Ubiquiti UAP-AC-M-US Unifi Mesh Access Point, White

(4 customer reviews)

$78.79

Ubiquiti Networks networks Unifi AP, AC mesh.The UniFi AP must be running firmware v3.7.7 or newer

Ubiquiti Networks networks Unifi AP, AC mesh

Based on 4 reviews

4.7 overall
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  1. San Franciscan

    This is an impressive little unit for less than $100. It is an enterprise class outdoor access point, for the price of a mid-end consumer router and it has the form factor of a long and large pen (or the box of it). For the price, it is hard to beat the value. I use these for testing out a hotspot service at a marina and use several of them mounted on the halyards and masts of sail boats to extend coverage. All units are heavily exposed to harsh weather conditions, including rain, moisture and wind. They have not been up and running for too long yet but they haven’t encountered any problems under almost constant rain for 48 hours.Before I go further, let me tell what this is and is not. First of all, this is not a router. It is only an access point, meaning you will still need a router that does routing, NAT, DHCP, DNS, filtering and access-lists (if you need them) etc. Most consumer grade routers combine access point functionality with a router that does many other things, this will not have those (at least without specific add-ons). Also, based on the reviews and questions I have seen there seems to be some confusion about the mesh capabilities and how and where it can be used. Some of the answers I have seen were not correct, at least not for the current firmware as of this review. I will clarify them here:1) This unit will work perfectly standalone, inside or outside as an AP (without router functionality as I explained above)2) If you have more than one of these units, they can form a wireless mesh network. One of the units needs to be connected to a wired uplink, others can be connected wirelessly to that wired unit. You DO NOT need an existing AC AP Pro or other non-mesh Ubiquiti AP to form a mesh (some comments, even some of the older documentation from Ubiquiti implies the opposite, which initially confused me. I run a mesh with multiple UAP-AC-Ms and they work without issues).3) If you have more than one of these units and can provide wired uplinks to all, they will also work greatly without a mesh. Having mesh in the name doesn’t mean that these are built for mesh networks only. Mesh concept is interesting but make sure that is your only viable option before deciding to go down that path. Among possible wireless topologies, mesh is the least interesting from a performance perspective. If you have the possibility, wired uplinks will provide vastly superior performance to mesh as each mesh hop will halve the available bandwidth. Mesh is ideal if you have power but no connectivity at a given location.You will also need a controller software to control these units. Ubiquiti provides the software for free and it is available for Windows, Mac and Linux (Debian/Ubuntu). These are not configured from a web interface. There is also a mobile app which I believe can be used to configure them but I haven’t tested it, so I cannot confirm. The software itself is also pretty impressive and is an enterprise class wireless network management system. I manage all the access points in the marina from a controller I installed in the cloud on a Linux/Ubuntu machine. Certain functions for the controller requires additional products to be purchased (like Unifi Security Gateway) but those are optional. I am actually impressed that this software is free to download and use when you simply buy a $100 device. To obtain any real practical value from the software you will need to have several of these units though. If you have only one, the software is probably not going to provide much value and may even be a hindrance. The downside of this model for non-tech savvy users or simpler use-cases is added complexity. Mobile app version of the software may address this issue but you need to check the reviews of it separately as I haven’t used it.In terms of performance, as I mentioned, I use these in a marina, mounted on halyards and masts at about 30 ft height. And marina is close to several industrial complexes (to give you a reference, 641 neighboring access point seen over the last 72 hours as measured by the controller software). As such, there is a high degree of interference at especially 2.4Ghz, also some at 5 Ghz. Still the performance is pretty decent. Longest wireless uplink is made at 460ft line-of-sight with default rubber duck omni antennas at speeds 117 (Tx) / 234 (Rx) Mbps, which is more than adequate for this scenario.Default antennas are ok but nothing outstanding. If I had one complaint, it would be to have slightly better antennas but I won’t cut a star for it, keeping the price point in mind. Also another relatively negative issue is the lack of antenna options. These are dual band antennas and there are not that many options for dual-band antennas to extend the range. Ubiquiti itself doesn’t have a dual band antenna for these units as of this writing, but based on forum discussions I understand they are about to announce one. I didn’t play with the Pro version of these units as their form factor is not suitable for mounting on boats directly but if you need a more powerful unit, that’s what I would look at. They have more powerful 3×8 dbi internal antennas, their max transmit power is higher and they are 3×3 MIMO as opposed to 2×2 MIMO for this.All in all, I really think this is an amazing value for an access point that costs less than $100. Prior to this, I tested a Open Mesh OM2P for a similar Hotspot use case. Total price for one OM2P with the unit itself, weather proof case and PoE adapter is more than the cost of this and it doesn’t come anywhere close in terms of specs or features. This could even be a replacement for consumer grade access points as long as the user needs multiple units, is a bit tech savvy and/or is willing to play with things and learn. This will certainly be more complicated to set up and requires some technical knowledge or experience.

