The three-piece Securifi Almond 3 Smart Home Wi-Fi Organization ($399.99) is designed to bring wireless connectivity to the far reaches of your dwelling. As with other mesh-based Wi-Fi systems, including the Luma Home WiFi System ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
, Eero, Google Wifi, and the Ubiquiti Amplifi Hard disk drive, the Almond iii is a dual-band router that uses mesh technology to communicate with its satellites (nodes), which are placed in strategic areas around your home to provide a seamless wireless network. It also pulls double duty as a home automation hub, which none of its competitors do. Information technology’due south piece of cake plenty to install and manage, and offers multiple LAN ports and USB connectivity, but there are better performing Wi-Fi systems, including our top selection, the Netgear Orbi ($99.99 at PCMag Store)(Opens in a new window)
A Discussion About Wi-Fi Systems
Wi-Fi systems provide an easy way for non-technical users to install a far-reaching wireless network without the demand for range extenders, access points, or boosted wiring. Almost systems, including the Almond three($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window), Google Wifi ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
, the Luma, and the Eero ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
, utilize satellites and utilise mesh technology that allows the satellites to communicate with each other and with wireless clients throughout your home (the Netgear Orbi is a bit different; it uses a dedicated 5GHz Wi-Fi radio ring to communicate with its satellites). The principal benefit of a Wi-Fi system has to do with roaming connectivity; each satellite is part of the same network and provides seamless Wi-Fi from one point to some other, which means you don’t have to worry almost logging in to a range extender or an admission betoken every bit you lot motion from room to room. Moreover, they do not require much management or configuring, unlike a router/range extender or router/access point combination.
Design and Features
The Almond iii comes in white or black and can be ordered as a standalone router ($149.99) or a three-piece Wi-Fi system, which we review here and which consists of a main router and two satellites. All three components share the aforementioned basic design every bit the Almond router ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
that we reviewed a few years back, merely bigger. The boxes sit down vertically and feature a 2.eight-inch, total-color touch screen on their face. The display uses Windows-like tiles to guide you through the diverse network and home automation settings menus, just I plant it a fleck too small, particularly if you happen to take big, stubby fingers. Thankfully, in that location’s a stylus nestled in a slot at the top of each router that makes selecting items a bit easier.
The brandish offers tiles for adding smart domicile sensors to the system, checking organisation status, configuring basic Internet settings, and running diagnostics. It likewise has express wireless settings that allow you lot to select a channel and change the SSID name and password for each band, but the settings for hiding the SSIDs and turning each band on or off were not working at the time of this review. According to a spokesperson from Securifi, this will be addressed in a firmware update.
The Almond 3 is an AC1200 (2×2) router that supports maximum speeds of 300Mbps on the ii.4GHz band and 867Mbps on the 5GHz band. Information technology’southward equipped with a dual-cadre CPU and iv internal antennas, and contains circuitry for the ZigBee wireless protocol (for employ with home automation devices). There’s also a built-in siren (with an adaptable loudness range of 115-120 decibels) for home automation use. The right side of the router holds a WAN port, two Gigabit LAN ports, and a USB 2.0 port, and the satellites have iii Gigabit LAN ports and a USB ii.0 port. You can employ the LAN ports to bring wired networking to devices like gaming consoles and HDTVs and for connecting the nodes with Ethernet cable rather than wirelessly. This router lacks ring-steering technology, which automatically selects the best radio band for optimal bandwidth and signal strength, but it does offer separate radio bands, whereas the other Wi-Fi systems nosotros’ve tested (with the exception of the Ubiquiti Amplifi Hard disk drive Home Wi-Fi System ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
Yous can manage the Almond 3 from your phone using an iOS or Android app or from your desktop using a Web-based console. The app is adequately easy to navigate, simply it’s missing a few central options, and several settings are non withal working. For instance, parental controls are express to turning off Wi-Fi access to devices in the Kids group and creating an access schedule, but you tin can’t filter websites and content like you can with the Netgear Orbi and the Luma. Besides missing are the Quality of Service (QoS) settings that let you prioritize network traffic.
The app opens to Dashboard screen that displays the network name, the number of active and inactive network devices, and whatever network notifications. Here, y’all’ll too see smart home notifications and smart home condition (Abode or Away); more on this in a bit. A bell icon at the top of the page takes you lot to a page with recent activities, such equally router resets and the name of clients that have joined the network.
At the bottom of the screen are buttons for Dashboard, Devices, Scenes, Wi-Fi, and More. The Devices button takes you to a screen that displays all connected smart home and network devices. Click on any network device to see its MAC and IP Address and connexion method (wired or wireless). Hither, yous can cull to add the device to the same Kids group and create an access schedule. The Scenes button opens a screen where y’all tin can create rules to control multiple smart abode devices at the same time, and the Wi-Fi button opens a screen where you can view network data, set up invitee networking and modify SSID names. You can likewise use Amazon Alexa vox commands to enable guest networking or to turn off Wi-Fi for devices in the Kids group.
