Amplifi Alien Wifi 6 Router vs Orbi vs Zenwifi

With the emerge of wifi 6 technology being applied to wifi devices, almost all networking vendors are introducing products based on wifi 6 technology. Ubiquiti introduces new wifi-6 mesh wifi system – the Amplifi Alien. How good is it compared with Orbi rbk852 mesh wifi 6 system and Zenwifi XT8 mesh wifi 6 system?

Alien is designed with a cylindrical build with touch screen interface and LED indicator at the bottom, similar to Orbi Voice, but the Alien is not equipped with Alexa voice assistant. The Alien place the antenna array on the top of the cylindrical body which allows optimal signal distribution, the higher the antenna the better the signal distribution.

Ubiquiti Amplifi Alien mesh wifi system
Ubiquiti Amplifi Alien mesh wifi system

Amplifi Alien vs Orbi vs Zenwifi

Unlike Orbi which distinguishes which one is the router unit and which one is the satellite unit that needs to add when you need to extend the coverage, you can also add Alien router unit like Zenwifi to increase coverage. Alien router can be joined together where the second router is referred to as RAMP (router as mesh point) even though the Amplifi Alien has a special satellite called Alien Meshpoint that is not equipped with LAN port.

Comparison tables

The following two tables represent spec comparison tables for the three products. Table 1 shows you spec comparison between Amplifi Alien and Orbi, while table 2 shows you spec comparison between Alien and Zenwifi xt8.

Wifi

These three products are simultaneous three band mesh wifi systems, however the bandwidth of each band in each product is different. Pay attention to the wifi speeds row on the table which is the maximum spec when the client is also based on wifi 6 for both Orbi and Zenwifi. There are already several PCIe card models based on wifi 6 for either desktops or laptops. See also wifi 6 ax PCIe adapters.

Netgear Orbi RBK852 mesh wifi system
Netgear Orbi RBK852 mesh wifi system

There is another side that may be different from the way Alien combines radio bands and form a wifi network with single SSID name or you also separate names for each band. Aliens divide one band @ 5GHz specifically for wifi 5 clients, while @ 2.4GHz band and the other @ 5GHz bands specifically for wifi 6 clients.

Backhaul link

In 802.11ax, Alien spares for clients bandwidth 1148 Mbps @2.4GHz band + 4804 Mbps @5GHz band, no dedicated backhaul but shared with wifi 6 clients. You also have optional wired backhaul and free up all the three radio bands for clients.

Asus Zenwifi XT8
Asus Zenwifi XT8

When you extend the coverage by adding another Alien router instead of Alien Mesh point, you have optional wired backhaul instead of wifi by enabling the second Alien router as the RAMP (Router as a Mesh Point). By adding Alien mesh point you don’t have wired backhaul option because Alien Meshpoint doesn’t have Ethernet Port. See also help how to configure Alien’s wired backhaul.   

If you compare with Zenwifi XT8, see that you have option which @5GHz band is used as dedicated backhaul link, and wired backhaul is also available.

Orbi provides the two bands @ 5GHz with the same 2,400Mbps bandwidth and one of them is used as a dedicated backhaul link between the Orbi router and Orbi Satellite.

Port interfaces

These three products offer different number of Ethernet ports. Alien and Orbi offer the same number of 5 Gigabit Ethernet ports, 4 Gigabit Ethernet for LAN ports and one Gigabit Ethernet for WAN port. However, Orbi offers a WAN port that supports 2.5Gbps port that is ready for high speed modem WAN connections or Fiber optic services. Meanwhile Zenwifi only offers 3x Gigabit Ethernet LAN ports and 1x Gigabit Ethernet WAN ports; moreover Zenwifi offers 1x USB 3.1 gen 1 port.

Differences or similarities can be learned from each complete datasheet of each product that you can follow by clicking the product link below later.

