Affordable wireless connectivity with Ubiquiti AirMax devices
July 12, 2019

Affordable wireless connectivity with Ubiquiti AirMax devices

Patrick Plaisance | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 8 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Overall Satisfaction with Ubiquiti WLAN

We use Ubiquiti AirMax WLAN devices to link remote buildings on client networks. Generally, we use them in situations where existing WiFi coverage is inadequate or running fiber is either cost-prohibitive or entirely impossible. They are also great for setting up temporary links for events or in case of emergencies such as a cut fiber line on a client campus.
  • AirMax devices are very easy to setup as a transparent bridge, which is our typical use case. It's usually a matter of changing the device IPs, making 3 or 4 configuration changes and physically mounting the devices.
  • There is a wide variety of AirMax devices that suit many different scenarios. Point-to-point, point-to-multipoint, different radio wavelengths for dealing with different environments/distances.
  • Value is excellent, especially on the "low-end" devices such as the (older, but still very useful) loco M900.
  • Once AirMax devices are setup, you can basically forget about them. Unless they get zapped by lightning, they just work!
  • "Test mode" for applying changes to devices is a godsend. Every network device should do this. Apply a setting, it will give you about 3 minutes to make sure it's really what you want before reverting back to saved settings. Invaluable when dealing with devices mounted 100' in the air that you have no easy access to factory reset for in case you accidentally make a change that knocks them offline.
  • Management of devices has become much simpler with the UNMS application, but personally, I would like to see some AirMax-like devices from their UNIFI line where everything could be managed from an UNIFI controller.
  • Most Ubiquiti devices are 24V PoE, which is the bane of my existence. I have had several devices fried when staff plugged into standard 48V PoE. They generally don't fail catastrophically, either. You just get strange issues that are difficult to diagnose and eventually need to replace them.
  • Devices seem to have trouble with many patch cables/switches. Make sure you certify any patch cables you make and don't over crimp.
  • Sending devices from the factory with same IP instead of DHCP makes it a pain to bulk-setup devices.
  • HUGE cost savings to link several buildings via AirMax via excavating and running fiber.
  • Can provide network access to locations that were previously impossible (building across rural highway from central office)
I'm not really familiar with products that compete for directly with Ubiquiti WLAN AirMax devices, as most of these are so complex and so far out of budget for my clients, so they have never ever really been a consideration. Since discovering how simple and affordable the Ubiquiti devices are, as I said, they will always be our first consideration for linking buildings. UNIFI and Cisco WLAN devices could be used in some of these scenarios, but the cost and reliability would suffer.
If you have a widely distributed campus that you want to deploy your network across, Ubiquiti WLAN devices should be your first consideration, in my opinion. You can deploy a point-to-multipoint Ubiquiti configuration from your home office, or daisy chain from location to location, or any mix of these configurations. I've found my links to be almost as reliable as fiber connections between buildings (have lost several fiber links to excavation!). If you have a small, centralized office, or multiple spaces in a traditional office building, using Ubiquiti AirMax devices isn't suitable. They also have a line of WISP equipment for providing WiFi to customers, but I am not familiar with these offerings.