Connect with us


Phuket Live Wire: WiFi you wouldn’t believe

Legacy Phuket Gazette



PHUKET: There’s important breaking news on the internet scene in Phuket: TOT is now offering something they call “WiFi”. The first, most important thing to understand is that this isn’t the kind of WiFi you know. It’s completely different.

TOT has taken confusing terminology to new lows. The “WiFi” TOT is selling has nothing to do with the WiFi you probably have on your laptop, or on your phone or tablet. It’s a different technology, invented by a company called Ubiquiti Networks, that relies on a box nailed to the side of your house or office. Ubiquiti calls the technology AirMax on their website, and that’s the term I’ll use.

Here’s how it works. TOT puts AirMax transmitters on its mobile phone towers. The transmitters broadcast a signal that can be picked up from a long distance by a very sensitive box called the Ubiquiti NanoStation M5.

Although the transmission is line-of-sight – meaning you need to be able to see the antenna, more or less, in order to get a signal – these systems are tuned to produce remarkable reception, using something called a 2X2 MIMO antenna array. In Phuket right now we have AirMax connections extending up to 2 kilometers, and they’ll certainly go much further; Ubiquiti claims their systems can transmit up to 50 km.

So, TOT puts a NanoStation M5 box on the side of your house, tunes it to receive the signal from the tower, then runs a heavy-duty Ethernet cable into your house. That Ethernet cable connects to a box that functions as your router.

You can plug a computer into the router and connect via Ethernet, or you can connect a wireless access point box to it – thus producing a genuine, old-fashioned WiFi signal inside your home.

TOT likes the AirMax system because it doesn’t have to run landline wires down the road. The towers are already built, and they’re connected to the main internet lines on the island. Once a tower has an AirMax base station, all of the houses in a 2 or 3 km line-of-sight radius are potential customers. Cheap and easy.

The technical details are fascinating as you can see on the Ubiquiti web site, but the thing I found most surprising is that the AirMax runs at 5 GHz.

If you recall the ongoing fights in Thailand over the 850 MHz, 900 MHz and 2.1 GHz frequencies – well, the AirMax doesn’t use any of them.

As far as I know, the 5 GHz band isn’t regulated in Thailand, which may be a primary reason why TOT chose it.

Leons, in Kathu, has started reporting the speeds for his TOT AirMax “WiFi” service, and they’re breathtaking. He’s consistently getting 5 Mbps international download speeds, which is considerably faster than almost all of the wired connections on the island.

Of course, there aren’t many AirMax customers at the moment, and those speeds won’t last forever. But for now they show that TOT has opened up a fast international connection for its AirMax customers: definitely a good sign.

Leons is using the TOT AirMax 5 Mbps plan which costs 599 baht per month. There’s also an 8 Mbps plan at 799 baht per month. No word yet on speeds for the 8 Mbps version.

If you aren’t yet reporting your speeds on, please drop by and sign up! We need your help. It’s free, it only takes a few seconds, and the results help everyone figure out what’s working and what’s not worth the effort. Remember that all of the data – more than 21,000 reported speeds at this point – is immediately available to anyone who wants to view, download, or fiddle with the results. Also remember that the Internet Service Providers are watching the reports.

Live Wire is Phuket Gazette columnist Woody Leonhard’s weekly snapshot of all things internet in Phuket. Follow him on Twitter: @PhuketPC or visit his free computer clinics at Woody’s Sandwich Shoppes.

To see what Woody’s up to in the international press, and to keep on top of the latest patches and problems with Windows and Office, drop by

— Woody Leonhard


Want more Thailand news from the Thaiger family?

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS for instant updates on your mobile
📝️ Join the conversation on Thaiger Talk - discuss news & life in our Thailand forums
📧 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🔔 Subscribe to or Join our YouTube channel for daily video updates


Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Expats6 hours ago

List: China has over 50% of all foreign-owned condos in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)8 hours ago

Government plans 10 million vaccines for July

World11 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Vaccine deaths investigation, PM heads to Phuket, BMA extends vendor licences | June 18

Phuket Sandbox July 1st


Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in July - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages in June!

Sponsored by image

Thailand12 hours ago

1 million AstraZeneca doses arrive, Anutin says “more” on the way

Drugs12 hours ago

1.2 tonnes of methamphetamine and heroin seized near Malaysian border

Coronavirus (Covid-19)12 hours ago

Pattaya bars plead for government help

Thailand12 hours ago

Colour-coded zoning revised, restrictions to ease nationwide

Transport13 hours ago

Department of Land Transport will reopen, issue licenses

Best of13 hours ago

Top 8 Things to do in Chiang Mai

Tourism14 hours ago

Krabi schedules 82 flights per week from late October

Best of14 hours ago

Top 6 Online Forums in Thailand

Coronavirus (Covid-19)14 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 3,058 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand14 hours ago

Worker falls off roof in Chon Buri, sustains multiple injuries

Phuket14 hours ago

Talad Kaset market in Phuket reopens

Coronavirus (Covid-19)15 hours ago

PM Prayut tests negative after parliament maid has Covid-19

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism4 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand4 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism4 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8