I was lucky enough to get my hands on an Amplifi Alien to test, and what else was I going to do with it? Well for me I decided to test an Alien vs 6x UniFi AP’s… sounds fair right?
The Amplify range started in 2017 when Ubiquiti released the Amplifi HD, it was a great little cube that gave you a wireless router with a touch screen. It was even paired with the options of using mesh points that could be plugged directly into your power points. Seriously it is a great design, the antennas used magnets to hold them in place, and if knocked they just popped off and could be dropped back into place.
Then in 2019, they released the Amplifi Instant, looking like a squashed version of the HD. Its big selling point was that you could get it up and running in under 2 minutes. I tested one of these for a friend and I think we got it setup at his house in around 2 minutes give or take. The Amplify Alien is no different, you can get it up and running in a few minutes.
And in late 2020 they released the Amplifi Alien… and while some may not like it the name for me is awesome. It sets up the unique look and nature this device has. Starting with a matte black cylinder design, it has 4-gigabit ports at the back, and the power and data are actually hidden underneath the device. Its front contains a beautiful tall touch screen that gives you a nice collection of stats about your home network. And finally to complete the look, like its previous Amplifi designs we have a glowing base. The clean white glow is gone now, in favour of an eerie green that. And that green colouring is mirrored through the touch screen giving it a classic yet strong look.
And while the green-themed screen and glow well look great in a gamer’s room, you can turn both off and it will become simply a classic look black tower.
And I’ve got to say I love the look of the Amplifi Alien, whether you have the screen and or glow on or whether you have it as a standard black tower the Alien won’t look out of place in our house. And a plus side is that it isn’t covered in those horrible antennas like others. As shallow as this may sound, looks matter.
They are a lot of specs there, and I’m not going to cover them again since Amplifi made them very pretty already.
Though the only specs you really need to care about is that this is a WiFi 6 Router with 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports. And it has the speed to back it up, I pulled out my Surface Pro 7+ and ran some speed tests.
But before I go into the speed tests, let’s review my normal home setup. Firstly I am the first to admit I have WAY TOO MUCH Unifi gear at home, the benefit or downside of testing gear at home. My current wifi at home is, 2x SHD, 2x Flex HD’s and 2x UAP-M’s. As I said WAY too much Unifi gear… and that doesn’t even mention my switches!
So with all that gear, I have pretty good coverage at home, plus very little co-channel interference. The advances of being in the suburbs and also knowing what co-channel interferences is and setting the right power levels etc.
So for this test, I’m putting an Amplifi Alien Wifi6 vs 6 UniFi AP Wifi5.
This is an interesting test, on face value to just say Unifi vs Amplify or WiFi5 vs WiFi6 it is easy to see who wins. Though that isn’t the test here, here I am reviewing 6x WiFi5 vs 1x WiFi6 AP.
For each location around my house I stopped I changed my wifi connection from either Unifi to Alien, and ran an iPerf3 test. I used the command iperf3.exe -c 192.168.1.10 -P 10 to connect to my home server, and to ensure no possible slow down from the server or the network, that server is connected via 10GB Fibre and iperf3 is running on an SSD.
When I started this testing I ensured it would be straightforward. In my playroom/office I would have huge WiFi6 speeds being line of sight but in other rooms, of course, my UniFi AP’s would be better. Though it wasn’t the case.
In the lounger room, playroom/office, front yard and the master bedroom I got better speeds. Though in locations where UniFi was faster I was generally near the AP with direct line of sight.
Overall I was surprised at how strong the Alien’s speed was all around my house. Having tested the Alien for a few months and found that its is a rock-solid performer, will it make me get rid of my UniFi AP’s? No. I muck around with my network too much to go to a single Alien, though when someone is asking me a recommendation on an AP I would definitely recommend the Alien.
It’s rather ironic, as I finish this several month review of the Amplifi Alien, I find myself in lockdown with COVID-19 cases spiking around NSW. And even with 4 iPads, 3 Apple TV’s, 2 MacBook’s on the network the Amplifi Alien handled them fine without issue.
In Australia, it will currently cost you around $599 depending on where you get it from, though for that price it is a great little router, AP and switch.