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UniFi Cloud key review

Published onby Dries (edited on by Iron)

At UniHosted, we've used a lot of different UniFi devices (if not all of them) in our network setups.

While our experience with Ubiquiti have generally been positive (we started a business around their products), we did encounter quite a few challenges with the UniFi Cloud Key.

We wrote this to share our experience and propose some alternatives. Let's dive in!

Table of Contents

UniFi Cloud Key

The UniFi Cloud Key is a central device designed to run UniFi applications, like UniFi Network (for network devices), UniFi Protect (for surveillance systems), UniFi Talk, UniFi Access, and UniFi ID. We'll focus on UniFi Network here.

This is especially great if you don’t want to install your own controller and don’t want to have anything to do with routing and firewall features. It should be less of a hassle.

Challenges with UniFi Cloud Key

The Cloud Key is generally efficient as a private UniFi cloud service. However, we did face quite a few issues:

  • Accessibility: It occurs that the Cloud Key is unreachable, even within the same network, which can be frustrating.
  • Slow Performance: Slow loading times when accessing the device, both internally and externally.
  • Freezing Issues: Instances where the Cloud Key froze for extended periods.
  • Memory Concerns: Sporadic memory and CPU load issues, impacting the device's performance.

More users share their issues with the cloud key, such as needing to factory reset after an update.

Potential Causes and Solutions

There has been quite a debate on what causes these issues:

  • Firmware Dependence: Performance varies with different firmware versions; keeping the device updated is crucial. However, beware of updating the Cloud key to a new version. Make sure you have backups.
  • Network Speed: External access challenges might relate to the speed and reliability of the network being used.

The Benefits of UniFi Cloud Controllers

I get the need for the Cloud key. If you have a small network, but don't want to deal with the hassle of running your own controller, then the Cloud key sounds like a great option.

There's also a more secure and battle-tested solutions for this: UniFi Cloud Controllers. Services like UniHosted provide secure UniFi controller management. In addition:

  • Support: You don't have to figure out how to run your networks on peak peformance.
  • Scalability: Easily expand your network as your business grows.
  • Backups: Daily backups. Always possible roll back to earlier versions.
  • Monitoring: 24/7 monitoring to keep your controller online.
  • Automated Updates: Keep your network secure with automated, and battle-tested firmware updates.

Final Thoughts

Our experience with the Cloud Key has been mixed. We still consider UniFi products a valuable and cost-effective solution for your networking needs, but if you're looking for less hassle while your network is running smoothly, a UniFi cloud controller service might be a better option.

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