Please read our FAQ if you haven't already.
The intention of this page is not to be technical but rather give to the non-technical person an understanding of a typical installation.
NYC Mesh is an "over the air" network. The aim is to connect rooftop to rooftop" using different type of equipment based on geography and topology. And doing so, expand NYC Mesh network coverage to the next block and so on*. The fondment of NYC Mesh is to share the connectivity with the neignbors, share ressources, share equipement, share the network. Create a community of communities connecting to each others. NYC Mesh uses basically two categories of equipment.
In the first category are equipment that "speaks" [AirMAX] (https://dl.ubnt.com/datasheets/airmax/UBNT_DS_airMAX_TDMA.pdf) (called a protocol). Some hubs and supernods (that are in effect hubs) have antennas covering a sector, or 360o, that "speak" AirMax. To connect to those, you need to install on your roof an antenna that "speaks" that same AirMax language. See [Ubiquiti] (/hardware) equipement. In addition, some hubs may as well have antennas of the second category.
The second category of equipment "speaks" the same language as your home router, [802.11] (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEEE_802.11) (there are sub categories of this protocol as it evolves. They are noted (a, b, g, n and ac), or 802.11a/b/g/n/ac) see [Mikrotik] (/hardware) equipment.
*Note: In some cases, such as large buildings we may use fiber to connect but would setup a rooftop "hub" to expand the network to surrounding neighbors.
There are many equipment on the market and we may choose in some cases different equipement than shown here under.
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**1.- Connect to a hub or supernode (one apartment - no roof-to-roof expansion)**
A typical installation has a [LiteBeam] (/hardware/litebeamac) antenna on the roof. From that antenna an ethernet cable is run to the apartment. (note: the antenna is sometimes referred as the outdoor router).
Depending on the roof it can be mounted on an old TV antenna pole, on an added pole, a wall, a chimney, or any existing infrastructure.
In the apartment any type of WiFi router can be installed. We install a [TP-Link router] (/hardware/tplink).
2.- Connect to a hub or supernode (one or several apartments - with roof-to-roof expansion)
To allow others to connect to your rooftop, several apartments in the building, from another roof-top or simply by using a laptop or smart phone (such as from a roof terrace) we need to add to the litebeam a second equipment that allows such connections. We use an [OmniTik] (hardware/mikrotikomnitik5ac/) mounted on the same pole or it can be mounted somewhere else on the roof.
The OmniTik is an Omnidirectional (360°) antenna. It has about 2-3 block radius. It has the advantage to allow more than one unit in the building to be connected to it. We connect the Litebeam to the OmniTik and the apartment to the OmniTik via ethernet.
OmniTik not located next to the Litebeam
Other rooftops can connect to the OmniTik by using another Omnitik if they are close enough or we use, in some cases, an [SXT] (/hardware/sxtsqg5acd/)
3.- A good rooftop can be "beefed up" to allow for more connectivity.
If the rooftop is interesting (at a good location, it's high enough, etc) we may install "sectors" or other type of equipement. Sectors are antennas that communicate via Ubiquiti's AirMax protocol and have a longer range than an OmniTik. Additionally, we may connect to two hubs, etc....
Here four examples.
4.- A building can connect to an other building with an OmniTik using a different antenna
A building can connect to another building with an OmniTik using a [SXT] ( /hardware/sxtsqg5acd/ ) antenna. It can then serve one or several apartments.
Those are typical installations. Other setups are possible and in use throughout NYC Mesh.