Ubiquiti launched the Cloud Key Gen2 line of devices back at the end of 2018, and when compared to the previous first generation, the new models have a lot of advancements. For starters, the old model would have database issues when power was lost, be it a power cut or manually unplugged. Ubiquiti solved this issue by building in a backup battery inside, so when the device loses power, the Cloud Key can gracefully shut down to protect the database.

The old models were plastic and had USB-Micro has an alternative to PoE for power, the newer models are all metal and have USB-C for power as well as standard 802.3af PoE. The Gen2 line also has a rotating display screen to give status on firmware upgrade progress, throughput for UniFi Network and best of all, the device IP address. Also useful is a manual power button for planned shut down, as opposed to unplugging the ethernet cable.

The main difference between the Gen2 and the Gen2+ is the applications each one can run. Easiest way to think about it is that the standard smaller Gen2 is a direct replacement for the Cloud Key Gen1 as it only runs the UniFi Network application. The Gen2+ is more of a mini appliance server, running UniFi Network, UniFi Protect, UniFi Access, UniFi Talk and UniFi LED. The applications it can run are on par with the UDM-Pro. Any one of these applications can be very easily installed and uninstalled, for instance if you wanted the Gen2+ for only UniFi Protect it can do that. A good example is starting out with Ubiquiti hardware, having the Gen2+ to run UniFi Network and UniFi Protect, then deciding down the road to pick up the UNVR, UniFi Protect can be easily backed up and then restored on the UNVR and then leave the Gen2+ to only run UniFi Network.

The 2.5-inch HDD on the Gen2+ can be easily user removed and upgraded, using a button on the base of the unit. Ubiquiti include a 1TB 2.5-inch Toshiba drive from factory, which can be upgraded to a maximum of 5TB.

Another question is, do I need a Cloud Key if I have a UDM or UDM Pro? The answer is it depends. The Dream Machine line from Ubiquiti essentially has a Cloud Key integrated into the unit and any other UniFi Network hardware get adopted to the controller on the UDM. If you had the UDM and wanted to add maybe 5 or so UniFi Protect cameras, then the Gen2+ would be a good fit as it can be only set to run UniFi Protect.

The Cloud Key Gen2 comes in at $179 US / £155.65 UK / €178.80 EU and the Gen2+ comes in at $199 US / £166.10 UK / €190.80 EU on the official Ubiquiti store.

Cloud Key Gen2

Cloud Key Gen2+

Supported software

Runs UniFi OS and supports UniFi Network

Runs UniFi OS and supports UniFi Network, UniFi Protect, UniFi Access, UniFi Talk and UniFi LED

Power Type

802.3af or USB-C

802.3af or USB-C





Qualcomm APQ8053 octa-core

Qualcomm APQ8053 octa-core

Network interfaces

1x 10/100/1000 Ethernet

1 x10/100/1000 Ethernet

Expansion options

SD card for backups

2.5-inch HDD tray for UniFi Protect (up to 5TB)
SD card for backups

Mounting options

Desk and 1U (with optional accessory)

Desk and 1U (with optional accessory)


$179 US / £155.65 UK / €178.80 EU

$199 US / £166.10 UK / €190.80 EU


It is hard to recommend one as it fits different needs. If you just need to run UniFi Network, but think you would look at UniFi Protect cameras in the future then the price difference between the two models is quite small, you might as well get the Gen2+ to avoid any future cost. As mentioned above the Gen2+ runs UniFi Talk, which is the next VoIP offering from Ubiquiti.

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