Installation is easy. I connected the main router to my modem and to my desktop PC and waited effectually 45 seconds for the touch screen to initialize and enquire me which linguistic communication I wanted. It so wanted to know which region (country) I was in and needed some other 30 seconds to relieve this data. Next, the setup wizard asked for a location (bedroom, den, part, etc.) and gave me iii installations choices: Set up a Wi-Fi system or a standalone router, join an existing Wi-Fi system, or prepare as a range extender. I chose the showtime selection, hit Next, and was given the pick of editing the SSIDs for both bands. I was and so instructed to download the mobile app and create an business relationship using my iOS or Android smartphone. In one case I verified my account, I hit Add Almond in the app, entered the code shown on the router’southward touch screen, and hitting Link Almond to pair the router with my account. The router was paired immediately, and I clicked Add Almond to pair the two additional nodes to the router.
To add together the showtime node, I chose wireless every bit the installation method and placed the node in the kitchen, (the aforementioned location where I tested the Google Wifi betoken). It took around a minute and a half before the app informed me that the node was found. I confirmed that the blue LED was blinking, and it took another xxx seconds for the node to bring together my network. I named the node Kitchen and repeated the process with the next node, only this time I installed information technology in my basement.
Since the Almond 3 doesn’t combine radio bands like most of the other Wi-Fi systems I’ve reviewed, I tested throughput operation on both bands. The chief router’s score of 187Mbps in the 5GHz close-proximity (same-room) test was nigh identical to that of Eero (188.7Mbps), but significantly slower than Google Wifi (491Mbps), the Luma (457Mbps), the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD (459Mbps), and the Netgear Orbi (460Mbps). The Almond three’s satellites scored 90.3Mbps (kitchen) and 115Mbps (basement) in this examination, while Google Wifi scored 182Mbps and 111Mbps, respectively, the Luma had a throughput of 106Mbps and 101Mbps, and the Ubiquiti Amplifi Hard disk scored 193Mbps and 189Mbps. The Netgear Orbi led with an impressive 480Mbps.
In our 5GHz 30-foot test, the Almond 3 router scored 161Mbps, and the satellites scored 80.6Mbps and 96.2Mbps. These scores were better than the Luma (76.1Mbps, 77.2Mbps, and 75Mbps, respectively), only couldn’t match Google Wifi (175Mbps, 141Mbps, and 117Mbps) or the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD (223Mbps, 168Mbps, and 162Mbps). The Netgear Orbi scored 223Mbps, and its satellite had a throughput of 220Mbps. To compare these scores with a traditional router, our midrange Editors’ Choice, the Trendnet AC2600 StreamBoost MU-MIMO WiFi Router (TEW-827DRU) ($99.99 at PCMag Store)(Opens in a new window)
, bested all Wi-Fi systems with a score of 590Mbps in the shut-proximity exam and 260Mbps in the 30-foot examination.
Throughput operation in our two.4GHz tests was mixed. The router’south score of fourscore.6Mbps in the shut-proximity test was correct up at that place with the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD (85.9Mbps), merely the satellite scores of 35Mbps and 42.3Mbps trailed the Ubiquiti Amplifi HD’s scores of 76.1Mbps and 75.3Mbps by a healthy margin. Since the other Wi-Fi systems were tested with band steering (and therefore defaulted to the 5GHz band), I could not exam their 2.4GHz performance, but to put these scores in perspective, the TrendNet TEW-827DRU scored 108Mbps in this test.
At 30 feet, the Almond 3 router managed 47.1Mbps, and its satellites scored 31.7Mbps and 40.1Mbps. Once again the Ubiquiti Amplifi Hard disk drive led with scores of 76Mbps (router), 75.5Mbps (satellite), and 67.9Mbps (satellite). The Trendnet TEW-827DRU had a throughput of 75.3Mbps in this examination.
As with the Samsung SmartThings Hub ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
, the Almond 3 can command Zigbee, Z-Wave, and Wi-Fi devices, but it doesn’t offering native support for Z-Wave; yous’ll have to buy a USB Z-Moving ridge dongle ($29.99) to control those devices. Also missing is the circuitry used for other pop home automation protocols, including Kidde and Lutron Clear Connect, that you get with the Wink Hub 2 ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
The folks at Securifi sent along a scattering of devices to effort out including a Door Sensor ($29.99), a Motion Detector ($39.99), an Almond Click button ($29.99), and a Peanut Plug smart switch ($39.99). It’s of import to notation that the Almond three does not come with whatsoever bundled dwelling house automation components, so look to pay extra for these devices.
The Click is a bully little gadget you lot tin can use to control Scenes and modes and trigger connected devices. At ane.5 by 1.v by 0.2 inches, it’due south small enough to fit in your pocket or attach to a keychain. It contains a unmarried button that can be programmed iii ways (unmarried click, double click, and one long click). The company does offering a Security Bundle ($219.95) that includes ii door sensors, a motion detector, and one Peanut Plug, but they are bundled with the Almond 2015 model rather than the Almond 3. On January 23 Securifi will whorl out its IoT Security solution(Opens in a new window)
for the Almond three, a $iii.99 per month service designed to protect devices connected to the hub from botnet attacks and let you know if someone is trying to hack your home automation organization.
