Setup and Usage Impressions

The UFO Power Center caught our fancy because power consumption measurement is something we do for almost all products that we review. Using a Kill-a-Watt is not very accurate, while the Watts Up? meters are very costly for our particular purpose. The UFO Power Center is continuing to serve us well. However, with more devices being tested simultaneously, and lab space at a premium, we started looking for something more down to earth in terms of industrial design. The mPower Pro fit our needs perfectly, but Ubiquiti was having some supply issues when we were looking for a unit to test out. In the end, we landed up with the mPower 3-outlet version.


The mPower unit comes with a wall mounting plate, screws, a CD with the mFi software and a quick start guide along with the main unit. From the outside, it looks every bit like a conventional power strip. In addition to the circuit breaker reset button on the side, it also has a factory reset button. A flashing LED on the front panel provides status information.

Setup Process

The setup process for the mPower is quite similar to that of the UFO Power Center. When powered up, the device creates an ad-hoc wireless network. Upon connecting a PC to the ad-hoc network, the unit's web UI is accessible. The browser interface allows for selecting and entering credentials for the Wi-Fi network to which the unit is supposed to connect. Our mPower unit was originally running firmware version 1.2.3 , but upgrading to 2.0.7 brought a lot of interesting features.

Gallery: mPower Setup

The firmware update could be processed only after linking up the mPower unit with a mFi controller instance. The mFi is a Java-based software which proved very difficult to install on my Windows 8 machine. It also got complicated a bit because I had mFi installed on multiple computers on the same network (not the usual scenario for most end-users). I eventually got it working on a Windows 7 setup. The default credentials for the unit are printed on the box (ubnt/ubnt). However, linking the unit to a mFi instance overrides these credentials with those used for the mFi.

Using the mPower

The controller software is a full-fledged automation suite with support for rules and other features. It will not be covered in detail because this review is about the mPower unit specifically. Suffice to say that all the parameters of the mPower unit (names and status of the outlets, power consumption recording etc.) can be viewed, recorded, used for rules and altered as applicable through the mFi interface.

The browser interface for the mPower in the firmware version 1.2.3 was minimal and only provided statistics related to the network connection and some logs related to it. In 2.0.7, the Controls tab was introduced and this provides a way for users to control outlet status and check up on the instantaneous values of the electrical parameters (as shown in the gallery above).

Introduction Inside the mPower
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  • Daniel Egger - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    So how much is the power consumption of the device itself? Can WiFi be turned off on the Pro version? Why does the European version need to be so ugly? Questions and more questions...
  • ganeshts - Sunday, November 24, 2013 - link

    Replied to another poster - the power consumption is less than 1 W at idle, but with the network interface up. Wi-Fi can be turned off -- after all, you have SSH access to the unit - you can do anything you want to be done on a persistent basis using some scripts to run on the device at start time.
  • clarkn0va - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    "The mFi controller software (Windows version) needs rework for better stability"

    FTFY. I haven't used the mFi software yet, but UBNT's controller software (Unifi, AirVision, AirControl) is well known for running much better on Linux than Windows. Each product has its own development team, but they pretty much all install great on Linux hosts and start automatically as a service.

    Meanwhile, the Windows version tend to suffer from installation difficulties, stability problems, and the number one complaint in the forums probably being the fact that they aren't designed to run as a service, meaning that you have to actually log into Windows and run the executable before you can connect to it. This shortcoming has been worked around by users in the case of most of the products (thank goodness for the open nature of UBNT's software product development), but the "easy" way to use UBNT's software controllers, ironically enough, is to run them on Linux.

    I realize Anandtech caters to the Windows crowd, but it's not fair to say that a product is unstable when the Linux version isn't, or incompatible when it's available on Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • dylan522p - Thursday, November 21, 2013 - link

    I like ganesh and many of his articles, but this has to be one of your worst articles ever. I really hope you do not fall and.continue to post article of this level because it honestly is a shame to the Anandtech name to have things like this posted.
  • dac7nco - Friday, November 22, 2013 - link

    Ganesh, most UPS have at least ethernet+RS-232, and most I've used connect to a switch or router for management, and a PDU for rack management... This is not new stuff, enabling and disabling power connections, nor are WiFi consoles... I've been doing it since 1995.......

  • ganeshts - Friday, November 22, 2013 - link

    Daimon, I think the integration with mFi which allows rules creation is the primary aspect here. Of course, the reason we even wanted to get this unit in is because of its power measurement capabilities (real-time). And the clincher is the price point!

    We have looked around quite a bit for automating our lab infrastructure and measuring power consumption of various devices during different modes of operation. For example, over the last one year, all the power consumption numbers that I have reported have been gathered through the UFO Power Center. In the future, I hope to use either the UFO Power Center or the mPower unit.

    Please do point me to any UPS / PDU combo which can solve the remote switching as well as power consumption measurement problem for us at this price point, and I am pretty sure both us and other readers will be happy to check those out.
  • dac7nco - Friday, November 22, 2013 - link

    Checkout Cyberpower and APC; these guys "pure-sine wave" products are leaps and bounds above trip-lite. What you are looking for are their systems which have management consoles; hook to switch with a $2 cat-5 and you're done. Your various sytem/rack-peripheral is offline for maintenance on your own terms. Combine this with IPMI (on your switch)and you manage not only power/power-states/RDP, but you have an IP address for power AND management. Win Win.

  • ganeshts - Friday, November 22, 2013 - link

    Do those vendors have any products which are sub-$200 and can still do real time power measurement? The last I checked, they do have $800 - $1K PDUs with management consoles, and even those do not have real time power measurement capabilities on a per-outlet basis.
  • dac7nco - Friday, November 22, 2013 - link

    Yep. USB power reporting.
  • ganeshts - Friday, November 22, 2013 - link

    I looked into the Cyberpower PowerPanel manual, but it is still not clear whether one can log the power consumed by each outlet at configurable intervals / there is a simple API or HTTP query that one can use to poll these values. There is no information on how often these power consumption values get updated too.

    Otherwise, yes, these UPS management softwares seem to be really feature heavy. As I see in the Newegg comments, $170 is not going to give a network port -- but I can definitely see the appeal for the usage scenario where a UPS is required along with remote switching capabilities

    For this product, the appeal would lie in the fact that the unit runs Linux, one can run custom scripts inside the unit and finally, for our purpose, provide an idea of real-time power consumption with high accuracy and with open APIs. Other than the UFO Power Center and the mPower units, I can't see other good alternatives for the feature set. (The UFO Power Center doesn't run Linux, though, but, can be accessed through simple HTTP commands)

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