UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 Review

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Launch of the most recent airMAX® CPE generation by Ubiquiti Networks (Customer Premises Equipment), The Wi-Fi management-specific PowerBeam® 5AC Gen 2.

Here is a review of UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 from the perspective of a man who has lived in rural America.

UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 Experience and First Impressions

Since satellite internet is not an option where we live in semi-rural America, our wireless internet connection has been spotty at best to the provider tower that is several miles away. Due to the physical location of our home in a bowl, we do not have line-of-site to the provider antenna, although being required to.


He finally had the opportunity to work from home rather than commute 40 to 85 miles twice day, but he was unable to due to a shaky internet connection. Due to the signal delay brought on both the signal’s lengthy journey and the high cost of even the most basic monthly data caps, satellite internet was not an option.

He ultimately determined that moving the antenna to a tower atop a hill on our property, about 600 feet away from the home, was the best course of action. His internet service provider urged him to use optical cable, but over the course of 18 years, he twice had to fix the electricity to my well pump in the middle of the winter because overly eager burrowing rodents had damaged the insulation on the wires. Over a distance of 1,000 feet, you can locate damaged underground power cables, but how can you locate underground damaged optic cables?

It required several hours of online study, YouTube, Ubiquiti, and other websites. But in the end, I went with two separate Ubiquiti PowerBeam ac Gen2 High-Performance airMAX ac Bridge (PBE-5AC-Gen2-US) antennas.

A pair of two UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 pre-configured antennas was not available on Amazon at the time I purchased mine, but I would have purchased them if the pricing was comparable to two separate non-configured antennas.

I thought these antennas were overkill because they have a range of miles well over 600 feet, but I wanted maximum throughput and the enhanced mounting of the 5AC-Gen2, which easily fits the 2-1/2 in. diameter thick wall galvanized rigid conduit pipe I’m using to install the antenna on my new tower.

The antenna clamps well onto different diameters of pipe smaller and perhaps larger than the pipe I used due to the graded teeth on the clamp. The antenna includes a solid, well-made clamp that is suited for wind speeds of 60 mph or more.


The most difficult thing for me was figuring out what I needed at the tower in addition to the Ubiquiti antenna to make it all work. I eventually realized that I required a router at the tower to connect to my internet provider’s antenna, just as I did with my wireless network at home.

I also purchased two CISCO Dual Gigabit WAN VPN Routers – RV042G-K9-NA from Amazon (one for back-up – we get occasional lightning strikes on the hill). I chose Cisco because my provider has had the most success on the consumer side with Cisco routers. It’s also excessive – I didn’t need a twin WAN router, but I wanted maximum throughput so it didn’t matter.

To protect my antennas from static electricity, I also purchased two Ubiquiti Networks ETH-SP Poe External Surge Suppressors and shielded network cable, as well as “Ubiquiti Networks Tough Cable Connector Ground (TC-GND) -Box Of 20” connectors to ground the cable shielding to the ground rod I installed at the tower. These connections already include a pigtail that may be screwed to a grounded surface.

When I received the antennas, I followed the directions in the package, installed them (which was simple for me), and downloaded the Ubiquiti Android app to my Samsung 6.0 phone. I particularly enjoy the wifi feature built into the antennas, which is activated for 15 minutes after powering up the antenna and allows you to modify the antennas straight from your phone while the antennas are placed.

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I’m surprised this function is included with the antenna for the price. I had no trouble connecting to the antenna put on the tower on top of my house from my living room using my cell phone. My new tower isn’t finished – I still need to pour concrete to make the foundation stable and add another 20-30 feet – but it’s functional enough for me to work from home for the time being.

My UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is now the fastest element of my network, with a bridge connection rate of 1 GHz between both antennas displayed in the Ubiquiti phone app. I don’t have the tools to confirm what I believe I’m seeing, but I now have the quickest internet connection I’ve had in the 18 years we’ve been here. While the slope may have more to do with my “enhanced” internet speed than my new Obiquiti bridge, I am confident that it is not slowed by the bridge.

It definitely beats dealing with optic fiber for the price. I knew nothing about network bridge antennas or connections when I started, and I didn’t consult with a specialist. It took some time reading and Googling to figure out how to make it all work, but I know I made the correct choice since I’m using my new Ubiquiti bridge to submit this review at the quickest speed we’ve seen since the internet was originally made available out here in semi-rural America.


UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 Specifications

Dimensions420 x 420 x 230 mm (16.54 x 16.54 x 9.06″)
Weight2.22 kg (4.89 lbs)
Power Supply24V, 0.5A Gigabit PoE Adapter (Included)
Max. Power Consumption8.5W
Power MethodPassive PoE (Pairs 4, 5+; 7, 8 Return)
Supported Voltage Range20 to 26VDC
Gain25 dBi
Networking Interface(1) 10/100/1000 Ethernet Port
Processor SpecsMIPS 74Kc
Memory64 MB
LEDsPower, Ethernet, (4) Signal Strength
MountingPole-Mounting Kit (Included)
Wind Loading380 N @ 200 km/h (85.4 lbf @ 125 mph)
Wind Survivability200 km/h (125 mph)
ESD/EMP ProtectionAir: ± 24 kV, Contact: ± 24 kV
Operating Temperature-40 to 70° C (-40 to 158° F)
Operating Humidity5 to 95% Noncondensing
RoHS ComplianceYes
Salt Fog TestIEC 68-2-11 (ASTM B117), Equivalent: MIL-STD-810 G Method 509.5
Vibration TestIEC 68-2-6
Temperature Shock TestIEC 68-2-14
UV TestIEC 68-2-5 at 40° C (104° F), Equivalent: ETS 300 019-1-4

Is UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 good?

The UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 has received positive reviews for its features, dependability, and performance. It is generally well-regarded. Here are some important things to think about:

Wireless Performance: With its use of 5 GHz AC Wi-Fi technology, the PowerBeam PBE-5AC-GEN2 offers high-speed wireless connectivity appropriate for a range of uses, such as point-to-point (PtP) and point-to-multipoint (PtMP) links.

Antenna Design: It has a narrow beamwidth, integrated high-gain directional antenna that enables long-range connectivity and stronger signal transmission over distances.

Sturdiness and Weather Resistance: The UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is weather resistant and intended for outdoor deployment. It may be used in harsh situations because of its durable design and IPX5 rating.

Simple Installation: The UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is made to be simple to set up and install. It has mounting gear provided, and the mounting kit may be easily deployed.

Management and Monitoring: Ubiquiti’s airOS software, which offers access to sophisticated configuration choices, real-time data, and performance monitoring tools, can be used to remotely control and monitor the PowerBeam PBE-5AC-GEN2.

Versatility: It can be applied to a wide range of tasks, such as wireless bridging, backhaul connections, network coverage extension to remote areas, and security camera connectivity.

Scalability: The UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is compatible with other airMAX devices, making it simple to integrate and scale inside current networks. It is a member of Ubiquiti’s airMAX AC product range.

All things considered, the UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is regarded as a dependable and adaptable outdoor wireless connectivity solution, providing excellent performance, robustness, and simplicity of implementation. Its applicability is contingent upon certain use cases, deployment scenarios, and network needs, much like with other networking equipment.

Is UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 router?

Unlike conventional routers that are usually found in homes or offices, the UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is not one of those devices. Rather, it is a wireless access point or bridge intended for point-to-point (PtP) or point-to-multipoint (PtMP) wireless connectivity outdoors.

Devices like the PowerBeam PBE-5AC-GEN2 are used to create wireless links between sites, such as joining buildings or expanding network coverage over long distances, whereas routers are often used to handle network traffic and provide internet access to numerous devices within a network.

Data is transmitted and received wirelessly between linked devices by the PowerBeam PBE-5AC-GEN2 when it functions as a wireless access point or bridge. It usually lacks functions that are common to routers, like firewall capability, NAT, and DHCP. Rather, its primary objective is to furnish dependable and fast wireless communication suitable for exterior installations.

In conclusion, the UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is a specialist outdoor wireless networking device intended for particular use cases requiring long-range wireless connectivity rather than a router in the usual sense.

How many devices can UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 support?

The UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is a high-performance 5 GHz Point-to-Point (PtP) bridge with a throughput of up to 450+ Mbps, according to the official website. In PtMP mode, it can accommodate up to 64 devices with 10/20/30/40 MHz channel sizes. It can accommodate channel sizes of 10/20/30/40/50/60/80 MHz in PtP mode. Additionally, it features a radio for spectrum analysis and a radio for WiFi control.

Does UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 collect data?

The UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 doesn’t gather data in the same manner as other consumer electronics like PCs or cellphones. It is mostly a networking device that is used to create wireless connections between sites, including long-distance network coverage extensions or building connections.

On the other hand, UBIQUITI offers administration and monitoring tools, such as the airOS software package, for its devices, which might gather some information about how the UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 is used and performing. The configuration of the device, network performance indicators, and operating status could all be included in this data.

The particular categories of information that UBIQUITI’s management and monitoring software gathers are usually listed in the privacy policy of the business. To find out what information is gathered, how it is used, and whether there are any choices for restricting or regulating data collection, users should read this policy.

UBIQUITI complies with relevant privacy legislation and guidelines and is generally upfront about its data-gathering activities. You may usually discover settings in the management software that let you control data-collecting preferences or exclude specific functions if data privacy is an issue for you.

How do I get the most out of my UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2?

The following advice can help you get the most out of your UBIQUITI PowerBeam PBE 5AC GEN2 in terms of performance and usefulness:

The PowerBeam should be positioned so that it has a direct line of sight to the other PowerBeam device and the wireless access point. Remain clear of structures, trees, and other objects that can impede the wireless signal.

Align Antennas: For the best connectivity and signal strength, align the PowerBeam devices’ antennas correctly. To help with precisely aligning the antennas, make use of the signal strength indicators found in the device’s control interface.

Pick the Correct Frequency: To reduce interference and increase throughput, pick the right channel and frequency band (such as 5 GHz). Utilize devices such as Wi-Fi analyzers to determine which local channels are the least crowded.

Use the Correct Cable: When connecting the PowerBeam devices to power and network equipment, make sure you use premium, low-loss connections. Performance can be decreased and signal quality can be lowered by using subpar wires.

Update Firmware: Frequently check the UBIQUITI website for firmware upgrades for your PowerBeam equipment. To take advantage of performance improvements, security patches, and bug fixes, install updates as soon as they become available.

Optimize Configuration Settings: Adjust your PowerBeam units’ configuration parameters in accordance with your unique deployment needs. To maximize performance and dependability, adjust parameters including transmit power, channel width, modulation, and security settings.

Monitor Performance: Using the UBIQUITI management interface or monitoring software, keep a regular eye on the PowerBeam units’ performance. To find and fix problems as soon as they arise, monitor error rates, throughput, and signal strength.

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