General

What is the Ayrstone AyrMesh wireless network?

The AyrMesh wireless network is a WiFi system that can provide wireless Internet access across your entire operation. The AyrMesh WiFi network makes it easy to use web-enabled devices on your private network. The foundation of the AyrMesh network is your router. While your router may provide WiFi within your home, the AyrMesh Hubs are the building blocks of a network that can encompass your entire operation. The AyrMesh Hubs are rugged and powerful outdoor WiFi access points that use meshing technology to expand the wireless network across many acres.

Is this a municipal WiFi system? Will it work well in a town or city? Will it support a lot of users?

No; this is a system that is designed specifically for extending the Local Area Network (LAN) of a home or rural business over a large geographical area. It does not work well in a municipal setting, because the high levels of interference negate the advantages of a high-power WiFi access point. It does not work well if the Hubs are less than 500 yards apart;  is specifically designed to work best when the Hubs are 0.5 to 2.5 miles apart and there are 20 or fewer devices attached to each Hub.

Will the AyrMesh Hub work with the networking equipment I have?

The short answer is, “yes.” All the AyrMesh network requires is an “always on” Internet connection with just about any router with n open Ethernet port (any brand router will work;  unfortunately, most “MiFi” devices do not have an Ethernet port). We have tested the AyrMesh network with a wide variety of WiFi devices, and have not found a modern device (less than 5 years old) that does not work.

What is the range of the AyrMesh Hubs?

  • This is actually a trickier question to answer than you might think, because the answer depends on WHAT the Hub is “talking” to. The range depends on the power and antenna gain of the device that is “talking” to the Hub and the presence or absence of solid objects obstructing the signal between the Hub and the device. A few samples:
  • Smartphone – about 2-300 yards with clear line-of-sight (most phones have low-power WiFi radios for better battery life and small antennae)
  • Tablet – about 4-500 yards (tablets usually have WiFi radios and antennae between phones and laptops)
  • Typical laptop – up to 1000 yards with clear line-of-sight (standard built-in WiFi radio and antenna)
  • Another AyrMesh Hub – about 2.5 miles with clear line-of-sight (20 feet above any obstruction) – we recommend placing Hubs about 1 mile apart for maximum throughput
  • Obstructions to line-of-sight, like trees or walls, affect the range a lot. Assume a light tree or a wood-frame wall will approximately halve the range to your device.
  • Higher is better: a Hub that’s 20′ above any obstructions will typically have much longer range than one that’s 10′ above any obstruction.
  • Metal stops WiFi, and stone, tile, and concrete comes pretty close to stopping WiFi (especially reinforced concrete)

How is the AyrMesh wireless network priced?

Ayrstone products are purchased from Ayrstone or from our Ayrstone Pro Partners, who may also offer additional services like installation or complementary products. Once you have made an Ayrstone product purchase there are no additional charges.

What’s the best way to get started?

The best way to start is with a single AyrMesh Hub – just connect it to your router and mount it up high, outside, and in the clear (Note that you may need a long Ethernet cable to do that). Install additional AyrMesh Hubs and AyrMesh Receivers to extend the range of your network to outbuildings, offices, houses, and workshops. Then add networking devices like IP cameras, media servers, printers, and storage devices. The AyrMesh WiFi Hub can extend your WiFi network up to 7.5 miles.

Can the AyrMesh system be connected to my cellular hotspot (e.g. MiFi) device?

Only if the cellular device has an Ethernet port for the Gateway Hub to plug into. Unfortunately, most of the devices we see do not have an Ethernet port.

What is the AyrMesh Portal and why do I have to create my account from my home computer?

The AyrMesh Portal, AyrMesh.com, is a central, secure server on the Internet where the configuration information for your AyrMesh Network is saved. You have to have an account on the AyrMesh Portal so you can control and monitor your AyrMesh network. When you sign up for your account on the AyrMesh Portal, it remembers your IP address – your location on the Internet – and uses that to automatically detect new AyrMesh devices on your network. This way you don’t have to manually enter the “MAC Address” of the devices you add. Automatic detection works best if you sign up for your account just before you install your Gateway Hub. If the Gateway Hub is not recognized within half an hour of being plugged in to your router, you may have to add the Gateway Hub manually.

Why use WiFi?

Incredibly popular WiFi connects to a huge number of different devices; from laptops to cameras, soil sensors, weather stations and the trendy iPod Touch and iPad. WiFi offers outstanding data rates (up to 54 Mbps) and integrates perfectly with your existing LAN or any Internet access point. WiFi signals require line-of-sight connections; hills and trees tend to hinder WiFi.

How strong is the AyrMesh WiFi signal compared to other WiFi extenders?

Ayrstone AyrMesh Hubs provide the longest, most powerful signal of its type on the market. A single Ayrstone AyrMesh Hub blasts a half-mile of WiFi and with meshing technology additional AyrMesh Hubs can increase that range several times. The meshing capability provided by the Ayrstone AyrMesh system allows users to position Remote Hubs to direct a WiFi signal around just about any obstacle.

How far will a WiFi signal go?

Being an unlicensed signal, WiFi devices must remain limited to relatively short ranges. Signal distance depends on numerous factors. The AyrMesh Hub generally connects to WiFi devices like laptops up to a half-mile away with clear “line of sight.” For best performance, we recommend mounting AyrMesh Hubs outside and above any obstructions like roofs, fences and trees, and using the AyrMesh router to “fill in” inside your home if you do not WiFi coverage from an AyrMesh Hub. The AyrMesh Hub will connect to another AyrMesh Hub at even greater distances (up to 2.5 miles) if both Hubs remain free of any obstructions. Generally greater heights offer fewer obstructions and result in greater distance.

