I have seen Alta Labs information, YouTube videos, and blog posts increasing in visibility over the past year or so. After contacting Alta Labs, they sent over a couple of Alta Labs AP-6 access points for me to try out. So, this review is based on the two units I received, but my thoughts are my own for the review.
Table of contents
- Alta Labs – Cloud-based wireless
- Alta Labs features
- The Alta Labs AP-6 Access Point
- Signing up for an Alta Labs account
- Adoption process
- Creating your first Wifi network
- Filtering and blocking domains
- Changing the AP LED color
- Speed and performance
- A few other things to note
- Wrapping up the Alta Labs AP6 Pro access point review
Alta Labs – Cloud-based wireless
Alta Labs‘ approach isn’t new. Cloud-based wireless has been around for a while now, with many companies that have their spin on it. However, each company that comes into this space with its own solution to the challenges chooses to implement things differently.
I think this is where companies can differentiate themselves, along with the onboarding experience, the management tools, and the overall seamless ease of use for the solution. Alta Labs describes its solution as a “revolutionary networking technology” that can change how enterprise and home users implement wireless networks. I wondered if they could deliver to stand out in such a crowded space, but after setting up a couple of the AP6 Pros, I can definitely say they can.
Let’s take a look at the features.
Alta Labs features
The Alta Labs wireless features include many compelling capabilities, including:
- Content filtering – out of the box with content filtering, you can restrict certain types of websites and services
- Multi-password authentication – You can use different Wifi passwords to separate network traffic and manage connectivity
- Wireless network color coding – With the Alta Labs color-coding, you can assign groups to wireless SSIDs and then assign membership to wireless access points
- Cloud-based management – As mentioned, having a cloud-based controller is fundamental in today’s hybrid configurations, multi-sites, and dispersed infrastructure. It allows a single pane of glass management plane for managing your wireless infrastructure.
- Multi-site management – Alta Labs has a scalable multi-site infrastructure management built into the platform
- Real-time status – I really like the Alta interface as we will see. It provides real-time status and updates on network traffic, clients, etc.
- Quick changes and scanning – When you make a change with Alta Labs, it is very quick to converge and sync the changes. There is no long period where the AP is down while changes are applied.
The Alta Labs AP-6 Access Point
The design of the Alta Labs AP6 is very cool looking. They have embraced a slick design for the AP and even control over the lighting and lighting colors for the unit, which I haven’t seen with most other APs on the market.
The AP features a polycarbonate enclosure material top cover and polycarbonate bottom cover and has a very rigid and sturdy feel compared to other hardware designs from other vendors. It feels substantial.
The Alta Labs APs cater to both enterprise business and residential users. Alta Labs uses proprietary software and hardware that enables the AP-6 Pro to offer unique features and capabilities. This software is a key component in delivering a seamless roaming experience and benefits like the multi-password single SSID.
AP6 vs AP6 Pro
There are two versions of the AP6, the AP6 and the AP6 Pro version. What are the differences? Note the following comparison.
|Maximum WiFi Rate
|Not Available (N/A)
|Polycarbonate and Aluminum
|Polycarbonate and Aluminum
|Polycarbonate and Steel
|Polycarbonate and Steel
|Transmit Power (5 GHz)
|23 dBm @2NSS
|26 dBm @4NSS
|MIMO (5 GHz)
|2 x 2
|4 x 4
|Throughput Rate (5 GHz)
|Up to 2.4 Gbps
|Up to 5.8 Gbps
|Antenna Gain (5 GHz)
|Up to 4.1 dBi
|Up to 4.8 dBi
|WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise (WPA2/WPA3)
|WPA2-PSK, WPA3-PSK, WPA-Enterprise (WPA2/WPA3)
Multi-password technology for wireless SSIDs
One of the coolest parts of the Alta Labs wireless technology is the multi-password SSIDs. This idea is so simple, yet is exactly what many of us have wanted for years and has not been possible with other vendors.
