Ubiquiti is a popular name in the enterprise segment, but it also sells a variety of routers for home use. Here in our Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine review, we’ll show you one of their products under this category.
Last November, the company unveiled its Unifi Dream Machine, which is an all-in-one networking device. It combines a switch with four Ethernet ports, router, plus a Wi-Fi access point. Additionally, Unifi Dream sports, what Ubiquiti calls, a built-in cloud key for controlling and managing your network.
The Unifi Dream Machine or UDM, is a convenient way to introduce networking devices to homes and businesses. The Dream Machine has everything you’d require for a Wi-Fi or small-scale wired network. It’s user-friendly while simultaneously offering the benefits of Unifi for businesses and homes.
But is it as good as what they say, and is it something worth purchasing? We’ll find out here in our Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine review.
Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine Packaging
This part of our Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine review focuses on the packaging of the Unifi Dream Machine. It’s where you can find other accessories included with the router.
The Unifi Dream Machine came in a simple-looking white box that’s comparable to the packaging of Apple products. The top of the box displays Unifi at the centre, while the front sports an image of the product itself. Other than that, there’s not much to see on the package.
Despite the simplicity, it’s made to be sturdy and durable enough to protect the Dream Machine inside. Aside from the Unifi Dream Machine, the only other item inside the box is its AC power cord.
Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine Review – Design and Functionality
This section of the Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine review focuses on the Unifi Dream Machine’s design, build, and functions. Let’s begin with the UDM’s design.
Just by looking at the UDM, we can already say that its build quality is excellent. It weighs over a kilo and comes with a built-in power supply to keep everything neat. Made with a sturdy plastic shell, its exterior sports a rubber base to prevent it from sliding on flat surfaces.
The Dream Machine comes with a vibrantly illuminated ring located close to the top. It glows blue when the UDM functions normally, then flashes white during updates or when it’s booting up. The simple aesthetic design allows the UDM to blend with any theme that your household or office uses.
The Dream Machine from Unifi looks similar to the Echo Plus because of its stretched design. It comes with a light ring on top, which is an aesthetic that blends perfectly in its favour.
The minimal design that it utilises doesn’t make the Dream Machine stand out. However, it seamlessly blends with the background like Echo or Google Home.
The Dream Machine’s light ring instantly indicates the overall health of your current home network. Plus, it can lower the brightness, or entirely switch off the LED from its settings. It’s a necessary aspect since it indicates the status of the router. For convenience, the ring’s light is controllable via Ubiquiti’s mobile application.
The Unifi Dream Machine also sports an integrated fan that kicked off during our initial setup. Five Gigabit network ports are available on the rear, and these consist of four LANs and a WAN.
The entire router is not only simply beautiful and aesthetic, but its build is durable as well. Another thing to note is that it comes with an integrated power supply that works with basic two-prong power cords.
Functions of the UDM
Just like the name suggests, this Dream Machine is part of Ubiquiti’s Unifi collection. It’s an excellent router for home or business use, but it can be for pro users as well.
This router acts as a bridge between Ubiquiti’s two product lines – Amplifi and Unifi. Like Amplifi products, it’s particularly for home and small business use but has Unifi’s wide range of customisation options.
With the usual Unifi ecosystem, you’ll need an access point, switch, and a security gateway to access Ubiquiti’s Network Controller. With this Unifi Dream Machine, you have the functions of all of these products in a single router.
This Unifi Dream Machine is a dream product for most. It’s because it offers a completely-manage, secure networking solution in a compact and visually-pleasing cylinder.
The router conveniently runs Ubiquiti’s UNC or Unifi Network Controller software. It integrates the ASG or Advanced Security Gateway, offering a business-class firewall with IPS or IDS threat protection. Also, there’s deep packet inspection included.
The Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine conveniently functions as a combined professional and consumer product. It offers a huge upgrade and boost if you utilise it with Wi-Fi functions offered by an Internet service provider.
Key Features of the Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine
This part of our Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine review will focus on the router’s key features. Let’s see what this router can offer.
Built-in 4×4 Enterprise AP
Although it’s for home and small business use, the Unifi Dream Machine meets the requirements of a high-performance Wi-Fi network. It’s also suitable for high-density environments. Additionally, it has the features you’d see in a high-end router, such as Dynamic DNS and QoS.
The UDM’s advanced firewall policies and threat management act as an IDS (Intrusion Detection System) and IPS (Intrusion Prevention System). With that, you can ensure that your network is safe and secure at all times. For threat management, five preset levels are available.
You can also opt for custom settings based on your preferences. Note that with maximum level, the maximum throughput goes down to 850MB/s.
Integrated Cloud Key
With the Unifi Dream Machine’s integrated cloud key, the Unifi Network Controller can arrange connected Unifi devices. Also, it can map out networks and handle system traffic.
Additionally, this router allows you to create a captive portal as a guest network. This is where others can automatically log in or accept a term of service before connecting to your system. You can choose to charge these guests for using your Internet connection and issue coupons at various rates.
Integrated Gigabit Switch
A managed 4-port Gigabit Switch is present on the Unifi Dream Machine. It allows you to add network storage or wired client devices with ease and convenience.
This section of our Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine review focuses on the Unifi Dream Machine’s specifications. It measures 110 x 184.22mm and weighs 1.05kg.