    San Franciscan

  2. Intelligentsia

    We are finding that the UAP-AC-HD does not have the range of the UAP-AC-Pro and for a single user is not as fast. BUT, when heavily loaded the UAP-AC-HD seems to handle much heavier aggregate loads. Thus, the UAP-AC-HD is probably a good choice in areas where there will be many, many users and the UAP-AC-Pro may be a better choice where greater coverage and fewer users is required.

    Intelligentsia

  3. Hank

    Ubiquiti products are just on another level entirely. After installing this product, along with one of their PoE switches to power it, I replaced all the networking equipment in my house with Ubiquiti products. They are that good. It is silly to use anything else.A few things to be aware of. Unifi is a product line of Ubiquiti. Products in the Unifi line all use the same controller software and can be seen by the software. But products that are not in the Unifi line, such as the ER Lite router, will not be seen by the controller software. So make sure you buy products from the same product family, which is probably Unifi unless you are a global corporation.Why are Ubiquiti products so much better than consumer grade products? Because they can handle more than 100 Mbps connections, which are becoming more common now, because they can be managed, configured, and upgraded via controller software, because you can see the Wifi coverage in your house, because the Wifi access points coordinate with each other to hand off client connections. It is like being reborn. Say goodbye to network problems.

    Hank

  4. AV

    This was Fulfilled by Amazon from seller We Love TEC. The UAP-AC-M date on the box was August 2017 so this particular unit was at least 8 months in the box.Needed to extend the wireless signals to an unattached garage approximately 35ft away. Currently, have an all Ubiquiti Unifi setup (Unifi AP’s, router, switches and cloud key). Decided that mesh was the easiest/best way to extend the signal for what was needed and the UAP-AC-M fit the bill (compact and strong enough wireless signals with the included antennas). Though this AP can be pole mounted outdoors, I wall-mounted it indoors since I didn’t want to have to worry about grounding the UAP-AC-M.With initial setup, connected the UAP-AC-M directly to a Unifi POE switch and then opened the Unifi cloud key controller and then adopted the UAP-AC-M. The controller software also indicated that a firmware upgrade was available so did that next. Then enabled the Wireless Uplink for the antenna.After the wireless uplink was enabled, disconnected the UAP-AC-M (access point) from the POE switch and then walked over to the garage and mounted the antenna and the included POE injector inside the garage (note that there were no screws for the injector wall mount included in the box, only for the antenna wall mount). Connected a Cat6 cable between the POE injector and the UAP-AC-M and then plugged the injector power cord into a wall outlet. The UAP-AC-M turned on and started with a blinking white light and then eventually turned into a solid blue light which meant a successful wireless uplink to a wired AP. I left the wireless uplink on auto in the controller software so it chose the strongest signal available from a wired AP for the wireless uplink. In this case, the wired AP it connected to was a UAP-AC-HD model.Checked back on the controller for the wireless uplink strength between the UAP-AC-M and the auto chosen wired AP and it was reading 71% (-61.0 dBm). It has since been fluctuating between 81% and 71% so now have really good. wifi in the unattached garage.

    AV