Amplifi Alien – The New Wi-Fi 6 Router from Ubiquiti

In this week’s blog we’re going to take a look at the new Wi-Fi 6 router from Ubiquiti – The AmpliFi Alien. With attractive performance features, this router could be great for a busy household working and learning from home as well as the intrepid gamer.

This Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 router brings a revolutionary Wi-Fi 6 benefit into your home along with an elegant design.

What are the key features of the AmpliFi Alien?
  • Wi-Fi 6 compatible
  • It has a scalable mesh system. This is great for gamers! The Wi-Fi 6 standard Mesh system can easily cover any home, providing 4K/8K UHD streaming and online gaming to multiple users in any room
  • It has true Gigabit mesh
  • An 8×8 super antenna system
  • You could get up to 4 times your current network capacity (compared to an AmpliFi HD)
  • Boost your coverage by up to twice your current network (compared to an AmpliFi HD)
  • Reduce battery drain in mobile devices
  • It has 2.4/5 GHz Wi-Fi 6 and 5 GHz Wi-Fi 5 radios
  • From this single unit, they deliver a total capacity of 7685Mbps and 16 spatial streams
  • Build a virtually unlimited Wi-Fi capacity within your home by easily meshing multiple units over the air
  • It has a convenient touchscreen which displays the network status and provides instant controls
  • The AmpliFi Alien has a single Gigabit internet interface and internal power supply
  • It is integrated with a LAN switch with 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • You can use Wi-Fi 6 for wireless connectivity and the LAN ports for local wired connectivity
  • It takes just one minute to set up using their easy-to-use app.

 

What performance features could make the AmpliFi Alien a good choice for remote working and home learning in a device heavy household?

There’s a lot of households across the UK that are suddenly finding themselves in a network nightmare at home. Families where both parents are working from home, plus multiple children doing home learning lead to multiple Zoom / Microsoft Teams / Google Meet video conferences all needing to happen at the same time. And this can cause some big issues with internet and Wi-Fi. The AmpliFi Alien has some performance features would be enticing for anyone currently in this predicament.

  • The Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien is optimised to provide your home network with the highest possible performance – Irrespective of how many users or devices are connected at the same time
  • The AmpliFI Alien can eliminate dead spots and increase the total capacity in your home network by 4 times through utilising MU-MIMO and OFDMA for communication across 12 Wi-Fi 6 spatial streams
  • Got a video meeting you just cannot have interrupted by lag or loss of video? The AmpliFi Alien has 5Hz radio with Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) speeds which you can choose to dedicate to performance critical devices
  • Using the above features can help you to avoid competing for bandwidth with any other devices on your home network
Sounding good, but worried you don’t have the technical know-how to set something like this up?

The AmpliFi Alien comes with the AmpliFi App – A simple app that allows you to set up your network in just a minute. It’s user friendly yet full of controls and statistics to enable you to configure the AmpliFi Alien for your environment.

For more information and detailed specifications on the Ubiquiti AmpliFi Alien, head to their website.

What other products are in the Ubiquiti AmpliFi range?

The AmpliFi Alien is the latest router that Ubiquiti have added to their extensive range of Wi-Fi products. You can find out more about their range of products by heading to their website, plus see real-life reviews of how Ubiquiti AmpliFi products have changed home networks for the better including all the stats.

 

We don’t know about you, but we’re pretty excited to see the AmpliFi Alien in action!

 

 

4G Broadband and the Teltonika RUT950 Industrial Cellular Router

If you live in a rural area, you may know only too well how slow the BT Openreach service can be. And we all know how frustrating patchy Wi-Fi can be, especially when so many of us are currently relying on it for work, home learning and socialising.

We’ve had quite a few clients recently that have asked us to install 4G broadband as a more reliable alternative to the slow BT Openreach service they’ve had previously.

The really great thing about 4G broadband is that we can use our equipment to test whether it will work for you before fitting any kit.

It’s becoming a more popular choice for home Wi-Fi networks, so we thought we would share with you our top product for 4G broadband installations – The Teltonika RUT950 4G LTE Wi-Fi Dual-SIM Router.

 

What’s it all about?

Here’s where we’re going to get technical. To skip past the tech jargon, scroll to the next section where we explain why the Teltonika RUT950 is our preferred choice for 4G broadband installations.

