UDM Pro - Do you really need a switch?

If the UDM has a switch built in - why should you need another one?

Published 6/7/2021 By Mark Stringer
Leave a comment
The Unifi Dream Machine Pro
The Unifi Dream Machine Pro

What is it?

The UDM Pro is a multi function small business device that:

  1. Is a network gateway.
  2. 8 port managed switch.
  3. Network Controller Application
  4. Unifi Protect for CCTV Security Surveillance
  5. Unifi Access for physical access control


More than 8 ports

Easy one first, if you need more than 8 ports then yes you will need another switch. But if you need say 10 ports, you would buy a 16 port switch, and use all 10 on that switch and none on the UDM Pro why?… we'll get there.

Faster than 1Gbs

Well no option there the provided ports are 1Gbs

Power Over Ethernet (POE Power) 

These ports don't supply POE, That's caused a lot of debate but I think it's a good thing  why, I'll tell you in the next section.

That little technical detail.

Not all switches are born the same, the switch is 8 ports of 1Gbs managed goodness, but due to it's backplane you are going to be restricted connecting to it's 10Gbe SFP+ ports by how much depends on the revision.

What is the result.

To my way of thinking only you will know what switch your particular use case will require. So while on one hand might you might only have 2 camera's, 5 access points and a computer or two. Another equal situation might be where you have 30 camera's and 100 access points, so we need to consider all the wide spectrum of uses.

So to answer the question although with the lack of POE, some people would say that switch is limited I think it's the result of a balancing act between cost  use case and performance. Really 8 ports is never enough so I would opine that most of the time the answer will be yes.

So why have the switch at all?

For small situations it's actually fine most internet connections aren't that fast and it's very rare to find sustained data rates so why not? it meets some needs without adding a lot of cost, and for one specific situation it's perfect.

So what would you use them for?

It comes down to one word - “Management” - as your network grows you inevitable add devices such as servers that have some for of network connected device management such as iDrac, IPMI or plug access for the console. 

There are other uses as well so it can be very handy and convenient or just a stop gap as things grow.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published, comments will be reviewed for content before being published.