Amped Wireless ALLY Plus review: An app-driven Wi-Fi system with parental controls

Hardware Reviews / Reviews / Tech
ALLY Plus

At the end of the day, this is more about the AVG security and parental controls and for that, users should be happy with ALLY Plus.

These days you can find a ton of routers, extenders, and whole home wireless solutions on the market. The Amped Wireless ALLY Plus joins an already crowded space with the hope that their simple setup and app control will rope in those looking for simplicity. The ALLY Plus also adds the convenience of parental controls along with AVG protection. With lots of choices to swim through, the ALLY Plus is probably not for everyone but it does offer up some things for those seeking a set it and forget it system. Read on for our full review of the Amped Wireless ALLY Plus whole home wireless system.

Specifications

The Amped Wireless ALLY Plus comes with the following features and specifications:

  • Frequency Bands: 2.4GHz/5GHz 802.11a/b/g/n/ac
  • Wireless Speed: 2.4GHz 800Mbps + 5GHz 1300Mbps (simultaneous)
  • Amplifiers (each device):
    • 4 x 2.4GHz Internal Amplifiers
    • 3 x 5GHz External Amplifiers
    • 4 x 2.4GHz Internal Low Noise Amplifiers
    • 3 x 5GHz External Low Noise Amplifiers
  • Antennas (each device):
    • 3 x Dual Band Internal High Gain Antennas
    • 1 x Single Band Internal High Gain Antenna
  • Router Ports:
    • 1 x RJ-45 10/100/1000M (WAN)
    • 3 x RJ-45 10/100/1000M (LAN)
    • 1 x USB 3.0 Port
  • Extender Port: 1 x RJ-45 10/100/1000M (LAN)
  • Router Power: 12V DC, 2.5A
  • Extender Power: 12V DC, 2A
  • Operating Temperature: 32° to 95° F (0° to 35° C)
  • Warranty: 1 Year
  • Setup Requirements:
    • Broadband Internet modem with Ethernet port
    • Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n or ac
    • 2.4GHz or 5GHz Network computer, tablet or smartphone with Wi-Fi access and a web browser
    • Works with most Android (4.4+) or iOS (9+) mobile phones

What’s In The Box

ALLY Package Contents:

  • ALLY Router
  • 1 x Power Adapters (100-240v)
  • 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet Cable
  • Setup Guide

ALLY PLUS Package Contents:

  • ALLY Router
  • ALLY Extender
  • 2 x Power Adapters (100-240v)
  • 1 x RJ-45 Ethernet Cable
  • Setup Guide Design
ALLY Plus

I like the white color.

Design

The ALLY Plus is a fairly innocuous design, basically just a white square with rounded corners. I actually like the white color as I find black devices tend to show dust more easily, so there is that OCD advantage. There are some vents for cooling and most everything is located on the back of the router and the extender.

On the back of the router, you’ll find the power port, USB port for storage, modem port, 3 Gigabit ports, the WPS button, and the LED on/off indicator. On the back of the extender, you have the power port, one Gigabit port, the sync button, and the LED on/off indicator. Pretty basic stuff and Amped Wireless wanted to keep it as simple as possible.

The router and extender look nearly identical, save the ports on the back but don’t worry, Amped Wireless does label them so you don’t get confused. Overall, the design is basic yet still nice enough to not look horribly out of place amongst your other tech gadgets.

ALLY Plus

Router ports.

Software/Ecosystem

Amped Wireless designed the ALLY Plus to be super simple to set up and manage via the ALLY app. The first thing you’ll need to do is download the ALLY app to your Android or iOS device and that should be done before you even plug anything in. Once you have that done you can create an account via the app and then prepare to set up the ALLY Plus system. Once you have the app open you’re guided through a step-by-step process to set up the router and create your Wi-Fi network. Setting up this router was dead simple through the ALLY app and once you’re connected, you can start connecting your devices to it over Wi-Fi quickly.

