Do you have trouble using your smartphone out in your fields? There are some cellular extenders on the market, but they’re not really good for covering hundreds or thousands of acres. The truth is that, with most modern smartphones, you don’t need cellular signal to make or receive calls – almost all phones and carriers support WiFi calling.
What this means is that, even in places without any cellular signal – zero bars – you can use your smartphone – both the voice and data functions – IF you have good WiFi coverage. You can be miles and miles from the nearest cellular tower without even the faintest hint of a signal and still have full use of your phone. You can even move to a much less-expensive carrier and network if you have WiFi everywhere you will be using the phone – for instance, here in the lab we have an old Samsung Galaxy S4 with a Freedompop sim and their free low-usage plan – we cannot find a suitable cellular signal with it within half a mile of the lab, but, as long as we’re here, it works great.
Getting WiFi outside
But how can you extend that WiFi signal out into your fields and into outbuildings? That’s where Ayrstone comes in! The AyrMesh system uses AyrMesh Hubs to extend your router’s network outside, and it can be built out to provide WiFi up to 7.5 miles in any or every direction from your router with additional Hubs. It’s easy to get and set up, requiring no technical knowledge – just mount the AyrMesh Hub(s) up high and in the clear, and run an Ethernet cable between the power supply (which needs to be indoors and dry) and the Hub.
Finally, you can provide connectivity in your farm equipment and maintain constant connectivity with your network by using the AyrMesh Cab Hub2. This is an AyrMesh Hub that can be used in your tractor, sprayer, harvester, truck, ATV – any vehicle with a 12-volt utility plug – to keep it in contact with the stationary Hubs on your farm.
You can even have “jumps” – areas where the network hops over the terrain without providing WiFi – to connect distant fields or bring in an Internet connection from a more remote location using the AyrMesh Bridge. The AyrMesh Bridge provides a simple wireless bridge – the equivalent of a wireless Ethernet cable – up to 5 miles long.
How to Get Started
The first step for most people is to get an AyrMesh Hub2x2 to connect to their router and use their existing Internet connection. Mount it outside, up high and in the clear, and you’ll find you have good WiFi up to half a mile away. Then you can extend your network with additional Hubs (even using solar and battery power, if necessary) between a mile and 2.5 miles apart to cover the areas you need to cover. Use AyrMesh Receivers to bring the network into buildings and connect non-WiFi devices, AyrMesh Bridges to “jump” large areas, and AyrMesh Cab Hubs to bring your farm machines onto the network.
The AyrMesh WiFi network, of course, can be used for a lot more than just your smartphone – you can use it with WiFi cameras to improve security on your farm, with sensors and actuators to keep tabs on conditions and automate operations, and even with your in-cab computers for RTK corrections and VRT application.