airFiber - How to Align an airFiber Antenna


Overview


Readers will learn how to properly align any airFiber antenna as well as important tips to take into consideration before the alignment process begins.

NOTES & REQUIREMENTS:
If this is your first time installing an airFiber radios, the entire process of alignment could take up to two hours or longer.

Table of Contents


  1. Introduction
  2. Before You Begin
  3. Steps: How to Align an airFiber Antenna
  4. Related Articles

Introduction


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Our airFiber antennas have a purposefully narrow beam-width, which is why antenna alignment is extremely important in order to get a successful link. Mis-alignment can cause serious performance issues or even loss of connectivity.


Before You Begin


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  • Using a pair of installers in constant communication with a third person watching the alignment tool is very useful since, during the fine-tuning stage, one installer makes azimuth and elevation adjustments on one airFiber radio while the third person reports the received signal level at the other airFiber radio to both installers.
  • Fine-tuning is necessary because the main lobe of the receiver is more narrow than that of the transmitter, in both azimuth and elevation.
  • To accurately align the airFiber radios for best performance, you MUST align only one end of the link at a time.
  • When testing the units in close proximity, use caution to not overload the receivers since the minimum link distance is 10m for airFiber5/5U/11FX/2X/3X/4X/5X, 25m for AF24 and 50m for AF24HD.
  • It's recommended that all users read the airFiber design guide.

Steps: How to Align an airFiber Antenna


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  1. Use link.ubnt.com to find landmarks near both ends of the link for the installers to aim at.
  2. Mount master and slave radios with installers at both sides.
  3. Have both installers use the previously found landmarks to establish a link. 
    1. This can take quite a while depending on the experience of the installers. Each installer may need to change the azimuth and elevation a few degrees at a time in order to establish the initial link. Be sure only one antenna is being moved at a time!
  4. After the initial link has been established, take note of the Ideal Power reading. This is the signal level that you should be able to obtain based on distance, antenna gain, and output power.
  5. Open up the alignment tool in the AirOS WebUI and have one installer slowly adjust the azimuth on one antenna until you see the signal get better, then worse again.
  6. Once you are losing signal, start backing up the azimuth until you reach the peak signal.
  7. Repeat step 6 for the elevation.
  8. Do the same for the second installer: have the second installer slowly adjust the azimuth on one antenna until you see the signal get better, then worse again, then again for elevation.
  9. Make sure your Ideal Power and Signal Level match within a few decibels of each other and there is a 1dB or less difference in signal between both chains.

Related Articles


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airFiber - AF5 Link Deployment and Alignment Using DFS Bands

airFiber - How to Ground Your airFiber Properly


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