MBPS, and Ping time. The router is configured at 5 GHz. Here are the results.
Using the SpeedTest App from Ookla
- At 60 Ft with at least three walls: 1
- At 40 Ft with two walls: 3.11
- At 30 Ft with one wall, the speed jumped to 73.6
- Close the router speed was 92.5
- At 40 Ft with no walls: 7.53
Using Fast Speedtest App
- At 60 Ft with at least three walls: 5
- At 40 Ft with two walls: < 1
- At 30 Ft with one: wall: 6.3
- Close the router: 93
- At 40 Ft with no walls: 10
If I switch to 2.4 GHz, the coverage would increase but speed not that much. I had no issues connecting with it at any time. Clear notifications about the internet are not working is a charm.
Ping test using Fing App in milliseconds
- At 60 Ft with at least three walls: 5
- At 40 Ft with two walls: 10
- At 30 Ft with one: wall: 5
- Close the router: 2
- At 40 Ft with no walls: 4
My Favorite Features of AmpliFi Instant Router
Especially useful with kids, if you want to control the internet for a group of devices, you can add them to a pattern or category. Once done, you can pause the internet or add a quiet time when the internet will not work for them. You can add multiple quiet time and change as per your kid’s schedule.
You can also control access to individual devices by tapping on the pause button next to it.
Teleport & VPN
Yes, you get a Free VPN, and the Teleport feature will let you connect any device to the AmpliFi router. So if you want to access content that is only available in the home country, but not in your current location, you can access it using this feature. You can also use this if you do not want to connect to a public hotspot for security reasons.
When you own two AmpliFi Routers
Since I tested two AmplFi routers, I discovered there is an easy way to connect if you own two of them, and they are in different locations. Using this method, you can create a private VPN tunnel and connect a remote device to your home network.
The first thing to do is to enable the remote access feature for the routers. The option is available in the menu of the application.
Next, go to the connected devices list, and then swipe left, and select Teleport. On the next screen, you can choose the other router to which you can teleport. Devices that are using the teleport feature will have a red teleport icon next to them.
Giving Friends and Family access to AmliFi Router
It works like any other VPN app, but its very simple for the end-user.
- Open your AmpliFi App, then click on the three-line menu, and select Teleport Code.
- Configure duration, and number of devices that can connect using Teleport
- Toggle on the button, and it will instantly generate the code.
- Click on the Share Code button to send it to the end-user.
- Ask your friend to install the teleport app, and then enter the code.
- That’s it. The person will now be connected to your ApliFi Router using Teleport
- To change the code, toggle it off and back on.
To revoke the access without changing code, open the ApliFi app, and then switch to the router. You should list all devices connected using Teleport on the dashboard. Select it, and then choose to revoke access.
Drawbacks AmpliFi Instant Router
Amplifi builds routers that fit in different use cases. AmpliFi Instant has a use case, and the way I see it as it fits well where there are more Wi-Fi devices and less of Ethernet dependent devices.
Limited Ethernet Ports
It is especially suited for scenarios where the primary way to connect the devices is Wi-Fi or where you cannot lay down Ethernet wires as it will look ugly. For example, in my home, I have a desktop with no Wi-Fi adapter. I can place one of the mesh points and connect the computer with it using Ethernet. The location will also become one of the Wi-Fi zones.
Both the primary mesh router and the mesh point have a single Ethernet port.
No USB Port
Those who use a USB drive as a network storage drive will have no option here. You will have to get an Ethernet to USB adapter to connect.
There is no way to prioritize devices based on their needs, i.e., Streaming, Gaming, or Normal.
No Web Interface:
There is no web interface to configure everything, but you can still type http://amplifi.lan/ and configure a few things. Honestly, the Mobile app is reliable, and you don’t miss the interface, but since some of you folks might look for it, so that’s about it.
Price and Verdict
AmpliFi Instant Router is priced at Rs 10,349. It is not one of the cheapest routers out in the market, but it offers excellent mesh point tech for places that have too many spots where Wi-Fi is weak or goes missing. As an example, the corners of my home (Kitchen and Master bedroom) had issues with the internet, especially with so many walls. Now, nobody complains about it.
On top of this, The number of features it offers and the ease of setup and use will win your heart. I love the profile feature which I use for my kid.
Lastly, the design! I would never feel odd about keeping it on my table. It looks beautiful and elegant.
Related Read: Top Wireless Routers to buy.
- Tags: Hardware