If your family is like ours the number of connected devices in your home is constantly on the rise. The majority of these devices are wireless and conventional wireless technology has all devices sharing a single channel which just does not work very well anymore with all of these bandwidth hungry applications and not to mention the congestion when you have all of your neighbors wireless networks surrounding you as well. In our home we have 6 desktop computers, 2 Chromebooks, 2 Nest Thermostats, 1 Canary Security Camera, 2 wired printers, 1 wireless printer, 1 Buffalo NAS, 3 Roku’s, 1 Smart TV, 1 iPad, 1 Samsung Tablet, 2 iPhone’s, 2 Android Phones, 2 iPod’s and our Acurite Weather Station. That is 29 devices and of those 29, 19 of them are wireless. So how have we been making all of this work? Our wireless router has 2 channels which gives us 2 SSID’s or wireless networks, a 2.4ghz band and a 5ghz band which allows you to split traffic. The problem with that is 5ghz does not have near the range of 2.4ghz so we would put all devices close to the router on the 5ghz band and the others on the 2.4ghz. This is still not ideal because we end up loading up one band more than the other and all devices that move around the house had to stay on 2.4ghz to get the best signal regardless of their location. The new Portal Smart Gigabit Home Wi-Fi System changes all that and gives all of our WiFi devices the freedom to roam while it plays traffic cop directing each device into the channel that offers the best performance at that time.
With the Portal Smart Gigabit Home Wi-Fi System we have 1 SSID or network name and connect all devices to that network and the Portal figures out where each should go. As you can see in the pic above the Portal has a 4 port switch built-in so you can connect wired devices and it also has 2 USB ports so you can connect a USB hard drive for example and share files on your network. Setting up the Portal Smart Gigabit Home Wi-Fi System could not be easier. Connect the Ethernet cable from your Cable or DSL modem to the WAN port, connect any wired devices and power the Portal on. On the bottom of the portal is the web address and passwords you need to setup from your computer, but what makes the Portal setup unique is that you can do it all from your Smartphone. The Portal has a bluetooth radio so you can install the Portal app from the App Store or Google Play, open the app and it will find the Portal and connect via Bluetooth and walk you through the setup from there.
So all of this sounds great, but how well does it work? We left our old router plugged in so we could perform side by side tests, both are located in the bonus room upstairs at one end of the house. Our wireless devices are scattered all over the house, our master bedroom is downstairs and at the opposite end of the house from the bonus room so it is technically farthest away. In our Master Bedroom we have a Roku and of course we listen to music on our phones in the shower so that area was the biggest pain point in the past. Our old router is a Ubiquiti UAP-AC-LR, the LR represents “Long Range”, but I have not been able to find how much coverage the Ubiquiti is supposed to have. My husband is a computer geek and these routers are supposed to be enterprise class equipment so that is why he went with it.
Here is a screenshot of what the signal strengths looked like downstairs, the Portal is obvious and our old router is the fbisurveilllancevan (my husband thinks he has a sense of humor), as you can see the Portal has the stronger signal. We also like to use the WiFi in the backyard to stream music around the firepit, etc. so we tested the strength in the backyard as well.
Again the Portal performed better. The advertised coverage area for the Portal is 3,000 sq. ft. Our house is just under that in size and we have a pretty good sized area of the backyard fenced in that the Portal seems to be able to reach pretty well. The Portal also supports MESH 2.0 which means you can plug in another portal, say at the other end of the house and the two will act as one, extending your coverage to 6,000 sq. ft. So our impression of the Portal overall is very good. We love the easy setup and also that it has the advanced features that my husband really geeks out on like the cloud-based authentication that provides Portal users with improved security, including dynamic, adaptive guest virtual access. You can Set the duration and depth of network access for a specific guest and our authentication protocols automatically verify and authorize them to join a virtual network every time they’re within range of your network. When they leave, Portal shuts down their virtual network and re-establishes their virtual network when they return.
The Portal is available from Amazon and would make an awesome Christmas gift. How would you like to win one for yourself? Queen of Reviews has teamed up with Portal to offer one to be given away to one of my lucky readers. Just enter using the Giveaway Tools widget below and be sure to show them some love on facebook, twitter and YouTube.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one or more of the products or services mentioned above for free in the hope that I would mention it on my blog. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."