Why Did I Choose Unifi? The Struggle is Real

So, one day I was sitting in front of my computer enjoying a cuppa joe and out of the blue, I needed to upgrade my network. So I got on the horn with @jchurch, @markus, @RRodman and @spelcheck and asked them what I needed. Jason immediately said Unifi, so I jumped on the TPLink train. :kiss:
But… it wasn’t long before I was disappointed with the signal quality and the functionality. I needed to keep certain devices completely away from the internet and I had to initially rig up a makeshift solution to do that. TPLink wasn’t going to make that happen easily either, so I broke down and admitted to Jason that he was right and put my order in on my Dream Machine. Now not everyone has a Jason or a Marcus to bump things off of, but I do. So I’m going to share my experience in case you’re considering the hop. I could never have been more frustrated or more happy about this adventure.

As I waited with breathless anticipation for my little DreamMachine to arrive, Jason recommended some videos for me to get started. They turned out to be very beneficial. I modeled my system after “The Hook Up”. He’s easy to understand and does very well at covering the things you WANT to know.

So in the short time I’ve had my system set up and configured, I’ve had to endure two UI updates. Both of them very pretty, but now I can’t find anything.

After struggling with the new UI (they have dark mode) in just a few short hours I was able to block certain devices from touching the internet at all. I was able to allow other things to talk back and forth across networks and before I knew it, I had a fully functioning network complete with vlans and the works. Before I was forced to care about my network, I really … well, didn’t care about my network. I have fiber to the home and am getting speeds of 240/240 and had never been able to truly appreciate the speed while on my google wifi. GASP! Looking back, I’m surprised Call of Duty didn’t ban my husband for slowing down the ENTIRE internet.

So, I’ve been running a bunch of wyze cams and Unifi has handled them wonderfully. I have 2200 sq feet. 1100up and 1100 down and I can cover my entire house with the single built-in AP. Since I’m interested in Tasmota, the Unifi system seemed the practical choice. I do plan to add maybe one or two more AP’s to cover the back yard and such.

Even though Unifi is powerful, it’s actually easy to navigate. My work manages 237 computers and servers and our switches are super complicated and we pay a network guy to pay attention to them, so I was impressed with how Unifi has things (although hard to find after the update) easy to understand. If you are looking for a solution to enable truly local control of all of your things, I’d recommend trying Unifi. I’ve been really happy with the ease of use, although I can’t find anything without searching for it. But, at least they have a search option.

Since beginning this Unifi adventure, I’ve been able to work with integrations in a way I never thought possible. I’m also using my wifi for presence along with life360. It’s taken some tweaking and a few failures, but it’s working flawlessly. I’ve figured out several integrations that would not have been as easily configured on another system, but that’s a story for another day. I’ll be happy to help get you going if you make the jump. I’d recommend it if you’re planning on tasmota or wi-fi controlled devices. If my single AP can keep 11 wyze cams on line with all of the normal stuff at full HD and not require that I have some sort of networking degree in order to run it, I say bring it on. Unifi all the way.



:kissing_heart: :kissing_heart:


You’re all setup not, but Crosstalk solutions on YouTube is also good.

I never knew networks could be so good until I got unifi. Glad you made the leap. I tell everyone unifi.

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Hey @april.brandt

I’ve also just jumped onto the Unifi train too. Spent a while getting everything setup and as you’ve already seen in the Tasmota discussion, I just have a few more things to iron out.

I’ve been thoroughly impressed with the UDM thus far - it’s like nothing I’ve used before. Been loving the learning journey as I’m no expert in networking. So everytime I watch one of the myriad of Youtube videos out there, I need to spend some time Googling what the heck they were actually saying.

Glad it’s worked out for you! May the learning journey continue!

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Yeah, I did see that. I ran into some issues with plex after I set it up. I sat for hours trying to figure it out. There were thousands of people complaining about it, and no answers anywhere. But, I did get it worked out.

I know just about enough to break things, so this is the reason I like it so well. It does a lot for you. And the videos out there answer the rest. I’m still looking to add anohter AP or two, but over all, I have it up and running and with minimal interaction at this point. (Unless I want to learn or add something) I’m glad that you’re having a positive experience with it as well. I’ll keep you in mind when I run into something.

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Despite @april.brandt’s encouragement for the UDM, I went the Edgerouter X route with a couple of the Flex Mini switches with the ultimate goal of splitting my IoT devices onto their own network and wifi. I also have a lot of 2.4Ghz devices that don’t like using dual band like the Wyze Cameras. The transition from my Deco M5 as a router was seamless as I could use the same 192.168.68.xxx range and could enter all of my IP allocations into the Edgerouter before inserting it into my network.

