AmpliFi Announces Teleport, a Zero-Config VPN For Travelers

Subject: Networking | November 7, 2017 - 10:00 PM |
Tagged: wi-fi, vpn, ubiquiti, networking, mesh, Amplifi HD, amplifi

Earlier this year we took a look at the AmpliFi HD Home Wi-Fi System as part of our review of mesh wireless network devices. AmpliFi is the consumer-targeted brand of enterprise-focused Ubiquiti Networks, and while we preferred the eero Mesh Wi-Fi System in our initial look, the AmpliFi HD still offered great performance and some unique features. Today, AmpliFi is introducing a new member of its networking family called AmpliFi Teleport, a "plug-and-play" device that provides a secure connection to users' home networks from anywhere.

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Essentially a zero-configuration hardware-based VPN, the Teleport is linked with a user's AmpliFi account, which automatically creates a secure connection to the user's AmpliFi HD Wi-Fi System at home. Users take the small (75.85mm x 43mm x 39mm) Teleport device with them on the road, plug it in and connect it to the public Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and then connect their personal devices to the Teleport.

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This provides a secure connection for private Internet traffic, but also allows access to local resources on the home network, including NAS devices, file shares, and home automation products. AmpliFi also touts that this would allow users to view their local streaming content even in locations where it would otherwise be unavailable -- e.g., watching U.S. Netflix shows while overseas, or streaming your favorite sports team while in a city where the game is blacked out.

In addition to traveling, AmpliFi notes that those with multiple homes or a vacation cottage could also benefit from Teleport, as it would allow you to share the same network resources and media streaming access regardless of location. In any case, a device like Teleport is still reliant on the speed and quality of your home and remote Internet connections, so there may be cases where network speeds are so low that it makes the device useless. That, of course, is a factor that would plague any network-dependent service or device, so while it's not a mark against the Teleport, it's something to keep in mind.

Teleport's features, while incredibly useful, are of course familiar to those experienced with VPNs and other secure remote connection methods. In terms of overall functionality, the AmpliFi Teleport isn't offering anything new here. The benefit, therefore, is its simple setup and configuration. Users don't need to setup and run a VPN on their home hardware, subscribe to a third party VPN service, or know anything about encryption protocols, firewall configuration, or network tunneling. They simply need to plug the Teleport into power, follow the connection guide, and that's it -- they're up and running with a secure connection to their home network.

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You'll pay for this convenience, however, as the Teleport isn't cheap. It's launching today on Kickstarter with "early bird" pricing of $199, which will get you the Teleport device and the required AmpliFi HD router. A second round of early purchasers will see that price increase to $229, while final pricing is $269. Again, that's just for the Teleport and the router. A kit including two AmpliFi mesh access points is $399. There's no word on standalone pricing for the Teleport device only for those who already have an AmpliFi mesh network at home.

Regardless of the package, once you have the hardware there's no extra cost or subscription fee to use the Teleport, so frequent travelers might find the system worth it when compared to some other subscription-based VPN services.

The AmpliFi Teleport is expected to ship to early purchasers in December. We don't have the hardware in hand yet for performance testing, but AmpliFi has promised to loan us review samples as the product gets closer to shipping. Check out the Teleport Kickstarter page and AmpliFi's website for more information.

Source: Kickstarter

November 8, 2017 | 04:01 AM - Posted by Moyeni (not verified)

I wonder what VPN tech they are using underneath.

November 8, 2017 | 12:53 PM - Posted by razor512

Why not just get a service like private internet access or any of the other providers who have a utility where you install their software and then you have a 1 click option to connect to the VPN.

Or if you have a modern router, most have a built in VPN server and can generate client config files, thus you simply install the software the router recommends (OpenVPN), and then import the config file and you are good to go with a 1 click connect while on the go.

November 8, 2017 | 02:11 PM - Posted by djotter

Because I, and most likely many others, do not know that is possible. That makes this product viable to the partially technically literate.

November 8, 2017 | 02:26 PM - Posted by Tim Verry

Looks like you are paying for convenience and simpe setup and support here. Also no subscription fees. Sure, you can setup an OpenVPN server from your home or with a cheap VPS and there are install scripts (Hak5 covered one recently) that make it very easy to setup on the server and client side, but not everyone is going to want to do that, much simpler to just carry around a box that is already setup.

I guess it just depends on $ vs time. Always good to have options :).

November 9, 2017 | 01:23 AM - Posted by razor512

It just seems far too expensive for what it offers. from the description, it seems like it is just a VPN server on a home router, where the "teleport" device simply downloads the VPN config file for you, and applies it.

Due to the nature of products like this, there is a cloud setup process where the user has to assign it to an account and complete a number of steps.

In that same time, the user can likely set up their home router VPN, many router makers have taken steps to make the process simple.

For example, compared to older methods on firmware such as DD-WRT where you had to do a ton of work in command line to generate the various certs and keys, many stock firmware have no just automated that process.

https://i.imgur.com/5RnFbSl.png

November 9, 2017 | 07:36 AM - Posted by Adrian (not verified)

Looks like a nice solution but it is only available for US users ...

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