While we would recommend using a dedicated UniFi Access Point for outdoor areas that need WiFi coverage, there are scenarios where a directional device such as a NanoStation M2 might be useful. For example, reaching a further away location in a specific area as well as providing access without a dedicated routing device.
Ubiquiti's airMAX M and airMAX AC devices both use 802.11 as a baseline underneath the airMAX TDMA protocol. However with the airMAX M devices this can be disabled, turning the device into a standard WiFi AP.
To learn how to get started with an airMAX M device, see our guide here.
How to setup a NanoStation as a WiFi AP
First, pick a device in the airMAX M family that uses 2GHz or 5GHz. This includes the NanoStation M2/M5, NanoStation loco M2/M5, NanoBeam M2/M5, Rocket M2/M5, Bullet M2/M5 and many others.
Once logged into the device, choose whether or not to put it in 'Bridge' or 'Router'. Bridge mode will make the device act like a normal WiFi AP, passing traffic from ethernet to wireless seamlessly. Router mode enables NAT and the firewall on the device. Use router mode in scenarios where you want traffic isolated or where you don't have another router.
To do this, go to 'Network'
Then choose in the drop down between 'Bridge' and 'Router'.
NOTE: If you are using the device in Router mode, then the setup process is different. See the bottom of this post for that guide.
Next you'l need to choose the WAN connection type, in most scenarios this will be 'DHCP', but you can choose between Static IP or DHCP. PPPoE is available when using Router mode
Next, go to 'Wireless' and set the device into 'Access Point' mode.
Next, choose an SSID and password.
Be sure to use WPA2 as WPA is now considered as insecure. For 2GHz (M2) only choose 20MHz for the channel with, for 5GHz (M5) use either 20MHz or 40MHz.
Also pick a frequency - on airMAX channel numbers are not used, instead the raw frequency numbers are.
Then, click on the airMAX beam logo
Then, turn off airMAX
Now, once you look on your phone or computer, the SSID you have made will show up. You can plug the NanoStation into your main network and enjoy outdoor WiFi.
How to use the Router mode for the same purpose
We mentioned above that the config process is different when using the NanoStation in router mode. This is due to the way the device handles its own interface. The wireless interface is labelled as WLAN0 and the ethernet port is called LAN0.
In bridge mode, it is simply bridging together these two interfaces. If you come down to the 'Advanced' section within the 'Network' tab you'll see that in BRIDGE0, WLAN0 and LAN0 are bridged together.
However, in 'Router' mode, the BRIDGE0 interface is removed and instead, the interfaces are assigned roles. By default, the LAN0 interface is acting as our WAN and WLAN0 is acting as our LAN. This is perfect for the use case of a WiFi AP, but in a WISP environment these roles would need to be reversed.
Be sure to do the following:
Disable Block management access
Enable DNS Proxy
Set as DHCP range and enable the DHCP server
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