The app gives you access to the users on your network, what devices they’re using, shows you their activity and websites visited and gives you limited network settings. There’s also the real time AVG protection which is supposed to help keep malware and other nasties from finding their way into your network and devices. The app is a pretty great start and stop point for the most basic of users and really pretty much everything most users will ever need. There are more granular network settings not available for tweaking in the app but you can still access these via the web interface.

The web interface is where things got a bit confusing as I struggled to get the web interface and app to work together properly. Eventually, things started working and I was able to manage the network via the web interface instead of the app. That being said, it could have been user error on my part. In reality, this system is really for users who don’t want to have to go into a web interface to manage anything. Out of the box, the ALLY Plus should be basically set up for you. The app gives you plenty of settings options that allow you to manage the user experience while the network experience is mostly taken care of.

Once you have your router in place along with all of your devices connected and users set up, you can setup the extender. Again, Amped Wireless makes this a simple plug-and-play method. Simply find a good half-way point from the router and plug in the extender. The extender should find the router and you should be good to go. The extender’s light should light up green if it’s working properly and red if you’re too far away from the router.

The star of ALLY Plus is the parental controls, this is what this particular whole home Wi-Fi system is really geared towards. The app gives great controls over each device, devices you can assign to your children and monitor whenever you like. It could be argued that systems like these are intrusive and a violation of a child’s privacy. We’re not here to get into that debate, but we are here to say ALLY Plus will serve those who do want to monitor their children well.

Overall the ALLY app software is basically a download, connect, and go experience. If you’re wanting more granular network settings then you’ll need to access the web interface but this system isn’t marketed to the networking geeks out there, this is for the folks who want as little as possible to do.

Ease of Use

As we covered in the software section, ALLY Plus with the router and extender are super simple to use. There is very little you have to do once you have the app downloaded, devices powered up, and short set-up procedure completed. The web interface did take me a few moments to figure out and get working properly but that’s most likely not going to be something most regular users will ever go looking for. If you’re comfortable with an app-driven set-up process then you’ll be very much at home here.

Performance

The ALLY Plus system (router and extender) performed respectably but I did find it didn’t push my full network capabilities. I was able to get around 120Mbps download when I was very close to the router but things did drop the further out I went even with the extender (your service may be different than mine). The weakest download speeds I experienced (as far away as possible) were around 25Mbps. In contrast, my normal router setup delivers 180Mbps download in areas I was only getting (at best) 70Mbps with the ALLY Plus. Now, this isn’t to say the ALLY Plus is bad, it’s not. Wi-Fi speeds ranging from 25Mbps-120Mbps are actually really good and the router and modem I use in my normal setup are quite a bit more expensive than the ALLY Plus. It’s also a very different router and made for a different use case. Point being, Performance is respectable and should get most users exactly what they’re looking for. For power users who want their full broadband speeds and then some, you’ll probably need to look somewhere else.

Price/Value

$299.99USD will get you into the whole system, which means you get the router and extender. That’s a pretty fairly priced value for this level of router and extender. Yes, there are other routers, like mine, which are much better amplified and spread your broadband signal more efficiently but the $400USD router (only) I have doesn’t have the type of parental controls and AVG protection ALLY does. The value in this package comes from the simple setup and parental controls.

Wrap Up

This is a great system for families who don’t want a huge hassle of setting up a network using a browser. The app-driven setup makes everything super-simple and easy to understand. I wouldn’t recommend this to more seasoned networking geeks who need ultimate control over the network and enjoy working through a browser to tweak router settings. At the end of the day, this is more about the AVG security and parental controls and for that, users should be happy with ALLY Plus.

*We were sent a review unit of the Amped Wireless ALLY Plus for the purposes of this review.

Amped Wireless ALLY Plus

$299.99 USD
Amped Wireless ALLY Plus
8.6

Design

9/10

    Software/Ecosystem

    9/10

      Ease of Use

      9/10

        Performance

        9/10

          Price/Value

          9/10

            Nailed it

            • Nice sleek design
            • Easy app setup
            • Parental controls
            • Can be managed by multiple devices
            • Decent speeds no dead zones

            Needs work

            • Web interface could be better
            • There are faster routers, though they do cost more
            • Probably not for networking geeks, geared more to consumers who want parental controls
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