Jade's Tech Notes

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Ubiquiti AirFiber 5X: The Perfect Medium-capacity Backhaul

Ubiquiti is going to announce their AirFiber 5X radio tomorrow at the Animal Farm User Group (AFMUG) meeting in Salt Lake City tomorrow. The quick start guide was posted early to their web site and gives us a sneak peak. From their teaser emails (that mention price and nothing else) it has a MSRP of $399 per radio (without dishes).

Essentially it’s a connectorized version of the AirFiber 5. It uses airFiber branded dishes or RocketDishes with a retrofit kit. Dishes are cross-pol instead of V/H. It supports channel sizes from 10Mhz to 50Mhz.

I’m pretty excited about this radio. It fits a niche between the Rocket & ePMP radios on the low end and licensed microwave on the high end. This is a market where Cambium’s PTP3/5/600 radios have reigned supreme but at a significantly higher price point. The ability to use large dishes means it has a fair chance to actually hit the marketing numbers of 500Mbps HDX or 200Km range.

Also, it doesn’t hurt that this is coming from their AirFiber group out of Chicago. They seem to have a better track record of delivering products with fewer teething problems relative to the AirMax M/Ti/AC line. I assume that’s because their people brought along some of that Motorola engineering discipline when they left the Canopy group. In any case, I expect this to be a radio that I can drop in to replace a couple wonky AirMax ac links and use instead of upgrading to PTP500 in some other cases and have it actually work without fuss.