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What is the best Airtame Alternative for Wireless Screen Mirroring in Meeting Rooms?

BenQ
2020/05/15

If you are looking for an less expensive wireless screen mirroring system for your collaboration spaces and classrooms, Airtame is one of the systems considered by IT managers.  The system uses a small receiver and your network infrastructure to wirelessly transmit content from your notebook to a display, but the impact on your network traffic and lag times in viewing video content are two reasons many people also want to look at alternatives to Airtame.

This article explores what are the Airtame alternatives available in the market and help you decide which one might be best for you. 

What is AirTame and How Does it Work?

Airtame is a wireless screen mirroring solution. It uses a special software application that is loaded onto the presenter’s notebook and usually uses the corporate or enterprise WiFi network to transmit the signal to a small receiver device connected to the display. 

Based on the market data from Futuresource consulting, we will look at the three popular models sold worldwide that compete with the AirTame system.

 

 

What are the Best AirTame Alternatives?

Are they to set up and install?

Setting up a wireless screen mirroring correctly usually falls to the IT team to ensure that the system works – and is secure.  Both the Airtame receiver and the Mersive Solstice have detailed network deployment guides outlining the ports that need to be opened, specific features to turn on (such as multicasting), and other network requirements such as bandwidth availability. For example, the Solstice typically requires a network connection with a minimum bandwidth of 20 Mbps, and recommend adjusting the QoS priority to ensure it works.  The IT manager then needs to deploy the apps onto the notebook to ensure quick login. Bottom line – these two are more complex than the BenQ and Barco systems

Barco Clickshare consists of a receiver that is connected to the meeting room display or projector and a button can connect to your notebook to share your screen. This system is easier to set up, but the receiver cannot be mounted on the ceiling with a projector – only on a wall or table.   Also, the ClickShare requires an app that needs to be deployed by the IT staff onto the notebook in order to connect with the receiver

BenQ InstaShow is the easiest Airtame alternative to set up and operate. There are no apps – or network configuration needed to get it working.  You simply connect the receiver to the display and set the button on the table.  You can check out how the Commercial Integrator magazine marketing team was able to set up the system in minutes – without any IT support.

Can visitors use them?

Do you want to have your visitors use your wireless screen mirroring system when they are presenting in your collaboration space?   Here are how they work

With both Airtame & Mersive Solstice, it requires an employee or visitor to log onto the same network that is hosting the Airtame or Solstice receiver. Because of security risks to the enterprise network, IT administrators need to ensure that their network is protected from tunneling apps or other security risks with visitors on the network.  The Airtame also recommends turning off network apps such as DropBox to increase performance. Next, the visitor will typically need to download and run the AirTame or Mersive software application onto their notebook.  Outside of the extra time it takes, many organizations “lock down” their notebooks from third-party software to protect from malware and require IT support and approval for any application to be installed.  

With Barco Clickshare CS-100 visitors is easier – and doesn’t require a network connection to use the system.  The visitor still has to download the ClickShare app to do wireless screen mirroring. This app uses the notebook’s system resources to perform some of the functions needed to use the ClickShare system, and the same security concerns on “locked down” computers for the Airtame and Mersive apps may still apply to a visitor who wants to use the system. 

BenQ InstaShow is the easiest for external guests or clients to use. You simply plug in the button to the HDMI port on your device (more on that below) and tap the button when you are ready to present.   The process takes only seconds – and there are no apps to load – or need to connect to the network.  The buttons are available in both standard HDMI or USB-C connectors that work with any modern notebook devices the latest MacBooks and Chromebooks.

What devices are supported support?

While standard notebooks are not a problem for any of these systems, Airtame and other alternatives have to transform the video signal from the device to enable wireless screen mirroring. This can limit the devices of the type that can be used.  For example, the ClickShare app enables Windows and Mac notebooks to share their screen – but not Chromebooks.   The Mersive Solstice enables you to use a web browser on Chromebooks to share your screen with their app, while the AirTame will only work with certain Chromebooks or Linux applications.  For these systems, you will need to carefully check to make sure your devices work.

