Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Review

Last Updated: Jan 28, 2023

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I recently installed the AmpliFi Alien standalone router in my new two-story house, and in this review, I’ll discuss how well AmpliFi’s new flagship Wi-Fi 6 router covers this 2,700-square-foot space.

Note that the AmpliFi Alien is available as a standalone router or a mesh kit that comes with a dedicated meshpoint. In this article, I’ll focus on the standalone router.

If you’re interested in learning more about the differences between the standalone router and the mesh kit, check out this review.

To learn more about how I tested the AmpliFi Alien, scroll down.

AmpliFi Alien Wi-Fi 6 Router

Michael Kummer

AmpliFi Alien Router Review
Easy of Use


The AmpliFi Alien is a powerful and capable Wi-Fi 6 router that should meet the requirements of even the most demanding users. The router sports a slick design, it’s easy to set up and use, and it performs incredibly well — even in demanding environments like multi-story homes.



  • Solid performance
  • Easy to set up
  • Slick design
  • Some unique features
  • Ethernet backhaul


  • No support for 160 MHz channels
  • No dedicated (wireless) backhaul
  • Lacks some advanced config options

AmpliFi Alien: Slick and Powerful

AmpliFi Alien next to its box
Both the hardware and box are made from high-quality materials.

The AmpliFi Alien is Ubiquiti’s flagship 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 router and promises to deliver “4x the overall network capacity and 2x the coverage while reaching true gigabit speeds” when compared to the older AmpliFi HD.

Check out my previous review of the entire AmpliFi lineup to learn more about how each of the products compares.

Who Is the AmpliFi Alien For?

When we moved into our new home — and before I had a chance to fully deploy my existing Ubiquiti UniFi infrastructure — I only had the AmpliFi Alien and a meshpoint to cover both stories of the house.

I didn’t expect the same performance from the Alien that I had gotten used to from numerous UniFi access points. But guess what? I couldn’t find a single Wi-Fi dead spot. Coverage was spotless and I never felt like the Wi-Fi was slowing me down.

For a moment, I questioned why I had just spent thousands of dollars on server racks and electricians to wire the house with CAT6 if the Alien was all I needed.

AmpliFi Alien next to UniFi Dream Machine
An AmpliFi Alien next to a UniFi Dream Machine on my server rack.

Of course, network performance isn’t the only reason why I chose UniFi over AmpliFi. But the point is that the AmpliFi Alien might be the right choice even for someone who is used to more advanced networking equipment, especially when you consider the possibility of adding an extra meshpoint.

I’d argue the Alien is an excellent wireless router for most users who are seeking to reliably cover their home (or business) with a wireless network.

That’s particularly true if you:

  • Want reliable performance that matches your ISP’s speed.
  • Aren’t super tech-savvy and need a solution that requires minimal expertise.
  • Appreciate design as much as performance.
  • Need something that “just works.”
  • Require only a limited vertical and horizontal coverage area. (By that, I mean less than thousands of square feet.)
  • Don’t need super-advanced configuration settings or the absolute best Wi-Fi performance that Wi-Fi 6 can (theoretically) deliver.

While the above scenarios apply to many users, others want to tinker with advanced configuration settings, either for fun or because they have specific use cases.

If you fall into that category, the Alien might not be the best choice for you because the available configuration options are a bit limited.

If that’s the case, I’d encourage you to look at a platform like Ubiquiti UniFi, which provides ultimate flexibility — including shell access and everything else you might be looking for — instead of going with another consumer-grade Wi-Fi 6 router.

Other people require the best-possible wireless LAN performance the Wi-Fi standard has to offer. The AmpliFi Alien is slightly limited in that regard because it neither supports the 160 MHz channel nor does it have a dedicated Wi-Fi backhaul.

That means both the standalone router as well as the Mesh Kit won’t provide the same (theoretical) performance as other Wi-Fi 6 routers that have those options. However, outside of synthetic tests, you probably won’t notice a difference.

