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Upgrading to airMAX AC: Evolving Your WISP

Thousands of network operators across the world got their start with airMAX®M, and continue to enjoy great success today on every continent. Without the effort of all these entrepreneurs, the internet would be nothing more than a dream for millions of people today. And without affordable airMAX M equipment, these operators wouldn’t have been able to become the WISPs they are.

Years ago, we saw the landscape for WISPs was changing. As more and more networks were deployed, wireless interference across the spectrum grew, causing congestion and performance issues. At the same time, customers were asking for higher and higher connection speeds due to the rise of streaming HD video services such as YouTube, Netflix and Hulu. And what’s more, WISPs needed the quickest and easiest way to deploy and troubleshoot their growing networks.

All of these factors combined led us to develop airMAX AC Gen 2, our latest industry-leading generation of airMAX technology. With airMAX AC Gen 2, we set out to create the best platform for the modern WISP, specifically designed to address the most important trends we identified:

1. Fighting interference

The growth of interference in almost every location in the world meant we had to look at new and innovative ways to keep each and every WISP network operating at maximum efficiency. What we saw was that interference was the biggest problem at the tower, where many WISPs operate a multitude of APs. Much more so than at each individual subscriber site, the tower was where we saw the opportunity to limit the impact of interference in the most cost-effective way possible.

The result was our airPRISM® filtering technology. Anything that limits your AP limits your whole network, so we implemented our solution into our APs. With airPRISM, your airMAX AC Gen 2 AP can filter out and ignore massive quantities of interference from adjacent channels, leaving your network operating more effectively than ever before. When your AP performs better, so do all of your subscriber CPEs, making your whole network perform at another level.

2. Faster speeds

With airMAX AC Gen 2, we set out to create a platform for the WISP that would stand up to the demands of your customers for years to come. IPTV, YouTube and Netflix are just a few of the major reasons why almost every subscriber is demanding more capacity on their home internet connection, and for businesses the use of cloud storage and SaaS solutions puts much of the same pressure on your network infrastructure, always being pushed to deliver more and more.

The results speak for themselves. Even when you just compare headline rates, airMAX AC Gen 2 is able to triple the throughput of airMAX M from 150 Mbps to 450 Mbps. But beyond that, the average real-world performance reveals an even bigger gap. Technologies such as GPS Sync and our enhanced Flexible Frame mode in airMAX AC Gen 2 mean simply upgrading your airMAX M AP and leaving your existing clients as-is can often result in a network that’s multiple times faster.

3. Better deployment

The faster and easier it is for you to install each subscriber device, the more money you can save on deployment and put right back into expanding your business. We know every experienced installer has a bunch of tips and tricks to speed things up, but what we saw in the field was something that slowed everybody down: the need to drag a laptop and a cable to the roof.

Each airMAX AC Gen 2 radio includes an onboard management Wi-Fi radio to remove this hassle. All you’ve got to do with a freshly unboxed unit is power it on, and then connect your mobile device of choice to its management SSID. Using the UNMS mobile app for iOS and Android, within minutes you can configure your subscriber CPE and have it deployed, aligned and ready to go. There’s no need to waste time fiddling with your laptop anymore for AP or CPE installs.

One of the biggest concerns we also heard was from WISPs who already had their airMAX M networks deployed, and didn’t want to commit to a forklift upgrade of all their existing subscriber CPEs right out of the gate. With airMAX AC Gen 2, there’s no need to upgrade the airMAX M CPEs you already have deployed; an airMAX AC Gen 2 AP works with them even better than an airMAX M AP does, and gives you many of the performance benefits of airMAX AC Gen 2.

In addition, you can mix airMAX AC Gen 2 and airMAX M CPEs connected to the same airMAX AC Gen 2 AP, and regardless of which type of CPE you’re using you can benefit from airPRISM filtering, GPS Sync, and other advanced airMAX AC Gen 2 technologies to achieve the optimum network performance. You can leave your airMAX M CPEs as they are and connect new clients with airMAX AC Gen 2 CPEs, or swap out problem locations with the latest generation devices over time whatever works best for your business, operations team, and investment model.

No matter how long you’ve been using airMAX M, take a look at airMAX AC Gen 2 and swap out just one of your APs for our latest and greatest so you can see the difference. Take a look at the airMAX Stories section of community.ubnt.com and see what dozens of WISPs like yours have to say about the improvement. And when you’re satisfied with that AP, you can easily and cost-effectively upgrade the rest, site by site, with the industry’s most flexible network upgrade.

airMAX AC Gen 2 is the standard for the modern WISP, whether upgrading or just starting.