What factors can affect WiFi distance?

An AyrMesh Hub mounted inside a building may only reach an effective WiFi range of a hundred yards or less outside, depending on the construction of the building. Also terrain such as a stand of trees or a hill can impede the distance WiFi can cover. Other factors include the location, power, and antenna configuration of the Access Point, like an AyrMesh Hub. Plus the location, power, and antenna configuration of the “client” (your laptop or other device) that is receiving the WiFi. Not to mention atmospheric conditions; and the type of WiFi (802.11a, b, g, n, or ac).

What type of WiFi does the AyrMesh system use?

Ayrstone AyrMesh Hubs use 802.11n, which provides excellent outdoor range and is the most popular of the WiFi types, and they use 802.11s for meshing. The AyrMesh Hubs are tuned to provide maximum range at the expense of absolute throughput – you may see less bandwidth through the AyrMesh Hubs than your home router, but you’ll have good bandwidth for a much longer distance.

What kind of equipment is compatible with the Ayrstone AyrMesh Network?

The AyrMesh Hubs connect a large number of WiFi devices. You can connect any equipment compatible with any other TCP/IP network via either Ethernet or WiFi, including computers, PDAs, WiFi-enabled mobile phones, cameras, data storage devices, home entertainment systems, and a growing variety of other devices. For a direct connection via Ethernet,  AyrMesh Remote Hubs and AyrMesh Receivers include one free Ethernet port for wired network devices. Additional ports can be added to Remote Hubs or Receivers with an Ethernet switch.

I see ads for WiFi range extenders and repeaters – how is the AyrMesh system different from those?

Four primary differences separate WiFi range-extenders and repeaters from the Ayrstone AyrMesh WiFi network. First off, we are not aware of any range-extenders or repeaters with reach remotely close to the half-mile blast from the Ayrstone AyrMesh Hub. Second, extenders and repeaters are not usually suitable for placement outdoors. The Ayrstone AyrMesh system uses high-quality, high-power, outdoor-ready AyrMesh Hubs built to withstand weather. Third, a range extender or repeater does not mesh with other repeaters. Using more than one repeater creates a closed loop and destroys your network range. Finally, repeaters “stand-alone” and require individual configuration for each device.

Does the Ayrstone AyrMesh System supply Internet access?

No, the Ayrstone AyrMesh System is not an Internet Service Provider. The AyrMesh system distributes existing broadband Internet access from your DSL, Cable, Satellite, fixed wireless, or cellular internet connection. You can use it to extend your network to nearby homes, but they will all be on your home network, meaning that they’ll have access to your network devices.

Can the Ayrstone AyrMesh Network be used to share my Internet connection?

  • Yes. To share your Internet connection, you need two items:
  • Two Ayrstone AyrMesh Hubs or One AyrMesh Hub and one AyrMesh Receiver — one Hub connected to the router as a Gateway and another Remote Hub or Receiver at the location where you want to receive Internet.
  • A Broadband Internet connection that can be legally shared. Some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not allow the sharing of Internet connections. Check your ISP’s terms of service to find out.

I see a lot of ads for new “Wireless AC” (802.11ac) routers and access points that promise to dramatically improve range and throughput. Why is this better?

The AyrMesh Hub blasts up to 1000 mW of power to a 6 dB antenna, up to 40 times more power and much longer range OUTDOORS than consumer grade routers and access points. Indoor routers are optimized for indoor performance, where MIMO and  wide channels can maximize indoor range (by making use of signals bounced off interior surfaces) and throughput (using wide channels) at the expense of outdoor range. 802.11ac routers and access points use improved MIMO and the 5 GHz WiFi band to maximize throughput for short distances (up to hundreds of Megabits per second), but do not improve outdoor range. 802.11g or 802.11n “1×1″ with narrow channel width maximize outdoor range, and that’s what the AyrMesh Hubs use.

We want to offer Wi-Fi access to everyone in our town/village/RV Park/Resort. Can the Ayrstone AyrMesh system do this?

It may be able to, but it may not be the best solution. The Ayrstone AyrMesh network design delivers consistent connectivity for a relatively small number of people over a relatively large area per Hub, but putting the Hubs closer together can actually reduce the effectiveness of the system. If the Hubs are too close, the signal from the nearby Hubs will “drown out” the weaker signals from the devices trying to connect to the Hubs. There is also a networking consideration: the Hubs extend the network of the router to which the Gateway Hub is attached; if that is your personal network, you are opening your personal network to whomever connects to the Hubs. If that router offers hospitality features like client isolation, bandwidth throttling, and a captive portal, then the Hubs extend those capabilities, but the Hubs cannot offer those features. This can work well for campgrounds, small resorts and lodges, marinas, and similar businesses. Most in-town or larger hotel WiFi systems need to deliver consistent connectivity for a relatively large number of people across a fairly small area (per node), and there are other, better solutions, especially for a municipal setting.

How much weather can this equipment take?

Designed for the countryside, the weatherproof Ayrstone AyrMesh Hubs and Receivers should be mounted outdoors and pointed straight up where it has the best “view” of the surrounding area to maximize its range. As long as the antenna is pointing straight up, it should be OK for many years. Make sure to use a “drip loop” in all your Ethernet cables where they enter buildings to keep moisture from traveling down the cable.