Published on June 6th, 2014 | by Alexis Argent2
A Quick Look and Review of the Ubiquiti airFiber 24 – Revisited
Available as both a single antenna and a complete link, the airFiber 24 is a revolutionary 24GHz point-to-point radio from Ubiquiti Networks. It offers a range of up to 13+ Kilometres and throughput of up to 1.4Gbps, putting it at the forefront of a new era in price-disruptive, carrier-class backhaul technology.
Combining a dual independent 2×2 MIMO 24GHz hi-gain reflector system and the ability to operate in both FDD and HDD modes, gives the airFiber unparalleled speed and spectral efficiency. The airFiber can be instantly and cost-effectively deployed anywhere, bringing internet connection deep into the unserved areas of the world.
The Ubiquiti airFiber has a number of outstanding features.
- Housed in a compact, highly efficient form factor
- Revolutionary performance of up to 1.4+ Gbps
- Link distance of up 13+ km
- dual-independent 2×2 MIMO 24GHz hi-gain reflector antenna system
- Operates in both FDD (Frequency Division Duplex) and HDD (Hybrid Division Duplex)
- Spectral efficiency in the 24GHz worldwide license-free band
- Innovative and intuitive airOS Configuration Interface
With the airFiber, you can expect to see data rates of up to 300 times faster than a home ISP. The big impact this product has is that an operator can get between 10 and 100 times more data throughput for your money. The airFiber is higher performance and less costly than comparable products currently on the market.
If you want to compare the data rates of existing products to our product, many of the products on the market today would give you the data rates like you would expect from the flow rate of water through a garden hose. Our product will provide the flow rate of a firehose.”
– Greg Bedian, Director of Operations, airFiber R&D
One of the advantages of a wireless data link is that you have more security than a cabled line. It isn’t unheard of that people find and dig up cables in the hopes they are copper to sell for profit. As with all wireless links, there is no long distance cabling to risk your connection being broken. The airFiber is powered over Ethernet (PoE) so there are fewer cables to run in general.
Operating in the 24GHz frequency is another thing the airFiber has in it’s favour. Subject to national restrictions of frequency ranges, there is no special paperwork to be filed, no licensing fees and nobody to obtain permissions from.
Utilizing precision mounting hardware combined with a dynamic RSSI indicator, airFiber can be easily deployed by a single installer. Integrated GPS receivers automatically calculate position and timing parameters in the background. Without any hoops to jump through, combined with the simple set up, you have freedom and a true plug-and-play experience.
What’s in the Box?
Unboxing the airFiber presents you with the base unit, PoE adapter, mounting kit, power cable, and product documentation.
Look and Feel
As you would expect with such a powerful, long range antenna, the airFiber is a large unit which weighs approximately 10.5 Kg with the mount included. When picked up and held, it feels particularly robust and well built.
Aesthetically, the unit looks very impressive. Ubiquiti stick with their tried and tested style with a nice clean, smooth and white design. Every detail has been considered specifically to increase performance. From the front, we can see a nice clean, unimposing look so it will never look out of place wherever it is placed. From behind, there is the durable mounting required to hold this powerful antenna secure.
Above, there is a clear view of the ports. Just to the right of the port labelled ‘config’, there is a strap for keeping the port covering attached. When the cables are plugged in (shown below), the port cover can be clicked into place, protecting the connections from potential weather hazards.
4Gon have received a number of airFiber reviews. Tassos Erotokritou said that it was a:
Very good product. The 2 antennas need to be exactly in the same line to get a full signal and speed. I managed to achieve a connection with 1.4gb throughput (700mbps Rx / 700mbps Tx).
Vangelis Patsalis was also pleased with the airFiber, saying:
These antennas are very good! The design of the hardware (antenna, brackets, screws, everything) had the person who was going to install the antenna, in mind. Very easy to install. The GUI of the product is also very good! Its simple, clear and self explanitory. No having to scratch your head in order to figure out what that box means or that check (should this be checked or unchecked?). Out of the box you can figure it out, even without reading the manual. We have used 4 antennas (2 links) in order to achieve our goal since there was no line of sight. The one link spans over 2.6 Km and the other one around 1 Km and we are getting a good solid 700 MB RX and TX. Maybe we still need to tweak the alignment a little bit in order to get even better speeds. Overall I think its a great product.
The Bottom Line
Designed from the ground-up and built for pure speed, the Ubiquiti airFiber delivers an incredible backhaul solution that is second to none. Equipped with some truly revolutionary features, all wrapped in an eye-catching design, the airFiber is one of the most impressive devices we have reviewed here at 4Gon. Being a wireless link, using the unlicensed 24GHz spectrum and having incredible data speeds makes this a simple solution to long distance, high-speed connectivity.
Ubiquiti also offer protection solutions for their products. The industrial-grade, shielded Ethernet TOUGHCable PRO, TOUGHCable Carrier and TOUGHCable Connectors are designed to keep your data flowing even in the most brutal environments.
You can now see our video review of the Ubiquiti airFiber 24.
Ubiquiti have also released the airFiber 5 and airFiber 5U working in the 5GHz and 5.9/6GHz bands respectively. Offering 1Gbps of throughput, the airFiber 5 models have an incredible range of 100+ kilometres.
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