Besides, I’d argue that if maximum performance is your primary requirement, you should do as I do and use Ethernet.

Apple-Like Design

AmpliFi Alien Close up - Black and White
I think the Alien features an Apple-esque design language.

The founder of Ubiquiti, Robert Pera, used to work for Apple. That’s probably why you can find Apple-like design language across the entire product portfolio.

What many brands don’t realize is that the first impression of a product starts with the packaging. If the box looks cheap and flimsy, it doesn’t necessarily inspire confidence in the quality of the actual product.

The AmpliFi Alien comes in a slick and sturdy box that shouts “high quality.” I noticed that I liked the Alien before I even touched it, just because of how well-designed the box was.

Unsurprisingly, the actual hardware doesn’t disappoint. It’s solid, it looks amazing, and I think Ubiquiti found the right balance between function and minimalistic design.

One of the features that immediately stuck out to me was the 4.7-inch full-color touchscreen on the front of the router, which supports haptic touch and provides network status information, traffic statistics and more.

Additionally, you can run an ISP speed test right from the touch screen without using the app. In the future, Ubiquiti might be able to add more features to this interface, such as enabling/disabling the guest network.

The bottom of the router features an LED ring that lights up and indicates your network status, and which flashes every time you make changes to the router’s settings. You can also locate an Alien router by making its LED ring flash via the AmpliFi mobile app.

While that doesn’t sound incredibly useful if you only have a single router, it comes in handy when you have multiple routers and you need to locate a specific one. I’ve used the “locate” feature numerous times in the past with my UniFi access points.

The back of the router offers a built-in switch with four gigabit Ethernet ports. What you won’t find on the backside of the Alien are a power connector or uplink port. Ubiquiti decided to place them in a cutout on the underside of the router. That makes for a cleaner look, especially if you don’t use any of the four switch ports.

Setup and Configuration

If you’ve worked with AmpliFi products in the past, you know that it’s super easy to get them up and running. The Alien router is no exception.

I plugged the device in to power, connected it to my Comcast cable modem via Ethernet, and launched the AmpliFi mobile app on my iPhone. A few seconds later, the app asked for permission to use Bluetooth to locate and connect to the AmpliFi Alien.

I confirmed the request and was asked to enter a Wi-Fi network name (SSID) and password. That was it.

Of course, I already had an AmpliFi account from my previous AmpliFi review. If you don’t, you’ll have to create one account before you can set up the Alien.

Technical Specifications

AmpliFi Alien technical specifications
The Alien has two separate radios built in.

From a technical perspective, the AmpliFi Alien is a tri-band Wi-Fi router that supports Wi-Fi 6 on the 2.4 and 5GHz band as well as Wi-Fi 5 on the 5Ghz band. Of course, the Alien is fully backward compatible with older devices that speak only 802.11a/b/g/n/ac.

The total bandwidth the router can deliver tops out at 7,685 Mbps, but that capacity is split across different Wi-Fi bands.

Here’s a table with the most important specs you might be interested in. For a complete list of specifications, see here.

Router Specifications
Dimensions110 x 110 x 250 mm (4.33 x 4.33 x 9.84″)
CPU2.2 GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core CPU
Max. TX Power2.4 GHz: 23 dBm per chain
5 GHz 19 dBm per chain (low band)/ 20 dBm per chain (high band)
MIMO2.4 GHz: 4×4
5 GHz: 4×4 (low-band) + 8×8 (high band)
Speed2.4 GHz: 1148 Mbps
5 GHz: 1733 Mbps (low band)/ 4804 Mbps (high band)
LAN Ports4x Gigabit Ethernet
WAN Port1x Gigabit Ethernet
Display110.38 mm (4.7″) Diagonal, 274 x 1268, 279 ppi, G+F Touch, Full Color
Wi-Fi Standards802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
Dedicated Wireless BackhaulNo
Supported Channels20MHz, 40MHz, 80MHz
User InterfaceAmpliFi mobile app, web interface (basic)
Mesh SupportYes
Link AggregationNo

As you can see in the table above, the Alien offers most of the specs you would expect from a top-of-the-line Wi-Fi 6 router. The three exceptions to that are the lack of dedicated wireless backhaul, link aggregation, and 160 MHz channel support.

