Yes! Ubiquiti makes enterprise grade equipment for networking and Wifi among other things, but it can most definitely be used at home.
The benefit of using Ubiquiti for home networking and Wifi is the ability to cover a large area with Wifi using multiple access points either in a wired or wireless mesh configuration. Compared against popular home mesh systems such as Eero, Google Wifi or Netgear Orbi the Unifi equipment can be a better deal and have better performance. The down side to the Ubiquiti equipment is the setup is a little harder than the other home systems. Ubiquiti access points can also be installed outside so if you are covering your yard or other outside area Ubiquiti is a good choice for you.
Setting up a Basic Ubiquiti Unifi Home Network
To get started you will need 3 things, a Router, Switch and Access Point. Ubiquiti makes a variety of routers but for home use the basic one will do just fine. The Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway or (USG) will be the backbone of your network that costs around $130. Next you will need a switch to connect everything together, Ubiquiti makes an 8 port switch that retails for about $100 but for home use you don’t really need it. I would recommend just picking up a 8 port gigabit switch from Netgear or Linksys for around 30 bucks. Finally you need an access point. I would recommend purchasing in the AC line of access points from Ubiquiti and they make 3 models. You can pickup an AC Long Range, AC Pro or AC Light. The differences are mostly in speed, for single unit installs I would recommend the AC Long Range unit.
Ubiquiti Unifi AC Series Lineup
|2.4GHZ Speed||300 Mbps||450 Mbps||450 Mbps|
|5GHZ Speed||867 Mbps||867 Mbps||1300 Mbps|
Setting Up a Ubiquiti Unifi Mesh Network at Home
As in the basic setup above you will still need the USG router and a switch but instead of buying the AC frisbee disk looking access points you will want the Unifi AC Mesh AP M or Unifi AC Mesh Pro. The access points retail for $99 and the Pro are around $180 the Pro are a little bit faster and they both have a range of about 600 feet. One of the access points is wired to the network and then the extra ones can be configured to connect wirelessly in the Unifi Controller software. One wired Access Point can handle up to 4 wirelessly connected Access Points.
Management and Setup of the Ubiquiti Equipment
Ubiquiti equipment is all controlled through a central controller software. This software is either installed on your computer or on a dedicated “Cloud Key” piece of hardware that you purchase along with your Ubiquiti gear. In most cases the controller does not need to be running at all times it is only used to configure the system initially and then to update it when updates come out. Due to the fact that it does not need to be always running the controller software can be installed on your home computer and only opened as needed.
To download the Unifi Controller software browse to https://www.ui.com/download/unifi and under the Software section download the latest controller software for either Windows, Mac or Linux. After you have installed the software it will walk you through the initial setup of your login and wifi configuration. Next go to the Devices section of the lefthand menu in the controller admin page. On the Devices page you should see all of your connected Unifi equipment, Router, Access Points and Switches. To the right of each device in the list you should be able to adopt each device and register it to your controller. Once the devices are adopted they will automatically pickup your Wifi configuration and all other settings and be ready to go. For more advanced configuration questions or more help setting up the controller you can either visit the Ubiquiti support site at help.ubnt.com or the Ubiquiti community site at community.ui.com.
What about the HD Lineup of Access Points?
The Ubiquiti Unifi HD lineup of Access points offer a newer version of the Wifi 802.11AC standard called Wave2. The biggest benefit of this standard is that it allows a lot more devices to be connected to the access point. It is also slightly faster than the AC access points. However the HD access points are significantly more expensive than the AC lineup and for home use are most likely overkill.
The Ubiquiti XG lineup is the most expensive line of access points Ubiquiti sells and completely unnecessary for home use these offer support for tons of connected devices and other advanced features.
Does Ubiquiti Support the Wifi 6 Standard?
The latest Wifi Standard called Wifi 6 or technically 802.11ax is a replacement to the older 802.11ac or now called Wifi 5. The Wifi naming convention is changing to make it easier for consumers to know what they are buying. They Wifi 6 standard is designed for faster wifi, better coverage and more power efficient Wifi to help preserve battery power on mobile devices.
Ubiquiti does not have any Wifi 6 access points on the market and there is no announcement on when they will be releasing a product. If you want to have the fastest Wifi available you will need to wait or purchase a competitors product. As of this writing in Summer 2019 few devices support the Wifi 6 standard and most internet connection speeds are slower than the Wifi 5 standard (802.11ac) so you probably won’t notice any difference between Wifi 5 and the new Wifi 6.
Outdoor Compatible Access Points
If you are running access points outside both of the Mesh access points are designed to work outdoors. In the AC lineup only the Pro model the UAP-AC-PRO is compatible with outdoor installation.
When installing outdoors be aware that the power injectors for the access points are not waterproof so they will need to be installed in a waterproof box.
The Ubiquiti Unifi Network and Wifi gear makes a great solution for home or small business Wifi. The equipment is incredible stable and comparatively priced against consumer mesh Wifi solutions. You can cover a large home and outside area with the use of multiple access points. You can even connect access points to each other wirelessly in a mesh configuration as long as you have 1 access point wired into the network with ethernet.
Our recommended setup for home use is a Unifi Security Gateway and either access points in the AC lineup or Mesh lineup depending on whether you are installing outside or need a wireless mesh setup. A Unifi switch is unnecessary but does offer networking features that pro home users may take advance of. A cloud key offers the ability to have the Unifi controller sofware always running. While unnecessary this does offer analytics and information about your network that you can review when troubleshooting problems with devices on your network.