The hub works with numerous 3rd-party products, including Philips Hue lighting devices, the Nest Learning Thermostat ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
and Nest Protect smoke alert ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
, temperature and humidity sensors, vibration sensors, external sirens, and more. You tin likewise use Amazon Alexa vocalization activation to turn devices on and off, enable Scenes, and switch Modes (home/away), and you can create IFTTT applets to trigger devices. The Almond 3 is not subscription based and does not accuse any fees to make devices interact with one another, which is the case with the Lowe’south Iris ($99.99 at PCMag Store)(Opens in a new window)
When you’re using the app, the background is blue when you’re in Home mode and orange when you’re in Away way. The Home and Abroad modes make information technology easy have things happen automatically by creating rules that turn certain devices off when you get out the firm and dorsum on again when you return home. You tin also have your smartphone deed as a presence sensor. For example, when your mobile device connects to the hub’s Wi-Fi, yous can have the hub switch to Dwelling house fashion or take information technology enable a rule to practice something similar turn the heat up or plough the lights on.
A bell icon at the top of the screen takes you to a page with recent activities such as switches being turned on and off and new devices added to the hub. The Devices button at the bottom takes yous to a screen that displays all connected smart home and network products. Click on any smart dwelling house device to edit its name and location and turn on push button notifications when the device is triggered. Here you can also view a running history for that device by clicking the Device History push. Oddly, there’s no way to pair and remove a device from inside the app. To do that, you have to use the hub’s touch screen.
Tap the Scenes push button to control multiple smart dwelling house devices at the same time with a single tap. To create a Scene, tap the plus icon in the upper right corner, select one or more than devices and what yous want them to do, and give it name. If you want to enable a Scene using Alexa, choose one of the Alexa-recognized names from the drop-downward listing.
The More button takes you to a page where you can create Rules. Similar to the Flash’south Robots feature, Rules makes devices interact with each other using a process that is virtually identical to creating an IFTTT recipe. Simply tap the plus icon in the upper right corner and select a device or event from the list for the IF trigger. Devices include any connected smart dwelling or network device, or you can base the rule on the mode, time, or weather. Next, select a And so device and what you lot desire information technology to do. You can include as many devices and actions as you want for each rule.
Pairing devices is easy, but every bit mentioned before, it can’t be done from inside the app. To pair the Click button I installed the battery, tapped the Add Sensor tile on the hub, and waited a few seconds for the Click to pair with it. I entered a name and location using the hub’s on-screen keypad and clicked Washed. Installing the movement sensor, Peanut Plug, and door sensor was but equally easy. I had all four devices paired in under five minutes.
The hub and its devices worked flawlessly. I used the Peanut Plug equally a lamp switch and it reacted instantly to my on/off commands using the app. I as well ready the Click button to turn the switch on and off and it responded without hesitation every time.
I created a rule to have the siren sound at the highest level and trigger the Peanut Plug to turn on when the door sensor was tripped and both devices reacted on cue. Which brings me to my merely gripe with the hub’s performance; the siren could be louder. At the highest setting it was barely audible from the other side of my house.
To test the Almond 3 with IFTTT I created an applet to have a D-Link Smart Switch plough on when the Click button was pressed twice and it worked like a charm. Too, I enabled the Amazon Echo Almond for Smart Home skill and had no trouble turning the Peanut Plug on and off using a simple voice command.
If you’re looking for a router solution that will blanket your home with Wi-Fi and control your habitation automation devices, the Securifi Almond iii Smart Domicile Wi-Fi Organization is worth because. It’due south a breeze to install and offers seamless wireless connectivity throughout the house, but information technology doesn’t provide the kind of performance that y’all see with the Google Wi-Fi, the Ubiquity Amplifi HD, and the Netgear Orbi systems. Moreover, it lacks the robust parental controls that you get with the Eero and Luma systems, and information technology doesn’t offering band-steering, although Securifi says it will exist added in the future. That said, each node has 3 LAN ports and a USB port, which means y’all can connect to set-peak boxes, gaming consoles, and external hard drives. And no other Wi-Fi systems on the market offer smart home back up.
If speedy, whole-business firm Wi-Fi is what you crave, check out our Editors’ Pick, the Netgear Orbi. It non only delivered the highest throughput scores in our testing but information technology supports Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology, which streams data to clients simultaneously rather than sequentially. If y’all want full control over your network, consider a traditional router such as the Trendnet TEW-827DRU. It costs around $200 less than the Almond three and offers fantabulous throughput on both bands, also as USB 3.0 connectivity and MU-MIMO streaming. You tin can pair information technology with a TP-Link AC1750 Wi-Fi Range Extender (RE450) ($99.99 at PCMag Shop)(Opens in a new window)
if you live in a big firm, although you won’t get seamless roaming over a unmarried network with this solution.
Securifi Almond 3 Smart Home Wi-Fi Organization
The Bottom Line
The Almond 3 Smart Home Wi-Fi System brings wireless connectivity to all areas of your dwelling house and doubles every bit a home automation hub. The system looks adept and is easy to install, merely throughput operation is mixed.
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