No Dedicated Wireless Backhaul

AmpliFi Alien - Backhaul
The Alien supports an Ethernet backbone but no dedicated wireless backhaul.

If you operate the Alien as a standalone router, you won’t have to worry about the lack of a dedicated wireless backhaul.

But if you decide to use the Alien as part of a wireless mesh network, you should know that the Alien “borrows” bandwidth from its main radios to transfer data between the router and the meshpoint.

Practically, that means that your wireless clients will have less bandwidth and thus your overall data transfer speeds will be reduced.

The good news is that the Alien supports wired backhaul using Ethernet. So if top performance is a concern, you can always connect the Alien to its meshpoint via Ethernet and thus enjoy full Wi-Fi performance.

Link aggregation is a feature that allows you to bond two or more LAN interfaces to increase their overall bandwidth. For example, I use link aggregation between all of my UniFi switches to create 2 Gbit backbone links between them. That practically increases the bandwidth between the switches from 1 gigabit to 2 gigabits per second.

I did this because I had extra switch ports available and because I could, not because I really needed it. I’d argue that for most users, the lack of link aggregation isn’t an issue to worry about.

No 160 MHz Channel Support

AmpliFi Alien - Advanced Channel Settings
No 160 MHz wide channel support.

The 802.11ac standard introduced channel bonding that allows router manufacturers to combine lower-frequency channels in order to increase bandwidth and throughput.

Tim Higgins from smallnetbuilder.net has a good writeup (albeit from 2018) on what that means and how it works.

In a nutshell, you can create a 160 MHz channel by combining either eight adjacent 20 MHz or two 80 MHz channels. By combining two 80 MHz wide channels, you practically double the bandwidth that’s available to client devices.

So instead of achieving a negotiated speed of 1.2 Gbps, a compatible client device might get 2.4 Gbps.

The downside of 160 MHz wide channels is that routers have fewer channels to choose from. That can create signal issues due to interference in crowded environments, such as apartment blocks with multiple Wi-Fi routers.

Personally, I think it’s a bummer that support for 160 MHz channels isn’t an option, but I surely prefer reliability over performance — especially since my critical devices, such as my iMac Pro, are all wired via Ethernet anyway.

But I’d love to hear if this is an issue for you, so leave me a comment down below!

Unique Features

If you’ve worked with wireless routers of other brands before, you’ll be familiar with most of the Alien’s features, because they’re pretty standard — with some noteworthy exceptions.

Let’s talk about the exotic feature set first before we dive into standard stuff.

Teleport — VPN Server and Client

AmpliFi Alien - Teleport VPN
Using the Teleport VPN is incredibly easy.

Imagine you’re traveling internationally and you want to watch your favorite show on Netflix. Unfortunately, Netflix doesn’t offer that show in the country you happen to be in.

One solution to that problem is to use a virtual private network (VPN) that offers a tunnel back to your country of origin and makes it appear as if you’re connecting from that country.

In the case of the AmpliFi Alien, you can create a tunnel back to your home network, and thus make Netflix think you’re connecting from your home.

The second popular use case for a VPN is to protect your privacy, because the tunnel you’re using is secure. For example, if you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network, the Wi-Fi provider can usually see what webpages you’re visiting (and a ton of other things). In contrast, VPNs use encrypted tunnels that cloak your online activity.

The Alien has a VPN server built in and the separate AmpliFi Teleport mobile app provides the necessary VPN client to establish a secure tunnel between your mobile device and your home network.

