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Wireless Reviews

Wireless Performance

Neither the A40 nor A60 are Wi-Fi Certified. Both were tested using our Revision 10 Wireless Test process using 6.3.14 firmware. Note this version is a public beta, which was offered as an upgrade when I installed each AP. Channel 6 and 20 MHz bandwidth mode were used on 2.4 GHz, channel 40 and 80 MHz bandwidth mode on 5 GHz.

The photo below shows the A60 (or A60) in the octoScope test chamber. I raised it up a bit so that the chamber antennas were ensured an optimum signal.

Open Mesh A40/A60 in test chamber

Open Mesh A40/A60 in test chamber

These are the first access points tested with the Revision 10 process. Since I knew you'd ask, I retested Ubiquiti's UAP-AC Lite and UAP- AC Pro. Each was upgraded to 3.8.6.6650 firmware and the CloudKey controller to run Unifi 5.5.20.

The 2.4 GHz downlink plot shows all products following a similar "waterfall" curve, but with the Open Mesh APs having a slight advantage at the lower attenuation values (higher signal strengths). But by the time signal levels get near cutoff, all products are tracking in a relatively tight band. Still, advantage goes to Open Mesh for this benchmark.

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

The 2.4 GHz uplink plot shows more spread among the products, with the three stream Ubiquiti and Open Mesh APs having a throughput advantage over the two-stream versions. Since all tests are done with a two-stream client, the effect is likely from the 3x3 radios' extra diversity and receive gain.

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

2.4 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz downlink results present a stark contrast between Open Mesh and Ubiquiti.

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Downlink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Digging into the client statistics produced by the octoScope Pal client device, it looks like Ubiquiti's client firmware is getting higher link rates from similar signal levels (RSSI)...

Ubiquiti UAP-AC-Lite client statistics

Ubiquiti UAP-AC-Lite client statistics

...while Open Mesh is getting lower link rates.

Open Mesh A40 client statistics

Open Mesh A40 client statistics

5 GHz uplink results show Ubiquiti isn't perfect, though. Oddly, the 2x2 AC Lite does significantly outpaces the 3x3 AC Pro. The Pal statistics, however, don't show a big difference between up and downlink RSSI and link rate for the AC Pro. So perhaps something else is afoot.

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

5 GHz Uplink Throughput vs. Attenuation

Our peak throughput benchmarks set the octoScope Pal to 4x4 mode, remove all attenuation and multi-path emulator and run 8 simultaneous connections. I don't pay much attention to these benchmarks, since they have meaning only for folks with 4x4 devices, which would be a few PCIe-based desktop adapters and folks who run 4 stream bridges. But here are the results anyway.

The higher 2.4 GHz peak results are turned in by 3x3 APs, with the Open Mesh A60 beating the Ubiquiti UAP-AC-PRO on downlink and also on up.

2.4 GHz peak throughput

2.4 GHz peak throughput

For the 5 GHz peak tests both two and three stream Ubiquitis beat their Open Mesh counterparts. Looking at the Pal stats showed the Open Meshes didn't reach the peak rates on both up and downlink in each test.

5 GHz peak throughput

5 GHz peak throughput

Closing Thoughts

In the relatively brief time I spent with CloudTrax, I found I liked it better than Ubiquiti's UniFi. The features felt better organized and I didn't find myself getting lost as I sometimes did while navigating UniFi. The other plus is that Open Mesh's mesh really works and doesn't feel like a work in progress. I'll be revisiting both the A40 and A60 in three node mesh configurations in a follow-on review.

Of course, the main negative for some prospective buyers is Open Mesh's cloud-only management option. If you can't deal with that, then Open Mesh isn't for you. But if you are looking for an alternative to Ubiquiti's Unify and APs and can get past depending on a cloud service for management, then you should give Open Mesh a serious look.

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