This industrial cellular router can be used both as a backup in-case your normal broadband fails, or as your main internet source. It guarantees a reliable internet connection with high data throughout (the amount of successfully moved data, usually in Mbps) and data redundancy (permits the correction of errors).

Connectivity

  • 4G/LTE (Cat 4), 3G, 2G.

 

WAN Failover

  • Automatic switch to available backup connection.

 

Wi-Fi

  • Wireless Access Point with Hotspot functionality. This router can support upto 100 simultaneous connections. Perfect if you’re currently a family of 2 working parents sitting on Zoom calls with 2 teenagers needing to be on virtual lessons via Teams! You can also balance your internet traffic over multiple WAN connections.

 

Dual Sim

  • With auto failover, backup WAN and other switching scenarios. If one SIM has a weak signal, reaches its data limit, has no network or network is denied, the data connection fails, or the SIM becomes idle, the router will automatically switch to the other SIM to limit disruption to signal. Custom data limits can be set up for both SIMs.

 

Ethernet

  • X4 Ethernet interfaces with VLAN (Virtual LAN) functionality. Ethernet adaptions can come in really handy, especially at the moment when households are fighting over their connection.

 

RMS

  • Compatible with Teltonika remote management system, which makes for simple and secure monitoring by us, for you and your network.
  • RutOS is a unified operating system that works across all of the Teltonika Network routers. Being powered by RutOS makes this cellular router highly secure and easily customisable.

 

Security

  • Unlimited configuration and pre-configured firewalls. WPA2 Enterprise (Wi-Fi Protected Access – Still considered the gold standard for wireless network security). Attack prevention. Mobile quota control.

For more detailed information and the complete specification on the Teltonika RUT950 Industrial Cellular 4G LTE Wi-Fi Router, you can head to their website.

 

Why is this product our preferred choice?

This 4G router enables us to have remote access to the network. This means that should any problems arise, we can provide support to our clients from where we are, rather than having to go to their premises.

The Dual-SIM functionality means that there is a backup should one of them fail, giving the client resiliency and reliability.

The units are powered by an operating system called RuTOS. This interface, a little bit like the way you use your smartphone, means that the manufacturer can send through newsletters and updates when new features have been added to the operating system.

Essentially, it’s a really powerful bit of kit, and well trusted by our Wi-Fi experts and engineers.

If you are struggling with a slow BT Openreach connection and would like to find out more about 4G broadband, head to our website. Or you can give our Wi-Fi experts a call and we can chat through whether 4G would be a good option for you.

Optimise Your Home Network for Remote Learning and WFH

Got network issues at home? Haven’t we all. Suddenly the majority of households are relying on their Wi-Fi a lot more.

 

Many of us are now working from home – We’re sat on Microsoft Teams, Google Meet or Zoom. Video calls for work aren’t the only thing clogging up your network – Odds are you’ve also got children sitting on virtual lessons, learning remotely.

We’ve gone from using our broadband to stream movies, scroll social media, send some emails and play games to families all using the bandwidth at the same time for multiple video conferencing all at once. Plus all those leisure activities on top!

So what can we do about it?

Understand Your Bandwidth

Here’s a little metaphor for bandwidth, in case you’re not familiar. Imagine you’re drinking through a straw. If you’re slurping on a diet coke, then it’s a simple suck. If it’s a milkshake you’re drinking then you’re either going to need more suction, or a bigger straw. Coke is speedy, milkshare can be slow.

If you’re sending a quick text-based email, it won’t need much bandwidth. If you want to press play on a 4K video and watch it immediately, then you’re going to need a bit more bandwidth.

Right now, with Zooms and other video conferencing taking centre stage in our home networks, we’re needing both upload and download bandwidth. For effective video conferencing you need both upload and download bandwidth capacity (you’re watching and transmitting video at the same time so you need Mbps both up and down).

Try doing a speed test (upload and download). To handle 2 or 3 Zooms at once, you’ll need around 11Mbps upload speed. Yo can also talk to your ISP to check how much upload bandwidth you have on your current plan. .

What Is Your ISP Giving You?

The more capacity you have, the bigger your bill will be.

