Ubiquiti Networks has been making all kinds of networking products since the early 2000s, it started out producing high powered wireless cards for the wireless internet market and products for wireless community internet and wireless internet operators. But since then it has expanded into enterprise networking products, networking cameras and a much, much larger portfolio of products.
One of the most popular lines Ubiquiti makes is UniFi. We covered what UniFi is and the entire product line at the time last year, in our ‘Ubiquiti UniFi Product Line Guide 2019’ but we’ll give a brief overview here.
What is UniFi?
UniFi is Ubiquiti’s line of WiFi APs, firewalls, network switches that come with and without PoE – and also Ubiquiti’s VoIP phones and cameras. The main section of UniFi is just the APs, firewalls and switches and these are managed by the UniFi Controller.
This means every individual device, the WiFi APs, the firewall, the switches are not managed individually, everything is managed though a single pane of glass, the UniFi Controller.
We cover the UniFi Controller more in depth in our ‘Ubiquiti UniFi Product Line Guide 2019’ but you essentially have to have another device or service, be it the official Cloud Key from Ubiquiti, hosting the controller on your PC or going to the Cloud with HostiFi.
So, what’s a Dream Machine?
All the above was to better understand what the Dream Machine (UDM) is. The UDM comes in two flavours, the Dream Machine and the Dream Machine Pro.
The Dream Machine is an all in one unit, reminiscent of an Apple AirPort Extreme, but this has a firewall built in, a gigabit switch, Cloud Key and a WiFi AP.
The Dream Machine Pro is a 1U rack device, has a much more powerful firewall, 8 port switch and no WiFi AP. The thought being, as this is a rack device, it won’t be placed in the best position for WiFi coverage so external UniFi APs will be needed. The UDM-Pro also has a 3.5-inch tray for a hard drive, this is because it can also run UniFi Protect, the CCTV Surveillance software Ubiquiti makes.
To learn more about UniFi Protect, we have a guide here.
So the Dream Machine takes all the individual products that makes up a UniFi set up and combines them into one pretty affordable package.