The (UDM PRO) Unifi Dream Machine Pro vs (UDM SE)The Unifi Dream Machine Special Edition

Published 1/31/2022
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The UDM SE or Unifi Dream Machine Special Edition has now been released, and we can take our first look at this brand new device.

The first thing to note is that it is Special Edition not Second Edition only time will tell what that really means but I don't were looking at something meant to supersede it more to answer the community who have questioned various design aspects of the PRO since it's release - more on this later.

What's the same.

Not only do the look alike but they also have the same core specs…

  • Processor: Quad ARM Cortex-A57 Core at 1.7 GHz
  • System Memory: 4 GB DDR4
  • On-Board Flash Storage: 16 GB eMMC
  • Run the same Unifi Applications (Network, Protect, Access, Talk) and one other but we'll ignore that.
  • Both have two SFP+ 10G interfaces for Lan and WAN
  • There is a USP-RPS input on both as well as normal AC
  • Not to mention the little LCM screen sits there on both as well.

What is different

The RJ45 WAN Port 

This has been upgraded from 1Gbe to a 2.5GbE RJ45 port. It should not be a surprise that you can get internet connections at or faster than 1Gbs and this will allow you to take full advantage of that. 

I have to think though that if you have a connection that fast your needs are probably going to be pushing what the software supports, that said a 2.5Gbe port does make sense even if it won't be needed that often - yet.

Integrated 128 GB SSD

This is described as “for full UniFi OS Application experience” which is a clever way of saying not just for protect. So while I understand you can use it for video capture for one or two camera's that's not completely what it's there for and I'm not sure would actually be a good idea - just add a surveillance hard drive.

I actually believe this drive is intended to allow the UDM SE to be used in larger deployments that might have problems due to the internal eMMC and it's smaller capacity. Larger deployments would have the need to store more information such as Network events, logs around user access, voice mail or recorded messages etc. 

This really does make total sense as an addition that I could see becoming standard when the next version is released or certainly the ability to physically add the drive in after manufacturer if needed.

It has POE!

This has been one of the biggest debate and wished for things ever since the UDM PRO was first announced. And they have added it to the Special addition - all 8 ports (6 are 802.3af and 2 are 802.3at)

This is great for small deployments where you might have limited access points and camera's and you don't need a second switch.

The price

It is as you would expect; more expensive. A good chunk more expensive at the time of writing it's a over 1/3rd or £120 pound more in the Ubiquiti store.

Final thoughts

The UDM PRO and UDM SE are different products, 

  • As It's not an upgrade if your already running a UDM PRO be happy there is no need to change it.
  • For new deployments however it's a harder choice both are great products this really comes down to how is it going to be used and is it worth the extra money? 
  • The faster WAN port is nice but for me on the Sunny Isle of Man this isn't a selling point since very little gets that fast and we can just want to move right along.
  • With the 128Gb internal Drive - Network won't need it and you shouldn't use it for protect. So it comes down to the other software applications Ubiquiti Provide and do you have a network large enough.
  • POE support - if you only need and will ever need 8 ports great - but as soon as start needing more ports  and want to add a dedicated switch then for me your better off using the savings towards that dedicated separate switch to begin with.

I like the SE; but I still don't think adding POE is the best unless you really have a tiny network and will never need even the 16Port POE switch.

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