What users are saying about
35 Ratings
35 Ratings
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Score 9 out of 100
54 Ratings
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Score 9.1 out of 100

Highlights

PfSense is a powerful firewall software solution, while Ubiquiti Networks Unifi is WiFi hotspot software. Though they specialize in different niches, Ubiquiti Networks Unifi also offers security features, while PfSense can be used as a wireless solution.

PfSense is an open source software that is either deployed through the cloud or on a network box. In order to use it to handle WiFi, it must be deployed through a box. PfSense is completely customizable and can utilize many different wireless cards. This makes PfSense a good choice for companies with specific needs and the technological know-how to make a network box that suits those needs.

Ubiquiti Networks Unifi offers WiFi and security as separate pieces of hardware that can integrate with each other. Ubiquiti Networks Unifi is a good choice for a company that doesn’t need significant customization or lacks the technical staff to manage a customized network box.

Features

PfSense offers strong firewall and security features while Ubiquiti Networks Unifi offers strong WiFi support features. Both solutions have a few standout features that set them apart from other choices.

PfSense is open source, so there is a lot of guidance and documentation for it online, this also means it works with a wide variety of wireless software and hardware. Additionally, PfSense has some add-ons that are available to improve features at no charge, though there are also commercial add-ons that must be purchased. PfSense offers a huge variety of implementations, including cloud-based solutions for businesses that only want it’s security features.

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi offers easier setup compared to PfSense. Its WiFi and security products are simpler to implement and can be easily controlled through an administration portal. Ubiquiti also offers additional solutions, such as its security system, as additional hardware that can easily be purchased and integrated with their WiFi offering.

Limitations

PfSense and Ubiquiti Networks WiFi both offer good features for their market, but there are a few areas where each one is limited.

PfSense having a wealth of open source add-ons is a strength in many ways, but also requires administrators to vigilantly check for updates to keep their system running smoothly. Additionally, add-on developers may stop development at any time, which can cause the deprecation of add-ons. PfSense also has a dated user interface, which can be a challenge to manage for new users.

Ubiquiti Networks WiFi lacks the flexibility PfSense offers by being open source. Additionally, Ubiquiti Networks WiFi has poor customer support. Many users claim that connecting directly with Ubiquiti support is difficult and time consuming. Documentation for implementation and new releases is also uncommon.

Pricing

PfSense has a large variety of physical boxes starting at $179.00 and reaching as high as $5,298.00. Additionally, a cloud-based version is available starting at $0.34 per hour for businesses that only want security features. The wide variety of packages ensures that any user can find a PfSense solution that suits their needs.

Ubiquiti offers several different WiFi solutions, from small hotspots starting at $149.00 to fully-featured boxes starting at $1499.00. Their Security Gateway can be purchased separately for as low as $139.00.

Likelihood to Recommend

pfSense

For fast-growing or SME companies, pfSense is quite suitable because pfSense already had many advanced features such as VPN and multiple WAN / LAN. As a result, we just need to pay for expensive router frequently to upgrade our infrastructure.
Allan Leung | TrustRadius Reviewer

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi is a fantastic solution for entry-level and mid-level businesses looking for a very cost-effective solution for their switching and access point needs. The design of the solution and management application are intuitive enough that you don't need a ton of networking knowledge to find your way around to perform tasks. I would be hesitant in certain scenarios in placing UniFi switches in high-end mission-critical environments. I personally feel that while Ubiquiti makes strides in keeping things updated and continuing to add features, the firmware/software updates can be volatile and potentially disrupt the ability to manage devices. I see this more with their firewall offerings, and less with their core networking switches and access points. I'm hopeful this gets improved in future months as they continue to improve the products.
Brandon Patton | TrustRadius Reviewer

Feature Rating Comparison

Firewall

pfSense
7.2
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Identification Technologies
pfSense
3.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Visualization Tools
pfSense
6.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Content Inspection
pfSense
8.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Policy-based Controls
pfSense
7.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Active Directory and LDAP
pfSense
4.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Firewall Management Console
pfSense
8.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Reporting and Logging
pfSense
6.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
VPN
pfSense
10.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
High Availability
pfSense
9.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Stateful Inspection
pfSense
9.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
Proxy Server
pfSense
9.0
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

Pros

pfSense

  • pfSense is an excellent firewall - It logs all of your traffic. It has packages you can install to snort bad traffic.
  • pfSense has a tool called "p0f" which allows you to see what type of OS is trying to connect to you. You can filter these results and you can also block a specific OS from connecting to you.
  • pfSense is an excellent load-balancer: (Multi-WAN and Server Load Balancing) The fail-over/aggregation works very well. This is perfect if your business uses multiple ISP's to ensure your customers are always able to access their data. Also helps with bandwidth distribution as well.
  • VPN's - I am not entirely sure if this package was free with pfSense, but it does offer the ability to use OpenVPN which is what I am familiar with.
  • They also have IPsec in the settings as well, but I am not familiar with that enough to go into any detail with it.
  • As I mentioned I do use OpenVPN the only thing I don't care for with it is I can create OpenVPN configs for each user I want to be able to VPN into the network and I assumed each one would be "unique" but this does not seem to be the case. I could be doing it wrong, but if I create a config for a specific employee I would expect only that employee should be able to use that config, but I have been able to login to everyone that I made using my credentials.
  • I mentioned earlier that pfSense had a GUI.
  • I personally really think it is cool because it has a bunch of reporting graphs for monitoring your networks. I think when I become the full-time admin at the company I am going to try to talk them into getting me a TV I can mount on the wall and display all the graphs and real-time info pfSense shows so I can monitor what is going on with the network(s) at all times. Plus I think it would look rad.
Charles R. Coggins III | TrustRadius Reviewer

