Ubiquiti Labs wants to extend your home network and let you access your home internet connection everywhere you go with its new AmpliFi Teleport Kit. It includes a mesh router and an extender. The router is designed to be part of a mesh network, so you can add additional satellites inside your home to widen the coverage of your home network. The Teleport extender is similar to mesh satellites, except it can extend your connection worldwide by using any Wi-Fi network or mobile hotspot outside your home.
The Teleport creates a secure virtual private network (VPN) to the router, allowing you to use your home internet connection and access all your devices. With a VPN, you can edit documents, connect to your smart devices or bypass the site blockers on public Wi-Fi. You should trust your home network more than a public one, so being able to securely use your own internet while you are away from home is a great idea.
The AmpliFi Teleport Kit was originally launched via a Kickstarter campaign, but is now available for purchase for $230 (that converts to about £165 in the UK or AU$290). The "teleport" concept has lots of possibilities for people who travel often, but the router's performance is lacking.
Innovative design with touchscreen display
The AmpliFi HD (High Density) mesh router is a white cube with a light-up base and touchscreen display. You can cycle through screens showing the date, time, upload/download speeds, IP addresses, traffic and port statuses. If you leave it in plain view, it will look just like a digital clock. It weighs less than one pound and the back is populated with four gigabit LAN ports, one gigabit WAN port and a USB-C port for the AC power adapter.
There is an additional USB 2.0 port on back that can only be used to charge mobile devices right now. Ubiquiti Labs says a firmware update will enable other uses in the future. That's disappointing, since having a connected network storage device would be ideal when you're away from home.
The Teleport is a small, white plug-in device with one Ethernet port for a wired device and a reset button. The front has an LED ring that flashes during setup and stays on when it's connected. It's convenient for travelling, but would have been better if it had a rechargeable battery, instead of requiring an outlet for power.
Overall, the designs of both devices are simple, sleek and nice to look at, which seems to be the style with most new mesh devices. The touchscreen is nice, but I'm not sure how much you'll use it, since it is just a display and not as interactive as you would hope.
Setup was a breeze
Past AmpliFi devices had very simple setups and the Teleport Kit is no different. You can use an app or browser.
I connected the router to my modem with an Ethernet cable and chose to set it up with a browser. Once the router booted up, I connected to the network and opened a new browser window. It prompted me to change the network name and password, and I had the option to duplicate the password for the router login.
The last step was using the touchscreen, which asked if I wanted to update the firmware. You will most likely need to do this, but it only took about four minutes and played a sound when it was done. Setup through the AmpliFi app was just as easy and you can use an Android or iOS device.
Setting up the Teleport device was a little more complicated, but it comes with an easy-to-follow quick start guide. You need to sync it with your router, so make sure to set it up at your home first before travelling with it. It will work with any AmpliFi router, so if you already have one, you can just buy the standalone Teleport device for $100.
I plugged in the Teleport, connected to its Wi-Fi network (different from the router's home network) and was prompted to create a network name and password. The name should be different to your home network and I highly recommend taking the time to create a secure, complex password. One downfall of the Teleport device is that when you use it on another network, the password is the only security measure. If someone on the public network can hack it, they will have instant access to your entire home network and internet.
Using two mobile devices when setting up the Teleport will be helpful as well. I needed to pair the Teleport to the router, so on a single mobile device, I had to switch back and forth between the router's network and the Teleport's network. You will also have to tap the touchscreen display when pairing and turn on remote access by connecting the app to your Facebook or Google account.
After the Teleport pairs with the router, you are ready to use it. You just need to plug it in and connect your mobile device and the Teleport to a Wi-Fi network outside your home. It did warn me that enterprise wireless networks are not supported, so you may have issues trying to use it at your work. Public networks like hotels, coffee shops and libraries should be fine. It will then replicate a local connection and act as though you are on your home network. You can use only one Teleport device per router.