The Amplifi system is best for those large homes struggling to get strong Wi-Fi connection throughout. Not only is the Amplifi a competent router with a firewall integrated, but it can also be used as a pure Wi-Fi access point and mesh network.
The web interface is basic, with all management needs being completed via the iOS or Android application. The Amplifi kit supports sshaccess out of the box via LAN or WLAN, not the WAN side. Amplifi does not support several features for power users, such as WPA2 Enterprise for 802.1X.
The base station comes with two mesh points, an AC adapter with a Micro-USB plug, a 1.5-meter Cat5 Ethernet patch cable, and a small instruction booklet. The setup includes involves first downloading the Amplifi application (this is where you will find the step-by-step setup instructions) and applying power to the base station by plugging it into my cable modem.
The device itself looks pretty cool, the design is modern with an LED light glowing from the bottom of the device. The mesh points and their articulated antenna heads are meant to plug directly into electrical outlets around your home. Each can be manipulated around to aid with reception. The antenna is not permanently affixed to the bottom of the plug component, and for good reason. The antenna is held in place by a very strong magnetic ball-and-socket. This way if the antenna is bumped or nudged it simply falls off without breaking the entire component and can be reattached without hesitation, great for kids, pets, and the clumsy alike.
The Amplifi data sheet advertises a max speed of “5.25Gbps” for the Amplifi HD. In a real world test performed by Lee Hutchinson, Senior Technology Editor for Ars, the 802.11ac test system was able to negotiate a transfer rate of 867Mbps in a relatively calm RF environment at a distance of about two meters from the base station. Though the Amplifi units don’t yet support 802.11k or 802.11r managed roaming, his phone and laptop had no issues jumping between the mesh points as he wandered around the house with file transfers in progress. The observed transfer rates varied between 100-500Mbps, though there was no bench-marking in place and the tests weren’t controlled.
Amplifi systems are offered with three models ranging in price from $199 to $349. Aggressive pricing considering the Eero is priced at $499 for a three-device starter pack, and the Apple Airport Extreme is priced at $199 and $99 for a mesh extension. Depending on your needs, the standard option would be more than enough for the average user.
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