Alta Labs allows multiple passwords for a single SSID, each providing different access levels and internet speeds. This feature simplifies network management in environments with diverse user needs, such as apartment complexes, by reducing the need for numerous SSIDs. It enables tailored internet access and security measures for each user, enhancing both network efficiency and user experience
With each SSID password, you can configure a different VLAN, Rate limit, bypass hotspot, and ignore schedules in place.
With the different SSID passwords, you can configure different network types. There are 5 preconfigured network types with Alta Labs:
- Standard – Typical network with less than 100 WiFi devices.
- Large – Optimized for hundreds to thousands of WiFi devices.
- IoT – Restricted to Internet and local incoming connections only.
- Internet – Restricted to Internet only
- Guest – Restricted to Internet and IOT devices only.
Alta Labs also allows you to have a painless hotspot setup when compared to other solutions.
Mobile App Monitoring for Easy Management
One of the standout features of the Alta Labs AP-6 Pro is its mobile app monitor. With the mobile app, IT admins can manage networks from a mobile device. I
will say the one disappointment on this front is the Alta Labs app is only available for iOS devices and not yet available for Android. While not available earlier, the Android app is now available here: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.alta.altanetworks&pli=1.
Mounting options, including Polycarbonate Drop Ceiling Compatibility
The AP-6 Pro is designed for mounting in many different configurations. Its compatibility with polycarbonate drop ceilings will mean it will easily work in environments with this type of ceiling without compromising signal strength.
Below are the package contents for mounting the Alta Labs AP6 in various environments.
Below are some of the pictures I took during the unboxing and opening up of the packaging.
Signing up for an Alta Labs account
One of the first things you will need to do before you adopt your Alta Labs access point, is sign up and
You will receive an email with the registration confirmation link and once you click that, you will be registered and the process is complete for creating the account.
Alta Labs has taken the heavy lifting out of the adoption process with their APs. In fact, you don’t have to get the MAC address off the device, etc. You simply need to login to your management account from the same network as you connect the Alta Labs APs. Once you do this, your APs are automatically tied to your management account! Pretty slick.
After just a minute, my AP showed up in the account and wanted to do a firmware update.
Click when you want to update the device. You can click to do it Right now or Tonight which allows you to schedule it later.
It will ask you to click the link to reboot the AP after the firmware update.
Creating your first Wifi network
Navigate to Settings > WiFi > Add new.
Name the network and create the password, assign VLAN, rate limit, if desired, and any other settings here to fit your network.
Settings found under the Advanced Settings.
New network has been created.
The dashboard with Alta Labs is beautiful.
One thing you will notice with the dashboard is that it immediately starts profiling the applications from the WiFi traffic.
Filtering and blocking domains
The Alta Labs APs have URL filtering built into the dashboard. From here, you can block applications and domains. The block applications drop down has a long list of popular applications that can be blocked.
Changing the AP LED color
One of the really cool things you can do with Alta Labs is changing the color of the LEDs on your APs, switches, etc. I think this will really appeal to home labbers who may already have RGB running in their networks, especially with the switch colors.
Speed and performance
The wireless experience on this AP felt very snappy. The test below is using Wifi Man, and the “other vendor” AP that I have got around 350 on the speed test. Here, you can see a noticeable bump just connecting to the Alta Labs AP6 Pro.
A few other things to note
Tech Support and Customer Service
The support team is very responsive and ready to assist. They have the “small company” feel where you actually speak to someone when you email or need help. Their forum threads are already getting active with users and others exchanging ideas and helping with issues.
Simplifying Network Management with Bluetooth Interface
Alta Labs includes a Bluetooth management interface in the AP-6 Pro that allows for easier setup and management. This feature helps with hotspot setup and WiFi scheduling.
Wrapping up the Alta Labs AP6 Pro access point review
All in all, I have nothing but good impressions of Alta Labs. I think they are doing things the right way, out of the gate to start and not cutting corners. These APs are some of the easiest APs you will find to adopt, configure, and provision wireless networks.
The multi-password SSIDs that allow you to configure different networks just based on the password the user enters is brilliant. It is such a simple idea, but profound with what you can do with it. I really think we will see great things out of these guys and upcoming products and solutions.