What’s the difference between the models of AyrMesh Hub?
The AyrMesh Hub2x2 and AyrMesh Hub2T are the current models of the AyrMesh Hub, introduced in 2018 – the differences between them are, briefly:
- The Hub2x2 is a 2×2 802.11n access point, which delivers outstanding range and high bandwidth – at least twice what previous versions of the Hub did. They work exactly the same as the Hub2T, and we recommend them highly for situations where they are running on wall power (e.g. as a Gateway Hub)
- The Hub2T is a 1×1 access point, which optimizes power usage over bandwidth. The Hub2T also uses much less power than the Hub2x2 (~4 Watts vs. ~8 watts).
The AyrMesh Hub2x2C is a newer model of the AyrMesh Hub, featuring slightly lower power and lower-gain antennas. It works exactly the same as the other Hubs, and there’s little difference in WiFi coverage, but the Hub2x2Cs can be placed closer together (half a mile apart, as opposed to at least a mile apart for Hub2x2/Hub2T) for more “continuous” WiFi coverage.
The Hub2n is the previous-generation AyrMesh Hub, with a smaller antenna and a little more transmit power. It was introduced in 2013 and discontinued in 2018. The Hub2n, Hub2T, Hub2x2, and Hub2x2C can all be used together – they all use standard 802.11s meshing. The Hub2n has performance similar to the Hub2T, although the Hub2T’s larger antenna and better power efficiency make it an altogether better Hub.
The original AyrMesh Hub, introduced in 2010 and discontinued in 2013, was similar to the Hub2n in appearance. It used an earlier 802.11g chipset, and, since it was produced before the 802.11s standard, used a proprietary meshing protocol. As a result, the original AyrMesh Hubs cannot be used with the “Hub2” series.
What is the Ayrstone AyrMesh wireless network?
The AyrMesh wireless network is a WiFi system that can provide wireless Internet access across your entire operation. The AyrMesh WiFi network makes it easy to use web-enabled devices on your private network. The foundation of the AyrMesh network is your router. While your router may provide WiFi within your home, the AyrMesh Hubs are the building blocks of a network that can encompass your entire operation. The AyrMesh Hubs are rugged and powerful outdoor WiFi access points that use meshing technology to expand the wireless network across many acres.
How do I get started?
Most people start with an AyrMesh Hub to start having outdoor WiFi around the farmyard, or an AyrMesh Hub and an AyrMesh Receiver to bring the network into an outbuilding, although you can also use an AyrMesh Bridge to connect an outbuilding if you don’t want outdoor WiFi. You can then add an AyrMesh IndoorHub for indoor WiFi and an AyrMesh Switch for additional Ethernet ports. Then you can start extending your network outward with additional AyrMesh Hubs, connecting more buildings or non-WiFi devices with AyrMesh Receivers, and even bring your network into the cab of your tractor, sprayer, combine, truck, or utility vehicle with the AyrMesh Cab Hub. However you start, you can always build out your network because AyrMesh is built on open standards like 802.11s and 802.11n, and you can purchase with confidence because of Ayrstone’s 90-day money-back guarantee.
How is AyrMesh different from other WiFi products?
Most home WiFi routers use very low power, cannot be mounted outdoors, and are designed to provide good indoor WiFi. Multiple antennas (MIMO) allow them to maximize indoor range and throughput by making good use of the signal bouncing off of walls, ceilings, and floors.
There are good outdoor non-meshing WiFi access points, from companies like Engenius and Ubiquiti, although, even for a single access point, they are significantly more laborious to configure than the AyrMesh Hub.
Outdoor commercial meshing WiFi products are focused on providing the highest possible bandwidth (speed) to the largest number of people/devices in a relatively small area. Most of them also include sophisticated hospitality features for including or excluding specific clients, providing several SSIDs linked to different VLANs, and throttling bandwidth to prevent “hogging.” Examples include Cisco/Meraki, Aruba, Open-Mesh, Ubiquiti UniFi, and AeroHive – if you are trying to provide WiFi for guests or the public, we recommend these solutions.
The AyrMesh products, on the other hand, are designed to provide a good, usable WiFi signal and bandwidth to a relatively small number of trusted people/devices spread out over a very large area. The key differences are:
- High-power WiFi Access Points (the AyrMesh Hubs) – these use the maximum allowed power for their WiFi radios for maximum range
- Outdoor-centric -AyrMesh products are designed to be mounted outside in the weather.
- Range over Speed – unlike The WiFi parameters on the AyrMesh Hubs are tuned to provide maximum range, not maximum bandwidth/speed. This means that you may get lower speed than your home WiFi router when you’re close to home, but you’ll be able to access the signal on your Hub from up to half a mile away, where you won’t even see the signal from your WiFi router.