If you are really struggling with your network, then consider chceking your plan with your ISP, and if needed, upgrade it to include more upload bandwidth. It’s also worth noting that you should also make sure that your ISP is capable of delivering these bandwidth promises. Most speeds to vary and are rarely guaranteed.

You may also want to check whether your ISP is ‘throttling’ you. If you are using (or trying to use) too much data, they may be restricting how much milkshake gets through your straw by biting on the end of it. Sometimes there is the option to pay a fee to stop them throttling you.

QUICK TIPS
  • Check your plan with your ISP
  • Consider upgrading bandwidth, if possible
  • Check you’re not being throttled
  • Check if your ISP offer dedicated fibre lines to each house or whether it’s shared between a cluster of homes

What If You Can’t Upgrade Your Plan To Get More Bandwidth?

Sometimes it’s not as straight forward as just upgrading your plan. It may be too expensive, or it may not even be possible in your location. Thankfully there are some things you can control within your home.

Let’s think about the devices that may be taking up bandwidth, but may not be needed all the time.

  • Smartphones – If you’re working on a video call or doing remote learning, then you probably don’t need your phone. It’s always doing things in the background. Switch them to Airplane mode when they’re not being used, or you know there are several of you trying to use video.
  • Smart TV’s – Let’s face it, Netflix and productivity don’t really go hand-in-hand (unless your Toddler is watching it while you work!). Any TV’s that are not in use, need to be powered down (not in sleep mode).
  • Wi-Fi enabled smart devices – Our homes are full of these nowadays. Anything using WI-Fi and running in the background can be switched off to try and save as much bandwidth as possible.
QUICK TIPS
  • Create a video schedule for your family and try where possible to avoid conflicts (both online, and offline…)
  • Schedule back-ups and auto-updates for during sleep time
  • Ban Netflix etc at capacity-critical times

What if none of this helps much – What then?

Consider Getting Wired

There is another way to optimise your home network – And that’s to run wires with ethernet cables.

A wired connection is always going to provide you with more reliability. It’s usually faster than wireless too!

We’re not suggesting installing wires all over your house – The situation we find ourselves in currently is only temporary. But if you’re happy to run cables along your skirting boards for a couple of months then great!

QUICK TIPS
  • If you can work close to your router then you can keep costs down by using a simple and relatively short ethernet cable from router to laptop.
  • If there’s no improvement when wired in, consider checking if your router is working how it should be.

For more ways to troubleshoot Wi-Fi problems at home, check out our previous blogs. You might find these ones particularly helpful!

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

When Should I Use an Ethernet Cable?

Common Wi-Fi Problems and How to Fix Them

 

Staying Connected for Remote Learning

 

Staying Connected for Remote Learning

The importance of being well-connected in 2020 is continuing into 2021 – No surprises there!

This week has seen the nation face another complete lockdown, with the majority of primary and secondary school pupils back to remote learning from home.

But what about all the families that can’t afford internet at home, or don’t have enough data for their children’s home-learning needs?

If you are home-schooling but can’t afford broadband or the additional mobile data needed to meet remote learning requirements, you may be able to get government assistance.

Under a new temporary scheme, schools, trusts and local authorities are able to request an increase in mobile data for those children and young people who meet the criteria.

Disadvantaged children can get help to get online via free mobile data increases or 4G wireless routers. These will be provided by the Department for Education and can be applied for by schools, trusts and local authorities.

What is the criteria for getting help with internet for remote learning?

Schools, trusts and local authorities can ask for support if each of the following applies:

  • Your school is experiencing disruption to face to face education
  • You are responsible for disadvantaged children who do not have access to the internet at home
  • Your school has been invited to order laptops and tablets
How can I increase my data allowance on my mobile phone to use for remote learning?

On certain networks, this temporary scheme allows mobile data to be increased. The mobile ohone can then be used as a hotspot so that other devices can also connect to the internet, helping to aid young people to access remote education, if their face-to-face learning has been disrupted like so many have.

This support is available to all schools with children in years 3 to 11 and is currently available on the following networks

  • Tesco Mobile
  • EE
  • Three
  • Smarty
  • Virgin Mobile
  • Sky Mobile

You can find out more information on how to ask for a mobile data increase by clicking here.

What if increasing mobile data isn’t an option?

In some cases, increasing mobile data may not be a viable option. In these situations schools can request 4G wireless routers.

