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Ubiquiti AirFiber24HD: Solid Improvement With Excessive Hype

Ubiquiti announced their AirFiber24HD today. It looks like a solid incremental improvement to the classic AirFiber24 with a roughly 250 Mbps (FDX) increase in throughput.

Key differences

Feature AF24 AF24HD
Maximum Modulation:   64QAM   256QAM
RX Gain: 38 dBi   40 dBi
Housing: Plastic Aluminum
Maximum Throughput (FDX):    774 Mbps   1Gbps
Link MSRP: $3,000 $6,000

Excessive hype

A unlicensed-frequency radio that can do bog standard 1Gbps FDX is actually a big deal. You can use these for short links between buildings and achieve just as much throughput as if you trenched fiber and used normal SFPs. No more caveats about actually only having 700Mbps of throughput.

Unfortunately with Ubiquiti a decent improvement isn’t good enough. Every product or service has to be a revolutionary disruptive breakthrough for the masses. This was on full display with the AF24HD launch where apparently line-rate 1G wasn’t good enough.

That’s right. The headline throughput number for a 1Gbps FDX (2Gbps HDX/aggregate) radio is shown as 20 Gbps because that’s the theoretical aggregate throughput of devices that may be connected behind the link. If that was a thing I’d be bragging about my network having over 3Tbps of throughput, except we don’t because that would be dishonest.