- Meshing – many commercial WiFi products can use meshing, but the combination of long range and outdoor capability in the AyrMesh Hubs allows them to be used to provide WiFi over a huge area.
Will AyrMesh work on my property?
Of course, we can’t say with certainty. There are a number of factors that limit the effectiveness of the AyrMesh system:
- Obstructions: The Hubs require clear “line-of-sight” between the Hubs and the devices using them and between the Hubs themselves. Trees, buildings, hills, rocks, and all other obstructions to that “line of sight” (and “line of sight” is really shorthand for the “Fresnel zone“) reduce the effectiveness – range and speed – of the AyrMesh Hubs, Receivers, and Bridges.
- Interference: The AyrMesh system is designed for use in “radio-quiet” rural locations; interference – from other WiFi as well as devices like some cordless phones, wireless security systems, and even some RADARs – can severely reduce the effectiveness of the AyrMesh system. Part of the “magic” of AyrMesh is the large, high-gain antennas on the AyrMesh Hubs, but those high-gain antennas also amplify the effects of interference, making them much more vulnerable to interference than a “normal” WiFi access point.
- Underlying network: The AyrMesh system does no routing, filtering, or throttling – it just extends the network to which it is connected. As a result, if there are problems on that network like IP address conflicts or Network Loops, the AyrMesh system may stop working because your router “freezes.” When that happens, devices connecting to the Hubs will fail to connect even though the Hub’s signal is still present and strong. Debugging these problems can be difficult, but other parts of your network may also be involved.
Because we can’t control these factors, we offer a 90-day money-back guarantee – if your AyrMesh product does not live up to your expectations, you can return it for a refund. Simple.
Is this like Eero or Google WiFi?
Yes – in fact, the AyrMesh IndoorHub is directly comparable. However, while Eero or Google WiFi only work inside your house, AyrMesh extends your network outside, into the farmyard, into your farm office, workshop, storage barns, and other outbuildings, across your fields, into your tractor, sprayer, combine, pickup, or utility vehicle, and across your entire farm.
How high do the AyrMesh Hubs and Bridge radios need to be mounted?
AyrMesh Hubs and Bridge radios should be mounted at least 25′ (8 meters) above any obstructions. So, for instance, if you are growing 10′ high corn on perfectly flat land, you’ll want to mount them at least 35′ high. If you have a 7′ high ridge in your field, you’ll want to mount them at least 42′ high. In general, higher is better.
Where can I go for technical support & answers to additional questions?
I see products on the web that look just like AyrMesh products, but for a lot less. Are they the same?
The AyrMesh products are currently built using hardware from several manufacturers who build wireless equipment specifically for Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPS) and other wireless technicians. The same physical products are very flexible and other companies use them to build very technical products, designed to be configured by a competent wireless technician.
We take their excellent hardware, which is designed to last for years, and replace the firmware (the software running on the computer system inside the little white boxes) with our own. The resulting AyrMesh products are simple, single-purpose, and self-configuring (using AyrMesh.com).
The difference is in the firmware – while the products look exactly the same and even have the same parts inside, the software makes them work completely differently. If you are a wireless technician with have the need and the technical ability to use a microwave radio in a huge variety of ways, then there are other products that are probably better for you. If you want a very simple, effective WiFi meshing product that extends the Local-Area Network (LAN) of a rural farm, home, or other business, then AyrMesh is the right product for you.
Is this a municipal WiFi system? Will it work well in a town or city, or a campground or RV park? Will it support a lot of users?
No; this is a system that is designed specifically for extending the Local Area Network (LAN) of a home or rural business over a large geographical area. It does not work well in a municipal setting, because the high levels of interference negate the advantages of a high-power WiFi access point. Most of the outdoor WiFi market are aimed at “density” – hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of devices in a relatively small area – up to a couple of hundred acres – and they do a VERY good job. The AyrMesh system is aimed at exactly the opposite: up to a couple of hundred devices spread out over hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of acres. Additionally, the AyrMesh system does no routing, filtering, or throttling, so devices connected to the AyrMesh devices have full access to the underlying network. There is no facility for client isolation (to prevent users from accessing each other or devices on the underlying network), MAC address whitelisting/blacklisting (although MAC addresses are easily “spoofed”), or provision of a “captive portal” (a web page forcing users to agree to terms and conditions before connecting to the network). These are all very desirable options if you providing “guest” WiFi to people, and AyrMesh does not currently provide any of them.
FAQs about Building the AyrMesh Network
What does the AyrMesh Hub2 do?