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

  • AP's are very affordable.
  • Most of the AP's are highly reliable and can be used indoors or in covered outdoor spaces.
  • Outdoor Mesh AP's with an external directional antenna can effectively cover outdoor spaces with dual band wifi better than much more expensive APs.
  • Unifi Protect via the Cloud Key Gen2+ is probably the slickest, most affordable IP camera system on the market right now.
  • Unifi controller is powerful yet simple to administrate.
  • Remote management of entire networks through a single pane of glass is easy to accomplish with the Unifi controller.
  • Cloud Key Gen2 solves problems with the first Cloud Key wiht a built-in battery backup.
  • When you are "full stack" Unifi with wifi, network switches and gateways, the control you can wield over a network in just a few clicks and the amount of data you can glean from a quick glance in the controller is incredibly impressive. It makes an IT guy wish every product/service could be so tightly and well-integrated.
  • Community support is excellent, Unifi staff monitors their official forums and responds to almost every thread.
Patrick Plaisance | TrustRadius Reviewer

Cons

pfSense

  • There is no API for making changes. This can be a hindrance in environments where auto-deploying something needs firewall rules or HAProxy configs updated. Since all settings are stored in an XML file and then configs are generated from that, even manually updating config files cannot be done.
  • Beware that some network cards can have issues. pfSense is based on FreeBSD, so it's best to look on their compatibility list before deploying.
Aaron Smith | TrustRadius Reviewer

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

  • Firmware quality. Some of the past firmwares have had annoying bugs (such as rebooting the switch when changing a single port's LAN settings).
  • The controller software needing to be run on a server.
  • Client history could be more than 5 days. It's running on a server, why is there a limit to this data?
Aaron Smith | TrustRadius Reviewer

Usability

pfSense

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi 9.5
Based on 3 answers
No matter how many sites or network devices we add, we have a single control dashboard. Therefore, every device has the same settings interface, and settings can be provisioned from anywhere. Setting up the controller and joining devices to it is not difficult after a couple of hours of practice. This pays off over time as upgrades and additions can be done with a few clicks. Replacement devices are automatically provisioned with settings for the site, so a new AP or switch falls into line with everything else very easily.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Support Rating

pfSense

No score
No answers yet
No answers on this topic

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi 7.4
Based on 6 answers
Support tickets can be proactively created within the dashboard with full detailed documentation. The Ubiquiti website provides detailed documentation on support. Forum and user groups also provide the interested community with information that covers all aspects of issues or questions users can encounter with the latest and most updated information.
Tiago Mokwa | TrustRadius Reviewer

Alternatives Considered

pfSense

Before pfSense we were using consumer and small business rated network appliances from Linksys, Cisco, Buffalo and Netgear. We were replacing them on average of every 6-12 months because they'd fail or would offer poor wifi availability.Switching to pfSense allowed us to use professional grade switches and wifi access points, offloading all of the services that the consumer grade products took care of, onto pfSense (DHCP, DNS, routing, firewall, VPN, etc).
Jim Rubenstein | TrustRadius Reviewer

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

We have compared other lines of wireless APs and have not been able to find a reason to switch. Ubiquiti's pricing model wins compared to Cisco and other's subscription-based models. We cannot find enough functionality in the more expensive lines to justify switching.
jesse nanes | TrustRadius Reviewer

Return on Investment

pfSense

  • Moving to a FWaaS solution installed on a decent computer the initial investment was moderate to cover 50 to 250 users, but still being cheaper that a Fortinet, Cisco ASA, or a Sophos UTM.
  • Paying only for support can be a double edge knife, cause you need to identify what's the goal of the request, or your drown into a an endless list of requirements.
  • To stay in the top with the half of a regular investment pFSense gives a wide variety of plugins that will give you a deep knowledge of your security flaws and strong points.
Victor Arana | TrustRadius Reviewer

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

  • I am able to get more done and we are more efficient with Unifi, having to get into separate APs and change things is a thing of the past.
  • I can find lost devices by which AP the device was last seen by or what it is close to currently, saving our people time.
  • The cost is so low that it is ridiculous to not upgrade when new tech comes out.
Anonymous | TrustRadius Reviewer

Pricing Details

pfSense

General

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Ubiquiti Networks UniFi

General

Free Trial
Free/Freemium Version
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
Entry-level set up fee?
No

Rating Summary

Likelihood to Recommend

pfSense
9.2
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
9.3

Usability

pfSense
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
9.5

Support Rating

pfSense
Ubiquiti Networks UniFi
7.4

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