Schools, trusts and authorities in England can ask for 4G wireless routers for:

  • Disadvantaged children in years 3 to 11
  • Who are experiencing disruption to face-to-face education
  • Who do not have internet access at home

More information on how to go about ordering a 4G wireless router through this government scheme can be found here.

 

The government website has plenty of information regarding internet access for remote learning and how to go about requesting support for these needing access: https://get-help-with-tech.education.gov.uk/internet-access

 

If you already have internet in place, but are finding that it’s not quite working well enough for the online lessons, maybe one of our previous blogs can help.

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

Access to the internet has never been more important than now – For social interaction with friends and family, team meetings on Zoom and virtual lessons on Microsoft Teams and Google classrooms.

Here at Geekabit we know it’s so imperative that we stay connected. You might not need the government help, but could do with getting your home Wi-Fi up to scratch. Or perhaps you’re intrigued about 4G mobile broadband and want to know if it’s right for you – Please get in touch and our Wi-Fi experts will be happy to help.

Top 10 Wi-Fi Blogs of 2020

We thought we’d round up the year with our top 10 Wi-Fi blogs of 2020 – As chosen by you, our readers!

There was the obvious popular reads, (cough, Covid, cough) which we’ve opted to leave out – We don’t need to be reading any more of that right now!

Instead we’ve focused on the most popular reads from our Wi-Fi blog – There are definitely some that were a hit due to the nature of this years acute Wi-Fi needs, as well as some great general Wi-Fi reads as well. Enjoy!

 

#10. In at number 10 was ‘What’s New In The World of Wi-Fi’ including the much-talked-about Wi-Fi 6, as well as smart Wi-Fi and cloud management.

What’s new in the world of Wi-Fi: Smart Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6 and Cloud Management

#9. We don’t need 9 guesses as to why this reached our Top 10. How Do I get Wi-Fi in my Garden?

What’s new in the world of Wi-Fi: Smart Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6 and Cloud Management

#8. Another unsurprising one – The majority of the nation suddenly had an overwhelming need to sort out their home Wi-Fi with very little notice. Here is ‘Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi’.

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

 

#7. Two from earlier in the year, these blogs were joint in at number 7. From ‘The Weird and Wonderful Ways People Believe their Wi-Fi is Being Affected’ to ‘When should I Use an Ethernet Cable?’

Troubleshooting Your Home Wi-Fi

When Should I Use an Ethernet Cable?

 

#6. This one is never not useful – Simple and Secure Management of Your Wi-Fi Network Access.

Simple and Secure Management of your Wi-Fi Network Access

#5. Clearly this one was popular before most of London ground to a halt. At least those using the Underground might have had phone reception! At number 5 it’s ‘All aboard! 4G, calling at London Underground.’

All Aboard! 4G, Calling At: London Underground

 

#4. Let’s face it, we never want people stealing our Wi-Fi at any time. It’s easy to see why this made the top 5. ‘Who is stealing my Wi-Fi and how can I block them?’

Who is Stealing my Wi-Fi and How Can I Block Them?

 

#3. Joint 3rd place was ‘What Does 2020 Have in Store for the Wi-fi world?’ (We might have predicted what would happen with Wi-Fi, but we certainly didn’t predict the est of 2020 that’s for sure! Sharing third place was a way to use 5G to replace your Wi-Fi home hardware – ‘This Tiny 5G Router Could Replace All of Your Homes Wi-Fi Hardware.’

What Does 2020 Have in Store for the Wi-Fi World?

Tiny 5G Router could replace all of your home’s Wi-Fi hardware

 

#2. Clearly you like a bit of news – This headline almost made the top spot! ‘Threatening Wi-Fi Name Gets Couple Kicked Off Flight.’

Threatening Wi-Fi Name Gets Couple Kicked Off Flight

 

#1. It’s not hard to see why this was the most popular Wi-Fi blog of the year. No one is immune to the frustration caused by Wi-Fi issues (least of all in 2020 when you’re trying to host a Zoom meeting) so here it is – Your favourite blog of 2020. ‘Common Wi-Fi Problems and How to Fix Them.’

Common Wi-Fi Problems and How to Fix Them

Happy New Year! Here’s to 2021 – Let’s hope we can be better connected in the real world as well as the Wi-Fi world.