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Request: Suggestions on a wireless bridge between two homes

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I was note entirely sure where to put this, please excuse if in an incorrect forum. Thanks in advance.

Request: Suggestions on a wireless bridge between two homes


  • I appreciate that this is a case study in suboptimal setup, it is limited by physical constraints.
  • I appreciate that sharing internet has its potential issues.

AX6000---LAN---ac68u-AP with 3 directional antenna))) wifi (((ac68u-media-bridge with 3 directional antenna---LAN---AX88u)) wifi to remote site

The wireless bridge is a paired set of au68u with 3 ALFA APA-M25.


Total distance: Winter ~300 feet. Summer ~250 feet.

In the winter, I move one of the paired set of ac68u inside the house to protect it from the cold. This adds ~50 feet and one wall of the house. The signal appreciably is attenuated. In the summer, the position provides very stable internet.

Barriers: there is lots of things* in the line of sight – unable to change this either by horizontal or vertical positioning, and unable to mount outside on a pole. Despite these challenges link rate is usually 135-195 Mbps, thought looking right now it is 234 Mbps which is the highest it has ever been.

*fence, parked cars, trees, moving cars, corner of a building.

Given the interference, if I understand correctly, 2.4GHz would likely be the better, more reliable link connection.

There are so many options, I am having difficulty making sense of them all. Any insights welcome.

On further thinking, I do not understand if these ubiquiti devices have better antenna, power, range, etc over my current setup.

?options: Paired

UISP airMAX NanoStation M2


UISP airMAX NanoBeam 2AC 13 dBi Station

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I've never heard of an au68u. Do you have a link to this product? Although I guess that's academic as you're wanting to replace these with something else.

Generally speaking 2.4GHz is less suspectable to obstructions. But that also depends on what country you're in as different countries have different regulations regarding power output on specific channels. For example, here in the UK the maximum output on 2.4GHz is only 100mW.
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Thanks for your reply, corrected to read ac68u.

If you are stuck going through line of sight obstacles, a stronger signal will always be better. Higher gain is the easiest way, assuming you already have the antennas in the best mounting location(s) and your device is already transmitting at full (legal) RF power. Finding some with more than the 8-10 dB gain of the Alfa flat-panels should not be a problem. Antennas with higher gain will of course be much more directional — also not a problem for going point-to-point.

At the very least it would be a low risk/cost experiment. The Yagi design achieves very high gain with simple construction —easily doubling your antenna gain (or more). Simple means even cheap ones from eBay should have good performance. Just aim them with reasonable accuracy/precision and make sure they stay put.
2.4GHz will definitely pass through obstacles better than 5GHz, however it's also likely to have more interference from neighbors, microwave ovens, etc. I don't think it's an open-and-shut case which band to use; try both and see what works best in your exact situation.

I concur with the recommendation to get directional antennas. Also, if you're willing to spend some money, there is outdoor-grade wifi gear that you'd not have to protect in winter.
I do not understand if these ubiquiti devices have better antenna, power, range, etc over my current setup.

NanoBeam is perhaps better in everything. I don't understand why you wasted so much money on antennas for your old home routers. You could get proper point-to-point bridges and solve the issue long time ago without the need to move things in summer/winter. NanoBeam has a range in km.
NanoBeam is perhaps better in everything.
I spent a bit of time researching the NanoBeam model mentioned above, and it seems pretty cool for a point-to-point link. I wonder if anybody here has used it for indoor links? I've got one place where neither ethernet nor powerline is practical, and I've been serving it with an ASUS unit in media bridge mode, but I've never been totally satisfied with the performance. The signal would have to travel through a couple of floors, but that doesn't seem like a big problem for 2.4GHz.
I had some fun projects shooting buildings from outside with NanoStations in AP mode. When you can't have APs inside - go outside. Never needed NanoBeam products, but I have a friend of mine with about 1km link. In general good quality hardware and built to last outside. I can't say comparable to enterprise grade products, but better than home router with antennas from Amazon and definitely more stable - built for this purpose.
Ah, I already pulled the trigger on a pair of NanoBeam 2AC units. Will have a report by and by on how well they work.
NanoBeam is line of sight point-to-point bridge, but see what it can do through walls/floors indoors. May work on short distance.
NanoBeam is line of sight point-to-point bridge, but see what it can do through walls/floors indoors. May work on short distance.
Yeah, that's why I went for 2.4GHz not the very-similar 5GHz units. It should be able to punch through, but actual performance remains to be seen. Will know more next week.
Thanks everyone, this generated some very good conversation:

Eric the Yellow

I did try a Yagi antenna as one of the very fist iterations, I only bought one, and given physical constraints abandoned this and gave it to a farmer friend.


I will watch your update closely, I think that the paired ubiquity 2.4 GHz you are looking at will be the best options.

To be more logical, I printed out a satellite view of the area and drew a straight line. The physical object interference is worse than I imagined in my minds eye. Given that a) the current 2.4 GHz setup works most of the time and b) the objects between the sites, and ignoring the siren song of speeds of the 5 GHz, I will likely go with your setup.


Knowing what I know now, I agree. When I set this up, the router that I already had formed a tenuous and slow connection. This forum was unknown to me at the time, and I am more informed today because of it. I will repurpose the soon to be redundant routers to families that need them.


Thanks for the link, always interested in learning more. I may go with a known product as I would like to set it and, more or less, forget it.

Updates to follow after I read tgl’s experience and find a Canadian seller. I don’t see it on the Canadian Ubiquity site, may be my inability to effectively search.

Thanks again.

airMAX NanoBeam 2AC 13 dBi Station

This produce is not presently listed on the Canadian ubiquiti website.

I called a local computer shop and they let me know it was a special order item. Pay up front, 2-4 weeks delivery, final sale.

This is much less agreeable that buying directly from Ubiquiti. They offer returns with a restocking fee.

I will keep looking for a Canadian supplier, any suggestions welcome.

Kind regards.
airMAX NanoBeam 2AC 13 dBi Station

This produce is not presently listed on the Canadian ubiquiti website.

Bleah. I know this won't help you, but I had no trouble ordering two from the US ui.com store. (I'm expecting delivery tomorrow, should have a report in a few days more.) Also, there are a couple of amazon.com sellers. There are a lot more Amazon sellers of the 5AC version, but: I've just spent an hour perusing the community.ui.com boards, and the general opinion over there seems to be that the 5AC is not an improvement. It's the same CPU as the 2AC, and both models become CPU-bound at about 330Mbps, which means that a 40MHz 2.4GHz channel will give you as much bandwidth as can be had from these units. To add insult to injury, recent F/W releases apparently have lots of problems with false DFS detections, which I trust applies only to 5GHz not 2.4GHz units. So it's looking like I accidentally chose the better of the two options. (Still, if you can get 5AC but not 2AC, maybe buy it and be sure to use back-rev firmware?)

I'm more than a bit disappointed to read people recommending running back-rev firmware, because that sort of BS is exactly why I'm trying to get out of using ASUS gear for this application. Still, I'll reserve judgment till I've had time to test out the units.
Thanks for the update and info. I’ll keep looking for the 2.4 units. Very interested to hear your experience.

The good news is soon I can move the router out to the garage and greatly improve the signal. Buys me 5 months to find a paired set, before next winter.
OK, so I've had a pair of NanoBeam 2AC units for a day or two now, and here's a brief review.

These are meant to be outdoor units serving long line-of-sight hops (like kilometers). Perhaps they're overkill for my indoor link application --- this was brought home to me when the GUI started bleating at me about "signal too strong!". It wants the received signal strength to be -40dBm or worse. Fortunately, that happened because the out-of-the-box configuration has the output power cranked to maximum, and once I turned it down to close to the minimum things were fine. (And indeed, performance seemed better than in the too-much-signal condition.) So my initial worries about "will it punch through" were completely unfounded --- it's more like "you'd better have at least a couple of thick floors to attenuate the signal". But that I've got. Indeed, I ended up installing them where the signal must go through three 100-year-old oak floors, and they're not fazed at all.

