Finally! A Wi-Fi router that is worth getting excited about! The Ubiquiti Unified Dream Machine (UDM) is the router the smart home world has been waiting for! There is no other router on the market today that packs in so much technology at this price.
I will try to spare you the technical nitty gritty in this particular article, but in order to understand just how amazing this device is for the home owner or small business owner, especially if you have smart home products, I’ll have to delve into what separates this from the pack.
The UDM is actually several devices all packed into one. Some of these devices are actually used both in the corporate and in the government network security world. It is quite a robust machine, with cutting edge technologies, that is incredibly easy to set up and use.
On board is a Wi-Fi router, a network switch, a firewall, an intrusion detection system, an intrusion prevention system, a web filter, a honeypot (I’ll explain), and much much more.
First let’s look at the router part. It comes with the ability to pass through itself 1 gigabit of data per second, but it actually can do a little better than that thanks to a newish technology called MU-MIMO. That stands for Multi-User – Multi-Input Multi-Output. You see, traditionally when your computer needed to send data to the internet, the data would go out through your router in a single file line type manner. It would also have to take turns going out, and coming in, with all of your other devices. It would get to the gate to the internet, and have to wait it’s turn to go on out. But with MU-MIMO it doesn’t have to do that any more. This technology allows multiple pathways for multiple devices to be able to get their date out to, and from the internet. The UDM actually has a 4×4 capability. Meaning 4 streams out, and 4 in, at the same time. That’s FAST!
That also aids in security as it ensures that nothing gets delayed and everything runs smoothly. There is far less denial of service here. And it can cover 5000+ square feet! Are you kidding me!?
Did I mention that this has a network switch on it, too!? A fully managed, 4 port, 1Gbps one at that! This means that you have the ability to create multiple networks, each with the ability to handle a gigabit of date per second! “Now, why would I want to do that, Mark!?”
Ladies, and gentlemen, this feature alone makes this device worth buying. Try to find another router out on the market that has this ability. There is only one other one that I know of, the Netgear Orbi, but it doesn’t have half the capability this device does.
Anyways, back to answering your question! The reason that you want the ability to create multiple networks is because smart home devices are infamous for their bad firmware when it comes to security. It’s almost every week that we see another news headline in which some poor family has their home hacked through smart home devices. The ability to segment your home network, and place your smart home devices on their own network, and your other things on another, is how you keep things safe.
The devices in one network cannot see the devices in another. They don’t even know they exist. So, if your light bulb or smart plug gets hacked, the bad guy cannot find your cameras, or your laptop, or your phone. All they can do is shut off your light, until you uninstall it, factory reset, and reinstall it. All of your other devices are safe! This is HUGE! 99.99% of the routers on the market do not allow you to do this!
But wait! We’re far from over! This bad boy has a legitimate enterprise level firewall onboard. A firewall kind of works like the bouncer at an exclusive club. If you’re name is not on the list, you don’t get in.
Well, the firewall on here allows you to make a list of devices that you want to be able to talk to each other, or to be able to talk to the internet. So, if you want your laptop and phone to talk to your security cameras, but you don’t want the internet to talk to them, a firewall allows you to put your phone and laptop on the VIP list to enter the camera club, but bounces the internet. We don’t serve your kind here!
If all of that were not enough the UDM also has an intrusion detection system and intrusion prevention system (IDS/IPS). What these things do is detect unusual network traffic. For example, if somebody keeps trying to figure out your password by continually entering one after another after another, the IDS will detect that and shut them down. It does far more technical things than that, but that is the gist of what they do. This is just one more amazing level of security that is provided on the UDM.
One feature that this hero sans the cape has is an actual network honeypot. I literally do not know of any other router targeted for the homeowner that has this. A network honeypot is basically a way in which the device creates a fake, simulated device, that looks like a real computer. This is designed to tie up an attacker for a time, until the IDS, and IPS can ruin his day. How cool is that!?
I could go on and on and on with feature after feature that the Ubiquiti Dream Machine offers (2 Factor Authentication, DHCP Server, Dynamic DNS, a partridge in a pear tree), and I would ultimately end up putting you to sleep.
The simple point is that Ubiquiti has given us all a wonderful gift for the holiday season, that truly is a smart home dream machine. What’s really amazing is that they gave us this thing at the same price that Google gave us the highly popular Nest Wi-Fi! That’s right, you can grab one of these UDM’s for $299. Trust me when I say that this is a steal! The Nest Wi-Fi cannot do half of what the UDM is capable of, and neither can any other router on the market at this point.
If you want a truly fast, secure, reliable home network, I would encourage you to seriously consider the Ubiquiti Dream Machine.