Ubiquiti airFiber 5xhd Vs. airFiber 5x: A Comprehensive Comparison

The world of wireless connectivity is undergoing rapid transformations that are enhancing the speed and long-range communication at a level that was almost inconceivable a few years back. One such revolutionary innovation is airFiber. Built by Ubiquiti Inc., airFiber sparked a revolution that helped WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) overcome technical and financial restraints and provide scalable and profitable networks across the world. The various models of airFiber are finding applications in various brand-width-intensive areas and organizations such as large enterprises, and government organizations.

But there are many options available on the market, the most prominent of them are airFiber 5XHD and airFiber 5X. Naturally, people ask about the salient features of both these options and ask as well which one is better and why. We have decided to help you to make an informed decision. This blog will help you understand the pros and cons of each airFiber model and make comparisons as well to help you conclude solidly.


Let's get the ball rolling!

What is airFiber?

AirFiber is cutting-edge and to some extent a revolutionary radio cage technology. This point-to-point radio wireless technology utilizes high-frequency harmonics to generate a total internal reflection in thin air. In this way, AirFiber essentially makes thin air a fiber optic cable and creates a high-performance, long-range, and cost-effective Point-to-Point (PtP) wireless backhaul solution.

AirFiber technology has helped many challenges in the way of traditional wireless or wired connectivity such as high-cost, low speed, limited coverage, and interference. AirFiber uses many advanced technologies such as Hybrid Division Duplex (HDD), Intelligent Antenna BeamForming (IAB), GPS synchronization, xRT protocol, INVICTUS ship, and more. These technologies are responsible for achieving high performance such as high throughput, low latency, and long range. AirFiber works in various frequency bands such as 2.4 GHz, 3Ghz, 4GHz, 5GHz, 24GHz, and 60GHz.

Ubiquiti launched this technology in 2012 with its product AirFiber 24 with a 13 km range. Later, it replaced AirFiber 24 with AirFiber 5 in 2013 with a 100 km range. AirFiber 5 was later replaced by AirFiber 5X in 2015 which offered a 100 km range. The latest upgrade in AirFiber technology was AirFiber 5XHD in 2018 which offers improved signal quality and performance.

Well, you would have understood now that AirFiber is one of the most advanced backhaul solutions that ensures high-speed and reliable data transmission and communication. But which AirFiber backhaul solution would suit your requirements of connecting a remote or peripheral node to your core network? Here is the answer to this question.

We begin first with airFiber 5X, the most popular model currently.

Key Features of Ubiquiti AirFiber 5X:

As earlier stated, AirFiber 5X has been designed and implemented for reliable and long-range connectivity for various ends and applications.

1.Long-Range Connectivity:

Long-range connectivity is one of the major reasons for the popularity of airFiber 5X. Due to advanced radio technology and high-gain dish antenna, it can provide 200km at max connectivity. You know airFiber 5X has a world record for maintaining the longest-ever wireless broadband between Los Angeles and Los Vegas which are 225km apart. Not only that, the data rate was 155 Mbps which was impressive. Mind-blowing!

The long-range backhaul capabilities of airFiber 5x make it the most suitable option for connecting remote locations and bridging network gaps.

But it must be kept in mind that long-range connectivity depends upon multiple factors. For instance, antenna gain, channel width, modulation scheme, interference level, and environmental conditions can have direct impacts on enhancing or reducing wireless connectivity.

2.High Throughput:

airFiber 5X has high throughput, it operates in a 5GHz frequency brand and thus offers excellent throughput. Its throughput can be as high as 500 Mbps under real-world conditions. This high throughput means that this Ubiquiti device is widely applied in bandwidth-intensive tasks, data-intensive applications, and high-capacity working conditions.

3.Carrier-Class Reliability:

The ability of Ubiquity wireless connectivity or backhaul devices to provide consistent and stable performance is matchless. Ubiquiti airFiber 5X is no exception. It has performed well under every kind of condition to deliver stable and reliable network performance. Therefore, airFiber 5X has carrier-class reliability.


Low latency is another major feature of airFiber 5X. The low latency helps organizations experience smooth and high-speed data communication and exchange in various areas such as rural areas, enterprises, public safety, and more.

The low latency of airFiber 5X has enabled big organizations to improve user experience (UX), and Quality of Service (QoS) in those areas that are latency-sensitive applications such as video conferences, voice-over IP, and more.

5.Plug and Play Deployment:

The mechanical design of airFiber 5X allows quick and straightforward installation. It has a very intuitive configuration interface that allows even one person to complete the deployment. And with a crew of two IT technicians, you can effectively install and align airFiber 5X.

6.Flexibility and Versatility:

AirFiber 5X has been designed in a way to ensure consistent and stable network performance under varying needs and requirements. Network administrators can deploy for point-to-point connectivity, backhauling, and more.

For instance, it can support various channel widths from 10MHz to 40 MHz, it can use different modulation schemes and it can be integrated with other Ubiquiti products etc. All these features make airFiber 5X ideal for connectivity solutions to meet dynamic and changing networking needs.

