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Wireless Reviews

Features

Since its APs are designed to be used in networks containing a bunch of them, Ubiquiti bakes their features into its UniFi OS. As noted earlier, Ubiquiti has UniFi versions to run on Windows, MacOS and Linux platforms and you can read all about UniFi in Doug's excellent review.

Example UniFi network topology

Example UniFi network topology

The AC's Quick Start Guide walks through the hardware details and install process. But for more details on UniFi's features, you can download the AP / AP-LR User Guide.

A shot of one of UniFi's screens is below so that you can get a feel for the general interface.

UniFi Access Points screen

UniFi Access Points screen

Some of UniFi's features include:

  • Physical map view of AP locations with Google Maps integration
  • Guest Portal / Hotspot support
  • Events and alets
  • Level 3 manageability
  • Zero-Handoff roaming (no special client required)
  • Statistics and analytics
  • Multi-site management
  • WLAN groups
  • Wireless mesh support

Wireless Performance

This product has been retested. See this article for the results.

The UAP-AC is WiFi Certified. The access point was first reset to factory defaults and Channel 6 was set for 2.4 GHz and Channel 153 for 5 GHz. The router was positioned 8" from the chamber antennas in all test positions. The 0° position had the side opposite the connectors facing the chamber antennas.

The Benchmark Summary below from the new Consolidated benchmark process shows the average of throughput measurements made in all test locations. The 2.4 GHz values in the summary correspond to 2.4 GHz values (20 MHz B/W) and the 5 GHz values correspond to the 80 MHz B/W - 3 stream values measured with the previous test methodology.

Benchmark Summary

Benchmark Summary

Since this is the first draft 802.11ac access point we've reviewed, we'll have to compare it to wireless AC routers. Comparing average 2.4 GHz benchmark values with AC1750 routers in the Charts, the UAP-AC's 80.3 Mbps and 73 Mbps downlink and uplink averages are over 20% lower than the top-ranked ASUS RT-AC66U. Of the two directions, the UAP-AC's downlink results are better. The simultaneous up/downlink test also turned in relatively low throughput compared to other AC1750 class routers tested, only 138.9 Mbps. Best-in-class for the AC routers tested was 171 Mbps.

The story is similar for 5 GHz, with 92.7 Mbps and 55.8 Mbps downlink and uplink averages running less than half of the top-ranked ASUS RT-AC66U. Simultaneous up/downlink results were particularly low, coming in at only 188 Mbps. In contrast, the lowest of the routers tested with the current test process produced 472 Mbps of total throughput.

Wireless Performance - Comparative

For a more detailed comparative look, I chose the D-Link DIR-868L, which currently sells for around $170 and is a good second-generation Broadcom design.

The 2.4 GHz downlink profile runs pretty closely with the DIR-868L except for a throughput dip in the UAP-AC between 3 and 15 dB of attenuation.. Out to 63dB however, the UAP-AC tracks the DIR-868L pretty well.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot shows that you would be hard pressed to tell the difference between performance of the UAP-AC and the DIR-868L, as they follow each other very closely.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The UAP-AC's 5 GHz throughput profile isn't as favorable however. The DIR-868L leaves it in the dust with the UAP-AC completely falling off the map at only 33 dB of attenuation.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The same trend is also seen in the 5 GHz uplink profile.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

More Wireless

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