Need some multisite buddypress advice

I am completely new to buddypress. I want all of my multisites to allow their members to have profile pages and the multisite owner to be able to configure the extra profile fields.

It seems that buddypress works independantly of wordpress so it has one system for all sites.

To achieve what I want do I need to use one of the buddypress multisite plugins listed on the buddypress site or is there a simpler way?

Is there any drawbacks to this type of setup? Should I look at alternatives?