While Teleport is incredibly simple to set up and use, it’s unfortunately limited to mobile devices (and Android TVs) because it requires the Teleport mobile app. That means you can’t connect your Windows PC or Mac to the VPN.

Additional 5 GHz Radio Option

AmpliFi Alien - Wireless Settings
The Alien’s wireless settings are flexible enough to address different use cases.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this article, the AmpliFi Alien is a tri-band router. That means it has two radios that broadcast on three bands, including:

  • 2.4 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi 6
  • 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5

By default, all of these bands can use a common Service Set Identifier (SSID) or network name, such as Mike’s Network. The issue is that some clients, such as Nest devices, don’t play well with tri-band routers.

For that reason, you can operate the Wi-Fi 5 radio on a separate SSID and turn the Wi-Fi 6 radio into a dual-band radio. For example, you could then have two separate SSIDs that look like this:

  • Mike’s 5x Network [5 GHz]
  • Mike’s 6x Network [2.4 and 5 GHz]

If you’re not sure if you need that, and everything is working fine, don’t bother enabling this option.

Standard Features

AmpliFi Alien - Internet Settings
Standard features you’d expect from a router in this class.

Besides the two unique features I mentioned above, the AmpliFi offers a ton of standard features that you can also find on other routers of this class.

Common SSID Name vs. Separate SSIDs

To make things even more confusing, you can not only separate the router’s radios but also create separate SSIDs for the supported Wi-Fi bands. For example, you can create a dedicated Wi-Fi network for 2.4 and 5 GHz clients.

But that’s not all! You can also create additional SSIDs for the 5 GHz Wi-Fi 6, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi 6 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 bands.

Why would you do that?

One use case involves smart home automation devices, such as HomeKit light switches, that often work best on 2.4 GHz frequencies. The problem with 5 GHz is that its high-frequency waves are prone to interference and low signal quality in closed spaces.

I’ve had numerous cases of HomeKit devices becoming unresponsive because they connected using a weak 5 GHz link. One way to avoid that issue is to have a separate 2.4 GHz SSID that you can use exclusively for such devices.

At our home, I have a dedicated 2.4 GHz MK IoT network used by all my mobile devices, HomeKit gear, printers, etc. Since I’ve implemented that dedicated Wi-Fi network, I’ve had far fewer issues with unresponsive HomeKit devices.

Bridge Mode

Enabling bridge mode is useful if your ISP issued you a modem/router combination that doesn’t support bridge mode. If that’s the case, simply enable this setting on the Alien and prevent having two routers on the same network.

While that might not hurt the performance, it’s usually unnecessary and it might cause problems in some situations.

Dedicated Guest Network

AmpliFi Alien - Guest Network
It’s easy to temporarily enable the guest network.

Sharing credentials, such as the password or passphrase to your wireless network, with anyone except for close friends or family members is a bad idea. That’s particularly true if you don’t use a unique password, but rather one you re-use for other accounts.

That’s where a dedicated guest network can come in handy. Using the AmpliFi app, you can turn it on and off on-demand, configure how many clients it accepts simultaneously, and have it automatically turn back off after a set time.

Band Steering and Router Steering

Band steering nudges wireless clients to use the best-possible Wi-Fi band (2.4 vs. 5 GHz), based on the signal strength and other factors.

On the other hand, router steering enables wireless clients to connect to the closest wireless router with the strongest signal. That’s useful if you have multiple Aliens or an Alien with a meshpoint.

Basic Parental Controls

AmpliFi Alien - Parental Controls
Make sure your kids can’t access your Wi-Fi during certain hours.

The AmpliFi app allows you to associate certain devices with “profiles” that control when Wi-Fi access is available.

So you could create a profile named “Kids” that disables Wi-Fi for all devices your kids have access to between 9 p.m. and 7 a.m., Monday through Friday. You can also pause the internet for those profiles on-demand.

Other Standard Features

Below is a list of other common features that you might expect from an advanced wireless router.

