Apple alum and billionaire NBA owner Robert Pera’s plan to revolutionize home WiFi

“Though he received his start at Apple Inc., Ubiquiti Networks Inc. founder and Chief Executive Robert Pera has avoided going after the consumers who have fueled the rise of the iPhone and iPad,” Jeremy C. Owens reports for MarketWatch. “But now, with homes full of those and other electronic gadgets connecting to the Internet simultaneously, he sees an opportunity to push his $3 billion company in a new direction that complements its core enterprise offerings. ‘We’re in a special position to make a very profitable business in the consumer market,’ Pera said in an exclusive interview with MarketWatch.”

Ubiquiti on Monday is announcing the launch of the AmpliFi home Wi-Fi router system, a $199 gadget that Pera hopes will solve some of the problems with home Wi-Fi networks, such as coverage dead zones and slow or inconsistent streaming,” Owens reports. “Apple also offers the AirPort Extreme, which Pera worked on starting in 2003. Pera left Apple in 2005 to launch Ubiquiti with designs for large-scale Wi-Fi networks he cooked up at his home lab, leading to a booming initial public offering in 2011 that helped the young entrepreneur buy a controlling interest in the Memphis Grizzlies NBA franchise.”

“Pera said Apple’s approach to industrial design was an inspiration for the design of the device,” Owens reports. “AmpliFi’s central router is a small, simple box containing a smart LCD display, and the extenders contain powerful antennas. A smartphone application helps set up and monitor the system, which Ubiquiti says can handle throughput at a 5.45 gigabit per second rate.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’re looking forward to testing one of these babies!

9 Comments

  1. I always wondered why Apple didn’t own this market. They were THE early force that made Wi-fi prevalent AND the Airport series of routers were the first to try and be user “friendly”. I would have thought THEY would have been the one to launch a set of easy to configure home routers building off of the Airport Extremes and Airport Expresses. But instead it looks like they let the IP walk out the doors an now these guys and Eero are owning the market that should have belonged to Apple.

    1. Simple: Cook wants to sell services.

      For all we can tell, he has completely abandoned product development on displays, wifi, home cloud servers (NAS), iPods, and most Mac models. The Airport Express is still languishing on 802.11n, and Time Capsule drive sizes are stuck in the dark ages.

      Cook knows that if he can just kill the Mac and get everyone to submit to the limitations of iOS, then he will have monthly revenue from his server rental. How you get online apparently is of no concern of his, since Apple lost its lead in WiFi router technology long ago. I guess Cook just assumes that cell phone networks are the future.

      Doesn’t that make you excited to buy an iPad Pro and save everything you do to an unknown location on an iCloud server owned by Google?

  2. A smartphone application helps set up and monitor the system…

    THAT is what I want to see. If it takes full measure of router security and forces the user to be safe as well as functional, THERE is something revolutionary. I’m ashamed of what Apple did with Airport Utility v6, which buries and removes access to critical features of Airport Extreme Base Stations. What the hell was Apple thinking?

    1. …Then I read the Ars Technica article thetheloniousmac kindly linked. The configuration interface is interesting, with lots of features Apple removed from user access on their routers. Boo to you Apple!

      However, the feature list, as the Ars Technica article points out, is NOT complete and some things I consider ‘critical’, like firewall configuration, are missing. So it gets a ‘B’ grade so far from my distant observations.

      I am very pleased that it has automatic firmware updating. How that plays out on the user’s end I don’t know. Firmware upgrading can be a giant PITA depending on how it is setup by the manufacturer. But having automatic updates front and center is a giant step forward for routers. I hope that’s ON by default. I’m all happy and smiley because most routers have no such feature, and the router manufactures treat firmware upgrades like some big-fat-secret you can only know if your part of the geek in-crowd. That is a thoroughly dangerous and ridiculous attitude. Even many ISPs treat cable modem firmware upgrades as an annoyance, and such a deep dark secret that their victim customers have NO access to them! Idiocy deluxe.

  3. It’s hard to see how something like this can really revolutionise home WiFi. For most users, if WiFi works all around their house and it’s reasonably fast, then that’s what they want and they don’t need anything new and certainly won’t want to spend $200 on it.

    I know that tech enthusiasts will look at it and see performance gains with sophisticated user control, but the geeks constitute a relatively insignificant part of the home WiFi sector.

    I live in a house with thick stone walls ( 20″ or so ). RF doesn’t travel around the house very well and it’s not easy to get a reliable signal all around the house and also in the garden, but I’ve achieved it without spending huge amounts of money. I might be tempted to get an Amplifi because I can see that it might offer advantages for my particular situation, but I don’t see this product being compelling enough to ordinary customers to sell in vast numbers and I certainly don’t see it revolutionising the home WiFi business as the headline suggests.

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