Almond+ unboxing and benchmarking

Standard

There it sits. Nothing that outstanding in looks. Nothing outstanding in sound. But it knows it’s better than what you think of it. Under the plastic case, behind the screen, is $400 worth of technology, and the realization of a dream of a few engineers who asked “why not?”

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As I looked away from my new Almond+, I saw my WRT54GS and my old Almond. I fell in love with my Almond shortly after my Linksys E3000 overheated. I needed a reliable router, and there it was on Amazon with thousands of 5 star reviews. I can honestly say I am now one of those 5 star reviews. The simplicity, size and performance out of the Almond are fantastic. The screen that I initially thought was a sales gimmick became my main way of administrating my network. Its size is smaller than my cable modem, a SB6120.

Since I was able to score an early model, I decided to do an unboxing and benchmarking for anyone who might have questions as to what this thing can do.

For my test, here’s the setup:

ISP: Comcrap 100 Mbps/25 (25 or 12 Mbps, I’m not sure)

Modem: Personal SB6120 with updated firmware. DOCIS 3.0.

Testing devices: HP Elitebook 8440p with gigabit Ethernet and 5GHz N chipset, Samsung Note3, testing on N bands

Routers: WRT54GS flashed with DDWRT, Almond, Almond+. Testing was done on fastest bands available at < 3 feet.

Benchmarks were performed using Speedtest.net’s website in IE or the native Android App. Results were as follows:

  • WRT54GS
    • Wifi (computer):
      • Ping: 10 ms
      • Download: 12.68 Mbps
      • Upload: 11.69 Mbps
    • Wired (computer):
      • Ping: 10 ms
      • Download: 35.84 Mbps
      • Upload: 12.25 Mbps
  • Amond
    • Wifi (phone):
      • Ping: 18 ms
      • Download: 40.30 Mbps
      • Upload: 11.69 Mbps
    • Wifi (computer):
      • Ping: 10 ms
      • Download: 37.80 Mbps
      • Upload: 12.19 Mbps
    • Wired (computer, server 1):
      • Ping: 10 ms
      • Download: 77.28 Mbps
      • Upload: 12.15 Mbps
    • Wired (computer, server 2):
      • Ping: 10 ms
      • Download: 69.01 Mbps
      • Upload: 12.30 Mbps
  • Almond+
    • Wifi (phone):
      • Ping: 24 ms
      • Download: 97.22 Mbps
      • Upload: 11.09 Mbps
    • Wifi (phone, server 2 (Comcast to Comcast)):
      • Ping: 21 ms
      • Download: 32.60 Mbps
      • Upload: 12.75 Mbps
    • Wifi (phone, server 3):
      • Ping: 24 ms
      • Download: 105.51 Mbps
      • Upload: 11.95 Mbps
    • Wired (computer, server 1):
      • Ping: 16 ms
      • Download: 113.94 Mbps
      • Upload: 12.11 Mbps
    • Wired (computer, server 2):
      • Ping: 14 ms
      • Download: 113.94 Mbps
      • Upload: 12.25 Mbps

This shows a very telling tale of what upgrades can do for your network. But this is not just a router, this is a proper hub. There’s 2 USB 3.0 ports for network sharing of printers (not needed, I have an Epson Artisan 327 and love it) or hard drives. I will be installing a multi-terabyte external HDD for backup and syncing for the whole house, and will post updates to my blog about that.

Here’s some pictures so you can compare it to the original Almond:

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The one thing that I did not expect was this little box included. On the box it said “One More Thing..”.

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I was thinking it was a cute box for the power supply, but no! Inside was a unit starkly named “Peanut”. I instantly recognized it as an automation switch, and was excited to use this with the new router. Setting it up was a breeze. I plugged a light string into it, pressed the sync button on it, and told the Almond+ there was a new sensor to add. The handshaking was all taken care of by the router. Simple on and off, with load reporting back to the router and phone app.

Talking about the phone app, that’s pleasantly easy too. Careful Securifi, you’re setting the bar very high for ease of use. Downloaded the app from the Android app store (like the instructions on the router prompted me to), created a login/password, and synced the router to my account in under 5 minutes on my phone. No computer required. From the dashboard, I can see what’s going on and control my sensors from inside or outside my network. I have an overview of my network. SSIDs, channels, users on the network, software version, and when my router last rebooted. I wish there was more control and insight, but I’m hoping for that in a later release.

There was one last thing I noticed about the physical differences: the new stylus was a little longer. This was nice since my hands had a little difficulty with the original one.

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Overall, it’s a very unassuming router with some serious technology on the inside. The setup is simpler than you’d expect, with the router suggesting strong and unique SSIDs and passwords. Unless this unit dies from abuse because my kid or dogs found it, I expect this to be a central part of my home network for many years to come.

7 thoughts on “Almond+ unboxing and benchmarking

  1. eqriaz

    Thank you for the to-the-point review. It was a big help for me in making a decision to purchase Almond+. I got it yesterday and set it up and WOW …. i was using Cisco E2000 before. Needless to say, to compare the two is like calling the grape an apple!

    Like

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