  • Advanced channel selection
  • Built-in speed test
  • Clone MAC address
  • DHCP server
  • Port forwarding
  • Set custom VLAN ID
  • Support for IPv6
  • Universal plug and play (UPnP)
  • Wi-Fi protected setup (WPS)

How I Tested the AmpliFi Alien

Mike's Home Layout
The layout of both levels of our home.

Performing testing in lab-like conditions is great for understanding how AmpliFi could perform, but it says little about what your actual experience might look like. So, while testing, I tried to mimic real-life scenarios as much as possible.

While that certainly introduces factors that might alter the test results, I figured it would better reflect what you might experience in your home.

Here are the main specs you should know:

  • 2,700-square-foot, two-story home.
  • ISP is Comcast (1000/35 Mbps).
  • Three test devices (iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Pro, MacBook Pro).
  • Two AmpliFi router positions (Family Room and Server Room).
  • The Alien shared the house with five other access points.
  • The internet was in use by >40 wireless clients connected to the other access points.
  • I performed all the speed tests using fast.com.

My “test lab” consisted of a 2,700-square-foot, two-story home (a main floor and basement with ground-level access).

We have the family room, kitchen, master bedroom and my office on the main floor, and the kids’ bedroom, a guest bedroom and my networking/equipment room on the lower level.

My ISP is Comcast and it provides a theoretical throughput of 1 Gbps down and 35 Mbps up, powered by a Netgear Nighthawk CM1200 cable modem.

I should mention that I normally rely on Ubiquiti’s UniFi line of products to cover my networking infrastructure needs. Currently, my UniFi infrastructure consists of five access points that broadcast two SSIDs, routers, switches and other gadgets.

I mention this because during my AmpliFi Alien speed tests, those access points and wireless networks were active and there was thus the potential for interference. I decided to leave them on because I figured it would better reflect an environment that you might be in.

Chances are, your Alien router isn’t the only access point in the neighborhood. Plus, there are other common sources of electromagnetic interference, such as microwave ovens, that you might have to deal with.

I conducted all speed tests using three devices, including:

  • iPhone 11 Pro running the latest public beta of iOS [Wi-Fi 6 – 2×2 MIMO].
  • 3rd Generation 12.9-inch iPad Pro running the latest public beta of iOS [Wi-Fi 5 – 2×2 MIMO].
  • 2018 13-inch MacBook Pro running macOS Catalina 10.15.3 [Wi-Fi 5 – 2×2 MIMO].

To conduct the speed tests, I used fast.com.

For the first round of tests, I positioned the AmpliFi Alien downstairs, on top of my server rack. I went to each room of the house and ran the speed tests on all three devices and on both the 5 GHz and 2.4 GHz bands.

AmpliFi Alien on top of my server rack
AmpliFi Alien on top of my server rack.

Once I had completed the first round of tests, I changed the position of the Alien by moving it from the server room to the family room. Then I repeated the full test cycle.

While I was doing that, I tried to reduce the bandwidth consumption of all wireless clients to a minimum. That meant turning off my iMac Pro completely, and I used the TripMode app on my MacBook Pro to prevent any apps besides Safari from connecting to the internet.

Still, my wife was watching YouTube videos, and all of my IoT devices (including my home security cameras) might have eaten into the available bandwidth. So keep that in mind.

How Did the Alien Perform?

AmpliFi Alien 5 GHz Speed Test
Results of speed test on 5 GHz band using iPhone 11 Pro.

Considering that I performed all of my tests using real-world and relatively uncontrolled conditions, I was impressed by the Alien’s performance.

Here are the highlights based on my iPhone 11 Pro:

  • Avg. of 460 Mbps on 5 GHz band across the house with Alien in the family room.
  • Avg. of 58 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band across the house with Alien in the family room.
  • Avg. of 345 Mbps on 5 GHz band across the house with Alien in the server room.
  • Avg. of 42 Mbps on 2.4 GHz band across the house with Alien in the server room.

