Introduction Those who use or own Ubiquiti UniFi products mostly are familiar with the UniFi Controller. It is software used to manage all of your UniFi gear in a single, beautiful web-based dashboard. Ubiquiti sells their UniFi Cloud Key (affiliate link) if you wish to have a dedicated device, but you can also install it on your own hardware such as a Raspberry Pi (affiliate link). You can save a little bit of money by using a Raspberry Pi (around $50-60 versus $90-100 depending on the accessories purchased for the RPi), and you also have the flexibility to run additional software on the same device.
One great feature of enterprise ready wireless access points is VLAN support. This feature allows greater control over the flow of data on your wireless network as with wired networks. Quality of service controls may be applied, the broadcast domain of the wireless network may be reduced, and traffic on the network may be isolated. VLAN support on your wireless access point also allows you to extend your wired VLAN networks to your wireless VLAN networks.
For my guest wireless network, I like the idea of all of the network devices on the guest network to be isolated from one another. Since the guest network should be used for visitors and other untrusted devices, it makes sense to restrict communication between the devices to improve security. Even though captive portals are a pretty cool feature that can provide a “wow” factor for guests that log onto your guest network, I have read where the captive portal on UniFi wireless access points can reduce the throughput of the guest network.
Consumer routers Most everyone should be familiar with the standard consumer wireless router. Ideally the router should be placed in a central location in the home. However, that is not always practical depending on the location of the cable/phone line coming into the home, the floorplan of the home, and the williningness/ability to run cables to the ideal location. Depending the location of the router, the size of the home, and the type of construction used in the home, wifi performance is often poor in certain areas of the home.