I have been meaning to start this review for several weeks. Due to the holidays and sickness that has not happened until now. Recently Ubiquiti Networks released the airCubeAC. I won’t bore you with all the stats, just some of the highlights. For the complete list go here…
-AC radio containing 5ghz and 2.4 Radios (AC Model)
-4 Gigabit ethernet ports
-Supports POE in and Out
One of the first things you notice about the modern UBNT products like this is the nice retail looking package. This could be on the shelf of Best Buy, or on the shelf of any computer shop. The packaging is modern and eye-catching.
After unboxing we find a very minimal packaging.
All that is contained in the packaging is the airCube itself, quick start guide, and the power cord. One of the first things I noticed as I went to plug this in was the length of the power cord. Too many companies give you a short power cord you are always fighting against. This cord has to be 7-8 feet long. In addition, the power plug is a compact size to fit into most surge protectors with ease. It’s the little design features like this which can really make a product shine.
While waiting for it to boot a quick tour around the outside reveals the four gigabit ethernet ports, one of them being the WAN port.
The quickstart guide was very helpful, except for the terminology used for the UMOBILE app. On the IOS store, I finally figured out the UNMS app was the correct one to use. This might be confusing for some folks. Maybe newer documentation reflects the change in the naming.
I connected the Cube to my home network and fired up the app, the wizard was very helpful in getting me connected to the Cube.
The use of the QR code to customize the instructions is a very nice time saver. I was up and connected within 40 seconds. Most of that time was switching over to my settings to connect to the wifi and switching back to the app. A nice feature would be launching the settings app for you. Not sure if such system calls are allowed on iOS but something to consider. On a side note, there is Puerto Rico listed as a country yet again. Not sure why this is a recurring theme with UBNT.
Anytime I get a new device like this one of the first things I do is upgrade the firmware to the latest. This was a very easy process. The app even had a little orange information thing directing me to go check it. The addition of the changelog within the app is a very nice touch. The total firmware upgrade took about 2 minutes.
I made the mistake of switching out of the app before the upgrade was done. The unit was not reporting the firmware was upgraded, and when I tried to upgrade again it gave me an error. Hitting logout on the app and logging back in refreshed the app and confirmed I was indeed at the latest firmware.
It’s getting late, but I wanted to get this out there and get the ball rolling. Look for part 2 coming shortly when I go over the interface in detail. For now, I will leave you with my first impression summary.
The airCube has many nice physical features. The long power cable makes the flexibility of installation easy. No longer do you have to set it in an awkward place just because the power cable did not reach. It does POE in and out, so you could power the unit with a wireless CPE POE if you were a WISP running UBNT gear. This would save on a power plug because you would only need one for your outdoor radio and the airCube. However, if you are deploying these with non-UBNT gear, or simply in a home with fiber or cable the small power plug makes for a neat and compact installation.
Setup was easy, minus the documentation issue on the app to get. This is probably simply the app being updated for whatever reason and the documentation that came with my Cube being behind.
Look for part two coming soon.
So Scott @ On-Ramp Indiana ordered a few of these and figured I would borrow one for a few days and do a first look and review on them.
Nice and compact box. I am a fan of the cover. If this way on a store shelf I would notice.
The very first thing you see is this wireless information card. Very handy for the home user. Many of my clients throughout the years save such things so having this in a bright card is a nice touch. Another nice feature of this card is it has sticky tape on the back. You can actually peel it off and stick it somewhere. Not everyone has a network rack, so affixing it to there might not be the best bet. We are in the day and age where there are not “telephone stations”. The only thing I could come up with might be in a desk drawer or something like that. I could see guests asking for the key so you would want this handy. Any thoughts on a good place to put this?
On the back of the card is a very handy diagram on the 3 modes of this device. You can use it as a Wifi router. You can also use it as a repeater. In this mode it works both wired and wireless. As with some other manufactures it will auto-configure itself to join in with the rest of the network. It learns the configuration and away it goes. Thirdly, is a simple pass through mode. This is helpful if there is another router involved.
The box contained the unit, a slip on power plug, and the compliance paperwork no one reads. Thank you Lawyers. One of the first things I noticed about this unit is the well made feel to it. The plastic does not feel cheap, and it feels heavy. That is always a scientific measure right?
Mimosa has done a good job of helping the uneducated user on the use of this product. A good example of this is plug, which is in the POE port. This plug takes a little bit of effort to remove. As you can see in the picture, it is also marked with a red label to distinguish this from the customer side. This is so the customer doesn’t feed 48 volt to their router, laptop or whatever gets plugged in.
Also, you have holes on the top and bottom for cooling. On the side is a very easy to get to reset button. Another nod to Mimosa paying attention to common issues home users run into is there is a very clear sticker on the top of the unit which has the Home network SSID and passphrase on it. A user can simply walk to the unit, look down and easily read the needed information.
The power plug simply slides in a groove and snaps in place. Nice clean setup.
In closing, my first impressions of this product are positive. Packaging and instructions are put together well and easy to understand. The product feels good and has a good number of things to address common issues. Look for part two of this for a look of how this actually works, configuration, and testing.
If you are a manufacturer and have a product you think we would be interested in reviewing please contact us.
Ligowave has recently launched a small form factor 802.11N radio. This is one of the growing number of devices designed for the SOHO and small and medium enterprise installs. You can read the full data sheet here. https://www.ligowave.com/public/downloads/APC%20button.pdf
One of the first things I do with a unit like this is login and look at the existing firmware. My unit came with Version 5.95 and the latest available was 7.02. Since this is a new platform for me, I can’t speak to the in the firmware, other than what I saw on the surface.
I noticed some cool things about this unit, which some other vendors are lacking at the moment
The spectrum analyzer under tools loaded very quickly. No complicated Java or slow load times. The following is a screenshot from it sitting on my desk.
Just like the spectrum scan the site survey was quick and trouble-free. It picked up everything I expected it to see. It is very handy to just pop into a unit and see what it sees.
SNMP and SMTP traps
Something that is very handy for the small office or small deployment was under services…System alerts. You can have the device send an e-mail or SNMP trap based upon some things most folks would really like to know about. For example, if the noise floor gets greater than a certain DB it will let you know. Pretty cool
These have a street price in the $40-50 range. This has just been a quick overlook. I hope to get into some real world uses of these in the near future for a followup to this.