With the Alien positioned in the family room, I got hundreds of Mbps throughput using my iPhone in the entire home using the 5 GHz band. The reason why my iPhone was performing better than both my iPad Pro and MacBook Pro was that the iPhone 11 Pro supports Wi-Fi 6 while the other devices do not.

But even when I positioned the Alien in the basement, I still got respectable results. Only in my office, which is located upstairs and on the opposite side of the server room, did I experience a dead spot on the 5 GHz band. I was still able to connect on the 2.4 GHz band, which offers lower throughput but extended range.

Excerpt of raw speed test results
Excerpt of raw speed test results.

Overall, I concluded that a single Alien router can cover a two-story home with Wi-Fi. That’s especially true if you can situate the Alien in a somewhat central position. But even if the position of the router is less than ideal, you’ll get decent coverage with the combination of both the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands.

You can download the full test table, including all the combinations of router position, client position and client types here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the coverage of the AmpliFi Alien?

That’s a tough question to answer because it depends on various factors. For example, if you place the Alien in the middle of an empty football field, you’ll get wider coverage than if you place it in the middle of your home with drywall, doors, appliances or windows in between the Alien and your clients.

But based on the tests in my home, one centrally-positioned Alien easily covered the two ~1,350-square-foot floors.

How do you use the “Additional 5 GHz Radio” setting?

You can use that setting to isolate certain 5 GHz devices and prevent other clients from stealing their bandwidth. See above for more information on what that means.

Is the AmpliFi Alien the most powerful Wi-Fi 6 router on the market?

Based on specifications and comparison tests I’ve seen from others, it is not. That’s mainly due to the fact that the Alien doesn’t support 160 MHz wide channels.

However, if you take ease-of-use, design and reliability into account, I’d argue that the Alien is one of the best, if not the best, routers you can buy.

Does the Alien support wireless backhaul?

No, but it supports Ethernet backhaul. So if you decide to operate multiple Alien routers in your home and you want the best possible performance, connect them via Ethernet.

How does the AmpliFi Alien compare to the UniFi Dream Machine (UDM)?

In a nutshell, the UDM doesn’t support Wi-Fi 6. However, it can be easily extended with additional access points, switches and all kinds of other UniFi gear. Plus, it has a powerful firewall and other advanced routing features built-in that the Alien doesn’t have.

Check out my article comparing AmpliFi vs. UniFi for everything you need to know.

How does the Alien compare to Eero and similar devices?

Check out my full AmpliFi platform review to learn how the Alien compares to similar solutions from other brands.

AmpliFi Alien Router Review

The AmpliFi Alien is a powerful and capable Wi-Fi 6 router that should meet the requirements of even the most demanding users. The router sports a slick design, it’s easy to set up and use, and it performs incredibly well — even in demanding environments like multi-story homes.

While the Alien might not be the most powerful Wi-Fi 6 router on the market — due to the lack of support for 160 MHz wide channels — it’s fast enough for most users and use cases.

Based on my experience with this device, I’d recommend it in a heartbeat to anyone who’s in the market for a new wireless router.

Stay tuned for my next article covering the AmpliFi Alien mesh system and learn how you can take everything you’ve learned in this article to the next level!

30 thoughts on “Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien Review”

  1. Great review!
    1. Can you set up the Amplifi Alien in Access point mode (or Bridge mode) within a pre-existing home network?
    2. Are you able to change it to Bridge mode using the WebUI, or Alien’s touchscreen rather than having to use the App?

    I really like the look of the Alien, but with the App you have to create an account which could potentially be a privacy issue no?

