Don’t use your Ubiquiti USG for speed tests

No, you can not trust the built-in speed test in the Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway or the controller. Here are some rather simple test that I made.

First of all, my internet connectivity is probably above average. I have two ISPs where the primary is a 1000/1000 connection (WAN1 on the USG) and the secondary is a 250/50 connection (WAN2 on the USG).

Everything in my network is connected by cable. Incoming internet is delivered to me with either standard gigabit ethernet cable (cat-6) or via a coax connected cable modem. All computers and devices at home are connected by cable too except mobile phones and tablets. These tests except the controller test is made using my iMac connected like:

iMac -> Unifi Flex Mini -> Unifi US-8 -> Unifi Security Gateway -> Internet

This is the built in speed test in my Unifi Controller (version 6.0.45.0) running on a Raspberry Pi 3B:

So yes, just under 200/200 isn’t that impressive on a supposed 1000/1000 connection. But I know I have downloaded files much, much faster than that. Something is not quite right here. Let try a test from my computer. As I’m Swedish there is a local initiative called Bredbandskollen (http://www.bredbandskollen.se/) which is the go-to test that most ISPs recommend here. Lets see what I get there:

Wow, 900Mbps and less than a millisecond in latency! That’s more like it. And this also proves that the USG very well can handle speeds up to gigabit without much problems (provided the correct settings, I have “Protection Mode” set to “Disabled” as afaik it doesn’t do much anyway other than provide a false sense of security).

But one test is no test (well, now we have two tests that shows different results) so I did a few more. Note that these tests were done while my home network was resonable un-quiet with many browser tabs open, Spotify playing music etc.

FAST (http://fast.com) is the one that is recommended by Netflix I think. Gives very similar results to Bredbandskollen.

And this is SpeedTest by Ookla (http://speedtest.net) which gives even slightly higher speeds.

Conclusion: Don’t ever trust the built-in speed test that the USG and/or controller provides (unless you have a sub-100 Mbps connection I guess). Always (and I can not stress this enough) do the tests with a wired connection. Going wireless introduces so many variables that is hard to control. Always do at least two (three) tests using different services. These tests are of course only showing the speed I get at one point in time and if I suspected variance I would have to do more tests of a longer time period.

Bonus information for me: I really get the promised 1000/1000 speeds that my primary ISP is selling me.

That time when a power cut in a nearby area killed my USG3p

Yeah, that happened. Story time.

One Friday evening I was sitting at home enjoying dinner and watching tv, almost like a normal person. Then suddenly I lost internet access for no apparent reason. Since I do have two separate incoming internet connections (one fibre and one cable ASDL) from two very different ISPs I was like “huh?”. Around the same time my monitoring system pointed out that the router was not reachable. Time to figure out what was wrong.

A visual inspection of the router gave zero clues as it looked like it was working. LEDs flashing as expected but the GUI was not reachable. Neither did the device respond to ping. A restart did nothing but now the status light started to flash white. Oh, I had this one before when the power supply was broken so I quickly dug up another spare one and plugged it in. Same response, not good.

At the same time I saw on Facebook that people not in my neighbourhood but an adjacent one complained about power loss. I still had power and had not experienced any problems. Checking the power company website I saw that there were outages both south and north of my area. These problems started at 19:17 and when I check the monitoring system it turns out that was the same time as my router became unresponsive. Odd but it had to be related. No other equipment in my setup reported any kind of problems around that time.

The next day, Saturday, I went by my local computer shop (Webhallen) to pick up a new router and went home to install it which thankfully worked straight out of the box. Adopted it into my Unifi network via the controller I had set up on a RaspberryPi earlier this year and I was back online again.

Post mortem: when I finally had my network back up I went to see what was really wrong with the old router. It turned out that a factory reset brought it back to life again. So if I had tried that first it would have saved me the cost of a new router but now I have a spare one if I ever need it.