These are some of the highlighted features of airFiber 5x. Now, we will look into the major features of airFiber 5XHD before making a final comparison between them.

Major Features of Ubiquiti AirFiber 5XHD:

Like its predecessor, Ubiquiti airFiber FXHD is a 5Ghz carrier backhaul radio with LTU technology. It has been designed and implemented for establishing long-rage point-to-point backhaul links. It allows users either customize backhaul links or upgrade already existing PtP links.

Similar to Ubiquiti airFiber 5X radio system, it has also some key distinctions that set it apart from other AF versions. For instance:

1.High Throughput and Long-Range Connectivity:

AF-5XHD has been equipped with industry-best 21.2 PBS/Hz spectral efficiency that allows it to support the delivery of 1.34 Gbps throughput up to 100 + km distance. But many environmental conditions may impact its throughput and range performance.

This high throughput support makes this an ideal option for bandwidth-intensive applications such as video streaming, VoIP, and more.

2.Adaptive Modulation Schemes:

AF-5XHD can support multiple modulation schemes such as 256QAM, 64QAM, 16QAM, and QPSK. These adaptive modulation schemes allow network administrators to maintain reliable network performance with optimum throughput.

3.Enhanced Surge Protection:

It has a built-in mechanism to ensure surge protection. AF-5XHD has a voltage operating range of 19‑50 VDC which helps protect the device from damages resulting from surges and spikes.

4.User-Friendly and Intuitive Management:

This device has been controlled and managed through the Ubiquiti airFiber Management system. This management system provides a centralized platform for monitoring, configuration, and more. Furthermore, the configuration is also very easy.

5.Enhanced Redundancy and Reliability:

AF-5XHD has built-in dual redundancy options to ensure reliable network performance. For instance, it supports the creation of backup firmware images that ensures foil-safe configuration. Similarly, it has dual Ethernet ports and SFP ports that provide power and link redundancy.

In sum, AF-5XHD is a cutting-edge airFiber technology that ensures a high TDD throughput and the use of advanced technology such as HDD ensures that it achieves low latency.

But which Ubiquiti device is most suitable for your needs? Which one is better and why? A large of network administrators have to solve this puzzle. Here is a comprehensive comparison to solve this question once and for all.

Comparing airFiber 5XHD vs airFiber 5X:

Both these Ubiquiti devices are high-performance 5GHz carrier radios that are deployed to meet the needs of establishing high-performance and long-range PtP backhaul links. But airFiber 5XHD is an improved and upgraded model therefore, it has some advantages as well.

Here is a comprehensive comparison between these two Ubiquiti devices.


In terms of performance, multiple studies show that AF-5XHD can deliver 20% more backhaul capacity. As it has been earlier mentioned that AF-5XHD can support 1.34 Gbps throughput against up to 500 Mbps performance of AF-5X. This 20% gain in performance is certainly a clear edge.

EVM Performance:

AF-5XHD has also demonstrated superior EVM performance as compared to AF-5X. This helps transmitted and received modulated signals to ensure high-quality and lower distortions and noise.

Furthermore, AF-5XHD is more suitable for an environment that is prone to a higher level of interference. It is capable of rejecting the noise of nearby channels and thus provides excellent EVM performance.

Surge Protection:

In comparison with Ubiquiti AF-5X, AF-5XHD has a better and upgraded surge protection circuit that can protect this device from sudden spikes and surges that may otherwise cause immense damage.

Constellation Performance:

The advanced coding schemes that AF-5XHD has ensures that this device has better sensitivity and constellation performance even at weak signal strength.

Final Words:

Both AF-5X and AF-5XHD have come as a massive improvement in the world of wireless and long-range point-to-point backhaul connectivity. In terms of management, built-in redundancy, GPS-synchronization-based advanced radio alignment, and spectrum efficiency, both devices perform equally well.

Their major difference lies in the throughput and range. airFiber 5XHD has clear advantages over its counterpart when it comes to EVM, constellation, and network performance. But their improvement has come at a price. Therefore, if you can afford it, you must go for AF-5XHD, otherwise, AF-5X is also a good option for establishing long-range point-to-point backhaul links.


1- What are the main differences between the airFiber 5XHD and airFiber 5X?

These models differ in terms of data throughput, range, number of Ethernet ports, surge protection mechanism, and among other features.

2- Which model is better for me?

It depends upon your needs and budget. If you want to establish a high throughput and long-range backhaul link and your budget can afford it, go for AF-5XHD, otherwise, AF-5X is also a great option in case there are budgetary constraints.

3- What are some other factors to consider when choosing between the two models?

There are many factors you must consider in this regard. For instance, the type of applications you will be using, your budget, and the surrounding environment in which the radio would work should be considered before choosing between the two models.

4- Where can I buy the airFiber 5XHD and airFiber 5X?

You can buy airFiber 5XHD and airFiber 5X from a variety of retailers including the Ubiquiti store as well.

5- What are the environmental requirements for the airFiber 5XHD and airFiber 5X?

Both these models are designed and developed for outdoor use. They can withstand a temperate range of -40°C to 60°C and are waterproof as well.