  2. I am looking at a mesh system and every time I read a review, I change my mind. The Alien looks good but unless I have multiple Alien routers (not the mesh) don’t bother? I have a huge house, 5,000 sqft on 3 levels. My office is on the main floor at one corner and I have a Nighthawk in my son’s BR in the opposite corner. I figure that’s almost 500 ft. At first, this 2wire modem/router just couldn’t cut it sending a wireless signal to that Nighthawk, so I added an ethernet line under the house and that worked. The issue though is depending on where I am in the house, the signal strength changes between to the 2 routers. It would be nice to pick one network for the entire house. The issue though is this mesh system being strong enough with just 2 units? I could still use the ethernet between them for the backhaul, but will wireless be strong enough? I was thinking of adding satellites over time to address areas of the house where the signal is weak, but I can’t see spending $1300 on 3 routers and the Alien mesh kit comes hard wired so you can’t add or replace.

    • Hi Patrick!

      I can’t promise you that the Alien’s will cover your entire house on all three levels because it depends on various factors. So you’d have to try it out and see.

      The other option you could look into is UniFi equipment from Amplifi’s parent company. I’m using their gear and I’m really happy with it. See https://michaelkummer.com/tech/amplifi-vs-unifi/ for a comparison.


  3. i have the new starlink modem which has no ethernet ports on it, an adapter is available , however this is on back order. is there a way to connect Amplifi alien wireless to this router as the starling does not provide coverage for a 5000 sq.ft. home?

  4. The alien does support the 160Mhz channel. You have to access the router from a browser rather than the app to enable it.

  5. Is there a way to have the Alien use 160VHT channel width? I updated the firmware yesterday to 3.6.1, but it still maxes out at 80VHT .

  6. Hi,
    I’m not tech savvy. I need to replace my router. We have a late 2012 Mac Book Pro that has the 2.5 HGz Dual Core Intel i5 processor. I read that only Macs with the new M1 chip are compatible with the Amplify Alien Router. Is that true? If so, what router would you recommend for a single story 2,000 sq foot home?

    • Hi Jeff,

      What you heard isn’t true! The AmpliFi Alien is backward compatible with pretty much all Wi-Fi-enabled Apple devices in existence today. However, it is true that the Alien supports the very latest Wi-Fi protocol that only the newest Apple devices support (the M1 MBP being one of them). But that doesn’t mean your existing MBP won’t work with it.

      I hope that helps!


    • I switched to the Amplifi Alien Router system recently, and my 2013 MacBookPro works just fine (perfectly) with my Amplifi Alien WiFi system.

  7. MK
    Great Review. Solidified my decision to buy Alien router.

    However I have an issue as I have coax running in my house (rather than ethernet cables) for my Verizon Fios internet connection. I had a fios router in the basement and an extender upstairs in 3 story house(both connected to coax). However the amplifi wired backhaul system seems to require an ethernet cable to run from the primary router to the meshpoint for setup. Wondering if you know of a workaround for those us without extensive wired ethernet to get wired backhaul or equivalent to work with meshpoint?

    • Hi Denny,

      You could try a wireless backhaul but I don’t know how reliable that would be across three stories. Beyond that, I don’t have any great suggestions other than replacing your Coax with a CAT6 cable.

    • I’m in a two-story house with coax everywhere (Comcast), but without the flexibility to run ethernet through the walls. I’ve had great success with MoCA to get ethernet connecitivy throughout my house so my current mesh network can use a wired backhaul and have ethernet connectivity to my NVR and PoE powered security cameras.

      This is what I use, there there are other brands as well: https://www.amazon.com/Actiontec-MoCA-Network-Adapter-Ethernet/dp/B088KV2YYL

  8. Since the AmpliFi Alien is at least a year old, should I wait to buy the the next generation of this router ?

    • Hi Jeffery,

      tech changes all time and whatever you buy, it’ll be old soon. Unless I know of an upcoming product refresh that has features I want, I usually buy what I need at the moment, and don’t worry about what might come out next. In the case of AmpliFi, I don’t know what their product release cycle looks like and if there is a new Alien on the horizon.

