Automated Home 2.0 – #24 Ubiquiti Networking Part 3 – airMAX NanoStation AC loco Wireless Network Bridge

Ubiquiti NanoStation AC Loco Review

Although there’s fibre in our neighbourhood, the splitters on the poles around us are currently maxed out and we have to wait for them to be upgraded. So unfortunately no Fibre to the Premises for us moving in.

Ubiquiti to the Rescue

There are a couple of options for our connection in the meantime though. First there’s the 3G/4G/5G cellular network and this option is currently bringing joy to many rural home owners around the country. Speeds of 50Mbps are usually attainable and I’ve heard of 150Mbps for some users with EE 5G sims. Unlimited data sim contracts are available from around £20 / month these days.

But with family next door with an FTTP connection, we’re going for option 2 – a wireless bridge to our neighbours. We talked to our friends at Linitx and asked them about the best Ubiquiti units to use and on their advice ordered up a set of these NanoStation Loco units (Loco5AC).

NanoStation AC Loco - Dashboard

Setup & Installation

Setup was quick and painless. We set the units up on the bench and after configuring our switch to Passive 24v PoE we booted them one at a time and browsed to their web interface (default IP 192.168.1.20) and then…

  • Updated to the latest firmware
  • Set static IPs
  • Setup the link SSID and Password
  • Set the one on the neighbours house to ‘Access Point’.

Remember that PTZ camera we installed at the very start of the build? Well it’s time for it to come down now and move onto the new house. So now that PoE cable we ran for it means we can simply swap it to the NanoStation ‘Access Point‘, cable tie it to the pole and plug it in – you’ll need a 24v Passive PoE injector (the NS-5AC version includes 2 PoE ports which we could have used here if the camera was staying).

During the build 3 separate Cat6 cables were run to the West side of the house (that faces this AP) to give us options for IP CCTV locations. So we’re using one of them in the meantime to connect to the ‘Station‘ unit. This one is powered from our 48 port UniFi PoE switch.

Link Speed

These NanoStations have a built in dedicated Wi-Fi Radio for Management which means you can connect to them within 15 minutes of a power cycle and configure them from the Ubiquiti Network Management System UNMS App (Android Play Store or iOS App Store).

Ubiquiti NanoStation Bandwidth Test

This is a great feature and the app includes an antenna alignment tool which uses audio tones to help you line up the pair without having to stare at your phone at the same time.

These P2P units are suitable for outdoor (or indoor) and offer “up to 450+ Mbps”.

The distance between the 2 buildings here is around 20 metres and we’re getting a tad over 300Mbps, which is great considering the Internet connection we’re bringing across is well below that at 70Mbps.

Whilst we’ve not had any rough weather since the units were installed, we have had plenty of rainy days and haven’t noticed any degradation in performance.

Summary

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Beaming a WiFi signal between buildings isn’t just something for the Enterprise. If you want to share a neighbours fibre or just send a network connection down to the garden shed, it’s never been easier or more affordable. The airMAX NanoStation AC loco offers Ubiquiti’s usual ratio of high feature count to low cost. Highly recommended.

Available from Linitx : Available from Amazon
Linitx also sell this kit with 2 units and injectors all ready to go.

Last update on 2020-08-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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