The Ayrstone AyrMesh Hub is the building block of your AyrMesh Network. Mounted at a high elevation outside, each compact, rugged AyrMesh Hub can cast its powerful signal to a laptop or other WiFi device up to half a mile away. Additional AyrMesh Hubs, requiring only an electrical connection, can extend your network even further. With clear line-of-sight, AyrMesh hubs can be placed up to 2.5 miles apart, although we recommend putting them 1 mile apart to maintain continuous coverage.
Does the AyrMesh Network require line-of-sight?
Yes – it operates at microwave frequencies, so the radios used to create the network must be able to “see” one another. In fact, they need to be at least 25 feet (8 meters) above any solid object that can obstruct the signal. For a more technical explanation, please see Fresnel zones.
What does the AyrMesh Receiver do?
The AyrMesh Receiver converts the WiFi signal from an AyrMesh Hub into an Ethernet connection – technically, it is called a “WiFi client device.” It can be used to pass the network through walls (especially for metal buildings) or to connect network devices that do not have WiFi (e.g. high-end IP cameras).
What’s the difference between the Hub2x2 and the Cab Hub2?
The radios are the same – thee Cab Hub2 comes with two things to make it work in the cab of your tractor, sprayer, combine, truck, or ATV: a power cable that plugs into the 12 volt utility plug of the vehicle and powers the Hub, and smaller antenna connectors on the radio for use with the external magnetic-mount antennas.
What does the AyrMesh Bridge do?
The AyrMesh Bridge is just a point-to-point 5.8 GHz. wireless bridge – it comes with two radios that connect to each other using microwave transmissions. It is best thought of as a wireless Ethernet cable – one radio is connected to the network, and the other radio is connected to a device that needs to be part of the network. It can be used to connect buildings, stationary devices, or Hubs in one field to Hubs in another field. It does not use or provide any WiFi – it only connects to other Bridge radios.
What’s the difference between an AyrMesh Bridge and an AyrMesh Hub and Receiver?
There are a few important differences:
- The AyrMesh Hub provides outdoor WiFi to which you can connect with your smartphone, tablet, or laptop, as well as other WiFi devices like cameras. The Bridge does not.
- The AyrMesh Hub can “talk” to several Receivers and other devices; the Bridge, in general, cannot.
- The Receiver has to be within about 2 miles of the Hub, but the Bridge radios can be up to 5 miles apart.
If you are just connecting an outbuilding to your main building up to 2 miles away, for instance, either will do the job – and you can connect an IndoorAP and/or a Switch to either in the outbuilding to connect multiple indoor devices. The question is what else do you want to do with your network? If that’s all you’ll ever want to do and you don’t care about outdoor WiFi, then a Bridge is a little less expensive. In general, however, the Hub and Receiver provides superior service.
What does the AyrMesh IndoorHub do?
The IndoorHub is just a “dumb” (non-routing) indoor access point with meshing. It simply creates an indoor WiFi signal with a slightly different SSID than the Hubs (it appends “-IndoorAP” to the end of the Hub’s SSID), on a different channel (to prevent interference with the Hubs) and a meshing signal specifically for other IndoorHubs. It was developed to keep people from using WiFi routers for indoor WiFi, because having more than one router in your network frequently leads to IP address conflicts. It is also designed to be extremely easy to set up and use.
What does the AyrMesh Switch do?
The AyrMesh Switch is just an unmanaged Ethernet switch – it behaves like an outlet strip, but for Ethernet ports. Connect it to a single Ethernet port (on your router, on a Remote Hub, Receiver, or Bridge) and you will have seven more Ethernet ports you can use.
Can I use a regular WiFi router for indoor WiFi with an AyrMesh Remote Hub, Receiver, or Bridge instead of the IndoorHub?
Yes, of course, but it’s a bit tricky. The IndoorHub is a simple, meshing indoor access point with no routing at all – it is designed to just plug in and go. The other big advantage is that the IndoorHub is a meshing Hub you can use additional IndoorHubs to extend your WiFi inside large buildings.
To use a router as an access point, you have to either (1) turn the routing function of the router off (put it into “bridge” or “AP” mode – some modern routers have that, but most do not) or (2) make sure you configure that second router to have a DIFFERENT IP subnet from your main router. For instance, if your main router is creating the subnet 192.168.1.x for you, you’ll want to configure the second router to use 192.168.2.x (or any other valid private subnet besides 192.168.1.x). If this makes perfect sense to you, you’re probably able to go along just fine. If you are foggy in any way, you might want to review our blog posts about how to use routers, because misconfiguring that router can BREAK YOUR NETWORK and we usually CANNOT help you.
If you set up your second router and your AyrMesh devices start to fail (and it may take days for it to fail), disconnect the router and see if the network starts working again (you may need to reboot your primary router). If it does, then the problem is with the configuration of the secondary router.