The marketing material claims up to 330Mbps throughput, but that is surely a best-case number. The best I measured with iperf3 was around 275Mbps with 40MHz channel bandwidth. However, I don't need anywhere near that speed in this application; what I care more about is reducing the maximum ping RTT. So I ended up setting the channel bandwidth to just 10MHz, which gives about 65Mbps iperf3 throughput (plenty for my use-case) and very stable ping numbers. I think this is because it minimizes the setup's sensitivity to all the wi-fi noise in my rather densely wi-fi'd neighborhood.

One thing I found quite odd is that none of my other gear can "see" the NanoBeams' SSID at all. I'm not sure if that's because the NanoBeams like to use weird channel center frequencies or because they're using some deliberately-non-spec wi-fi protocols.

Feature-wise, I have no complaints. The things have a web GUI with all the usual features, or you can use a phone app to run them. You can run them as plain bridges or as routers; the router functionality looks a bit bare-bones (no parental controls, for instance) but I only wanted bridge mode anyway.

I do have to comment on the scope of the RF monitoring features. These things are a wi-fi geek's wet dream. I'll just show the most important third of the main dashboard display:


This is from the primary (AP) unit, but you can see this same display, with roles reversed, on the other one. I'll just call attention to the signal strength indicators: those are showing the separate RSSI values for the two receivers of the 2x2 radios. I've never seen that kind of detail on consumer wifi gear. (Not only that, but the GUI will bleat at you if the chains' RSSI values are more than 5dB apart: that means you didn't align the antennas very well. Bad user.)

Some more wi-fi geek porn:


There's basically a whole spectrum analyzer in each of these things. The manual mentions that there's a separate receiver dedicated to gathering that data without interrupting the primary data channel. I'm astonished that they can sell these for circa 100USD.

Now, the reason that they give you all this detail seems to be that aligning the antennas is, um, finicky. I was looking at this display while trying to get the units nicely lined up in their final positions, and it was plenty tricky to get the chain RSSI delta down to where the GUI thought it was OK:


I don't think I've seen a constellation display since undergrad EE. Maybe this is standard in pro-grade wi-fi gear?

Anyway, the bottom line for me is that this setup seems to give a significant improvement in worst-case ping RTT compared to the pair of ASUS XT8s I was using for the purpose before. While the max throughput is less, it's still well above what I need. And it moves the point-to-point link into the 2.4GHz band, freeing up precious 5GHz airspace for my main house net. Despite that, I don't think I'm creating much new interference for my 2.4GHz-using neighbors, because (1) I've got the units' output power well below maximum, and (2) the units' antennas are pretty directional and I've got them mounted pointing straight up and down, to carry the signal between 3rd floor and basement. That probably helps the units' noise resistance to the neighbors' signals, too.

Mentioning mounting ... one negative is that the mounting hardware Ubiquity provide is suitable for attaching to a pole around 2 inches in diameter, and if that's not what you need then it's going to be an issue. (They claim to have other mounting hardware available, but just try buying some.) Mine are simply laying face-up or face-down on shelves, which I think will be fine for my usage, but YMMV. I do recommend trying to lash them down somehow, so you don't find yourself having to realign them after randomly bumping one.

If you need a reliable point-to-point link with no more than a couple hundred Mbps throughput, I don't think you'll go wrong with these; but be prepared to sweat a little on lining them up. It's not like they stop working entirely if you don't have the alignment just so, but there is a bit of a drop in max throughput.
WOW! Thank you for taking the time to post this info, it really motivates me to find these. They look great, nice interface and tools.

I found a Canadian reseller that had 7 in stock, and by the time I was home and able to sit down and order them, they were out again.

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