I first ran into Bill Moffitt a few years ago when he was traveling the country talking to media to discuss his new AyrMesh wireless network tool. His idea? Take your best broadband connection at the farm and extend it across a wide area over wi-fi using a series of interconnected hubs.
Moffitt is president, and founder, of Ayrstone Productivity , and he's making good on that promise with the AyrMesh Network - and he keeps adding new tech too.
You may think of that wi-fi connection as the one in your house that allows you to run all of your devices from that Internet connection. Moffitt's idea was to take that signal and give it a big boost. Since he started with the original AyrMesh network he's added new products including the AyrMesh Hub2n which builds on the network and allows you to boost a wi-fi signal up to 2.5 miles between hubs. He says total coverage for the system - when more hub points are added - can be 7.5 miles in every direction as you interlink those hubs.
We're talking about beaming a high-speed signal a long way and it can be much faster than 3G if you have a good Internet connection at your office. Now, Moffitt is pulling the signal into the cab. "You'll be able to run wi-fi tools in the cab of your tractor, sprayer or combine," he tells us. "It adds versatility to the system."
Called the AyrMesh Cab Hub it's a custom-built combination of the Hub2n combined with an external mag-mount antenna and a cable that provides power using a 12-volt utility plug. Once powered up and linked to your Ayrmesh wi-fi network your super-fast office Web connection is available in the field. And all wi-fi enabled tablets, smartphones and other tools work in the field.
Connectivity is important as farmers collect more data and have a need to push it to the cloud. The cloud isn't very useful if you're connection speeds are low. While major makers of tools using the cloud tell us they're happy at 3G speeds, farmers may not like those connection speeds. With a wi-fi connection using a land-based Internet connection it's possible to get much faster Web service. Of course, that depends on the broadband access in your area.
Moffitt has plenty of experience working with wi-fi networks. He comes from Cisco Systems - a leading maker of Internet connectivity tools. He's also been at Novariant where he worked on GPS-based auto-steering systems for farm equipment.
Moffitt says "there is an incredible amount of data collected on-the-go and getting that data some place where it can be used is critical to an operation." And there's no doubt about that. Faster transmission of larger files back to the farm, or to other storage locations (like the cloud) will be more important in the future.
To make the Cab Hub work, you must set up the AyrMesh Network first. The Cab Hub connected to that network and offers that strong wi-fi signal. The Cab Hub is weather proof and retails for $499.95. You can learn more by visiting ayrstone.com  to find a dealer.
This latest addition to the Ayrmesh line offers you the chance to boost your wi-fi connectivity, leverage what you're already paying for the land-based Internet connection (where data fees are usually lower than your cellphone contract) and enhance data management.
We're always looking for new connectivity tools and this is one option many farmers may find has value. It's worth checking out.
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