Ubiquiti Is Now Selling Direct From Their Website?

New Shop at UBNT, US only currently.

Obviously, you can buy Ubiquiti across the Internet, and there is not much of a dealer discount anyway. However, this seems to be the next step, cut off distributors entirely. Right now, the only two product lines I see are AirFiber and UniFi.


With the 'counterfeiting problem' the company has described, this may be one of the only ways to guarantee authentic product.

On the other hand, this burns the distributors who might now be motivated to move to a competitor or worse sell counterfeit products?

I don't know enough to be either for or against this move but it's risky!

No, won't make distributors happy. As much as we like Ubiquiti, we've been open to finding an alternative. QC seems to have been lacking last few times we've bought and I never liked the limted support. This might be an impetus for us.

Luis, what sort of QC issues have you had? I have limited Ubiquiti hands on (I have a UniFi for wireless in my house), so I'm cuirous.

Had some problems with some bridges causing IP conflict messages across our network when connecting them right out of the box. 3 or 4 computers would pop up the message at a time as soon as we connected a bridge. (We use mostly the regular and mini "loco" Nanostations.) Seemed to be some funky firmware issue that wrecked havoc. Then some that would not link for anything even when verifying configuration with UB support. You always get some "bad apples" from any product, Just seems we've been seeing a little more lately. I wouldn't say epidemic, though, but enough to cause us concern. And having to go through forum and email for support first is an annoyance.

The US is not Ubiquiti's cash cow - most of their money comes out of developing nations. They may just be trying to bump up their margins in a market that isn't amazingly important to them. UBNT already sells with basically no service and support, this is a logical next step.

Speaking as a guy who used to compete against UBNT every day....If I wanted to put a wireless link between my detached garage and the house so I can stream Pandora out there, I would buy Ubiquiti. If money/lives/safety/business/whatever depends on it, I'm going with a higher end manufacturer.

"If money/lives/safety/business/whatever depends on it, I'm going with a higher end manufacturer."

Hal - can you elaborate on that? I don't doubt there are differences between Ubiquiti and other brands, but what specifically mattered in your assessment? Is the difference truly in the technology/product, or in the support and availability of the manufacturer?

It's a little of both. I've replaced several UBNT networks with other manufacturers due to poor performance, but I've never been kicked out of an account because UBNT offered more. Their meshing capabilities are inefficient with less available bandwidth than other manufacturers. They seem to have figured out basic PTP and PTMP, but meshing is still black magic with UBNT, it would seem. They are loosely built on the 802.11x stack, which has serious security and stability limitations, if I understand it all correctly.

I think the bigger thing is service and support. If a Firetide or Fluidmesh or Motorola network is screwy, they will stand behind it and help you get it going. They will dig through your logs and do site surveys and help you get everything up an running. Go through the UBNT forums and look at the dates on the conversations. I've seen people struggling with issues for weeks and months with no resolution. Looking at many of the symptoms, my gut says a lot of these issues are nothing more than radios not mounted in a way to allow for an adequate fresnel zone. A quality manufacturer can look at system logs and tell you these things in moments.

"If a Firetide or Fluidmesh or Motorola network is screwy, they will stand behind it and help you get it going."

That's true but it's also like saying "The people at Nieman Marcus are so much more helpful and nice to me than the ones at Costco."

"Looking at many of the symptoms, my gut says a lot of these issues are nothing more than radios not mounted in a way to allow for an adequate fresnel zone."

I believe that. That's why Ubiquit seems to be particularly popular with experienced wireless techs who know what they are doing and don't need the expensive hand holding of traditional wireless vendors.

See various opinions in our "Favorite Wireless Surveillance Manufacturers".

Btw, to Hal's point about the US not being Ubiquiti's cash cow, here's an excerpt from their last 10K:

Note, that's in 1,000s USD so the total revenue is $353 million USD, North America is $88.3 million USD, etc.

Maybe not a cash cow but I wouldn't call it a cash donkey.

It's also worth noting that they are selling at MSRP. You can save 10% or so looking elsewhere. Shipping/handling charges are also very high. Not the first manufacturer I have seen do this. I don't think it will drastically hurt distributors. Whatever business they do steal they are now making a huge margin on.

I am not being snide here, but what does a distributor bring to the market in network gear like this?

Just an honest question.

We did a survey asking integrator's "What is the value of distributors?" You might find the pros and cons interesting.

It's also worth asking what the value is for manufacturers. They typically cite two factors:

  • Having someone else worry about taking payments, chasing down late payments, etc. (with a distributor, the manufacturer cuts down their direct customers).
  • Having someone else worry about the logistics of shipping out individual orders to customers (with a distributor, the integrator/customer complains to them about a few units being late, allowing the manufacturer not to deal with this headache).

That said, it's the Internet age. If you are an established brand like Ubiquiti, it's certainly worth considering selling direct over the Internet.

We recently completed a large wireless infrastructure installation project in our area (covers entire county) for fire prevention. We used a lot of Ubiquiti's for short range point to point links. The links are anywhere from building to building, to firestation to firestation; the longest links are a mile to mile and a half. Radios used for long range were from Radwin. We are certified with Firetide, Proxim, and Bridgewave so we are familiar with different types of radios.

The first set of radios went up a year ago and we have not had a single problem with any of the Ubiquit radios.

I do believe Ubiquiti is definitely putting pressure on the wireless companies that make "carrier" grade radios and try to compete in the ISM spectrum market. Engenius is another company with a good set of radios that can be used for point to point applications.

Hal, you tried to mesh them? I didn't think they had mesh routing capability other than maybe setting them up in WDS mode which is really not a true mesh. And if this mode worked with more than two radios, I would think they'd be very slow cause you're using a single radio to relay packets from units that are within the hearing/operating range of the radio.

I haven't tried to mesh them. I suppose "unavailable" is sort of like "inefficient X infinity".

For the sake of full disclosure, I used to run the western half of the US for Fluidmesh. I got paid to talk smack about Ubiquiti.....