Unifi Dream Machine

Unifi Dream Machine

For years, I used the network equipment supplied by my internet providers. More often than not, these are mediocre at best. So, for some time, I treated the internet provider equipment as a cable modem and purchased more capable routers.

As the number of household-connected devices increased, the quality of service decreased. So, I decided to both upgrade my internet connection and replace all of my networking equipment with Unifi equipment.

The first part of this upgrade was to improve my internet connection. If truth be told, this wasn’t really needed. At the time, I had a 250Mb connection, and it was perfectly adequate, but as Virgin Media (my provider) was offering a free upgrade, I took it and increased the connection to 1Gb. This, of course, meant I had to sign up for an 18-month contract, but as I wasn’t going to move to anyone else, this didn’t matter.

The second part was to replace my networking hardware with Unifi equipment, and the Dream Machine was my first choice. This provided all of the following: –

  • Router
  • Firewall
  • Wifi Access Point
  • 4x1Gb ethernet
  • Cloud Key Management

Technical Specification

Dimensions Ø110 x 184.1 mm (Ø4.3 x 7.3″)
Weight 1.1 kg (2.3 lb)
Enclosure material Polycarbonate
Processor Quad-core Arm® Cortex® A57 at 1.7 GHz
System memory 2 GB DDR RAM
Management interface Ethernet
Networking interface (4) LAN: GbE RJ45 ports
(1) WAN: GbE RJ45 port
Power method Universal AC input, 100—240V AC, 0.6A Max., 50/60 Hz
Power supply AC/DC, internal, 50W
Supported voltage range 100—240V AC
Max. power consumption 26W
Max. TX power
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
23 dBm
26 dBm
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
2 x 2
4 x 4
Throughput rate
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
300 Mbps
1.7 Gbps
Antenna gain
2.4 GHz
5 GHz
3 dBi
4.5 dBi
Antenna (1) Internal, dual-band, quad-polarity antenna
Button Factory reset
LEDs White/blue
Operating temperature -10 to 45° C (14 to 113° F)
Operating humidity 5 to 95% Noncondensing
Certifications CE, FCC, IC
Gateway Features
Performance WiFi QoS with UniFi APs
Application, domain, and country-based QoS
Application and device type identification
Additional internet failover with LTE Backup
Internet quality and outage reporting
Next-generation security Application-aware firewall rules
Signature-based IPS/IDS threat detection
Content, country, domain, and ad filtering
VLAN/subnet-based traffic segmentation
Full stateful firewall
Advanced networking License-free SD-WAN
WireGuard, L2TP and OpenVPN server
OpenVPN client
OpenVPN and IPsec site-to-site VPN
One-click Teleport and UID VPN
Policy-based WAN and VPN routing
DHCP relay
Customizable DHCP server
IGMP proxy
IPv6 ISP support
WiFi standards 802.11a/b/g
WiFi 4/WiFi 5
Wireless security WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise (WPA/WPA2, TKIP/AES), 802.11w/PMF
BSSID Up to 8 per radio
VLAN 802.1Q
Advanced QoS Per-user rate limiting
Guest traffic isolation Supported
Concurrent clients 100+
Supported Data Rates
802.11a 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps
802.11b 1, 2, 5.5, 11 Mbps
802.11g 6, 9, 12, 18, 24, 36, 48, 54 Mbps
802.11n (WiFi 4) 6.5 Mbps to 300 Mbps (MCS0 – MCS15, HT 20/40)
802.11ac (WiFi 5) 6.5 Mbps to 1.7 Gbps (MCS0 – MCS9 NSS1/2/3/4, VHT 20/40/80/160)

At the same time as upgrading the router, I added a couple of UAP AC Lite access points to ensure the whole house has a great connection regardless of where the ‘base station’ is positioned.

The best part of the Dream Machine and the Unifi ecosystem is the management software. With earlier Unifi equipment, this software had to be installed on a system on the network; then it moved to a Cloud-Key, a little Linus machine on a key or mini-computer, but it is now inside the Dream Machine and Dream Machine Pro.

This is a ‘Software-Defined Network’ that gets better and more feature-rich as new versions are released. The screenshot below shows one of the many pages and, as you can see, there is a Dark Mode too: –

image-13-1024x519 Unifi Dream Machine

And this is the dashboard: –

image-14-1024x518 Unifi Dream Machine

Hi, my name is Stephen Finchett. I have been a software engineer for over 30 years and worked on complex, business critical, multi-user systems for all of my career. For the last 15 years, I have been concentrating on web based solutions using the Microsoft Stack including ASP.Net, C#, TypeScript, SQL Server and running everything at scale within Kubernetes.