How I fixed my Wi-Fi by ditching crappy consumer-grade hardware

“Almost everyone has a story about their crappy home Wi-Fi connection, usually relating to a particular house they lived in with an obscure shape. It’s a nightmare when you know your connection is great, but you can’t get the speeds you’re paying for everywhere,” Owen Williams writes for TNW. “Until recently, I was one of those people that constantly complained about the bad Wi-Fi at the back of my house. If I owned the place, I’d drill a hole in the wall and run a cable, or put it in the roof, but as a renter you only have so many options.”

“I’d tried everything I can, like Powerline network adapters, stronger access points and extenders but nothing seemed to work properly – one end of the house was always unstable and slow,” Williams writes. “When Eero announced its wireless mesh offering, which automatically pairs multiple access points together to create a beautifully-fast network across your home, I was excited to finally fix my internet… but it’s US-only and surprisingly expensive at $349 for just two access points.”

“Then I stumbled across Ubiquiti. You’ve probably never heard of them, but they’re making some of the most interesting wireless equipment out there for a sheer fraction of the cost,” Williams writes. “Ubiquiti’s AC Lite costs just [$78.98], which sports AC wireless – compare that to the price of Apple’s Airport Extreme at $199 and you can get two while still saving money. The hardware is sleek and tidy, but no frills: just one ethernet port and that’s it… The reason you’ve never heard of Ubiquiti is because they’re an enterprise company – so they don’t market to consumers like you and me.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Not as easy as plopping additional Apple Airport devices around the house, but certainly cheaper. Hey, if you’ve got the time and the inclination to set it all up, to each his own.

25 Comments

  1. We use ubiquiti access points at the office, and they work incredibly well. But I’d never use them at home, at home it’s 3 AirPort Extreme’s + 2 power line adapters for the garage where there’s a lot of interference, it works very well. all tied an arris SB6190 modem and a gigabit connection. The only real issue at home is that the fastest device on the network can only run at 866 wirelessly so typical speeds are about 480-620 Mbps, which is great, but it would be nice to have some 1.3 Gbps AC chips inside of iOS devices and MacBooks.

    The difference is that it took me about 20 Minutes to set up our entire home network with all of that stuff, but it took a ubiquiti engineer a full day and a half at our office to get things running. Their new home solution I’m interested in trying though, because it promises a lot of throughput. But the AirPort Extreme’s are so simple to set up and not worry about it may not be worth the switch.

  2. I have had a Cisco valet plus installed for years. I have a long ranch style house. The Cisco is installed at the far end of the house. I get very good service in the garage at the other end of the house as well as in the far end of the basement which has several heating duct in the ceiling.

    1. I use the same hardware, ASUS RT-N66U but I’ve flashed dd-wrt onto it. A combination a OpenDNS, DNSMasq, and DynDNS gives me a great security and filtering solution for all devices in the home without a monthly subscription.

    2. If the hardware has issues, just buy a new one. I had a problem with a unit and had to send it back to them. They first time they didn’t fix the problem, even though their rep asked how to reproduce the problem step by step. I had to send it back again and included the instructions in the box and they just finally sent me a new one. It was 2 full months from when it broke to when they sent a replacement and a week until I received the unit back. I’d never buy their stuff again.

  3. Agree with the airport, but they were last updated 3 years ago and there have been some changes to wireless protocols etc. Will we be seeing an updated Airport extreme in the coming weeks?

    Apple seems like it sometimes forhets that it makes a whole range of products…. 3 Yrs without update is not Apple like…

      1. Not true. The original airport was around for 4 years. The n models were 2 years each then the ac model arrived.
        The Express went 4 years before they released an n model and another 4 until the current model, which was 4 years ago.

    1. Ubiquiti Rocks. Make the change over and you’ll never be happier. I dumped all my Apple wifi. Got an edge router X and to Unifi AP lites and have been problem free for over a year. No degrading speeds, not drop outs, no restarts. 100% uptime.

      The QOS feature in the Edge Router X is worth it. How apple can charge over $200 for a router and not have QOS is amazing.

      Even my cheap $40 Buffalo router with DD-WRT on it it had QOS.

  4. Currently having this weird problem of the WiFi cutting in & out while listening to IHeartRadio on my Apple 6 Plus.A problem I never had before. I have two Apple Extreme stations (one upstairs and an extended one downstairs) but both a little long in the tooth but should be adequate. Downstairs iMac has dog slow WiFi that is kind of okay and then glacial. So I don’t know what the problem is exactly. I believe it’s automatically supposed to find the best channels to operate from and I’ve done everything (reboot, turn things on & off) to make it better to little change effect.

    I’ll be interested in any new Airport devices in the (near) future. It would be nice to get the kind of speeds we see in every Apple Store. I’m certainly paying for it.

    1. I had something similar happen with my old AirPort Extreme base station. It may have started when I applied the “surprise” firmware update a few months ago. In AirPort Utility, there’s a command to reset it to default. I did that, and set it up again like before. Works like new again! 🙂

      1. Thanks, maybe I should try that. Today I put the downstairs WiFi Airport station in my wife’s downstairs office and connected directly Ethernet at the box. Working much better. She has a 2009 iMac that has reached the end of the OS upgrading road with El Capitan.

    2. I had your EXACT problems with my Apple wifi.

      My first solution was to dump the apple gear and went to Buffalo routers with DD-WRT on it. Much better solution, but it was a clunky install where I had to access mulitple routers to manage them, but still SO much better then apple hardware.

      Then I went to Ubiquiti and all my troubles ended. No more slow downs out of the blue requiring restarts, no dropped connections , no failure to connect errors. No nothing.

      100% uptime and I get my full 100mbps speed from my ISP. Plus the ubiquiti was far cheaper then apple. I’m now a customer for life.

  5. Speaking of “crappy” hardware, my service provider’s recent cable modem has a built-in wireless router. I planned to retire my very old AirPort Extreme base station; it’s the first square one with 802.11.n. But the cable modem’s built-in wireless sucks, slow and unreliable. I’m suspicious this is intentional, to lower customer bandwidth usage.

    I ended up connecting that old AirPort Extreme to cable modem with Ethernet wire. It now uses fastest possible wireless settings (instead of most compatible) for my recent Mac, Apple TV, and iOS devices. The cable modem’s built-in wireless works OK for my older slower devices. So I have a makeshift “dual band” setup that works great.

    I appreciate the long-term value of my old AirPort Extreme base station. It even received a recent firmware update from Apple, after all these years.

  6. My house is 100ft long, so I use an Airport Extreme, in the middle, and two ActionTec power line adapters, that also have wifi, in addition to ethernet connectors. That allows my TCL Roku tvs to connect since they don’t have ethernet ports. Testing shows I get the max throughput my cable provider sells me.

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