      Is there anything you need that the Alien doesn’t have? If not, buy the current Alien :)

  9. I have the Alien and I don’t see a way to connect my WiFi printer to this router. There isn’t a WPS option that I can find anywhere or on the alien app. Any ideas?

  10. Good afternoon,. I have currently the HD (with 2 APs) version with no mimo tech and I have to restart it all the time. I think it’s because it gets over whelmed by the many devices I have in the house. I have been looking into an upgrade to either this or pay a little more for the dream machine pro and actually wire 2 access points.
    Would it be worth it to pay the extra for dream machine pro or settle for the alien?

    Thanks a head of time!

    • By “HD” do you mean the UniFi AP HD? How many devices do you currently have? The HD can easily handle 500+ devices without any issues. If it keeps restarting, maybe there is a problem with your power supply.

  11. Hello, I recently purchased 2 Alien’s and then decided to purchase a UDM pro to act as my firewall. Can I still use my alien and its mesh point connected to the UDM pro? Here is my future set up.

    Modem > UDM pro> Alien> Alien mesh > wired clients plugged into alien mesh.

    My end goal is to utilize the UDM pro’s firewall but still have the ability to use the alien as a wifi6 AP and utilize the other alien as a switch for my wired clients.

    • Hi Matthew,

      yeah, that should work. You’d have to configure and maintain the Aliens via the AmpliFi app (instead of the UniFi portal), but besides than, it should work.

      You can also set the Alien to bridge mode, thus reducing them to access points.


  12. MK..well written and thought out review ! What are your thoughts regarding the Asus ZenWifi mesh system? What have you heard? I’m looking to upgrade to a new router (currently using Apple Time Capsule) and looking at future proofing and going with an AX solution.

    • Hi Kevin,

      I don’t have any hands-on experience with the Asus ZenWifi AX mesh system, but on paper, it looks very nice and has a dedicated backhaul channel. The UI seems a bit clunky and I heard others complain about it being buggy.


  13. Great sure you have! You had me your past AE passion. I have been looking for the Apple of network equipment. I have a ranch house and we use the basement too. I would prefer to have just a router. I would have to assume that I should get the DM with 1 AP but it doesn’t have WiFi AX. :( My house is not wired up with network jacks but I have phone jacks. Haha. I’m tore and not sure what to do. I have a TP-link ax5400 in the basement and it does an okay job. I do have 1 kid and controls is nice to have and Tp-Link works nice without charging me.


    • Hey Joshua,

      a single device is tough if you have a lot of horizontal and vertical square footage to cover. So unless you can place the UDM right in the middle of the house, it might not be enough. Of course, if you add an AP, you should be good to go. When you do, make sure the UDM and AP are in line of sight of each other, since you can’t use Ethernet backhaul.

      Regarding Wi-Fi AX (Wi-Fi 6), I’m sure UniFi is working on that and once they’ve released a product, you could swap out the AP.

      Alternatively, you could look into the AmpliFi ALien (maybe as a mesh option). Check out my reviews using the links below to see if that would be a better fit.


  14. i am a bit disappointed tbh,
    5G is here, and at least here in my country data rates are super cheap, so doing a speed test using ethernet to my 5g modem lands me close to 1Gbps speeds, and still i cannot fully use it by any wireless equipment available


    • Hi Ahmed,

      I’m not sure why you are disappointed. By using Ethernet, you’re taking any equipment that’s between you and your ISP out of the equation. If you connect any wireless router via Ethernet to your ISP modem, you’ll also get full speeds. If you want to compare apples to apples, you’d have to connect wirelessly to your 5G router and compare that to the Alien. I’m pretty sure the Alien would win :)


      • He’s saying that his internet provided by 5G cellular service is faster than available WiFi. He takes your benchmarks here to mean that he cannot get 1Gbps on his wireless devices yet.

        He wants 1Gbps WiFi. Testing his 5G service via LAN proves he has nearly 1Gbps speeds available, but there’s not yet a way to get that same speed over the air to his devices.


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