Table 1 Amplifi Alien vs Orbi

Model Amplifi Alien (router + mesh point) Orbi rbk852 wifi 6 mesh wifi (2pack)
Wifi technology Simultaneous tri-band ax7685 with 16 spatial streams from a single Amplifi Alien unit. 2.4 GHz: 4×4 5 GHz: 4×4 (low-band) + 8×8 (high band) Simultaneous tri-band ax6000 with 20 streams
Wifi speeds 1148 Mbps @2.4GHz, 1733 Mbps (low band)/ 4804 Mbps (high band) @5GHz band 802.11ax: Up to 1200Mbps @2.4GHz up to 2,400 Mbps @ 5GHZ-1 up to 2,400 Mbps @ 5GHZ-2
Coverage Unspecified specifically, but said 2x Amplifi HD range Up to 5,000 sq ft / 2,500 sq ft /unit
Backhaul link 5GHz band (ax) and optional wired Ethernet backhaul link when connect to other Alien router 5GHz (2400Mbps†) dedicated backhaul link
Antennas (1) Internal Dual-Band Metal Stamp with 12 Polarity Eight (8) high performance internal antennas with high-powered amplifiers
Ethernet Ports Gigabit Ethernet: (1) WAN, (4) LAN 2.5 Gbps WAN port and 4 LAN Gigabit Ethernet ports
USB Port N/A N/A
Processor 2.2 GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core CPU Quad-Core 2.2 GHz processor with 512MB NAND Flash and 1GB RAM
Display Touch screen display on Router; Resolution: 274 x 1268, 279 ppi N/A
Price $595.00 $599.00

Table 2 Amplifi Alien vs Zenwifi

Model Amplifi Alien (router + mesh point) Asus Zenwifi XT8 (2pack)
Wifi technology Simultaneous tri-band ax7685 with 16 spatial streams from a single AmpliFi Alien unit. 2.4 GHz: 4×4 5 GHz: 4×4 (low-band) + 8×8 (high band) Tri-band mesh wifi 6 ax6600 Mbps with 12 streams
Wifi speeds 1148 Mbps @2.4GHz, 1733 Mbps (low band)/ 4804 Mbps (high band) @5GHz band 802.11ax: Up to 574 Mbps @2.4GHz up to 1201 Mbps @ 5GHZ-1 up to 4804 Mbps @ 5GHZ-2
Coverage 2x Amplifi HD range (6,000 sq ft) Up to 5,500 sq ft
Backhaul link 5GHz band (ax) and optional wired Ethernet backhaul link when connect to other Alien router You can configure which 5GHz band is used as backhaul link, or wired Ethernet backhaul
Antennas (1) Internal Dual-Band Metal Stamp with 12 Polarity 6x internal antennas
Ethernet Ports Gigabit Ethernet: (1) WAN, (4) LAN 1x RJ45 2.5G BaseT for WAN x 1, 3x RJ45 Gigabits BaseT for LAN x 3
USB Port N/A 1x USB 3.1 gen 1
Processor 2.2 GHz 64-Bit Quad-Core CPU 1.5GHz quad core processor with 256MB Flash + 512 MB RAM
Display Touch screen display on Router; Resolution: 274 x 1268, 279 ppi N/A
Price $595.00 $449.99

Adding a screen to the Alien router can add to the beauty of this product, at a glance you can stare at the current time shown through the screen and there is also a kind of alert when there is a new firmware ready to update.

Prices are always fluctuating, to see current price in Amazon click the following product’s link below including spec’s details.

Related Products

You may also like new line of Deco – TP-Link Deco S4 vs Nokia vs Zenwifi – an affordable mesh wifi system offered by TP-link following its success with Deco M5. Or you may also like affordable new comer Rock Space AC1200 mesh system and security based mesh wifi – the Gryphon Guardian mesh wifi system.

For wifi 6 based router in low end level, you may consider Netgear Rax20 ax1800 and Archer ax20.

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