Its networking interface has four LAN 10/100/1000 RJ-45 ports, and a WAN 10/100/1000 RJ-45 port. For its IDS/IPS throughput, it is 850MB/s and has a 2GB DDR RAM for its system memory. Ubiquiti utilises the ARM Cortex A-57 quad-core @ 1.7GHz for its processor.
For its system requirements, the Dream Machine can work with Android or iOS devices. You’ll need to install the Unifi Network application to manage the router conveniently. The web browser it’s compatible with is Google Chrome.
Hands-On with the Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine
This is the part of our Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine review where we’ll get more hands-on with the router.
Setting up the Unifi Dream Machine
Arranging the UDM is straightforward and simple. You only need to link the wall plug to the router, then insert your LAN cable to the WAN port. After, just wait for the router to boot, and you’re all set. You can control and manage your network via the mobile application, or utilise a web browser to access this.
When you see the solid blue light, simply follow the prompts on the app. You’ll then need to create an account with Ubiquiti to conveniently and remotely manage the router.
It immediately detected our internet connection, so we didn’t have to restart the router and modem for it to work. Once the connection is detected, you can begin assigning SSIDs and passwords for your home network. Once you finish the installation, you can log into the dashboard then see the Unifi Dream Machine’s status.
You can configure the Unifi Dream Machine via mobile application or web interface. For most users, the mobile application’s functions are enough, but you can use the web interface for additional customisation.
The controller software of Unifi often lists every Unifi device running on the network. With the Dream Machine, you’ll get one device, but expanding it allows you to see a list of three Unifi components. These are the switch, gateway, and AP.
Just as expected, we were able to manage every detail of the network. Again, doing this isn’t for everyone since you’ll need to learn various details about networking to further enhance your setup. However, if you’re tech-savvy, then this is something easy for you.
This application comes with a collection of features, including traffic statistics. You’ll also see every device linked to the router in real-time, plus a complete rating for your connection.
If you don’t particularly mind the network management and control features available, there’s still something in store for you. You can instead, utilise the mobile client and the Dream Machine will function fine and efficiently as it should.
It’s great that you can assign fixed IPs and rename devices based on your preference. Doing so makes it easier to find them without having to go through much trouble. In real-time, you can see the networks used by each device, and if it’s receiving excellent Wi-Fi signal.
By default, the application comes with a remote access feature that’s switched on. With that, you can manage the router even when you’re out, as long as your smartphone has internet access. For it to work, the application links to Ubiquiti, which then connects to the Unifi Dream Machine. From there, Ubiquiti can potentially determine the activities of the router.
Once you launch the app, you’ll receive an overall Wi-Fi rating via the percentage point. It also includes the number of linked clients, plus a detailed and real-time live graph chart of Wi-Fi activities.
Aside from the app, the Unifi Dream Machine has a web interface where you can configure the router. It’s available via its default IP address, 192.168.1.1. Through the web interface, you’ll gain access to control not only the UDM but also other supported Unifi products. Since it offers extended settings and features, you can maximise your network configuration.
This web client grants access to additional management features available for the Unifi Dream Machine. Here, you’ll get a more detailed breakdown of the connected devices and usage statistics. Also, an in-depth packet inspection feature provides an overview of the sites that individual devices visit using your network.
The web interface enables some essential functions such as viewing the hardware, changing its name, and updating its firmware. Do note that there are a plethora of features and settings available, and some may even be new to you. This is because the controller is that of enterprise applications that offer a ton of intensive configurations.
A good example would be its Wi-Fi settings. Here, you can create up to a total of four virtual Wi-Fi networks. Each can have an entirely different set of comprehensive parameters. Plus, it comes with the Wi-Fi AI. It’s a specific feature that immediately excludes and detects busy channels to prevent virtual networks from utilising it.
Using the Unifi web interface, you can manage and assign functions for each of Unifi Dream Machine’s LAN ports. Also, you can set up an L2TP VPN server and configure DNS, DHCP, QoS, UPnP, and RADIUS servers. For DNS and IP filtering, Ubiquiti offers provision for this.
At home, you can use the Unifi Dream machine as a DHCP server and assign fixed IPs to your devices. Doing this enables you to search for these with ease. From the web interface, you can see the network they’re using, and if these are having a good network signal.
Additionally, a feature assisted by AI automatically chooses the ideal Wi-Fi channel based on network density and traffic.
The Unifi Dream Machine is not only for homes, but it’s also a great network solution for small businesses. It has an excellent range of managed wireless networking features, outstanding performance, and it’s easy to install.
Overall, we were completely satisfied with the Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine. It was fast, versatile, and secure, so we’re giving five stars for its performance.
Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine Review Summary
The Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine comes with excellent hardware and performance, making it stand out among other routers. If you like tinkering with your home network, nothing can give you more options to customise compared to this UDM. Even if you’re not a networking enthusiast, you’ll find a lot to like about the UDM.
Aside from a combination of aesthetics, solid construction, and excellent performance, it’s highly reliable, making it an actual “dream machine”.
Although you’ll be paying a premium for the Unifi Dream Machine, its Wi-Fi range is better than other popular routers. Additionally, it’s highly versatile since it allows you to add access points and install security cameras.
With Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine, you get fast whole-home internet that is easy to set up and extend. It’s the ideal router for your home and small business. If you need to extend your network’s range to outdoor spaces, you can also set this in a mesh configuration. We were satisfied
To conclude our Ubiquiti Unifi Dream Machine review, we highly recommend this product. If you want to have this, it’s available for online purchase from the company’s official website.