Ubiquiti LTU vs AirMax: What's the Difference?

Ubiquiti LTU vs AirMax: What's the Difference?


Ubiquiti's much anticipated LTU (Long Term Ubiquiti) product line is now available, leaving WISP's and integrators spoilt for choice with broadband deployments. This article aims to explain the differences in these technologies and assist with choosing the most suitable product for your wireless applications.


What is the Difference Between LTU and AirMax?

The most crucial difference between LTU and Airmax is that the latter uses a standard 'off-shelf', WiFi-based, 802.11 chipset which offers great performance but has limitations based on the 802.11 protocol standard.

The LTU custom chipset was designed by Ubiquiti from scratch which allows more fine-grain control with performance-enhancing features to assist in making the most of wireless environments.


802.11 Based LTU Technology


LTU is superior to 802.11 as it can achieve a much higher modulation rate. This is where the conversion from wireless signalling to actual data bits is taking place and correlates directly to physical data rate. Right now LTU runs a maximum of 1024QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) compared to AirmaxAC's 256QAM. Future firmware updates will allow for up to 4096QAM pushing the potential data rate up to a possible 1Gbps+. With fast processing and spectral efficiency, it is possible to connect more clients per AP, making it an attractive proposition for WISP models. In addition to performance enhancements, features such as 'Split Frequency' assist with better performance and interference mitigation.






What is the Future of AirMax?

LTU is definitely the future of fixed wireless broadband but it is not compatible with the Airmax range and is therefore only suitable for new deployments.
LTU is currently more susceptible to interference due to the higher receive sensitivity on the radio. For this reason, it may make more sense to use AC Prism devices in certain deployments. The LTU product range is currently limited compared to Airmax range of products and also comes at a higher price tag. Both products will run concurrently to service different market demands.


AirMax AC LTU
Frequency 2.4GHz & 5GHz 5GHz
Bandwidth (Max) 80MHz 100MHz
Modulation Rate 256QAM 1024QAM (4096QAM with firmware upgrade)
Frequency Split NO YES
GPS Sync YES YES
UNMS YES YES


Have a look at some of the real-world LTU deployments:


If you would like to find out more about LTU or seek general advice regarding a deployment please contact us or refer to the FAQ guide.

Blog post by Timothy Symonds

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