The Bottom Line
- + UniFi OS
- + 2 PoE LAN ports
- + Price
- - Limited to Gigabit WAN/LAN
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
In early 2022, Ubiquiti silently revamped its gateway lineup to include the Dream Router, a unit we finally were able to pick up ourselves for review. This is a small form factor gateway or "router" built off the rather large success of the Dream Machine.
Hardware for this unit gives us a dual-core Cortex A53 operating at 1.3GHz that is paired with 2GB of memory. WAN and LAN give us a total of five ports, with all four gigabit ports going towards LAN and two of the four supporting PoE with a power budget of 15w per port.
Wi-Fi is a bit interesting and required more research on our part, but we did figure out the UDR is a hybrid device featuring a 4x4 WiFI5 radio at 80MHz, allowing 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 1700Mbps on the 5GHz band. Alternatively, you can enable a 2x2 WiFI6 radio for 160MHz support, giving you throughput of up to 2.4GBps. Additionally, Ubiquiti includes a microSD slot for onboard storage, designed for those who want to deploy UniFi Protect and its cameras via the onboard PoE ports.
The MSRP for the UniFi Dream Router comes in at $199.99 with a one-year warranty.
Packaging and Hardware
The UDR was delivered in retail packaging, which included an image of the router on the front, a bit of branding on the sides, and the port layout on the back.
Included with the router were the power cord and reading materials.
The router is sleek and includes a small screen on the front, similar to the Amplifi-HD.
On the rear of the unit, you will find four LAN ports and one WAN port. The bottom two LAN ports support PoE. Up top, you will find the microSD slot supporting cards larger than 128GB.
Software and Setup
The setup for the Dream Router uses the UniFi app and a few minutes of your time. Once complete, you have the dashboard above, offering information about your ISP and the quality of Wi-Fi.
Moving through the app, we have an integrated speed test that can aid in the setup of QoS. We picked up 500/24.
Further, we have a full client list and their connection quality.
Within each device, you can see the quality of the Wi-Fi connection if using one, along with the network and signal quality.
Further features include a statistics tab at the bottom that shows a traffic overview along with the most active clients at the bottom.
If we swap over the Wi-Fi Stats, you can see how many devices are connected with great, good, and poor signals.
Into the settings menu, UI has included one of the most complete solutions I've ever seen with your basic options for configuring Wi-Fi and Internet, but furthering this by adding VPN, firewall, and routing tables.
We first check the Wi-Fi AP settings, allowing you to configure both the 2.4 and 5GHz band channel width and transmit power.
Moving to the Networks tab, you can enable any of the features seen in the above image.
VPN allows the setup of a server or client along with site-to-site configuration.
Firewall includes options for identifying traffic and devices and an ad-blocker. At the bottom, you also have a more typical option for port forwarding.
The routing tab allows us to set up static and traffic routes if needed.
Last, the system tab offers the ability to back up your configuration and update the UDR.
Advanced includes options for further monitoring via SNMP, data retention, and WiFiman.
WiFiman is a secondary app that helps in placing your UDR or AP within your home. It shows a live connectivity graph at the top and latency to several servers at the bottom.
Test System, Results, and Final Thoughts
Test System and Results
- System: Lenovo ThinkStation P360 Ultra
- Wi-Fi: Intel Killer AX1675
- OS: Microsoft Windows 11 Pro (buy from Amazon)
Testing began with the 2.4GHz band, the UDR pulling 127Mbps downstream and 190Mbps upstream.
5GHz was quite a bit better, with the UDR pulling close to the Amplifi Alien with 812Mbps downstream and 891 Mbps upstream.
Honestly, I've gone through several routers personally over the past year that have left me searching for something better. Most notable was the WRX560, which was a fantastic solution at first but then developed issues, causing it to crash every time certain devices connected - this put me into search mode, and that's where I found the Dream Router.
Being quietly deployed a year ago, the UDR has been a breath of fresh air from the start. Setup was very quick with the UniFi app; Ubiquiti uses Bluetooth for setup, making the entire process much easier and hassle-free over others that make you connect to a default Wi-Fi network and then jump through hoops to finish the setup.
The hardware is quite good overall. The Cortex A53 is quite common among routers and is even used by Qualcomm and MediaTek in their client solutions. On the flip side, we are disappointed by the UDR's lack of multi-gig as it limits the throughput coming in from your ISP for those with higher-speed broadband connections.
Wi-Fi itself, while being an odd hybrid design, is fantastic. We had no issues in testing or use and have had any problems with stability with the router capable of handling over 300 clients. In testing, the UDR performed very similar to the Amplifi Alien. We picked up 127/190 Mbps with 2.4GHz and 812/891 on the 5GHz band.
The big seller of this router is the software. UniFiOS, while likely cut down from the UDM, offers a fantastic set of features for the power user like myself, while maintaining the most common set of basic options for the home user.
Even better, Ubiquiti has priced this solution extremely well. At $199.99 MSRP, it's one of the most complete solutions available on the market regarding software, with the ability to add PoE devices like security cameras via UniFi Protect, taking advantage of the onboard microSD storage.