Hello Alta Users!
I’ve recently been asked to give my opinion and review of the new AP6-Pro WiFi6 Dual Band AP
The unit comes in a sleek all black compact box with some bold images and text saying exactly what it is inside,
Whats in the Box?
Inside the box as soon as you open it you’ll find the white oval shaped AP snuggly fitted into the box and held in place with a small amount of foam on the lid and a plastic back cover
Beyond the unit you’ll also get the multi-lingual user guide to get you started as well as BOTH of the mounting options with fittings!
The plastic Wall/Ceiling mounting plate and the metal T-Rail mounting plate - Usually the T-Rail plate is an optional paid extra with certain vendors which was a nice bonus to see
Just note that it does not come with an injector - which for most deployments would be fine as generally it’ll be installed into a business which may have PoE switches with 48v PoE/PoE+ as standard,
In the home environment depending on how many AP’s are going in (I’d recommend at least 2 AP’s in an “average” UK 2 bedroom house) you may need to go and purchase an additional 48v PSU which must at minimum be 0.5a - If there’s a tech friendly house there might be a PoE switch there already.
General look and feel of the unit itself - Its a very robust unit, it’s got a little bit of weight to it but that’ll be down to the heatsink - but do watch out as the front of the AP is a little slippery and I almost had it slip out of my hand picking it up.
Power on and Adopting to the Cloud Management Portal
Getting started is very simple!
- Connect AP to PSU and Network (either switch or router)
- Connect laptop to the same LAN and ensure the AP has a DHCP lease - It’ll come up as “Alta” as a host name
- Log into the Cloud Management - If you haven’t already signed up and create an account
- Wait a few moments and the Cloud Management Portal detects the AP through the browser and awaits adoption
- Adopt the AP and benefit from the WiFi6 !
In my particular environment I’ve got a FTTP 550mb / 75mb service so I’ve already got a benchmark for what speeds I’m able to achieve “over the air” using my existing MikroTik cAP ax to my iPhone 14 Pro, Samsung S21+ and Lenovo Thinkbook 20SL with WiFi6 ax chipsets
Via my current setup which is:
FTTP > Fibre ONT > MikroTik RB4011 > MikroTik cAP ax
I generally see between 500 and 540mb depending on which speedtest server I test to in London at various times both during the day and evenings
The 2 setups I’ve tried were:
Same location as my cAP ax which is on my TV unit and also on a WiFi-Stand tripod at ceiling height - both in the corner of the room
The speeds and range from here were similar coverage to my existing AP in the same location, so it covers the whole of the living room, extends to the garden which is the external wall with window next to the AP location and outward to the front of the house through the Kitchen and upstairs to my bedroom’s - it does trail off so a 2nd AP upstairs would then give the complete coverage - It’s time like this I wish I had access to some WiFi survey hardware and software to map it properly!
The 2nd test was raising the unit in the exact same location but at ceiling height to avoid any physical obstacles which the lower position will have dampened.
The elevated position gave far better results to the first “range” test at low level - which goes to show to anyone who thinks leaving an AP on a table - usually will find it won’t go as far as if you wall or ceiling mount it - Best check the polar plots to see which might be better for what “direction” you want it to go which to be fair it is fairly well rounded in both polarities (bar going through itself with the heatsink obviously)
So overall the speeds I was getting was on par with the MikroTik cAP ax when tested against all 3 of my AX enabled devices, given internet speed is variable it was generally between 500 and 530 at a peak when I was watching the ethernet interface it was plugged into.
Cloud Management Portal
The Cloud Management Portal is quite well laid out making it very simple and quick to read the “headline” details on the Dashboard page
As mentioned earlier the adoption process was very simple - certainly the quickest adoption process I’ve seen to a cloud management portal I’ve seen for some time without the need for any DNS entries or direct SSH / Terminal set-inform’ing
The closest I can think of to a similar adoption process is the Juniper MIST adoption process where you scan a QR code to claim the device to the site your adopting
Getting the wireless aspect configured again was very easy to do, hit Settings and add in the SSID you want,
The clever aspect is the security/password process,
Having the ability to have a specific password set which will in turn determine what access you have to the internet in both speeds profiles and LAN access - This section is genius - Having the ability to segregate based on a password is a very clever way of doing it rather than having to fiddle around with Multi-SSID for specific task like “MyWiFi-Private” / “MyWiFi-Guest”
The device and application recognition is very good, it managed to work out what apps were actively being used and gives you a counter of how many - the only down side is not being able to have a full list to view - which no doubt will be on a roadmap somewhere
Overall it’s a very well built device for an initial product that Alta have released, I suspect it’ll we well received given it’s price point vs feature list it provides at the moment and I’m sure it’ll be quite popular when more users start deploying them in various settings with it working out of the box on both bands as well as the 5GHz ac / ax capabilites with little configuration required.
The only con’s which I have found have been the AP mounting process, I did find it a bit fiddly with how the mount is clipped in and did find it a bit difficult to do the right motion to tilt and click it in place - having a mounting tool to undo it would be handy but a thin flat blade screwdriver does work, my only concern is if it does need removing more than a few times it might start to pull out any wall mounting fixings
The IP rating does make it very much a if its outside make sure its well covered as the back is exposed with no gaskets but it does state this in the product description - if your familiar with the Ubiquiti AP’s, it’s similar to the back of the UAP-AC-Pro unit without the rubber bung
The management software is still being developed with a feature list being actively worked on and listen to by the Dev’s from the initial users so I suspect this will get better over time once more feedback has been given with feature requests
Features not tested:
Roaming / Hand off between AP’s as I’ve only got the single AP, so would be good to see how well the 802.11r/k/v and how well the mesh uplink is between AP’s
The mobile app for iPhone - will need to download the testing app and request the beta app to test but using a mobile browser it does lay it out OK based on screensize
I’m looking forward to seeing the new features as they come but given what I’ve seen so far of the Pro model - I’m sure the models going forward for true Extenernal deployments look to be interesting and exciting!
I hope you’ve found this review useful and please do give it a Like and a comment!
As a new user I can only add in one Embedded Media - further images from my testing can be found on my LinkedIn Posts