The InstaShow approach is to wirelessly stream the native HDMI signal directly from a device.  This enables thousands of different HDMI devices from over 1700 different manufacturers to mirror their screen on a shared display or projector.   This enables not only notebooks and mobile devices to mirror the screen, but also digital microscopes, Blu-Ray Players, and even X-Ray and CT machines to wirelessly mirror their images to a shared display. 

Is the content protected?

One drawback of the Airtame system is that none of the content shared over the network is encrypted.   This can open the door to presentation content being seen by bad actors – and even recorded.  So how do the Airtame alternatives protect your content?

Mersive Solstice improves security by enabling the system to be configured to encrypt all transmissions from the notebook that protects the content from unauthorized viewing or recording.  The main drawback is that it has to be set up by the administrator – and could be turned off at any time.

BenQ InstaShow and Barco ClickShare encrypt all the content that is transmitted from the buttons.  Both brands also have detailed security white papers (link to our white paper) that IT managers and security staff can review to make sure your corporate data is protected.

Comparison Table and Conclusions: Best AirTame Alternatives

So how do you decide which one is best for you? While Airtame is the least expensive of the three alternatives, you have to worry about overloading network bandwidth, having sensitive content being recorded, and allowing visitors onto your network to download apps and present to the display – not to mention lag times of up to one second when running videos.

To help you understand the tradeoffs between the various Airtame alternatives, we have put together a basic comparison table that may help you.  Note that this does not have pricing – or the optional annual subscription costs that may be required for security updates, such as with the Mersive Solstice.

  AirTame2 BenQ InstaShow WDC-10 Barco ClickShare CS-100 Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
 
Connection Type
AirTame2
WiFi and App
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
Button Only
Barco ClickShare CS-100
Button and App
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
WiFi and App
 
Security
AirTame2
No Encryption
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
Encrypted Transmissions
Barco ClickShare CS-100
Encrypted Transmissions
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
Configurable Encryption
 
Number of Buttons Included
AirTame2
N/A
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
2 – with tabletop button holder
Barco ClickShare CS-100
1
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
N/A
 
Maximum Number of Presenters
AirTame2
N/A
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
16
Barco ClickShare CS-100
8
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
Unlimited
 
Setup and Installation
AirTame2
Network setup and configuration
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
Easy
Barco ClickShare CS-100
Easy
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
Network setup and configuration
 
Employee / Visitor Use
AirTame2
Require network login and app to run on a device
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
Plug and Play – no software needed
Barco ClickShare CS-100
Requires app to run on a device
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
Require network login and app to run on a device
 
Notebook Device Support
AirTame2
Windows, Mac, Chromebooks
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
Windows, Mac, Chromebooks
Barco ClickShare CS-100
Windows, Mac
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
Windows, Mac or Web browser
 
Mobile Device Support
AirTame2
iOS and Android via App
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
Phones and Tablets with USB-C and HDMI out
Barco ClickShare CS-100
iOS and Android via App
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
iOS and Android via App
 
Other Devices
AirTame2
Linux Devices
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
Any HDMI 1.4 device such as Blu-ray, Document cameras, TV boxes, Raspberry Pi
Barco ClickShare CS-100
None
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
None
 
Optional Subscription
AirTame2
Yes 
BenQ InstaShow WDC-10
No – Updates are free
Barco ClickShare CS-100
Yes
Mersive Solstice Pod Gen2i SGE
Yes

InstaShow is the best AirTame2 alternative for many reasons. It delivers a wireless presentation system that is easy to install and setup without IT support and enables a visitor to start presenting in just seconds – without any software hassles. This plug and play solution can save hours on network installation time and costs, as well as the overhead of deploying and maintaining the software on each user notebook.

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