I was also to repurpose my Deco M5s in AP mode so I still have a mesh network. Actually, I have enough pucks to have a 2.4Ghz wifi network for IoT and a dual-band with separate SSID for everything else. The only negative is that the Decos only allow one SSID & network per device but that is all I need for now. No need to spend another $100 for a Ubiquiti AP… yet. I was all-in for just over $100 instead of the $299 for the UDM.

For now, I am only using one network until I can confirm the stability before pulling the trigger and splitting into 2.

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hangs head in shame … After starting out with a USG, upgrading that to a UDM Pro, switching out my cisco switch for a Unifi one, getting rid of my arlo cameras and replacing them with unifi cameras….abandoning my netgear wifi kit… you know you’re in deep when… you begin thinking those patch cables need to go… I can sleep easy at night now….


Very clean rack! That’s a nice looking Pi rack you got there. Love it but… pretty serious rack just to browse some YouTube videos don’t you think? :laughing:

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… and the living room lights… :rofl:

And those are LED’s!

Seriously … Nice looking setup. I’ve been eying the cameras. How are they for you?

I really like the UDM pro interface especially the device mapping.
Running UDM pro with G4 pro cameras and they are pretty good but I can not zoom into the neighbors license plates across the street but the overall the picture quality is good.
I actually really like the blue led lights on the cameras.
They get noticed and people stay off my property.
I also replaced all my exterior house lights with basic motion sensor flood lights.
Once it warms up I will replace the dumb motion sensor on the flood lights with a smart Homseer flood light motion sensor.

Those G4 PTZ cameras look pretty impressive !
they are huge !
but manual PTZ so far no auto tracking.

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The G4 Pro is good, image quality excellent, wide FOV. The software is really great - especially high speed scrubbing and event notifications which can identify cars vs people. The blue spinning effect light attracts attention on motion meaning you generally always get a good shot of the persons face as they look up at the camera …

RTSP streaming available - I run through motioneye to convert to an mjpeg stream I can then embed in to Hubitat dashboards…

And obviously no subscription fees!

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I’ve read numerous topics on this subject. It’s still left me a bit confused. Most of these threads have people throwing out acronyms for these devices. I think I’ve got it figured that the dream machine device would be the first place to start? Can I continue to use my current wifi stuff in conjunction? Or do I immediately need to buy ap’s as well?

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Unifi lingo.

CK - Cloud Key - controller only
CKG2+ - Cloud Key Gen 2 Plus - controller and hard drive NVR support
USG - Unifi Security Gateway - firewall-router only
UDM - Unifi Dream Machine - Controller/firewall-router/access point/4 port hub (NO NVR for cams.)
UDM Pro - Same as UDM, minus the AP. Rack mountable, includes hard disk for NVR cameras.
G4 - 4 mega pixel cameras

decent for home and small office that does not need complex firewall routing rules. Given everything that comes jammed in the pretty little cylinder, your getting a pretty good entry point/cost.

You can use any access points, your router will be replace with the UDM.

No, but you’re likely to get sucked in pretty quickly. :wink:


YESSSS! 100% :point_up:
Next thing you know, you’ve gotten wrapped up in the fever.
DANGER! Will Robinson!


Before you make the leap, there are a few people using edge routers with their stuff. I haven’t really looked into them, but there is a difference. All Ubiquiti, all equally addicting. If you’re looking at cameras, then the pro is the way. Considering selling my UDM for the UDM Pro. But, that means I’ll have to consider what I was avoiding. A rack.


Oh young padawan, give in…

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I’m also going to mention that @jchurch uses unifi and has REOLink cameras. He’s always raving about them AND the price. Would be worth checking them out too before making the jump on cameras. They have AI as well. So, there are many options out there. I understand that he’s having very good luck with these cameras. He’s one that scrutinizes things intensively before taking the plunge.

Thank you everyone for breaking it down to my level. @TechMedX your descriptions are particularly useful.

I do intend to setup wired cameras so I’m now leaning towards the pro.

My current setup is a Frankenstein of mismatched gear. Lol I do however understand it and it works. Hard to spend to replace working stuff. But if it replaces ALL of it and adds functionality…

In regards to vlans. Is the primary usefulness security? Or are there other benefits to this??

I like to keep my smart stuff firewalled off. Some of it connects to the internet, but most doesn’t connect at all. Just the necessary stuff. My Pi and wireguard. Otherwise I keep everything that doesn’t need to connect to the internet off. I have my cameras on a separate wifi network and vlans broadcasting only on 2.4. Some things don’t like sharing with 5.0, so it’s easier to manage things if you can separate them out. I mainly got my UDM so that I could have easy to use firewall capabilities. You don’t need a degree in networking to get it set up. That’s nice. I’m still using wyze cams. I might migrate to different cameras, but I’m not yet convinced about the Unifi cameras. Mixed reviews. I’d say mainly security no matter how you look at that. IMHO.